From 1987, lush pop purveyors and “Life in a Northern Town” one hit wonders The Dream Academy, sing solemnly about Chile in the 1980s. The song is for a photographer who was burned alive (is there any other way?) in 1986, at a street protest against dictator Augusto Pinochet. The curious jazzy interlude almost seems insensitive to the subject matter, though the group only composed the song after being inspired by a magazine article.
Born in Chile to communists but raised in Canada and the USA, Rojas’ return to his birthplace was not profitable. The country was politically unstable and not respecting basic human rights. General Augusto Pinochet, ruling via the military between 1973 and 1990, suspended freedoms and oversaw the harsh punishment of dissidents. Political prisoners were kept in football stadiums, thousands of them, many then executed. At the same time, Pinochet’s economic policies, with U.S. advice, freed the economy to eventually succeed.
We sometimes see the same downplaying of human rights abuses by Western leaders toward China, today. And similar economic measures to revive European Union economies may be necessary there, despite like in Chile, the severe temporary hardships felt by the poor until stabilization.