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AURORA CORNEJO

Arrested and tortured in 1973. Has lived in the most abject poverty for over three decades

(What you will read here is a transcription of her words)

    ...I thought about running away, about hiding, because I knew the carabineros (local police) would come to take me away. When I saw them I locked the door, my father had been through surgery recently and he was in bed.

    They kicked the door down, got into the house destroying everything they found on the way, and I was taken away by force. I tried to resist against them, so they tied my hands behind my back. It was then when I bit one of the soldiers' fingers, so I was beaten up several times with the butt of their weapons; on my right eyebrow, on my mouth, they broke several of my teeth. I was bleeding so badly; I'm sure they got stained too. They blindfolded me; they dragged me outside of the house and threw me into their van, falling onto the other people who were already there. I heard my neighbour Hernan Diaz calling me.

    During the journey, other people were thrown over us, lying right on the floor of the van. The journey was long, and I donít know were we stopped. When we arrived, they dragged us out and into the house.

    We were still blindfolded, and were separated from each other, sent to different rooms. I remember the floor was slippery. They asked me questions and I didnít know what to answer. They took my clothes off and beat me up. I didnít know what they wanted, and didnít understand their questions, so they started to apply electric current to different parts of my body, first on my breasts; they kept asking questions, but I didnít know who they were talking about, or what they wanted. They raped me. Then they applied current on my vagina and also in my ears. The pain produced was so unbearable that I could feel how my mouth deformed itself. That day, or night, they applied electric current three times, and finally I lost consciousness.

    I didnít hear anything from the rest of people kidnapped with me; I was the only woman. They started torturing me first, and later they told me they could hear me screaming. When I woke up, I was in a different place. I was only wearing trousers and a blouse, no underwear. I was in Buen Pastor de Rancagua (local detention Center for Women). The rest of prisoners gave me some clothing. My family never visited, they didnít look for me; probably they were just waiting for me to get back home.

I spent there 4 months, and during that time they took me out three times, in the middle of the night, to interrogate me. They werenít from the military, maybe from the DINA (the Chilean Secret Police). I didnít speak to anybody, I was going through so much suffering at the time, it was always the other prisoners who approached me.

Before, I had been dating someone, but after this I never wanted to hear a word about sex. The low temperatures to which I was exposed over 4 months caused me a pneumonia.


My dad tried to convince his boss to intercede on my behalf, in exchange for some of the products we grew in our farm. His boss took advantage of this, asking for too many things, turkeys, chickens, lambs; he certainly didnít do a favour for free.

PLACE OF ARREST: I think it probably was at the Ex Minister of Agriculture's house, Jorge Prado, in Pencahue.

Note:  I found the two banking books they were after (they asked me for "the money" and not finding it, said that I had eaten it). One of the savings-books was from the farmers' trade union, the MAPU. The other was from the Housing Committee in which I was in charge of the accounts. As far as I can see, the balance was still the same as it was at the time of my arrest; there had been no transactions on those accounts. Last deposits appear to be made on the 20th of September of 1972 and 20th of August 1973, for the amount of 66.450 escudos, but as I never bought the land I intended, I deposited the money back on the 13th of December 1974.

WITNESS: Mrs. Juana Cecilia Caceres Diaz

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