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Roberto Ampuero: “Latin America has allowed itself to be tempted by leaders, and things always end badly.”

Roberto Ampuero: “Latin America has allowed itself to be tempted by leaders, and things always end badly.”

In his latest novel, Roberto Ampuero analyzes how leaders influenced Latin America

The Chilean writer and politician says in this interview that the peoples of Latin America allowed themselves to be seduced by leaders and it ended badly. Roberto Ampuerowhose latest book deals with the life of the German strongman Eric Honecker.

I will never return to Berlin It depicts the story of the man who led communist East Germany from the beginning of the 1970s until the fall of the Berlin Wall, which he had built, and who spent his last days in exile in Chile, still without understanding how his country had been transformed, according to Ampuero. After the novel, the former Chilean foreign minister, in his youth a communist and now a liberal, talks about the powerful leaders who oppressed the people of Latin America, exploiting the weakness of democratic institutions.

– In this book, you portray Erich Honecker, but before you write about other strong men. What interests you about these characters and how have you seen their role in Latin America?

– What amazes me, especially in Latin America, is how our lives were defined and defined by strongmen, dictators or leaders, when what should have defined our lives was what we wanted, under an absolute democratic system. Domain.

And in the case of Venezuela, how many have been marked forever? by Hugo Chavez Or by Nicolas Maduro. How many are there in Cuba? They have been under dictatorship for 65 years. All their lives and circumstances were characterized by brotherhood (Fidel Castro(or another brother)Raoul).

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Our people have often allowed themselves to be seduced by leaders, and in the end they have all ended up very badly (…) And this is terrible, because it is slavery of an almost feudal type (…) It is painful.

Tyrants of all political colors populate Roberto Ampuero’s latest novel.

– What are the characteristics of Latin America that facilitate the emergence of these leaders?

– The failure of our republics, due to the weakness of our democracy and the responsibility of the political class, but also of the citizens who choose (…) and this is still the reality in Latin America, the lack of a strong political presence. Institutions.

They are strong men who seduced entire peoples and even led them, with their siren songs, to agree to constitutions that eventually became locks from which they could no longer escape.

This is why the separation of powers is so important, (…) representative democracy, individual rights, and individual freedoms. No constitution can touch any of this, because the quantitative cannot prevail over what is fundamentally human.

-how did that happen? I will not return to Berlina choral novel about the leader of the former German Democratic Republic, who died 30 years ago on Wednesday?

– I have had three non-personal meetings with Honecker As a character he interested me. First, it was very small and after the coup Augusto Pinochet -I came to live in East Germany.

The second is that I actually live in the West, in Bonn, where I was a correspondent, and the Italian news agency (…) asked me to go and cover what was happening there. I had to witness everything that happened, which ended with the fall of the wall.

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The third, when I returned to Chile, in 1993, I arrived Honecker To Chile, thrown out the window, old, sick. That’s when I say, “This guy is stalking me.” He asked me for a novel. It had been in my head for a long time, and suddenly it was out.

Erich Honecker is the hero of the Chilean writer’s latest novel

—This novel concludes the trilogy that began with Our olive green yearsabout his life in communist Cuba, and behind the wall, about his experiences in the former German Democratic Republic. What were you interested in telling him?

-There are open topics, for example when there are pending conversations between spouses or between friends (…) There are things that must be returned to, either to restore the friendship or the relationship or simply to gain peace of mind with oneself.

I lived the dictatorial experience of the communist regimes I knew, East Germany and Cuba. And so I’m very moved by this (…) I think that a lot of things have stopped being talked about and it’s interesting to revisit them.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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