As more countries in Latin America move to the Right, there has been a tendency to whitewash the rule by military dictators during much of the 20th century. The following poem by Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) should serve as a reminder of how bloody the rule of these dictators was.
An odour has remained among the sugarcane:
a mixture of blood and body, a penetrating
petal that brings nausea.
Between the coconut palms the graves are full
of ruined bones, of speechless death-rattles.
The delicate dictator is talking
with top hats, gold braids and collars.
The tiny palace gleams like a watch
and the rapid laughs with gloves on
cross the corridors at times
and join the dead voices
and the blue mouths freshly buried.
The weeping cannot be seen, like a plant
whose seeds fall endlessly on the earth,
whose large blind leaves grow even without light.
Hatred has grown scale on scale,
blow on blow, in the ghastly water of the swamp,
with a snout full of ooze and silence
*Third World Resurgence No. 337/338, January/February 2019, p 64