-33.438801461267, -70.65179299818

          The Tribunal and Congressional buildings are located opposite each other, within walking distance from the original Vicariate of Solidarity location. Both of these buildings are significant in the context of Pinochet’s military junta, but for different reasons.

          As seats of two governmental branches, they were important places of protest, where people demanded justice and a return to a society where basic human rights were upheld. At the Tribunal, individuals could place missing person claims for their loved ones. At the Congress building, families of the detained-disappeared would physically demonstrate for their loved ones.[1]

          The Congressional building is noteworthy because Pinochet shut down Congress and “scrapped the constitution” shortly after his coup succeeded. After the regime’s 1980 constitution went into effect, a Congress with limited legitimacy passed various laws that perpetuated the lack of democracy permitted by the constructs of Pinochet’s dictatorship[2]. The building, which had housed Chile’s Congress since 1876 until the year of the coup, was recognized as a national monument in its centenary by the Pinochet regime. It then housed the Ministry of Justice, and after 1990, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Since 2006, it houses the Santiago offices of Congress and the Senate, and “holds part of the library and is used for some ceremonies and activities,”[3] which, after decentralization, officially gather in Valparaíso.[4]

          The Palacio de los Tribunales de Justicia de Santiago de Chile still houses the Supreme Court, the Santiago Court of Appeals, and the Military Court. It was also declared a National Monument in 1976.

          The history and political significance of the institutions housed in these buildings during Pinochet’s dictatorship makes them important memory sites.



[1] Correspondence with Valeria Navarro-Rosenblatt. December 18, 2018.

[2] Jonathan Kandell, “Augusto Pinochet, Dictator Who Ruled by Terror in Chile, Dies at 91”. The New York Times, December 11, 2006 [see online at: americas/11pinochet.html [accessed February 14th, 2019].

[3] Correspondence with Valeria Navarro-Rosenblatt. December 18, 2018.

[4] Wikipedia contributors, “Former National Congress Building,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed February 14, 2019).