SANTIAGO – Former Chilean deputy Andrés Aylwin Azócar died this Monday. At the age of 93, Aylwin died due to a heart failure, accompanied by his family at his department in Santiago de Chile. He was a Chilean lawyer and a prominent member of the opposition against Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship.
The death of former deputy and lawyer Andrés Aylwin was confirmed this Monday morning. As a lawyer in human rights, Aylwin dedicated a great part of his career against Augusto Pinochet’s crimes against humanity. Aylwin died at the age of 93, as a result of a heart failure that had worsened during the last days.
The politician died in company of his family at his apartment in Santiago. Andrés Aylwin Azócar was also member of the political party Democracia Cristiana, and brother of the former president Patricio Aylwin.
During Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship (1973-1990), Aylwin passionately defended workers, peasants, students and also leaders who were persecuted by the government. Aylwin was one of the first ones who declared himself against the dictatorship, signing a public statement known as “Declaración de los 13” (Declaration of the thirteen).
Declaración de los 13
The declaration was signed by thirteen members of the party Democracia Cristiana, on 13 September 1973 and was created with the aim of expressing opposition to the military coup that put Salvador Allende out of power, and brought Pinochet’s dictatorship. The document was signed two days after the coup, and can be found in the Museum of Memory. In addition, Aylwin served two terms as a deputy of Chile. His first term was between 1965 and 1973, and the second one was years after Pinochet’s office, between 1990 and 1998.
During the dictatorship, Aylwin stayed away from the political landscape, as the declaration against the dictatorship represented a big danger for him. In 1978, Aylwin was elected the president of the Human Rights Defenders Group, and director of the Commission Against Torture, having an important role in the defense of human rights violation victims. In addition, he worked for the Solidarity Vicarage, and was member of the Commission for Peace.
Reactions to his death
From the Chilean political landscape, people have presented their respect and offered their condolences to the family. In addition, they have said goodbye to the politician through social media.
President Sebastián Piñera described the late politician as a brave fighter for democracy, justice, and human rights. Besides, Piñera remarked that Chile has lost one of its best men.
Esta mañana ha muerto Andres Aylwin,un luchador consecuente y valiente por la Democracia,Justicia y DDHH. Murió como vivió: en Paz junto a su familia, a la cual expresó mis más sentidas condolencias. Tuve el privilegio de trabajar con el. Chile pierde a uno de sus mejores hombres
— Sebastian Piñera (@sebastianpinera) August 20, 2018
Former president Michelle Bachelet also reacted to Aylwin’s death. Throughout her twitter account, Bachelet described him as a democrat in Chile’s darkest moment. Bachelet also highlighted his humility and greatness as an inspiration and proud for the country.
Triste partida la de don Andrés Aylwin. Demócrata que en las horas más oscuras se dedicó a defender a quienes estaban siendo silenciados, perseguidos y desaparecidos por la dictadura. Su consecuencia y humildad en su grandeza son una inspiración y un orgullo para nuestra Patria.
— Michelle Bachelet (@mbachelet) August 20, 2018
From the party Democracia Cristiana, its members said that they will always remember him as a living testimony of the defense of human rights. They also said that Aylwin’s legacy is more alive today than ever.
Junto con enviar nuestras condolencias a la familia de don #AndrésAylwin (QEPD) abrazos fraternos a todos nuestros camaradas y amigos que por siempre recordarán el testimonio y la historia de vida de un gran hombre, en defensa de los DDHH. Tu legado, más vivo que nunca!🙏 pic.twitter.com/SRCDBb8J7V
— Bancada DC (@DiputadosDC) August 20, 2018
The Chilean Commission for Human Rights released a public statement, in which they expressed their condolences for Aylwin’s death. “With his death, Aylwin is now a part of the Chile’s memory. The memory that some people are attempting to deny,” the statement said.
In the release, the commission also remarked that Aylwin himself suffered the repression of the dictatorship, as he was relegated and then exiled, but he never lost his conviction and ideals.