Sunday, August 27, 2006

Photos from Chile (VII)

As of two days ago, I'm back in the United States and can be reached through all the usual channels.

I have a few more things to post about Chile, so here they are. I walked by this building, and for the first few moments, wasn't sure what to make of it. The left half looks completely intact, and it occurred to me that this might be some extraordinary architectural make a building that appears to be partially destroyed. I'm convinced that, once architects have run out of other ideas, this will happen.

Of course, that's not what happened to this building, which turns out to be a convention center named for the national hero Diego Portales. It partially burned down, and it turns out that the plans to rebuild it are quite complicated. According to what people told me, it was constructed during the Allende years with practically free labor donated by socialist and communist metalworkers, etc. However, after the military coup in 1973, the military government made it an important center of operations. No one's quite sure, therefore, what the building represents and how it should be reconstructed. When I first walked by, there was a hard-hatted construction worker standing among the ruins of the destroyed half and looking out what would have been a window, staring without moving. The paralysis of a difficult history.

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