Source: (2003) In Nigel Biggar, ed., Burying the Past: Making Peace and Doing Justice after Civil Conflict. Expanded and updated. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press. Pp. 177-208.

Alexandra Barahona de Brito characterizes the Chilean response to past human rights violations under the regime of Augusto Pinochet Ugarte in terms of four qualities or aspects: passion; constraint; law; and fortuna. There has been a passion to uncover and confront the past, but this passion has been constrained by the political and constitutional setting and by caution about the balance of power in Chile. To some extent, approaches to reconciliation and democratization have obstructed, rather than reinforced, each other. At the same time, law (a rigid and codified factor) and fortuna (an unpredictable and uncontrollable phenomenon) have challenged the approach toward reconciliation and the forces of constraint. Law and fortuna have in turn led to a wider sense of truth and justice as well as a new impetus toward democratization. Barahona de Briton chronicles the back and forth dynamics of these characteristics over two phases – first, under the Aylwin government from 1990 to 1994; second, under the Frei government from 1994 to 2000 – as Chileans sought to confront and deal with human rights violations under the Pinochet regime. Along with this, she also looks at reconciliation versus democratization through the lens of the Pinochet arrest and consequent legal and political maneuverings in the late 1990s.