A Manual for Manuel by Julio Cortazar

By Julio Cortazar

His first political novel.

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The total number presented by the Committee was to reach 2342, although with only three successes. The legal argument of the Committee remained that the President's invocation of a State of Siege was insufficient grounds for the civil courts to refuse to assume jurisdiction over those arrested, and, moreover, that no constitutional norm authorised any political power to keep those detained without the right of receiving visits even from lawyers, or in secret places. Thus there remained the possibility that at least some arrests would be recognised, thereby giving a much greater margin of physical safety to the people in question.

Going yet another, and important, step further was DL 5 which added that the country was in a 'State or Time of War', which was used to hold military War Tribunals (Consejos de Guerra) to convict and sentence the vanquished. The existence or otherwise of a state of war in Chile at this time has been, and remains, the subject of considerable dispute, since it is a matter of great importance to the condemnation - both political and juridical - or justification of the regime's actions. The National Commission of 1991, with the responsibility for giving an official verdict on the matter, made the following nuanced statement: Ex post facto it is clear that [the Popular Unity groups] lacked the capacity for warfare then proclaimed, but this, naturally, could not have been taken for granted before 11 September 1973.

By the end of 1975 offices had been set up in 24 provincial centres. The way in which these offices came into existence depended less upon the gravity of the local situation than the willingness and ability of the ecclesiastical authorities to collaborate and also that of local lay professionals. For example, in both Valparaiso and Valdivia, where the initial waves of repression were particularly harsh, there were the dual problems of the unwillingness of the respective bishop to cooperate in aiding 'Marxists' and similar sentiments among local lawyers.

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