Chilean politicians and leaders of the Jewish community have expressed outrage and called for an investigation into an art school that promotes Nazi ideology scheduled to open on Friday in the southern island of Chiloé.
“The resources and infrastructure make us believe that this isn’t simply a case of one man talking to the media, but instead there may be greater coordination at work here and therefore we call for a thorough investigation,” Deputy Gabriel Silber of the Christian Democrat party said in a press release, the Chilean Santiago Times reported.
The “Art school, President General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte,” is named after a former far-right Chilean dictator, and its founder, Godofredo Rodríguez Pacheco, who has described himself in the past as a purveyor of Hitler’s ideology, has been promoting the opening in the town of Ancúd with swastika posters and said that he doesn’t mind being associated with the Nazis.
“My ultimate goal is to form a political party, a nationalist proposal designed from Chiloé, and I don’t mind if people tell me I’m a Nazi,” Pacheco told local press, according to the Latin American Democracy Defense Organization.
Pacheco also said that the posters reflect the school’s goal of “strengthening the political right in the Chiloé Region.”
However, Chiloé deputy for center-right National Renewal party Alejandro Santana disavowed his party of any affiliation with the controversial school, its founder or extremists.
“We don’t have any idea of who they are, or who is behind this so-called link with a Nazi school,” he told press.
Pacheco said that he decided to open the school because of the deficiencies he perceives in the Chilean education system.
“The Masons manipulate education,” he said. “They don’t teach according to the Third Reich. I don’t defend them but history has to be told in another way, because there’s a lot of manipulation. If I talk about this in Europe they’ll put me in jail, but I’m not afraid.”
Marcelo Isaacson, executive director of the Jewish Community of Chile, countered that the South American country needed to adopt more stringent laws against the promotion of Nazi values to prevent institutions similar to Pacheco’s art school.
“The difference with Europe is that Chile lags behind on its regulation condemning these kind of activities. These Nazis hide themselves behind the right of freedom of expression,” he said.