Paloma Diaz

As Interviewed by Bela Madrid, March 16, 2013
"You donít know what democracy is until you lose it. We lost it, we know why itís important. We want people to not be afraid to talk about politics. We want people to be interested in the destiny of their country."
Paloma Diaz

Introductory Profile: About Paloma Diaz

Paloma Diaz grew up in Chile during the dictatorship of Pinochet. She felt that Pinochet was a merciless leader who had deep disregard for the lives of Chilean citizens and had no sense of humanity. During most of Palomaís childhood, she, like most Chileans, lived in fear and oppression. When she got through her teen years, she started realizing the need for a change in her country, so she and other young adults began protesting the dictatorship. At that moment in her life the consequences of protesting didn't matter to her. The importance of a democracy in Chile, was enough motivation to continue fighting.

Paloma Diaz is a Latina woman in her mid-forties with dark skin. Paloma was born and raised in Valparaiso, Chile, with two younger brothers. She attended college in Valparaiso and obtained a BA degree in Social Work. After the end of the dictatorship, she worked in the new democratic government that followed Pinochet regime. Shortly after, she married an American and moved to the United States where she attended Stanford University. Today she has two children and works at the University of Texas as the Director of Scholarly Programs at the Institute of Latin American Studies.

Throughout the interview, Paloma talked very fast and became passionate about her memories. Her opinion on Pinochet and what he did was very evident during the entire interview. At times, she laughed, and at other times, she became melancholy as she shared the experiences she went through. At points she became pensive, thinking deeply about the question. Paloma never said yes or no to a question Ė she always went into extensive detail about what happened and how she felt.

After hearing everything Paloma went through, I was very impressed with how her entire life she was able to tolerate a dictator like Pinochet. It was very interesting being able to interview her because I was able to see her perspective growing up during a dictatorship, something I could never imagine. It showed me how lucky I was to live in a country under a democracy, where we have this kind of freedom.