ident Eduardo Frei for having pardonedrnthe drug smuggler involved in the largestrndrug seizure in Chilean history (a halfrnton of cocaine from Bolivia, on its way tornthe United States). The smuggler’s familyrnis active in the party of the president,rnthe Christian Democrats. The pardonrnwas especially emharrassing since it occurredrnjust as the government was kickingrnoff its drug abuse campaign. Thernpresident was attacked not only by therntwo conservative parties. National Renovationrnand the hidependcnt DemocraticrnUnion, but even by some elements of thernConcertacion.rn”Concertacion” designates the coalitionrnmade up of Christian Democratsrnand everyone else on the left, the SocialistrnParty (PS), the Party for Democracy,rnand the Radical Social Democratic Party.rnOne Chilean described the Concertacionrnas a sack of cats, outwardly “inrnconcert,” but snarling and clawing inside.rnDuring one week in February, SocialistrnParty President Camilo Escalona andrnParty for Democracy President JorgernSchaulsohn (perhaps the most importantrnpolitician of the left) met with FidelrnCastro in Cuba. Castro is an addictionrnfor the left, and this visit was a way forrnBOOKS FOR THErnCULTURE WARSrnWRS Publishing, arncommercial publisher,rnseeks books onrncharacter-building,rneducation, childrearing,rnand culturalrncriticism.rnFor information onrnsubmitting a proposal,rncall or write to:rnWRS PUBLISHINGrnDept. 3rnP.O. Box 21207rnWaco, TX 76702-1207rn800-299-3366rnthe leftists to thumb their noses at everyonernelse. This was the first official visit ofrna Chilean delegation since consular relationsrnwere restored during the Aylwin administration,rnthe one preceding Frei’s.rnAll this occurred near the time when ourrnloyal French “comrades,” who inventedrnnose-thumbing of anyone who might everrnhave pulled their huevos out of thernfire, wined and dined the “great liberator”rnin Paris.rnAnother big domestic story was thatrnof retired Ceneral Manuel Contrcras,rnformerly head of the Chilean intelligencernpolice (DINA). He was convictedrnby a lower court for his role in the 1976rnassassination in Washington, D.C., of Allende’srnForeign and Defense MinisterrnOdando Letclicr, and the case is now beforernthe Chilean Supreme Court. Afterrnbeing exiled by the Pinochet government,rnLetelier ended up in Washington,rnworking as a fellow for the histitute forrnPolicy Studies, one of our own centers ofrnradical thought. At the same time, Letclicrrnwas given the task of coordinating exilesrnin the United States and was paid arnthousand dollars a month by Beatrizrn”Tati” Allende, treasurer of the SocialistrnParty, who was living in Cuba. She wasrnmarried to Luis Fernandez de Oiia, a seniorrnmember of the Cuban Embassy.rnPreviously, Fernandez de Ofia had beenrnthe desk officer in Havana coordinatingrnChe Guevara’s Bolivian activities. DuringrnAllende’s government, she, alongrnwith Allende’s mistress, generally decidedrnwho would see Allende and whornwouldn’t. Sometimes her husbandrnwould sit in for her in her absence. Arnyear after the Letelier assassination, thernCuban press agency announced she hadrncommitted suicide.rnLike anywhere else in the world, butrnespecially in tightly knit Santiago, therngood citizens gossip and guess what actuallyrntook place, hi the opinion of some Irntalked to, Letelier was not only activelyrnattempting to overthrow the Pinochetrngovernment, which he certainly wouldrnhave confirmed, but he was in the pay ofrnthe Soviet-directed Cubans. During therntrial in the United States of Townley (thernAmerican who had been involved in thernassassination), a fellow prisoner of one ofrnthe other conspirators said he was toldrnthat Letelier was killed because he was arn”double agent who had been educatedrnat the Espionage College . . . by thernCIA.” Some Chileans also believe thatrnfor some reason Tati Allende was eliminated.rnHer husband had abandoned herrnby then. Those on the left would hotlyrndeny this, of course.rnA mysterious woman indirectly involvedrnin the assassination effort was atrnfirst only known to be blond, and very attractive.rnTo aid my effort to meet artistsrnin Chile, I was put in touch with NenarnOssa, former director of the NationalrnMuseum of Fine Arts for 12 years. Sherngraciously took me to meet Benjamin Lira,rnone of Chile’s outstanding contemporaryrnpainters. In the course of our triprnto his studio, she told me that a magazinerneditor had erroneously speculatedrnthat she was the mysterious woman involvedrnin the Letelier affair, and this errorrnhad cost her several friends. At therntime, even the alias of the actual woman,rnLiliana Walker, was not known. By therntime her name was known, two of NenarnOssa’s former friends had died withoutrnever learning the truth. As she reminiscedrnabout the Allende years, she remarkedrnthat she had been in Londonrnwhen an old school friend worked in thernAllende government’s press agency. Herrnfriend permitted her to read all the incomingrnand outgoing cable traffic betweenrnSantiago and London. Ms. Ossarnsaid she in turn passed on any interestingrninformation to William Buckley and NationalrnReview, for which she sometimesrnwrote. So only the tiniest bit of espionage.rnWith these fragments of Chile’s timernof troubles as prologue, I stood before Lira’srnsolitary, meditative nudes. The effectrnof these single figures is quietly to arrestrnthe viewer’s attention, whereuponrnhe is led to meditate himself. Because ofrnthe texture of the surfaces, portions ofrnwhich may have been removed to revealrnan earlier surface in the way of old frescoes,rnone feels as if he has accidentallyrnentered a room of a newly discoveredrnPompeii. And as our habit is to try to illuminaternour present by looking at ourrnpast, the viewer is driven to scrutinizerneach of these human figures for somernhuman essence, or if one will have norntalk of essences, for some new perspectivernon this curious caravan through timernwe call man. Sniffing some narrativernspore, I comment on some subject possibilitiesrnwhile tracking, but Lira gentlyrndismisses any such intent. How unsettlingrnto have the artist at hand with mernchamping to veer off on my own painting.rnYet I confront human faces oftenrnwith no mouths, faces locked in with helmet-rnlike visors of medieval armor. Thenrnthe more recent work where the facesrn40/CHRONICLESrnrnrn