Pedro Pascal caught my eye for the first time when I devoured the entire second season of Narcos via Netflix on a gloomy, typically rainy British Saturday. What delighted me most was discovering that he, like I, was the son of Chilean exiles who’d fled Chile during the seventies.
I pictured his parents passage out of Chile. Blood pounding in his mother ears while she filled out the forms at the US embassy, a dangerous hotbed of coup sympathisers. And thus Balamaceda-Pascal went from Hollywood man to ‘fellow nomad’. I imagined him having lived through similar trials and tribulations and identity crises, as I and a whole generation of exile offspring that grew up away from Chile.
One night as I scrolled through Pedro Pascal’s Facebook posts, one caught my eye. It was a video in which he pledges his support for his cousin’s election in the wealthy Santiago suburb, Lo Barnechea.
Pascal was plugging far right party, Evopoli, whose founder is Felipe Kast, key member of one of Chile’s infamous Nazi descended Kast Clan who were implicated in the murderous crimes of the dictatorship.
Felipe Kast is the grandson of escapee ‘Nazi war criminal’ Michael Kast who faked his identity to avoid prosecution for war crimes in Europe, and as a result, granted safe passage to South America like his other Nazi cronies including Paul Schaffer, cult leader of Colonia Dignidad and Walter Rauff, inventor of the mobile gas chamber who enjoyed a full Nazi funeral upon his death, in Santiago 1984.
According to Kast’s Grandmother Olga in her book ‘Mission of Love / Misión de Amor’, Michael disguised his Nazi identity when captured by US troops by destroying his official Third Reich army papers and instead used forged Red Cross papers to evade justice. After emigrating to Chile, the Kasts thrived during the military dictatorship. They amassed great fortunes and cemented their political positions in Chile.
Allegations about the Kast family include collusion with police and soldiers in the murder of dozens of unarmed farmworkers around the region of Linderos and allowing local military and carabineros (police) to use the Kast’s home and farm as a site for the interrogation and torture of peasants sympathetic to Allende.
The full extent of Kast involvement in human rights abuses are widely documented in the courts of justice and shocking book by journalists Nancy Guzmán & Javier Rebolledo ‘The Dance of the Crows’.
Discovering Pascal’s link to the far-right party Evopoli more than shook me. Here was a man whose family managed to rip themselves free from the talons of the Condor massacre, seemingly oblivious to the plight of his own family and that of thousands of Chileans who had no choice but to flee Chile or face death in concentration camps. And yet here he was plugging Evopoli.
So why does Pascal’s misguided act of apathy matter so much 43 years after the coup and 17 years after the commence of a pitifully flimsy democracy in Chile? Well maybe Pascal’s acute display of Stockholm Syndrome hurts because he is a child of exile and what he did reflects a lack of awareness about what happened to his family. My family. Chile.