In Search of Spring
In Search of Spring is a poignant memoir of one woman’s thirty-year journey for truth and justice in the murder of her brother. A few weeks after General Pinochet takes over the Chilean government in September of 1973, Zita’s older brother, Winston (Wito) Dwight Cabello Bravo, is unexpectedly arrested. Days later, Pato, Zita’s husband, is also arrested. Although there is hope that the men will be released by mid-October, Wito is killed while Pato is sent into internal exile. Fortunately, Zita, Pato, and their young son escape to California a year later. But a month prior to leaving, Zita not only learns the gruesome details of Wito’s death, but also whom to blame. Nonetheless, it takes another twenty-four years before Zita files a lawsuit against Armando Fernandez Larios, a member of the Caravan of Death (a Chilean death squad), which marks “the first time in US history that in a contested jury trial someone was found responsible for crimes against humanity.”
Zita Cabello-Barrueto is one extremely brave woman! A native of Chile as well as a US citizen, Cabello-Barrueto shares a story that has been a difficult forty years in the making. It is one thing to write a research paper on the human atrocities of Pinochet’s reign. It is quite another experience to live through that era and then have the guts to write about it. Such is the case with Cabello-Barrueto, who carries with her memories of her brother’s incarceration and information on his assassination until 1998 (the twenty-fifth anniversary of Wito’s death) when she reads that Pinochet has “been arrested in London at midnight on October 16 in connection with the Caravan of Death killings.” It is the first time Cabello-Barrueto believes that she can finally share her story as she comes to terms with the realization “that if Pinochet could be held accountable…for crimes committed in Chile,” perhaps her brother’s murderer can “be brought to justice in a US court of law.”
Cabello-Barrueto’s story eloquently describes what life is like growing up in a warm, loving family during a time when Chile was a democracy—”a highly civilized country where respect for human life was sacred.” And then life severely shifts into a dystopian environment when Pinochet comes onto the scene. A balanced combination of history and dialogue, Cabello-Barrueto’s narrative not only captures her raw emotions, but also her courage to face fear against all odds. Great examples are when she insists on personally speaking with Commander Haag to request that her husband be sent into internal exile instead of Chacabuco, the notorious concentration camp, and then years later becoming the point person to go to Chile to gather witnesses to build her case against Fernandez.
From sharing her trials and tribulations to winning a landmark verdict, Cabello-Barrueto’s biggest hope for writing her story is “to awaken a sensibility in readers that will help change behavior, so that together we can prevent such dark times from recurring. After every tragedy, the world cries, ‘Never again.’ We keep saying it, but the atrocities continue. I want to stop repeating ‘Never again.'” Riveting, heart-wrenching, and deeply poignant, In Search of Spring is one story that needs to be read and never forgotten.
|Page Count||328 pages|
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|Category||Biographies & Memoirs|