The Miami Herald
Mon, Mar. 07, 2005

Symbol of anti-Pinochet resistance dies

SANTIAGO, Chile - (AP) -- Gladys Marin, the combative leader of the Chilean Communist Party who became a symbol of resistance against the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, died Sunday. She was 63.

Marin, who went into hiding to escape Pinochet's repressive regime, died at home outside Santiago after suffering from brain cancer for more than a year, said Guillermo Tellier, the Communist Party's secretary general.

After she went into hiding, the party ordered her to seek asylum at the Dutch Embassy.

While there, she saw her husband, Jorge Munoz, for the last time, as he walked slowly in front of the embassy.

Months later, Munoz was arrested by Pinochet's security service and was never seen again. The couple had two children.

An implacable foe of Pinochet's 1973-90 dictatorship, Marin was one of the leaders of the first large protests against Pinochet in the 1980s, often facing police tear gas and water cannons in the streets.

In 1998, she filed the first lawsuit against Pinochet for human rights violations during his regime, starting the former dictator's legal troubles, which include two indictments and house arrest.

The daughter of a peasant, Marin joined the Communist Party at 16 -- combining her political activity with her work in Catholic groups in Talagante, a town just southwest of Santiago.

She was elected to congress for three consecutive terms before the 1973 coup in which Pinochet toppled Marxist President Salvador Allende.

Marin remained a dedicated communist and refused to support the center-left civilian governments that succeeded Pinochet in 1990.

''I can't support these governments while there are still hungry children in the streets of my country,'' she said once, urging ``an end of the neoliberal system inherited from the dictatorship.''