Thirty years ago, Institute for Policy Studies colleagues Ronni Karpen Moffitt and Orlando Letelier were assassinated by agents of the Chilean government. “None of us,” IPS co-founder Marc Raskin said, “could ever imagine reconciling with that government. Ever. Our imaginations proved not generous enough.”

On June 8, Michelle Bachelet, the newly elected President of Chile, placed a wreath at the Sheridan Circle memorial in Washington, DC, that marks the site of the assassination.

In her remarks at the site, President Bachelet spoke of how she could not come to Washington without paying her respects and remembering this act of horror.

Bachelet’s personal history ties her to this tragic event. (Nearly thirty years ago the President’s mother worked as a volunteer at IPS with Orlando Letelier’s widow, Isabel, and Bachelet sometimes stopped by the IPS offices to visit when she was a medical student.)

According to IPS Fellow Sarah Anderson, “Being with President Bachelet at the site of the assassination gave us all a feeling of coming full circle. She is the same age that Ronni Moffitt would have been if she had not been murdered at that spot. And as she stood for a moment in silence gazing at the monument, there was no doubt that she is fully aware of the responsibility she bears as a symbol of justice for victims of dictators everywhere.”

For full coverage of the event and more on Bachelet’s history read the IPS press release and