Navidad & Matanza - excerpt
To this day, police investigators have continued to add sightings of Bruno Vivar to the case file of the disappeared Navidad siblings. Every summer since the disappearance, a dozen witnesses from different areas of the central coast have reported seeing a young man fitting his description: striped T-shirt in various combinations of primary colors; shorts or bathing trunks; leather sandals; extremely thin, hairless legs; disheveled, raggedly-cut hair, sometimes brown, sometimes dyed red. As if the last image his parents had of him remained burned on the retinas of so many people who never knew him (the press coverage was as intense as it was brief), they always see Bruno Vivar lying on the sand, face down on his towel, staring out to sea, looking disdainfully through some photographs, or swimming in silence. Of course, other accounts add specific and equally disturbing details: drinking in hotel bars, beer from cans or double shots of whiskey which he pays for with a credit card issued in the United States, while with the other hand he caresses a die which he spins like a top on the lacquered surface of the bar; sitting on a terrace at noon, noisily eating French fries; reading, in the dining hall, a letter delivered to the hotel weeks before; rolling the die and then writing another letter never sent by local mail.
This information comes from diverse sources: guards, waiters, clerks, receptionists, and janitors, who, at the time, also hoped to put together the case’s missing pieces, but who only succeeded in helping the police declare unverifiable the possibilities of homicide or kidnapping. It has been tacitly assumed that Bruno Vivar—a legal adult—simply abandoned his family without warning, which is not a crime in Chile.
The most perplexing question is why the name of Alicia Vivar, the fourteen-year-old girl, appears only twice in the case file. Especially after reviewing in detail the reports of repeated sightings of her brother, Bruno. Because Bruno has never once reappeared alone. The accounts agree that he arrives at hotel parking lots in a variety of expensive cars always driven by a man whose smile also appears in police archives, although in another section: Boris Real.
Boris Real became known in Chile in 1984 as the young Chilean executive who, representing a group of Swiss investors wanting to buy Petrohue Bank, ended up in the Capuchinos jail as a result of an antimonopoly suit filed by the Superintendent of Banks, when it was confirmed that the Swiss were linked to an Australian investment group that had acquired the Atacama Bank and, also to a Spanish-Norwegian group that acquired De Los Lagos Bank and Antonio Varas Bank. He was tried as the representative of the inscrutable international consortium that attempted to acquire fifty-one percent of Chilean banks, a move that, it is noted, could have had consequences for our country beyond the strictly financial. The group in question immediately withdrew from the country, leaving no discernible trace. At least until the summer of 1999. Of course, Boris Real was not that man’s actual name. It was the alias of Francisco Virditti (41) who admitted to having headed a group of six shareholders motivated by “nothing more than the legitimate game of the market,” he stated in the only interview he’s ever given.
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A check of the witnesses in the Civil Register reveals that the given name of the executive who was present at the moment of death is Boris Real Yañez (48) and there is no request for a change of name associated with his identity. Perhaps it was another Boris Real; perhaps Francisco Virditti was the real pseudonym. Nevertheless, another newspaper photograph, which shows Real speaking about his dear friend, reveals the face of the same businessman who declared himself innocent in front of the Superintendent of Banks in 1984. In a press conference on the 16th of May 1995, congressman Nelson Avila denounced the possibility of a secret murder plot when the autopsy results for undersecretary Martínez Salas suggested traces of poison in his system. Public shock lasted two days. As so often happens, there was talk of political crisis, but no particular individual was implicated. Soon everything was forgotten. Boris Real was subpoenaed in his Vitacura residence before returning to anonymity. Various accounts report that he made a statement to Irma Sepulveda, the judge in charge of the trial investigating the death of Martinez Salas. Today it’s almost impossible to find Boris Real; he has no known residence and his name doesn’t appear in any public record. Approached by the press in the days following his children’s disappearance, Jose Francisco Vivar stated that he was no longer in contact with his friend.
Even more disturbing, one evening in July of 1997, with my own eyes I saw Vivar, Boris Real, and congressman Nelson Avila walking on the beach in Cachagua. They were accompanied by their respective children. Of course I urged my companion to surreptitiously eavesdrop with me. The situation only became relevant for me after I started investigating the incidents in Navidad and Matanza: Boris Real was walking hand in hand with little Alicia Vivar, then a girl of twelve. They were walking a slight distance behind the rest of the group. She asked him to go with her to the rocks to look for seashells. She didn’t address him formally or call him uncle, just Boris. Then they talked about the reddish color of the clouds at that time of day and she asked him how long it would be until the end of the world.