Translation by Élise Hendrick

 

Confession

To: Magistrate of the Seventh Pre-Trial Division of Santiago

I, Francisco Tapia Salinas, alias Francisco Papas Fritas, Chilean, unmarried, graphic artist, domiciled in [REDACTED] Santiago, respectfully submit as follows:

That, pursuant to applicable law, I hereby exercise my right to a legal defence, by informing the public prosecutor that I have carried out a series of acts that doubtlessly will meet with the disapproval of some citizens of this republic.

The acts that I have committed are as follows:

Last year (2013), I became aware in detail of what was occurring at Universidad del Mar, of its closure, and of the flagrant violation of the rights of the students of that institution. I became aware that the young people who studied there were required to continue paying their fees because the University was in possession of commercial papers, and that it was not willing to cease collections despite failing to perform its own obligations, and that it had additionally been operating as an illegal financial scheme for years, requiring its students to sign letters of credit and promissory notes to refinance their debts, binding them (in some cases) until the year two thousand thirty (2030)! All of this occurred in the view and with the tolerance of the country as a whole.

I understood that, as a human being, my role was to seek to remedy this situation.

Accordingly, in my home, I methodically planned the artistic action that is now being inaugurated in the pretentious GAM centre, which for many will always be the UNCTAD building of Allende or the infamous Diego Portales building of Pinochet [headquarters of the dictatorship until the presidential palace, La Moneda, was rebuilt].

This artistic action consisted of travelling from Santiago to the Reñaca headquarters of Universidad del Mar, with the clear, unequivocal purpose of destroying the bills of exchange and promissory notes in the headquarters of the university that required tens of thousands of students and former students from all branches throughout the country to pay their debts.

I obtained a vehicle, which is the one I now exhibit, to travel and transport the documents.

I arrived in Reñaca during Holy Week last year, and spent more than two months finding ways to enter the vaults, find the documents, and remove them.

I did it little by little, so that the students would not suspect me; I explained my actions with the excuse that I was preparing an exhibition about the bankruptcy of the Universidad del Mar (which was completely true).

Once I had all of the documents in the room where I was staying in Reñaca, which was a study room that I could lock, I asked the students occupying the university to help load the vehicle with the ‘souvenirs’ I had collected, which were many, and sufficed to hide the fact that what we were carrying was approximately five hundred million dollars in ill-gotten debt, supposedly illegal profits.

Upon my return to my flat in Santiago, I began investigating the lives of each of these students who were bound by debt for periods as long as their short lives. And every night, almost as a ritual, I burned the documents that evidenced the debt of the kid I had been investigating during the day, to know of their broken dreams and the miserable life they were forced to live. Every night a handful of debts of one student.

Thus, after ten months, I finally was able to complete the incineration of all of the bills of exchange, promissory notes, and signed contracts that I had removed from Universidad del Mar.

The only thing remaining of those documents are the ashes I am exhibiting today at the Gabriela Mistral cultural centre, together with the souvenirs I took to conceal my actions from the students who were occupying the university.

Wherefore,

I respectfully request this Court:

To acknowledge the submission of this confession and forward it to the department of public prosecutions so that they may apply the full weight of the law to me, which I will accept with my head held high, proud of having done something that those authorities should have done long ago.