The former undersecretary of the Interior declassifies the tense and surreal dialogue he had Iron Maiden Cloth Face Mask with the religious about the band and also the heavy metal conversation with President Aylwin. He says that after the episode, the cardinal sent him 10 Playboy magazines. “I’ll tell you this as it was. On the floor of honor,” says Belisario Velasco (79), Christian Democrat, Minister of the Interior of the first government of Michelle Bachelet and twice undersecretary of the Interior during the terms of Office of Patricio Aylwin and Eduardo Frei.
It refers to one of the most -in his words – “ridiculous” that he had to live as part of the first democratic government after Pinochet’s dictatorship. One of the rarest moments in the history of heavy metal, or rock, which then made Bruce Dickinson call Chile “a medieval country” and which almost triggers a diplomatic conflict. This is because after a strange controversy fuelled by the cry in the sky put by some members of the Catholic Church, Maiden’s recital was canceled, the producer in charge lost $100,000 and his only explanation was that there were “complex situations.” The group, which tried to come the same way only to greet its fans, eventually did not do so at the suggestion of England’s prime minister, John Major.
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Exclusively, Velasco will tell the country through El Dynamo the unlikely dialogue that he held in 1992 with the only cardinal in the world- and candidate for Pope- with the extraordinary talent to imitate the bark of a dog, Jorge Medina Estévez. Perhaps the only one who also seems to know by heart lyrics of Iron Maiden songs.
The context in which this peculiar conversation about heavy metal occurs between a senior person of government and an important member of the Catholic Church is as follows: Medina asked/demanded the government, through the ministry of the Interior, to ban chile from joining the group. Iron Maiden had a concert scheduled at Mapocho Station. It was supposed to be the first heavy rock show in the history of post-dictatorship Chile, but it never came true. Belisario Velasco, then undersecretary of the interior of Aylwin’s government, syndicated by popular mythology as one of the culprits of the shameful episode of censorship, 23 years later, is ready to do his exculpatory.
-The first part, I met it by ear through the Governorate and the Intendencia of Valparaiso, but it was not given greater importance than the stripes that appear every day in all regions. What was given importance was that I received a communication from the priest Jorge Medina Estévez (Note of the writing: at that time Medina was professor of philosophy and theology at the PUC. In 1993 he was appointed bishop of Valparaiso) telling me that the heavy metal group Iron Maiden came to Chile and that it was a group that attacked Christianity and the values of the people of Chile, Catholic, Christian. He asked us not to let them into Chile. He sent me a communication and called me on the phone later.
“I told him that the Government of Chile was not confessional, that we could not distinguish the groups that came, whether they were Catholic, Protestant or otherwise, that music and culture had no religious confession for the government, which belonged to all Chileans.
-He insisted, of course. He told me that the lyrics of the songs spoke against Christian values, of Our Lady, of Jesus, that this was unacceptable. They shouldn’t be exhibited in Chile. Then he asked me if I wasn’t a Christian.
“Well, then he started reciting the letters in English and then he translated them to me. A very strange thing. He asked me if I didn’t know Iron Maiden. I told him that I didn’t know the lyrics of the songs, that if I ever listened to them on the radio I couldn’t translate what they were saying, because they sang very sharp and fast. That’s where I told Medina we didn’t have much more to talk about, because I wasn’t as heavy metal adept as he was. I explained that I had stayed in The Beatles, that I even went to see them once in the ’60s to London.
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Of course. He insisted that the ministry of the Interior should prohibit him from entering the whole. Then I had to explain to him that the ministry could not ban anyone’s entry into the country for religious reasons. That’s how far the first conversation came.
Velasco says that after cutting the phone he stopped and went to talk with President Patricio Aylwin, with whom he held another unlikely conversation for an interior minister with a representative. The theme: Iron Maiden. “These were times of a difficult political context. We had problems with the Patriotic Front, with the off-hook mir, the off-hook of the Dina. It was a difficult political context and this issue was rather anecdotal,” he says.
No, but of course we got a record, not because it was going to influence our opinion. The President knew them, but the letters were not known either. In short, the President told me that I was right and that he supported me. I thought it was up there.
The next day, Belisario Velasco’s phone rang again. It was Jorge Medina again. “As soon as I answer, he tells me he’s calling to officially ask me to suspend the concert. Or that I didn’t give my go-ahead to people’s income. I told him that the go-ahead had already been given- I had worried about finding out with aliens that the visas were ok – but that it was not something that depended on me, but on aliens. I explained that the undersecretary doesn’t care about every person who enters the country,” he says.
-There he began to recite the lyrics of the songs in English, again. I said again ‘I can’t argue with you that you’re a heavy metal expert, Mr Medina’. Angry, he asks me if the permit was already signed. I told him I didn’t sign the permits, because the ministry can’t ban or allow income. There he says, ‘Well, I don’t accept this.’ He told me they were malevolent, wicked, that they were going to destroy The Chilean youth. And that he felt that the government could not lend itself to this…
“Yes then, and he was very powerful. He had been bishop of Rancagua and was the number one pinochetista of the Church. He was a pinochetista to rage. He was even one of those who claimed that God nowhere said that democracy should come immediately, so those who rebelled Iron Maiden Cloth Face Mask against military rule were against God’s designs.