“2001. He was the first civilian foreign minister to the dictator Pinochet.”
“Have some more coffee. Or would you like tea? Or lemonade?”
“My dad was one of the organizers of the 1973 military coup in Chile. He was one of its leading conspirators. They got rid of Salvador Allende, Chile’s first democratically elected Marxist president in a Latin American country.”
“You must be very proud of your dad.”
“Wouldn’t you be?”
“Is it possible Allende committed suicide?”
“Of course not. What country are you from?”
When the son, Felipe Cubillos, died in a plane crash in September, Chile’s Housing Minister said he was an extraordinary person, the private citizen who has done the most for reconstruction after the Chilean earthquake of February 2010.
“He was a rare species in Chile,” said officials and people who worked with him: a highly successful businessman with a social conscience. He spoke in a decisive and calm way, but very soft.
Before his death, Mr.Cubillos started an organization to help Chilean reconstruction after the quake. The organization, Let’s Lift Up Chile Challenge, had about 60 people participating, with more young people joining every day.
On Sept. 14, Mr. Cubillos’ family held a memorial ceremony in Algarrobo, a bay about 70 miles east of Santiago. It was there, at a nearby yacht club, where Mr. Cubillos had learned how to sail with his father — the same club where Mr. Cubillos’ father had conspired with Navy officers against the democratically elected president, Salvador Allende.
About 40 sailboats went out to sea and formed in a circle. His family members released Mr. Cubillos’ ashes from the remains recovered in the Pacific Ocean, as friends threw flowers into the sea from the sailboats.
That same day, President Sebastián Piñera introduced a bill in Congress. The “Cubillos law,” if passed, would speed up the awarding of tax benefits for corporate donations for reconstruction efforts.