“In Search of Spring” is a poignant account of a sister’s determined search for truth and justice in the brutal murder of her brother. A true story so horrific that it reads like the pages of a spellbinding novel, Zita’s brother Wito slaughtered at the hand of Armando Fernandez Larios as part of the Pinochet regime’s Caravan of Death, after being detained without cause shortly after the 1973 coup. Zita ultimately leads her legal team in a quest to preserve the moral strength and integrity with which her brother led his life, and ultimately his death. The story proves that human rights violators should and can be held responsible for crimes against humanity.
In particular, I was deeply moved by Zita’s perseverance and unwillingness to give up until she finds truth, and ultimately justice in the death of her brother. It is truly the story of how one person moves mountains to lead a legal team in the search for witnesses willing to testify in the trial against Armando Fernandez. Along the way, she gains trust of Chilean witnesses who help her piece together the story of what really happened surrounding her brother’s death.
This is a true story of one women’s journey for truth and justice, it is far more compelling than the best novel could ever be. I would recommend this to anyone interested in learning about the brutality of dictatorship regimes, and the quest to hold human rights violators responsible for crimes against humanity. I also think that anyone who loves a great courtroom drama would really enjoy reading the book.
In Search of Spring is an amazing tale of the struggle to find truth and justice, for Zita and her family, to honor their brother’s memory. What happened under the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile will forever be a scar on the Chilean people, but also on people around the world. Having lived in Chile this year, I completely understand how Chilean have chosen to ignore their past and they, in general, will not discuss life under the dictatorship. The problem with silencing history is that it allows the guilty to walk free and it allows history to continuously repeat itself. Dehumanizing people for their political beliefs, occupations, ideology, religion, race, sexuality, etcetera is never acceptable behavior. Pinochet chose to torture and disappear Chilean citizens who he viewed as a “threat” when, in reality, they were not threatening. The United States backed this dictatorship just as they back and watched as this happened. We, as humanity, must place more value on the sanctity of a human life and we must stand up when lives are threatened. Yes, international law and nations’ sovereignty is a commonly debated theme among world leaders today with the focus centered around when it is okay or not okay to intervene if human rights are being violated, but this should change. For the world to change, we can no longer sit by while governments abuse their power. On page 25, there is a quote from Albert Einstein that perfectly depicts the problem in Chile and around the world: “The world is too dangerous to live in, not because of the people who do evil, but because of the people who sit and let it happen.”
For me, the overall message of this book was that it is always the truth that matters; not necessarily true justice (Fernandez-Larios should be in jail), but always truth. I found the author’s perseverance to be inspiring; even when almost everyone around her was telling her it was not worth it she continued the fight to hear the truth and allow the world to hear the truth. If more people worked as she did to reveal the truth and seek justice, it is possible that less crimes and inhuman actions would occur in the world. I would like to think that if I were in the same situation, I would done the same thing, but I do not know (I hope so) – I just wish there were more people in the world who would pursue the truth and stand up for what they believe in.
This book does a great job explaining the trial and the internal struggle the author faces in pursuing the truth. I also really enjoyed that the book is primarily a-political because the issues here are not really political at all, but could have easily taken a political route. I would definitely recommend this book to friends interested in history, politics, human rights abuses, etc.
Kortnee N. Byrd
In Search of Spring is an amalgam of sadness, courage, fearlessness, continuous fight, and the strength to never give up even when all the circumstances and evidence seemed to be against you.
This is a book about hope, about appreciating (while we still have them) the things and the people we love that we often take for granted. I adored the fact that the author didn’t make this a book about torture or massacre but a book that brought light for the people stuck in the past and who are still wondering and will wonder until the day they die. It’s a book about someone that has contributed enough to never say: “Never Again!” It’s an account of a person’s transformation and its journey sprinkled with love, hate, and frustration, inability to change things, turns of destiny, happiness and sadness.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for a life lesson of courage and non-abandonment. Nothing is more pleasant that to raise yourself to the height of the truth.
Julia Badea Caramello
In the book In Search of Spring, Professor Zita Cabello-Barrueto writes about one family’s search for truth regarding the murder of her brother by Chilean military authorities in the wake of that country’s1973 coup. The overarching message of this book is the importance of truth. No matter how painful the truth may be, and no matter how difficult it may be to find it, it is very difficult if not impossible to understand an even and/or move forward without it.
What interested me the most was the reaction of different individual in Chile to Professor Cabello-Barrueto’s inquiries. Why were so many people forthcoming while others were not? Why did some perpetrators express remorse while others remained unwilling to admit blame or to accept responsibility? Just as Professor Cabello-Barrueto and her family felt strongly about finding out what happened to her brother Winston to allow a form of healing to take place, many Chileans involved in the case felt strongly about not becoming involved and /or seeking the truth. How can these individuals be at peace with what happened in their country if they are not willing to speak truth? This was the message that I felt came across loud and clear in this book: the paramount importance of truth in the process of healing.
In Search of Spring is a just and virtuous retrospective into the lives of everyday citizens caught tragically in the grip of a military dictatorship.
A passionate journey of how one man’s death lost in the Chilean coup and one women’s persistence made a stand against international injustice
In Search of Spring tells a real story. The reader cannot help but be emotionally drawn into the narrative. The author (who is also the main character) demonstrates through her determination and actions that justice can be found and that crimes against humanity should not go unacknowledged and unpunished.
In Search of Spring is a truly inspirational and motivational story. It was definitely a real page-turner! Reading the hardships and obstacles the author faced in gathering the information, finding witnesses, and good lawyers not to mention all the personal hardships she had to face while uncovering the information on Winston’s death is unbelievable. However, she never gave up and her determination to bring justice to Winston’s death along with her quest for the truth will always be a real source of inspiration for me!
I must admit I feel sometimes a bit depressed and overwhelmed by the inhumanity, the injustice, the overwhelming amount of tragedy and violence historically and presently in our world. In Search of Spring truly spoke to me. It gave me that inspiration that each one of us can do something. It allowed me to reevaluate my thoughts. Zita’s story helped me to find clarity and see that there is still hope and “the ray of hope that some measure of justice and truth was (is) still available” (p. 203). Zita’s story has helped me find that inner sense of power and has revived my choice to work and dedicate my life to helping other and try and bring about justice and make a difference in this world- no matter how small that difference may be.
In the book, In Search of Spring, the most impressive and compelling theme is the author’s persistence to the things she believes in. When the author heard the terrible news about her brother Wito, she crawled into bed and prayed never to wake up. That image is so real and easy to relate to. Although I had never experienced anything that hurtful, when I feel sad or frustrated, I always crawl into a quilt and do not want to get up again.
The lawsuit would be kind of an impossible task for most people to accomplish. To sacrifice work and personal life to collect evidences and convince witnesses to testify must have been very difficult. I admire the author’s persistence because I think few people can stand by their own ideals no matter how much was lost. Actually, I am so encouraged by this book that I hope in my future life I also stick to my ideals. No matter what other people say, and regardless of my own abilities, it is important that I should never give up on myself.
The second thing I learned form this book is that one should take responsibility for the future. I recognize that in the world we live today, there are various problems calling our attention, such as genocide, famine, dictatorship, immoral dealings and torture. We need to take responsibility toward building a better future. We need to tell future generations what happened in human history, and urge them to prevent repeating those tragic events.
Last but not least, I understand now that seeking truth is a high virtue - only the power of truth will lead us to reflect on the past and face a better future.
IN SEARCH OF SPRING