Víctor Pey Casado, a notable Spanish engineer, journalist and teacher, friend of Salvador Allende and Pablo Neruda, who arrived in Chile as a refugee in 1939, died today in Santiago at the age of 103, without having managed to recover his Clarín newspaper, which was expropriated in 1973 by Augusto Pinochet.
Since losing the newspaper, the largest newspaper in Chile until that year, Pey waged a long legal struggle in local and international courts to recover it, even against the democratic governments that followed the Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990), without success .
The professional, a fighter in the Republican ranks during the Spanish Civil War, arrived in Chile in September 1939, as one of the more than 2,000 refugees that the poet Pablo Neruda managed to embark in France on the "Winnipeg", a cargo ship that He arrived on the Chilean coast after a hard journey.
Like many other republicans, Pey was imprisoned in France and worked for the Spanish government in exile before meeting Pablo Neruda, who welcomed him among the passengers of Winnipeg.
In Chile, he worked as an engineer, especially in port works and made friends with Salvador Allende, who was a counselor during his Government (1970-1973), when he also acquired the newspaper Clarín.
After the military coup led by Pinochet, Pey not only lost the newspaper, but for the second time in his life he had to go into exile, which lasted until the 1990s, when he was able to return after the recovery of democracy.
In 1997, Pey filed a lawsuit against the Chilean State before the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, dependent on the World Bank, for the expropriation of the newspaper.
However, the Chilean State became part of the litigation to avoid payment and after 19 years of litigation, the international court did not give rise to its claim, because "there are no grounds in the circumstances of the case to grant compensation for moral damages" .
In 2015, Víctor Pey received the rector's medal from the University of Chile, a house of studies that today expressed his condolences for his death: "The defender of human rights and freedom of expression died," said the house of higher studies.
His death, caused by natural causes, according to his relatives, coincides with the commemoration of the 30th anniversary plebiscite held on October 5, 1988, when the Chileans said "No" to Pinochet's stay in power.
Pey's remains are veiled in "Michoacán de Los Guindos", the house where Pablo Neruda and his second wife lived, years ago, the Argentine painter Delia del Carril, "La Hormiguita", in the Santiago area of La Reina.