By former Fiji editor, Jale Moala
It's interesting that Bainimarama should be using the name franciscopancho as his email address.
Franciscopancho, of course, refers to Francisco Pancho, or Jose Doroteo Arango Arambula, a Mexican general during the time of the Mexican Revolution. Clearly, Bainimarama fancies the brave exploits of this Mexican freedom fighter.
What many also don’t know is that as a dictator, Bainimarama served his apprenticeship under the regime of General Augusto Pinochet when he trained aboard the Chilean barque, Escuela Esmeralda, at the time when Pinochet was a murderous and corrupt dictator.
Evidence provided by Amnesty International described Esmeralda as "a kind of a floating jail and torture chamber" for political prisoners of the Pinochet regime from 1973 to 1980, within the period of Bainimarama's time on the ship.
Amnesty International estimated that more than 100 political prisoners were kept aboard Esmeralda and subjected to "hideous" treatment. One of those prisoners was a Briton, Michael Woodward, a Catholic priest, who was tortured to death.
It is very unlikely that Bainimarama will mirror Pancho's heroism, for as the shameless leader of a military regime that is a known bully of women and civilians, he has already shown a likeness and a liking of Pinochet.
Recent accusation of Bainimarama's role in the torture of women at the army barracks in Suva is too frighteningly similar to the reported experiences of those who suffered on Esmeralda.
Reports said that Pinochet used the Navy Academy, which hosted Bainimarama, as a torture centre. In one evidence, a woman detainee by the name of Maria Comene, said that on Esmeralda "there was violence 24 hours a day. Prisoners were taken out, beaten and tortured, returning bruised and vomiting blood.
"They took me out every night to interrogate me. They hit me on the ears with their hands, they applied electric currents to my tongue and my vagina. They took us out to amuse themselves, to abuse us sexually. They raped us."