Fifty years of tragic winter of Chilean democracy

This Monday, September 11th, marks the anniversary of the gCoup d’etat in which the armed forces overthrew the Chilean president Salvador Allende, 65-year-old doctor, Minister of Health during the Chilean Popular Front government between 1939 and 1942 – a position from which he received the Spanish refugees from the Chilean Popular Front Civil War who came from Winnipeg, co-founded the Socialist Party of Chile in 1933, of which he was a senator and with which he ran four times for the first judicial office between 1952 and 1970. Throughout his career he zealously pursued left unity without excluding the Communist Party. In this spirit, he led the founding of the Popular Action Front (FRAP) and the 1956 Popular unity (UP) in 1969, into which adherents of liberation theology and certain centrist parties were also integrated.

In addition to the president’s death, his political project, known as ““Chilean Road to Socialism”Nominative, which highlighted its gradualist character, without the catastrophe that represented October 1917, or the uprising of the July 26th Movement who took power in January 1959. It was a third way of Marxist transformations “with the taste of empanadas and red wine,” as Allende said. But the date is projected beyond the progressive pluriverse. It ushered in a long winter of 17 years in one of America’s longest democratic traditions; possibly took shape in 1888 when male suffrage was introduced, a pioneer in Latin America and avant-garde of the world.

In their place, another dictatorship was established according to the canon of the National Security Doctrine – as in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay – making the systematic violation of human rights in these “years of leadership policy” common practice of the authorities. The praetors were also accompanied by civilians with corporatist ideas, although the most influential were economists inspired by the Chicago School, the originators of the privatization of pension, healthcare and education systems. Chile became the “guinea pig” of an experiment that Reagan later conducted in the United States. and Thatcher in Britain.

The anniversary represents a traumatic burden on Chile’s history – comparable to the memory of the Civil War in Spain either Vietnam for the United States was lived 20 years ago with solemnity and even self-criticism Piñerista right 10 years ago. Today, however, the emergency has poisoned a sometimes deafening debate focused on the causes of the coup and the failures of popular unity. Both aspects needed to be addressed, but this clouded reflection on the human consequences and decay of a national cohesion in ruins. It also went almost unnoticed General PinochetLast minute conspirator in a coup he planned Navy and Air Force, and who was ultimately distinguished by the cruelty of the crimes against humanity committed by agents of his government.

Thus, while some emphasize the endogenous failure of a fragmented project between radicals and gradualists, others emphasize defeat at the hands of external adversaries. It cannot be ignored that 9/11 in Chile is also a product of domestic political polarization between left and right with ultra flanks. willing to transcend regulations to further their goals, be it building a socialist system remote from capitalism or a deeply anti-communist “crusade”. Although Chilean democracy was also a victim of Cold War international geopolitics. The Nixon and Kissinger in the White House, The architects of the exit from Vietnam did not agree with what they had understood It would be “another Cuba” in their sphere of influence, which is why they planned against UP from the first minute.

For this reason, the reference to Allende is inevitable in this period, whose crucial biographical episode produced an exegesis that nourishes the enigma that every “Greek tragedy” contains, starting from the critique of his doubts and contradictions in his last dialogue of August 1973 . with the opposition. We must not forget that this is a counterfactual exercise – namely the negotiation in question between Allende and the Christian Democracy under the leadership of Aylwin-, perhaps the military adventure could have been avoided. In addition, the image of a quasi-lone wolf torn apart by the enemy’s crime in the attack on La Moneda was spread. For Havana, the fact of suicide was particularly unpleasant., alien to the tradition of heroic death of the guerrilla narrative, a replacement icon began to emerge. Over time, the theory of self-death was confirmed.

This decision is in line with Allende’s last speech before the fading Magallanes radio waves – whose antennas were also bombed by the Luftwaffe The coin-: “I will not resign! In a historic transit country, I will pay with my life for the loyalty of the people.” So, as if it came from the pen of ShakespeareAllende was ready to fulfill the tragic plan of a fate that in his case meant nothing other than sacrificing his life in defensenot only of his conviction for social change, but above all of a constitutional mandate.

Gilberto Cristian Aranda is co-editor of the choral book “Resonancias de un coup. Chile 50 Years” (Catarata) together with Professor Misael Arturo López Zapico

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