写真

Photographer's Note

Santiago de Chile - 1973

A journey to another country is also a confrontation with its history and sometimes with some very dark pages of the history. A visit of Chile and more specifically of Santiago is inextricably linked to the memories of the coup d帝tat in September, 1973, now 42 years ago, and to the following very difficult years. Today I show three pictures that refer to that period.

While in the early '70s in Europe different countries regained their democracy - Portugal and Greece in 1974 and Spain in 1975 several countries in South America remained plagued by military juntas. However for decades Chile had been hailed as a beacon of democracy and political stability.

This came to an end on September, 11th, 1973, by one of the most violent coups in Latin America. On that day the elected government of Salvador Allende was overthrown by the Chilean army and the national police.

On the main picture you see the presidential palace, called La Moneda, that was bombed by the Chilean Air Force. The military junta declared that Allende committed suicide but a report of a former military justice official that was found in 2010 made assume that the president was assassinated.

For many Chileans, La Moneda remains a symbol of the most terrible period in their history.

The USA government promptly recognized the junta government and supported it in consolidating power.

At the coup itself less than 60 people were killed but in the following months the number of casualties increased rapidly. All throughout Chile the army arrested supporters of Allende and tortured and executed many of them. A number of 40.000 political opponents of the new regime were put in prison in the Estadio Nacional de Chile in Santiago which had been turned into an ad hoc concentration camp.
In the three years after the coup around 130.000 people were arrested. Approximately 3.000 opponents of the new regime were murdered, often after torture, or disappeared under suspicious circumstances.

After the coup general Augusto Pinochet was appointed as head of a provisional government junta. At the end of 1974 he became president. The dictatorship lasted until October, 5th, 1988 when an (internationally supported) referendum in Chile eventually removed him from power.

Despite the Chilean economic miracle the disposable income of households by that time was only 28% of what they could spend in 1970. But the richest 10% of the Chilean population had managed to increase their income by 83%.

Because of the years of political instability in Chile many people relocated elsewhere, often to Canada and Europe.

Information and figures come from Wikipedia.
You can read more at the pictures of the Memorial del Detenido Desaparecido y del Ejecutado Poltico and the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos in the workshop.

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Since my note at my picture of the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos (Museum of Memory and Human Rights) may not exceed 1500 characters, I put it here:

This picture shows the first room upon entering the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos (Museum of Memory and Human Rights).

The museum seeks to draw attention to human rights violations committed by the Chilean state between 1973 and 1990. Its mission is to allow dignity for victims and their families, stimulate reflection and debate and to promote respect and tolerance in order that these events never happen again.

See http://www.museodelamemoria.cl/

Through objects, documents and archives presented in different settings and formats, as well as an innovative sight and sound presentation, it痴 possible to learn part of this history: the military coup, the repression that took place in the following years, the resistance movement, exile, international solidarity, reparation policies.

The archives patrimony includes oral and written testimonies, legal documents, letters, tales, literary production, press clips, visual and radio material, feature films, historical material and documentary photos.

For me a visit to this museum was as captivating as my previous visits to the Auschwitz concentration camp or the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

It痴 really staggering to get to know how to let disappear supposed political opponents is a tactic that has been used worldwide and still continues to be used. As nobody can provide the evidence of the victim's death, the murderous regime gets away with it. And this not only in South America but all over the world. In the entrance room a world map was shown indicating the countries where people had disappeared for political reasons.
Also two European countries were mentioned: the former Yugoslavia during the breakup in the 1990s and the German Democratic Republic (DDR) between 1949 and 1990.

Lots of the missing persons in Chile were young, between 18 and 25 years old. They were student, teacher, clerk, laborer, market vendor, self-employed worker, etc. They had in common that they didn稚 want to exchange an elected government for a military dictatorship

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Additional Photos by Paul VDV (PaulVDV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5077 W: 17 N: 12171] (49032)
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