Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Chile: 40 years on (2)

This anniversary is a big one for Chile.

Sergio Carrasco of the Associated Press recalls covering the coup.
Most communications were cut off by then, but AP photographer Santiago Llanquin persuaded a telephone operator to open a line. We reached a hotel in Mendoza, Argentina, and somehow kept that line open for days. AP photographer Eduardo DiBaia rushed from Buenos Aires to set up a makeshift bureau in the hotel, defying censors and transmitting news and photos of the attacks to the outside world. 
Much has been made of US support for the coup (and rightly so), but you don't hear much about British Foreign Office backing for it. Grace Livingstone at the Guardian online sheds some light; pretty shocking to read about criticism of "black propaganda against the Chilean armed services"! Joyce Horman also writes about the murder of her husband for the website. There is also a slide show of images from "Chile from within", a photobook by Susan Meiselas which is being reissued in electronic format. A further guest piece is from human rights judge Baltasar Garzón.

"Time" interviews president Sebastian Piñera on the occasion of the 40th anniversary.
This was a very dark part of our history. We should not forget it. But when we remember it, the question is what is the goal? To reproduce the same anger? Everybody has some lessons to learn. The only thing that [the left] would say is that nothing that happened before September 11, 1973 justifies what happened in terms of human rights abuses afterwards, and I fully agree with them.
In comments to media, Piñera also criticised the complicity of the media, provoking a reaction from journalists

Presidential candidate Michelle Bachelet has been very involved in the commemorations - understandable, since she was a victim of torture herself and her father was killed. She visited the Villa Grimaldi detention centre in Santiago and called for a full investigation into human rights abuses. 

A lot of people have been tweeting the BBC story about Carmen Quintana, who was set on fire by soldiers and lived to tell the tale. 
"I feel that I am the voice of so many other Chileans who died," she says. 
  Of the Spanish-language media, there is too much to mention, but just to highlight Robert Funk's column for La Tercera on the lasting divisions within Chile.

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