September 11, 2023, marks the fiftieth anniversary of the 1973 military coup in Chile.
By Alice Embree | The Rag Blog | September 10, 2023
The Austin Committee for Human Rights in Chile began after the coup. It is where I deepened my understanding of U.S. complicity in that coup. It’s where I was called Compañera, where I met a partner who had been in Santiago that fateful day. The long shadow of dictatorship, lasting 17 years, marked my life and others I came to know in the Chile solidarity movement. Our solidarity efforts echo a previous generation’s experience with the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath, a long shadow of dictatorship.
As we live in a time of peril, climate apocalypse, state bans on bodies, local bans on books, and sustained attacks on democracy, I can’t help but feel we are on a precipice. Imbued with remembrance of movement victories and a sense of solidarity, we live with a palpable fear of losing ground, of losing democratic rights we thought were inalienable.
I was moved by Ariel Dorfman’s recent article, “Defending Allende,” in the New York Review. He was there when Allende won the presidency. He speaks of it beautifully:
I had one of the most moving epiphanies of my life on the night of Allende’s election on September 4, 1970. After listening to him promise a delirious crowd that he would be el compañero presidente when he entered La Moneda in two months’ time, I wandered along the streets of Santiago with my wife and friends and witnessed the wonder, pride, and determination on the faces of workers and their families as they walked through the center of the city.