UN’s dubious human rights appointment

As Chile continues to grapple with the struggle between memory and oblivion, the UN’s nomination of former president Michelle Bachelet as Human Rights Commissioner has evoked different opinions. For many victims of Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship, Bachelet had represented a link between politics and justice, in particular due to her own family’s history as victims of Pinochet’s National…

Chile must not forget dictatorship era crimes

Chile remains a country of contradictions, influenced by the struggle between memory and forgetting. The dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet has left a legacy that has not been adequately challenged since the country’s return to democracy. Human rights and memory groups in Chile have struggled against state institutions and military secrecy over dictatorship crimes. They demand,…

The Legacy of the Nueva Canción: An Interview with Patricio Manns

Patricio Manns, Chilean poet, author, singer and songwriter is one of the few whose work is a testimony to history. Despite current trends and contemporary politics, which contribute a difference to ideology and culture, Manns remains committed to the universality of the Nueva Canción, and continues to be a revolutionary voice, recognizing the necessity of it…

A temporary suspension of exile: interview with former MIR militant Hugo Marchant

Chile’s supreme court of appeals has temporarily suspended the exile sentence imposed upon an ex-militant of the Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria (MIR). Hugo Marchant was detained in 1973 for distributing leaflets containing anti-Pinochet propaganda and later became a member of the (MIR) while in exile. Marchant entered Chile clandestinely in 1980 as part of a…

Destroying the ability to think historically in Chile

The decision to remove the term ‘military dictatorship’ from Chilean primary school textbooks has been revoked, following the resignation of Alejandro Goic, a member of the National Council of Education (CNED). In his resignation letter to Minister of Education Harald Beyer, Goic cites discomfort at having to work with former Central Nacional de Informaciones (CNI)…

A Poetic Concept of Identity: An interview with Mapuche poet David Aninir Guilitraro

The culture of Mapuche poetry has evolved into three distinctive forms: traditional, intellectual and urban. David Aniñir Guilitraro, an urban Mapuche poet from Santiago, has created a literary realm which connects the history of the Mapuche struggle to the social problems which the people face today. Guilitraro describes his book, Mapurbe, as ‘a poetic concept of identity’…

A Repressive Status Quo

Chile’s president-elect, Sebastian Piñera of the right-wing party Renovación Nacional (National Renewal, RN) recently announced that he plans to “modernize” the country’s Anti-Terrorist Law when he takes office. This announcement builds on promises from throughout his 2017 Chilean electoral campaign, when Piñera said on multiple occasions that his new aministration would seek to perfect the law, which…

Forty Years Later, Justice for Víctor Jara: School of the Americas Grads Indicted in Murder of the Popular Allende-Era Singer/Activist

The move to extradite Florida resident Pedro Barrientos Nunez in connection with the murder of famed Chilean singer Victor Jara – a supporter of deposed President Salvador Allende – is re-igniting Chile’s campaign for justice for victims of the Pinochet regime’s reign of torture and violence. The US-backed military coup in Chile on September 11,…