50 Years Since Pinochet’s Bloody Coup

On Monday evening, representatives of CPSO-Toronto attended a commemoration of “Chile | Wallmapu: 50 Years of Fascist Dictatorship & Surveillance Democracy”, organized by the Women’s Coordinating Committee for a Free Wallmapu. This September 11th marks 50 years since Augusto Pinochet’s coup d’etat and the killing of Salvador Allende.

Attendees watched a Canadian film, “Threads of Hope”, about the struggles of Chilean women under the US-backed dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, and their fight to learn the fates of their disappeared relatives. Women created “arpellias”, a kind of knit tapestry, to describe their experiences and resistance under the dictatorship. These were smuggled out of Chile and sold in places like Canada, where solidarity activists, churches, and human rights organizations raised funds and awareness of abuses under the dictatorship.

Organizers spoke about the struggle against capitalist dictatorship, the ending of the hopes and dreams given life by Allende’s Socialist Unity government, and the continuation of dictatorship-era policies and practices under the post-dictatorship governments. This has been felt particularly by the Indigenous Mapuche people, who experienced the Allende years as a brief respite from centuries of Chilean colonial violence. Mapuche people continue to experience dispossession of ancestral lands and state violence. Such experiences are familiar to Indigenous Peoples and activists in the Philippines, where struggles for land and national democracy continue even after the original Marcos dictatorship.

Several panelists spoke after, including Secwepemc land defender Kanahus Manuel, who reminded us that September 11th also commemorates the 1995 Gustafsen Lake Standoff against the RCMP.  Ana Vergara Toledo also spoke, an activist and relatives of the Vergara Brothers, murdered by the DINA secret police in 1985. Pablo Mariman spoke on Mapuche national identity and self determination and the sides of negotiation in a revolutionary struggle. Dago Perez, the son of Lumi Videla who was murdered by the DINA secret police in 1974. Lumi Videla was a militant of MIR, the Revolutionary Left Movement.

The final speaker was Pamela Pessoa, Mother of Ernesto and Pelentaro Llaitul, Mapuche Political Prisoners in current-day Chile. She spoke about the current conditions in Chilean prisons, where Ernesto and Pelentaro are barred from cultural practices, violating a Chilean law that guarantees the right of Mapuche people to cultural practices.

This commemoration falls close to September 21st, which marks the 51st anniversary of Marcos Sr.’s declaration of martial law in the Philippines. CPSO members observed close parallels between the two fascist states in their repressive tactics involving disappearances, terrorism, torture and a general disregard for human rights.

US-backed fascist rule is a tool of imperialism, serving to maintain US global hegemony as top dictator of the world. CPSO stands in solidarity with the struggle of the Mapuche people against the colonial state, and with the struggles of the people of Chile for genuine democracy and an end to capitalist hegemony.

Long Live International Solidarity!

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