Democracia in Chile

I am always learning new things. This includes the history of the city and country where I am living, Santiago, Chile. Last week I went to see the movie ¨No¨ with some friends from my program. It is a movie that was recently up for award at the Oscars this year. It did not win but it was worth watching to learn. (Be fore warned that the movie is set in this time period so it may have been recently produced but it is slow and not modern)

I entered the theater not knowing anything about the movie, only that it was up for award. The movie was about democracy and its return in Chile. In the 1980s Pinochet was president after he seized the capital in 1973 (which I learned later at a museum).

The movie is about the vote for either a change in leadership or not and the propaganda used. The vote was completely up to the people. Keep the dictator Pinochet who had lead the nation for 15 years after he single handedly forced the residing president, Salvador Allende, to resign and then sent many civilians to detention camps. Or remove Pinochet and hope for a happier tomorrow. The obvious choice was NO more Pinochet!

After watching the movie I learned a lot more about Chile´s history and became interested to know more. Turns out on Sept 11, 1973 he as military general sent his troops via military tank to the capital building to force out Salvador Allende. No one was expecting such a take over and the guards were not able to defend the capital. The tanks fired shots at the capital building destroying parts of it and creating an entry in to seize the president. During the whole process the president communicated to warn his people of the threat that arrived by sea, air, and land but he also said bye. He was saddened that he could not stop Pinochet and could not save his people, rather than flee to safety or be captured and in exile, he committed suicide.

Pinochet and his troops captured leaders of this old government and anyone in his way. He killed, tortured, and imprisoned the people. Many of these people disappeared and the people of Chile were forever fearful of their lives. Chile is not the only country this has happened obviously but such an interesting history.

Maybe you knew this history before but I hope it is a nice reminder of different times, how quickly things can change, how lucky some countries are that skipped these hard times.

More information: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bseAvkux rQM

Military government

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