The Battle of Chile

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The Battle of Chile

Postby MacCruiskeen » Thu Sep 11, 2014 11:27 am







The Battle of Chile is a documentary film directed by the Chilean Patricio Guzman, in 3 parts: The Insurrection of the Bourgeoisie (1975), The Coup d'état (1976), Popular Power (1979). It is a chronicle of the political tension in Chile in 1973 and of the violent counter revolution against the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende. It won the Grand Prix in 1975 and 1976 at the Grenoble International Film Festival.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Battle_of_Chile
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Re: The Battle of Chile

Postby cptmarginal » Fri Sep 12, 2014 1:16 am

Thanks for the timely post; I'm reading about fascism in Chile (and related topics) right now.
More than reporters or political extremists, intelligence agents are inclined toward baleful explanations that emphasize conspiracy.
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Re: The Battle of Chile

Postby cptmarginal » Sun Sep 14, 2014 3:28 am

I had no idea Chris Marker was involved in this film until I started watching it and saw his name in the opening credits.

Narration is provided in English - a source of criticism in The New Yorker review of the film by Pauline Kael - " The film seems to give us only the public actions - and none of the inner workings. Those are supplied by an English narrator ( a woman) who keeps interpreting for us. There may be considerable truth here, but this kind of thing can drive one a little crazy.


Sounds like a Chris Marker film :lol:

Found this:

http://www.bfi.org.uk/news/what-i-owe-chris-marker

"Chris Marker not only wrote a positive review of the film, but also directed the exceptional dubbing for it." - Yep.

What I owe to Chris Marker

The Chilean documentarist Patricio Guzmán pays tribute to his late mentor from another planet.

Patricio Guzmán

Updated: 24 April 2014

Chris Marker knocked at the door of my home in Santiago de Chile in May 1972. When I opened it I bumped into a very slim man who spoke Spanish with a Martian accent.

“I am Chris Marker,” he said.

I moved back a few centimetres and stood there looking at him in silence. Through my head went some of the images of his film La Jetée, which I had seen at least 15 times.

We shook hands and I said: “Come on in.”

Chris Marker entered the living room and waited until I invited him to sit down. He did not say anything. But I intuited from his weary gaze that he had not left the spacecraft in which he had landed properly parked.

From the first moment, Chris projected an alien image that never left him. He separated sentences with unexpected silences and spoke with a slight lisp, pressing his thin lips together, as if all earthly languages were foreign to him. He seemed very tall, although he wasn’t particularly. He dressed in an indescribable way. He was like an elegant worker. His face was long and thin, his eyes slightly oriental, his head shaved, and his ears like those of Doctor Spock.

“I liked your film,” he told me.

I was overwhelmed with a feeling of terror, a mixture of insecurity and respect. Not so long before I had finished El primer año (The First Year) – my first feature documentary, about the first 12 months of Salvador Allende’s government.

“I came to Chile with the intention of filming a cinematographic chronicle,” Marker confessed. “Since you’ve already made it, I’d rather buy it from you and exhibit it in France.”

It’s been 40 years since that conversation, and it’s only recently that I realised that it marked my life forever, since my modest amateur career in film made an enormous U-turn from that very moment. In his suitcases Chris Marker took away with him a 16mm negative of the film, as well as the perforated magnetic tape for the soundtrack.

Months later he sent me the promotional material for The First Year, and wrote to me describing in detail the film’s premiere at the Studio De La Harpe in Paris. I received a review published in the magazine Le Temps Modernes (founded by Sartre), whose editor was Claude Lanzmann. Chris Marker not only wrote a positive review of the film, but also directed the exceptional dubbing for it. First he asked for my permission to tighten up the film (it was 110 minutes long). Of course I agreed. The truth is that the film was a little bit reiterative. I was never happy with the editing. It had some moving scenes. But there was no doubt it could lose ten minutes, even more.

He also made an introduction (approximately 8 minutes long) where he outlined the history of Chile in just a few words, in particular the history of the workers’ movement headed by Allende. It was a montage of black and white stills that Raymond Depardon had taken not long before in Chile. The narrative, written by Marker, was a wonder of synthesis. The music, based on atonal strings, was oneiric. This short film was attached to my film; when it concluded, the credits for The First Year started.

The film needed explanation, since a fair number of the audience knew nothing about Chile. There were worse problems, however. In 1972 the audience did not accept documentaries with subtitles. Therefore it had to be dubbed into French. Chris summoned all of his Parisian friends to dub the voices of the Chileans. They were high profile figures of the time: François Périer was the narrator, Delphine Seyrig a bourgeois woman, Françoise Arnoul and Florence Delay dubbed the workers. He even used the voice of the film’s distributor, Anatole Dauman (Argos Films), and brought in a famous draughtsman, Folon, to do the poster.

I couldn’t believe it.

This unexpected event produced in me a feeling of unreality. Something unimaginable was happening. Because The First Year was a modest 16mm film without synchronised sound, very low budget, with no greater ambition than showing the happiness of workers who toil with their hands – in fact all the workers and the miners during the first year of Allende – so the most we could have hoped for was distributing six copies on 35mm (which were struck in Alex in Buenos Aires), which would show for a couple of weeks in a few Chilean cinemas. Thanks to Chris, however, The First Year was shown in many cities, in countries such as France, Belgium and Switzerland; it won a prize at the Nantes Film Festival and got the FIPRESCI prize at Mannheim.

A year later (towards the end of 1972) my situation changed radically… The right managed to create a sense of chaos in the majority of Chilean cities thanks to those who opposed the Allende regime and financial assistance supplied by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger. A mood of uncertainty gripped the country.

Furthermore, we had been sacked from the company Chile Films, where we were preparing a feature film. Eight months of work wasted! The company, like many others, could not survive the downing of tools organised by the right in October. Because of this brutal strike, the government banned the import of some products, amongst them film stock. That morning we were in the Forestal park with a team from The Battle for Chile pondering what to do about our situation. What to do!Whilst looking for a solution (almost impossible in practice), I thought of writing a letter to Chris Marker.

I still have that letter. I have selected the final paragraph for inclusion here:

As has happened at other times, I wasn’t able to reply to your letter immediately… Our political situation is confusing and the country is in a state of pre-civil war, which is causing a lot of tension… The bourgeoisie will deploy all its resources. It will deploy the bourgeois legal system. It will deploy its own professional organisations together with Nixon’s economic power…

We must make a film about all this!… A wide-ranging piece shot in the factories, the fields, the mines. An investigative film whose grand sets are the cities, the villages, the coast, the desert. A film like a mural, split into chapters, whose protagonists are the people and their union leaders on the one hand, and the oligarchy, its leaders and their connexions with the government in Washington on the other. A film of analysis. A film about the masses and individuals. A fast-paced film vibrating with the energy of daily events, whose length is unforeseeable… A free-form film that draws on reportage, the essay, still photography, the dramatic structure of fiction, the sequence shot – that will use everything, depending on the circumstances, and the way reality proposes it…

However, WE DON’T HAVE film stock. Due to the US blockade on film imports it can take up to one year to get here. We thought you could help us get hold of the material… I am very sorry for the long letter, and, I ask you to please be absolutely frank in your reply. I completely trust your judgement.

Best wishes, Patricio.

Santiago de Chile, 14 November 1972.


A week later I got a telegram from Paris:

I’ll do what I can. Best wishes, Chris.

Approximately a month later a parcel arrived at Santiago Airport; a parcel that was sent directly from Kodak’s factory in Rochester, that was allowed in by customs because it did not incur any costs for the state. Chris Marker arranged it all in Europe and placed the order directly with the factory in the US. The box contained 43,000 feet (approximately 14 hours) of 16mm black-and-white film, plus more than 134 perforated magnetic tapes for a Nagra.

We had our second moment of glory thanks to Chris Marker.

The five members of the team on The Battle for Chile just couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw the glowing film canisters (they looked like mirrors). We had never seen new film canisters before, since we always worked with expired stock. It was also the first time we saw the cardboard boxes of the magnetic tapes. We had to start filming immediately, and with the utmost care (so we didn’t finish the stock too soon).

We developed a plan of the conflict areas, drawn on one of the walls of our office. It was a ‘theoretical map’ that took up half of our time. It was written with black markers on white card sheets. It outlined the economic, political and ideological problems. Each of them opened onto a second layer: control of production, control of distribution, relations of production, the ideological struggle with regards to information, the approach to battle… Doubtless, this plan must have provoked more than one smile in Chris. In his next letter he made me see that it was impossible to film so many things. However, what Chris didn’t know is that this ambitious ‘theorisation’ was made with just one objective in mind: to avoid using the film stock too quickly and wasting it, so we wouldn’t look bad in his eyes.

After the coup, and after being imprisoned for two weeks in Chile’s National Stadium, finally I was able to fly to France. It was an exciting moment. The ticket was paid for by my old Spanish colleagues from the Madrid Film School. At Orly Airport, Chris was waiting in a room, almost completely on his own. He looked at me with curiosity; he used his hands to shade his eyes, he shifted position. He could not recognise me because I had shaved off my beard.

We drove to Paris in a new car. We arrived at a luxurious house where we had lunch. The atmosphere was elegant. There were beautiful women (maybe from the film world); Chris was a great seducer. But he was undoubtedly the most important Martian in the meeting. My French was dreadful. For years I could hardly ever understand what was being said. My ability to simulate comprehension became almost perfect. After the lunch we went to return the car (it was borrowed). Finally, we took the metro, dragging my suitcases. We eventually arrived at a cheap hotel. We said goodbye and Chris drove off on a second-hand motorbike (that was his own).

We started out on a long pilgrimage to raise money. We had dinner at Fréderic Rossif’s house together with Simone Signoret. We had dinner at the house of actress Florence Delay. We spoke with dozens of personalities in order to be able to edit and finish The Battle of Chile. We had several meetings with Saul Yelin, a brilliant diplomat from the ICAIC, to tell him about our aims. Several months passed by. I lived for many weeks in the house of another female friend of Chris’s, in Saint Sulpice.

Finally, Alfredo Guevara, president of the ICAIC, approved the project from Havana and we were able to travel to Cuba to finish The Battle of Chile. Chris had had for a long time an excellent relationship with the Cubans, which doubtless came about because of two documentaries he shot on the island: ¡Cuba Sí! and La bataille des dix millions. I was lucky to be able to capitalise on this good relationship and go to Havana. It was a crucial moment, because after 1974 relations between Chris and the Cubans suddenly turned cold, after the premiere of A Grin without a Cat (Le Fond de l’air est rouge), in which Chris criticises the regime.

I moved to Cuba supposedly for six months and ended up living in Havana for six years – the time it took to edit The Battle of Chile with Pedro Chaskel. I went back to Paris for the first time in 1975 to premiere the first part of the film, which was selected for Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes in 1975. Federico Elton (the film’s production manager) and I dropped by to leave a copy of the film in the offices of SLON, the cooperative founded by Chris (previously known as ISKRA).

The next year Federico Elton and I repeated the same operation: we premiered the second part of The Battle of Chile in Directors’ Fortnight in 1976 and at the same time we left a copy at SLON for the attention of Chris…. But we never got an answer. We never received a note, a letter, a message, not even a phone call about the film from him. For months we kept asking ourselves “Why hasn’t he replied?” For years now I’ve asked myself the same question.

It has to be said that we were living in very politicised times, and the group that Chris belonged to was comprised of artists and intellectuals from the very radical left. My film wasn’t. On the contrary, The Battle of Chile is pluralist and not dedicated to any particular militant group; only to the Chilean dream (the struggle of an unarmed people), the utopia of a people in its broadest perspective, which I could see with my eyes and feel with my body in that vibrant Chile with which I identified, and still identify today.

Indeed, for a long time I felt it was difficult for me to gain recognition in France for my work of direct cinema, the first of its kind in Chile, and one of the few in the world that shows step by step the agony of a revolutionary people. Aside from the famous critic Louis Marcorelles, nobody got to the bottom of my film. Marcorelles understood my search as an artist, the novelty of my way of filmmaking, the historical impact of my work; his wise reviews in Le Monde accompanied the premieres of the two first parts in Cannes. Apart from him, there was at that time a great silence on the part of my French colleagues, and for a long time after. Meanwhile, The Battle of Chile went around the world.

I never bumped into Chris again, and was never in direct contact with him either during the last few decades, apart from a nice encounter at the San Francisco Film Festival in 1993. For the last 12 years we lived in the same city and I followed his work very closely. It has to be said that he always lived a very secluded life and was shrouded in a certain mystery.

At this moment, in the cemetery at Père Lachaise, showered in the tributes that your closest will pay you, I have just one final thing to say to you:

GOODBYE MY GREAT FRIEND, BON VOYAGE, THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART FOR ALL THAT YOU HAVE GIVEN ME. It’s the best thing that’s happened in my life. WE SHALL OVERCOME!

—PG. París 2 August 2012.

Translated by Mar Diestro-Dópido.


Damn.



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Re: The Battle of Chile

Postby cptmarginal » Sun Sep 14, 2014 3:31 am



Director's Statement

Scenes of the third World War 1967-1977

Some think the third World War will be set off by a nuclear missile. For me, that's the way it will end. In the meantime, the figures of an intricate game are developing, a game whose de-coding will give historians of the future - if they are still around - a very hard time.

A weird game. Its rules change as the match evolves. To start with, the super powers' rivalry transforms itself not only into a Holy Alliance of the Rich against the Poor, but also into a selective co-elimination of Revolutionary Vanguards, wherever bombs would endanger sources of raw materials. As well as into the manipulation of these vanguards to pursue goals that are not their own.

During the last ten years, some groups of forces (often more instinctive than organized) have been trying to play the game themselves - even if they knocked over the pieces. Wherever they tried, they failed. Nevertheless, it's been their being that has the most profoundly transformed politics in our time. This film intends to show some of the steps of this transformation.


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Re: The Battle of Chile

Postby cptmarginal » Mon Sep 15, 2014 12:44 pm

"It is happening, again..."

http://www.afp.com/en/node/2821526/

Shocked Chile searches for answers on bombings

Monday's (Sep 8) attack on a Chilean subway station shocked residents of Santiago - considered by many the safest capital in Latin America - and sparked a search for the perpetrators that has also reopened old wounds.

No one has claimed the attack, which injured 14 people, or a string of other small homemade bombs detonated across the South American country in recent months.

And police say they have few clues.

The information vacuum has sparked much speculation on who is behind the blasts.

Anarchists? Radicalized students? Ultraconservatives? The range of theories spans the political spectrum in this country still deeply divided by its 1973 military coup and 17-year dictatorship.

Early investigations into Monday's attack, which targeted a food court inside the packed Escuela Militar (Military School) station at lunch hour, focus on anarchist groups with no formal organizational structure, according to district attorney Raul Guzman.

But he acknowledged police had little information and said they had requested international assistance.

"So far, nothing is publicly known about who committed these acts or their motives," said Claudio Fuentes, director of the political science program at Diego Portales University in Santiago.

"There are opposing agendas seeking to use social demands to explain this phenomenon of violence, and that's a mistake."

DIVISIVE ANNIVERSARY

Much speculation has centered on Thursday's anniversary of the Sep 11, 1973 coup that ousted socialist president Salvador Allende and installed military dictator Augusto Pinochet.

The date remains divisive 24 years after the return of democracy in Chile, where the late Pinochet still has fervent supporters despite his regime's "dirty war" against leftist opponents, when 3,200 people were killed and 38,000 tortured.

Violent protests, gunfights and clashes with police routinely break out on the anniversary.

"There's not the slightest doubt that the attacks are part of the buildup to the Sep 11 commemorations," said far-right Senator Ivan Moreira, accusing leftist radicals of the bombings.

At the opposite extreme, the leader of the Party for Democracy (PPD), Jaime Quintana, said investigators should not rule out the possibility the bomb was the work of far-right groups trying to destabilize leftist President Michelle Bachelet's government.

"They must examine the theory that cells of former dictatorship agents may have been reactivated," he told journalists.


Adding to the fray, a local TV station linked the bombing to the country's student movement - an allegation rejected by the president of the Chilean University Students' Federation (FECH), anarchist activist Melissa Sepulveda.

STRATEGY OF SILENCE?

Monday's attack was the most destructive of the 200 makeshift bombs that have targeted banks, gyms, embassies and restaurants in Chile in the past five years.

It has shaken the country more than previous blasts, which caused relatively light damage and injuries.

It also focused attention on a disconcerting uptick in bombings in recent months.

The subway blast was the second on the metro system in less than two months.

It was followed by two more bombings Tuesday (Sep 9) and Wednesday (Sep 10) at a shopping center in the resort city of Vina del Mar that wounded one person.

Ominous messages have circulated on social media since Monday's attack, including a picture of a subway graffiti warning that said "the next bomb will be on a bus."

Two subway stations were briefly closed Wednesday after bomb threats that proved to be false alarms.

The government has called Monday's blast a "terrorist act" and vowed to prosecute the perpetrators under an anti-terror law that provides heavier sentences.

But Aldo Mascareno, a sociologist at Chile's Adolfo Ibanez University, said the recent bombings bore none of the usual signs of terrorism: no one has claimed them or sought to use them to impose an agenda.

"If the silence persists and the attacks continue, the conclusion must be that these are not untrained groups just starting operations, but rather that the goal is precisely to remain hidden, in order to make the public think the responsibility lies elsewhere," he told AFP.


More like "strategy of tension"

http://www.business-standard.com/articl ... 020_1.html

Chile seeks to reinstate undercover intelligence agents

AFP | Santiago

September 14, 2014

Chile today said it would seek to reinstate the use of undercover agents in its intelligence services after a series of bomb attacks in the Santiago area.

Although the National Intelligence Agency (ANI) has the right to use informants, it is not permitted to use undercover agents.

But after recent bombings, the government is moving to strengthen its intelligence services, including putting forward a bill in Congress that would reinstate the use of undercover operatives.

The practice was banned after the 1973-1990 dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, during which intelligence agencies used agents to infiltrate opposition groups.

"It is very important that the ANI has essential operational functions," Interior Minister Rodrigo Penailillo told local media.

And ANI director Gustavo Villalobos told the El Mercurio newspaper that, in investigating and preventing the bombings "undercover agents, informants, and intelligence work is the most relevant."

On Monday, a homemade bomb exploded in the crowded Escuela Militar (Military School) subway station in Santiago, wounding 14 people.

The unclaimed attack was the worst of its kind since the fall of Pinochet, and the most destructive of some 200 unsolved bombings that have targeted banks, gyms, embassies and restaurants in the South American country over the past five years.

Two more explosions were reported Wednesday in a supermarket on the central coast, injuring one person and leaving two more with hearing difficulties.


Timing? That is to say, beyond just the Sep. 11, 1973 anniversary

http://www.mintpressnews.com/chile-dict ... al/196424/

Excerpt:

In Chile, A Dictatorship’s Horrors Go On Trial

Former DINA agent Cristián Labbé has been indicted on charges related to his role in Chile’s dictatorship-era torture. With the possibility of his incarceration looming, justice may finally come to those who have suffered through decades of oblivion.

By Ramona Wadi Follow @walzerscent

Sep. 11, 2014

Memory loss in Chile, or oblivion, has ensured that a multitude of crimes committed during the dictatorship era remain unchallenged. Consequently, Chilean society remains shackled within a paradox of alleged democracy and impunity. Torture survivors find themselves living alongside torturers and murderers — many of whom hold influential positions in government and other respected practices.

The trend is set to change for one former Direccion de Inteligencia Nacional (the National Intelligence Directorate or DINA) agent and torture instructor who has evaded justice for decades. Cristián Labbé — lieutenant and torture instructor from the Tejas Verdes brigade, and later, the Mayor of Providencia — has been implicated in dictatorship crimes through the testimony of Harry Cohen Vera, a former detainee and torture survivor who encountered Labbé and his brutal tactics in November 1973.

Early reports in Chilean media state that Labbé was indicted in the Valdivia Court of Appeals by Minister Juan Ignacio Correa for crimes committed in Futrono in 1973. Predictably, the former DINA agent has denied ever participating in “illegal practices” during Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship (1973-1990).

Cambio 21 has released a detailed account of the events disclosed so far. While travelling from Santiago to Futrono on Nov. 7, 1973, Harry Cohen Vera was kidnapped, detained, and tortured by the military. The military made unfounded accusations that Cohen was a “terrorist,” even though he was not affiliated to any socialist militant parties which, under Pinochet’s dictatorship, were all deemed dangerous. Cohen had been harassed by the military on other occasions. This time, however, soldiers surrounded and forcibly entered the Cohen family home in Futrono, before taking him and another family member for interrogation.

Cohen was transferred by helicopter with other detainees — Leonardo Santibáñez, Juan Rosales and Jaime Rozas. The soldiers accompanying them threatened horrific violence during the trip, including throwing them off the helicopters as they passed over the Riñihue River. Cohen encountered Labbé during the torture sessions.

“I will never forget that face, the voice, that arrogance …The torture I suffered was senseless — questions about what my family and I were doing were punctuated with electric shocks that were increased if my answer was deemed unsatisfactory,” Cohen was quoted as saying to Cambio 21.

Other former detainees, including Rozas, have testified with regard to Labbé’s identity and presence during torture sessions.

Labbé’s denial is reminiscent of other responses given to accusations of crimes committed during the dictatorship era: “I deny having been in Futrono and Valdivia in the indicated dates. In addition, I deny being part of a situation such as that described.”

However, previous statements exhibit contradictions uttered by Labbé with regard to locations and dates in specified cases of torture. In another human rights violations-related case, testimony established Labbé’s presence in Valdivia from October to November 1973. The manipulation of information, however, was a common phenomenon that has helped torturers and murderers to escape impunity through the falsification of dates and narratives in order to prevent accountability.

In this case, according to human rights lawyer Roberto Avila, “There are other conscripts who have not yet testified, but whose out of court testimony reaffirms our conclusions. It has been difficult for them to submit declarations, but they are willing to do so.”

Of particular significance in this case, is the certainty with which human rights lawyers are declaring that the Punta Peuco prison awaits Labbé following the conclusion of this case.
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Re: The Battle of Chile

Postby MacCruiskeen » Mon Sep 15, 2014 1:17 pm

Thanks for all these responses, cptmarginal. You're keeping alive the thread I started. I have to confess I haven't even watched the film yet (four-and-a-half hours! :shock: ) because I've been too preoccupied with the Scottish referendum and tedious meatworld stuff. I wanted to mark the anniversary of the fascist coup and Allende's murder, and "bookmarking" the film as a new thread seemed a good way to do it.

Business Insider wrote:Shocked Chile searches for answers on bombings

Monday's (Sep8) attack on a Chilean subway station shocked residents of Santiago - considered by many the safest capital in Latin America - and sparked a search for the perpetrators that has also reopened old wounds.

No one has claimed the attack, which injured 14 people, or a string of other small homemade bombs detonated across the South American country in recent months.

And police say they have few clues.

The information vacuum has sparked much speculation on who is behind the blasts.

Anarchists? Radicalized students? Ultraconservatives? The range of theories spans the political spectrum in this country still deeply divided by its 1973 military coup and 17-year dictatorship. ...

[..]


Fucking Business Insider. When did "anarchists" or "radicalized students" ever plant bombs on trains?

Ultraconservatives?


Third on the list of suspects, according to fucking Business Insider. And what the fuck is an "ultraconservative" if it's not a fascist business insider?

- On Edit: Oops, I see it's from AFP. Well, fucking AFP, then.
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Re: The Battle of Chile

Postby cptmarginal » Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:20 am

http://www.ukprogressive.co.uk/chiles-p ... 33413.html

Chile’s Plantation Economy

December 14, 2014

by Robert Hunziker

The developed world is just crazy in love with the “miracle of Chile,” as expressed by Milton Friedman some years ago. The accolades are everywhere, ranked as a “high-income economy” by the World Bank. The country has the strongest sovereign bond rating in South America. It is a role model for neoliberalism.

Neoliberalism is the Milton Friedman school of thought that the best government is the least government. After all, people can take care of themselves and make much more money when they are free to make decisions in a deregulated free marketplace. The operative formula is: Less government equals more profits for the private sector. As such, Chile represents the epitome of neoliberalism, and the likely future direction of America.

The “miracle of Chile” is absolutely true, if you are already wealthy.

However, once the curtain is pulled back, Chile’s complexities defy the blaring of trumpets for neoliberalism’s goddess of capitalism.

Chile is a “plantation economy,” similar in many respects to the plantation economy in the U.S. South during the 19th century. At its peak, there were 4-5 million slaves owned by only 3.8% of the people. The slave owners bought slaves, housed them and fed them.

Whereas today, in Chile, the moniker “slave” has been changed to “worker,” and rather than provide room and board like 19th century slave owners did, they now provide a stipend of $500 per month for the workers to provide their own room and board. Thus, removing the stigma of slave ownership. It is estimated that one-half of all Chileans make less than $500 per month. Thus, the slave market is rather sizeable, measurably more so than in the United States of America in 1850.

Chile’s wealth is so top heavy in favor of so few that it resembles the Leaning Tower of Pisa, ready to topple at any moment. Conglomerates and/or extremely wealthy families

own everything from pharmacies to logging to fishing rights to retail stores to minerals to grocery stores. It is a nation-state of concentrated ownership. The country is likely a snapshot of where America is headed in the years ahead, a pure corporate state. After all, the middle class is already under attack.

The Brutal Truth about the Miracle of Chile

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (“OECD”), “Chile is the OECD country with the greatest difference between the rich and poor,” as well as the 4th poorest country of the 34 member states.

“… Chile’s inequality is still among the highest in the world (its Gini coefficient is 52.1), and non-income dimensions of well-being, such as health and education, are also skewed in favor of the rich,” Tamar Manuelyan Atinc, et al, Can Education Reform Address Inequality and Middle Class Frustration? An Experiment in Chile,” Brookings, May 9, 2014.

The Pinochet administration, 1973-90, set the tone for worker slavery by adopting Milton Friedman’s neoliberalism. Pinochet abolished worker unions. The “Chicago Boys” first course of action, after Allende, the deposed president who was killed (supposedly he committed suicide in the presidential palace) was to nose-dive the economy by manipulating the monetary tools, making it easy to undercut worker rights. Workers are always most vulnerable during recessions.

According to Barbara Figueroa, president of the Chilean Confederation of Workers (“CUT”) workers have waited “for over 30 years” for labor reforms to take place following the right-wing dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet, who implemented neoliberal reforms which decimated worker rights and regulations (Source: Chile Workers Push for Labor Reforms, Telesur TV, Sept. 4, 2014).

According to Gonzalo Durán, an economist and researcher at Fundación Sol, a non-profit organization that focuses on labor issues, “…90 percent of working Chileans make less than 650,000 pesos per month, totaling USD 1,300.” In other words, “Nine out of ten workers in Chile make less than the average minimum salary in developed countries.” (Source: Council on Hemispheric Affairs).

Yes, nine out of ten workers, aka: slaves, in Chile make less than the average minimum salary in developed countries. This leaves one out of ten that makes a living wage that removes them from the risk of slipping on a banana peel and falling into the pit of abject poverty.

According to Emmanuelle Bazoret, University of Chile, “Mid-level income is very low in Chile,” Bazoret said. “As a result the distance between the lower classes and the middle class is very small. Their precarious economic position makes them susceptible to social decline due to unemployment, illness or poverty in old age,” Chile’s Middle Class Survives on Shaky Ground, Deutsche Welle, 2014. The middle class is defined as those who make more than $500 per month in Chile.

Yet, all of the neoliberal data collectors of the world, like the World Bank and the IMF, boast about how rapidly Chile’s GDP per capita and income per capita, at $14,000, have zoomed upwards. However, upon closer inspection, pulling the curtain back, it is suggested that if the top 1% to 10% is removed from the income per capita data, which data itself is very, very suspect, this then leaves average income per capita in Chile at approximate $4000 rather than the $14,000, which is inclusive of the top 1% to 10%. Coincidentally, $4000 is very close to the minimum wage of $380 per month. Try supporting a family on $380/month!

Twenty-one percent of Chileans live in poverty. López, Figueroa y Gutiérrez in 2013 analyzed the distribution of income in Chile but used the database from the Internal Tax Service. The authors observed: “Evidence exists that the measures of inequality that are actually available, which are based in household survey data, under-estimate the real concentration of income, ” Sarah Gammage, et al, Poverty, Inequality and Employment in Chile, International Labor Office, Geneva, Switzerland, 2014.

“The study by de López, Figueroa y Gutiérrez (2013) confirms the analysis that the income distribution in Chile is greatly affected by the lack of information about the “super rich” in the CASEN household survey. The authors conclude that the richest 1 per cent of the income distribution is significantly underestimated using the CASEN,” Ibid.

“…the evidence presented here underscores that income inequality has risen over the course of the 1990s and 2000s… only 22 per cent of workers hold what could be referred to as a high quality job,” Ibid.

Only 22% of Chileans hold what could be referred to as a high quality job. This leaves 78% of the population holding low quality jobs, which is where slavery begins and ends. Yes, 78%.

As a result, it is just short of remarkable that Chile is held in such high esteem by various agencies of the world, but on the other hand, who’s providing the numbers? Therefore, is the data provided to the “world” relevant at all?

Chile’s Students – A Catalyst for Change

“Forty years after the coup headed by Gen. Augusto Pinochet, Chile remains a wounded, divided nation where the past lives in the present,” Enduring Rifts: Chile 40 Years After the Pinochet Coup, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, Nov. 11, 2013.

The students in Chile have taken to the streets in protest of a privatized educational system that has priced them out of the school market. As well, their activities are likely the symptom of much deeper problems like severe inequality and lack of opportunity for upward mobility amidst the rows and rows of homes for the poor in townships hidden from the glistening streets of Santiago.

“According to the NGO Un Techo Para Chile, shantytowns are settlements located in areas often occupied irregularly, where urbanization is limited or inexistent. The access to daily and basic needs such as drinkable water or sewer systems is dramatically limited. Access to quality health care and education are not readily available,” Women Lead in Chile’s Shantytowns, The Santiago Times, Dec. 12, 2009.

According to Noam Titelman, president-elect of the Catholic University Student Federation (FEUC), the fuel that sparked Chile’s student movement was “the accumulation of inequality, injustice and hopelessness.” (Source: Council on Hemispheric Affairs).

When a society fails its people, hopelessness ends up in the streets.

Neoliberalism is an economy theory that works extremely well, if you are already rich; however, for the rest of society, the jury is still out. But, if Chile is the prime example of how neoliberalism works at its best, they should not hold their breath.

Robert McChesney, editor of the Monthly Review, said this of neoliberalism: “It is capitalism with the gloves off.”

But, maybe more to the point, Fran Lebowitz, the NYC author and social critic had this to say about neoliberalism: “In the Soviet Union, capitalism triumphed over communism. In this country, capitalism triumphed over democracy.”
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Re: The Battle of Chile

Postby cptmarginal » Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:21 am

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/o ... arty-chile

Augusto Pinochet’s grandson to launch new rightwing party in Chile

Jonathan Franklin in Santiago

Tuesday 28 October 2014

The grandson of Augusto Pinochet is organising followers of the former dictator to launch a political party in Chile.

“Republican Order My Country” [Orden Republicano Mi Patria] is the name of the political movement. It condemns gay marriage yet supports legalised marijuana and reforms to the Pinochet-era constitution.

Though the pro-Pinochet forces have been organised for at least six years as a movement known as “For My Country”, after the arrest of a top Pinochet aide last week, Augusto Pinochet Molina, grandson of the dictator, stepped up formation of what supporters described as a centre-right political party.

While the proposed party acknowledges that the military abused citizens, they never speak of a dictatorship but of a “military government” followed by “a witch hunt” and a “vendetta” that jailed dozens of officers for the murder and disappearance of some 3,200 Chileans during the 17 years of Pinochet’s rule.

Pinochet Molina this week also sent out hundreds of invitations to the 99th birthday party of the dictator to be celebrated on 25 November. The location remains secret but among the invited guests is Cristian Labbé, a former Pinochet bodyguard charged last week with being part of a conspiracy to kidnap and murder 13 political prisoners.

A former captain in the Chilean army, Pinochet Molina was kicked out of the military after an impromptu speech he made at his grandfather’s 2006 funeral in Santiago, in which he applauded his grandfather’s campaign to “defeat Marxism” in Chile. A one time candidate for congress, Pinochet Molina is now positioning himself to run for office again.

“Augusto wanted to invite him because it is known that Labbé is a grand admirer of his grandfather, so for that very reason it would be an honour,” said Paolo Zarate, general secretary of For My Country in an interview.

Pinochet Molina’s decision to launch a political party is the latest salvo in a battle to lay claim to the now-deceased dictator’s legacy. For nearly a quarter of a century, the rightwing UDI party has held a lock on what Chilean pollsters call “the military family”, a conservative and influential bloc of voters. But moves to shut down a country club-style prison for imprisoned military officers and ongoing efforts to jail human rights violators has led to claims that even the pro-Pinochet UDI party has abandoned their former hero.

When Labbé was detained last week, a parade of rightwing politicians including senators went to honour their former colleague, though they sought to describe the visit as purely “humane” and not political.

“It is a party destined to be minority and most of all fascist,” said Chilean senator Alejandro Navarro in an interview with CNN.
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Re: The Battle of Chile

Postby cptmarginal » Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:28 am

Videos in OP were deleted...

In December 2009, Icarus Home Video released a deluxe 4 disc DVD edition of The Battle of Chile. Their site notes:

Long banned in Chile after Pinochet’s coup, only in 1997 could Guzmán return to show THE BATTLE OF CHILE there for the first time. CHILE, OBSTINATE MEMORY (included on the fourth disc here) is the extraordinarily moving record of that homecoming, and a fitting conclusion to a “thrilling documentary double feature,” “the unusual opportunity to see one film artist sustain an inquiry into the life of a troubled country over the course of decades.”




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Re: The Battle of Chile

Postby cptmarginal » Thu Mar 05, 2015 2:05 am

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/m ... g-pinochet

Godfathers of Chilean right charged with tax fraud, bribery and money laundering

Political heirs of dictator Augusto Pinochet accused of running ‘a machine to defraud the state’ using more than 1,000 fake documents

Image

A sign shows dictator Augusto Pinochet’s photograph and reads ‘No to the dictatorship’s legacy’ during a protest in Santiago in 2012. Photograph: Felipe Trueba/EPA

Jonathan Franklin in Santiago

Wednesday 4 March 2015 18.50 EST

Chile’s top prosecutor has filed tax fraud, money laundering and bribery charges against senior former officials and financiers of a rightwing political party created to perpetuate the economic legacy of dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Sabas Chahuán, the national public prosecutor, argued that evidence of widespread bribery of top officials in the mining ministry and millions of dollars in fake contracts was sufficient to request the immediate detention of Carlos Delano and Carlos Eugenio Lavín, both of whom are controllers of the Penta Group, a financial holding company that claims some $30bn in assets.

“What we have here, your honour, is an economic conglomerate with tax evasion as part of its culture,” said prosecutor Carlos Gajardo in his closing statement. “From the highest executive down to the last janitor, everyone submitted fake invoices … The Penta corporation has evolved into a machine to defraud the state.”

Delano and Lavín, long considered political godfathers for the Chilean right, were also accused of funnelling hundreds of thousands of dollars to rightwing political candidates over the past decade.

Delano has worked as a senior adviser for the Independent Democratic Union, a party founded in 1983 by Jaime Guzmán, Pinochet’s speechwriter and political aide.

Guzmán was a key architect of the country’s 1980 constitution, which gave legal protection to Chilean human rights violators – and which the current president, Michelle Bachelet, has pledged to reform.

The Penta Group has funded political campaigns for more than a dozen UDI party candidates.

Chahuán personally took control of the investigation in late February, when prosecutors said they had discovered hundreds more attempts to defraud the government. For the past six weeks, additional charges have been added to the mounting case against Delano, Lavín and several other Penta executives.

In his summary argument on Wednesday, Gajardo said investigators had found more than 1,000 fake documents.

The explosive hearings were carried on live TV and sent a clear message that Chahuán will take a firm stance against corruption.

According to prosecutors presenting the case at Wednesday’s arraignment hearing, Penta executives issued hundreds of fake invoices in the name of their wives, secretaries and children as part of a scheme to avoid taxes and skirt campaign finance laws.

When asked by the Guardian about the allegations, a Penta spokesman declined to comment, but during a break in the arraignment hearing Lavín told reporters that the prosecution’s allegations did not correspond to reality.

“The prosecutor does not know Penta. He created his own novel that doesn’t correspond to reality,” said Lavín in his first public defence of the company he built.

“I believe that I have been a notable businessman, all modesty aside, so to hear this kind of thing is tremendously unfortunate, out of place. He presents us like we were a mafia, as if we were Al Capone or something like that. And is it unfortunate to hear that.” Further arraignment hearings will be held on Thursday.

Chahuán’s decision to ask for pre-trial detention sent a powerful message in a country where even convicted torturers have been confined to prisons with tennis courts, cable TV and tended lawns. Former dictator Augusto Pinochet, who was convicted of plotting the murder of hundreds of his countrymen, was able to avoid jail through endless appeals and political influence he could exert on the Chilean judiciary.

Public pressure to crack down on corruption and influence peddling are at an all-time high in Chile following not only the Penta revelations but also the recent news that Bachelet’s son Sebastián Dávalos stood to benefit from a highly unusual $10m loan to finance a speculative real-estate project. Dávalos has not been charged with any crime but has resigned from the Socialist party.
More than reporters or political extremists, intelligence agents are inclined toward baleful explanations that emphasize conspiracy.
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Re: The Battle of Chile

Postby cptmarginal » Thu Mar 05, 2015 2:23 am

https://nacla.org/blog/2015/03/03/chile ... al-reforms

Chilean Students Struggle to Deepen Educational Reforms

A new Chilean law bans profits, tuition, and selective admissions in private primary and secondary schools that receive state subsidies--but students say much more is needed to dismantle the most commodified education system in the world.

Emily Achtenberg 3/3/2015

This article is a joint publication of NACLA and The Indypendent

Last month, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet signed into law the most significant educational reform the country has seen in 30 years. Enacted after an eight-month legislative battle, the new law will gradually ban profits, tuition fees, and selective admissions practices in privately-owned primary and secondary schools that receive state subsidies.

The long-awaited education reform—preceded by a corporate tax increase that will raise $8 billion annually for education and other social programs—addresses a key promise made by Bachelet and her center-left New Majority coalition during the 2013 electoral campaign. It has been widely hailed as a major step towards dismantling the market-based and socio-economically segregated education system, a legacy of the Pinochet dictatorship (1973–1990). According to the Chilean NGO Educación 2020, a key actor in developing the reform package, “This law changes the Chilean education system, the most commodified in the world, by transforming education from a consumer good to a social right.”

As anticipated, the protracted legislative battle over the New Majority’s education reform galvanized strong opposition from conservative sectors. But dissent has also come from less expected quarters: the highly-organized Chilean student movement. “This is not the reform we mobilized for,” proclaimed the University of Chile Student Federation (FECH), which spearheaded the massive 2011-13 demonstrations that catalyzed popular demands for education reform and paved the way for the New Majority’s electoral victory. “We have wasted a historic opportunity for educational reform, and also deeply damaged our democracy,” said Gabriel Boric, one of four student leaders elected to Congress in 2013 (who, nevertheless, voted for the reform).

To appreciate these surprisingly dissident perspectives, the new education reforms must be viewed in a broader historical context. The wholesale conversion of Chile’s system of universal, free, public education to a privatized, deregulated, demand-driven scheme, which began under Pinochet, was consolidated by subsequent democratic regimes. At the primary and secondary level, public schools have been systematically undermined by a municipalization strategy that generates widely disparate funding levels between jurisdictions, and by the creation of private schools that compete with public ones for state voucher subsidies.

Today, as resource-starved public schools continue to decline in quality, only 37% of Chilean students are enrolled in them (down from 80% in 1980). Private schools with state subsidies (like US charter schools) are the fastest growing sector, representing 56% of enrollment. Of these, 1/3 are non-profit (primarily owned by religious institutions) and 2/3 are for- profit. The remaining 7% are private with no state subsidies.

Most for-profit subsidized schools also charge tuition, and select (and retain) students based on their socio-economic status, test scores, and performance. As a result, each student buys the education that he or she can afford, and 44% of students—largely from poor neighborhoods and villages—do not complete high school. Still, even in the most selective institutions, students test well below average for the 34 developed nations that belong to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), due to the lack of quality control of schools, teachers, and teacher training.

At the higher education level, 80% of Chilean students now attend private universities or technical institutes. These schools are the most expensive in the world, relative to per capita income. Students pay tuition at public universities, too, a situation relatively unique for Latin America.

While Chilean universities are technically required to operate on a non-profit basis, recent investigations have documented illegal strategies used to divert funds for private gain, including service contracts and land or infrastructure leases with related for-profit entities. Universities are also highly segregated, with admission exams disadvantaging poor students from lower quality high schools and channeling them to “storefront” institutes, where roughly half drop out with high debt burdens. Top-ranked schools, including state-subsidized public universities, are available only to elite students.

The result, according to Educación 2020, is a system of “educational apartheid” that is among the worst in the world. It reinforces and reproduces inequality in a country which has the most unequal income distribution among OECD member states (as well as the highest per capita income in Latin America).

Bachelet’s reforms, which seek to decommodify privatized primary and secondary education, are aimed at one portion of this repressive system. They will require owners of for-profit elementary and high schools to convert to non-profit status, and to admit students by lottery instead of discriminatory selection. Tuition fees will gradually be replaced by increased state subsidies.

Students say the reforms don’t go far enough, and may fall short even in meeting their stated objective. They point to loopholes that will allow “flagship” schools to maintain selective admissions for up to 30% of their enrollment. Non-profit schools can also retain transitional leasing arrangements with for-profit landlords, legitimizing continuing profits within the primary and secondary education system through the same subterfuges used by private universities.

The law, students note, also authorizes new forms of profit-taking, through state-guaranteed loans to finance the sale of for-profit schools to non-profit operators at their subsidized market value. (An earlier proposal allowing the state to purchase these properties was scrapped, due to pressure from the Catholic Church which owns a significant number of schools.). The provision responds, in part, to a scare campaign mounted by the bill’s conservative opponents, who incited parents by raising the specter of massive private school closings in response to the ban on profits. (One newspaper ad posted in December read, in part: “Private subsidized school for sale: 2,000 students, excellent infrastructure, good parents, good teachers…”)

[...]


Continued at link.

"The upcoming legislative battle over higher education is expected to be much more contentious than last year’s struggle."
More than reporters or political extremists, intelligence agents are inclined toward baleful explanations that emphasize conspiracy.
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Re: The Battle of Chile

Postby Freitag » Thu Mar 05, 2015 2:46 am

Weird about education - in Chile they also pay tolls on most of their roads to drive, too. (But they have really nice roads.) I'm seriously considering retiring there, so I hope it's still a nice place 15 years from now.
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Re: The Battle of Chile

Postby Iamwhomiam » Sat Mar 07, 2015 5:55 pm

The video here captures the bribing of mining officials in Chile. Also see this post.
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Re: The Battle of Chile

Postby Iamwhomiam » Sat Mar 07, 2015 9:01 pm

Executives Are Jailed in Chile Finance Scandal

By PASCALE BONNEFOY MARCH 7, 2015

SANTIAGO, Chile — Four executives of one of Chile’s largest financial groups, a tax auditor and a former government official were taken into custody on Saturday after prosecutors filed charges of tax fraud, bribery and money laundering against them in a scandal that has shaken the economic elite and the main opposition party.

During three days of court hearings, prosecutors brought charges against 10 defendants in all: the owners and executives of the Penta Group, a financial holding company; two officials in Chile’s Internal Revenue Service; and two opposition politicians.

Judge Juan Manuel Escobar ordered the pretrial detention of Penta’s owners, Carlos Alberto Délano and Carlos Eugenio Lavín; its general manager, Hugo Bravo; a company accounting manager, Marcus Castro; an auditor at the tax service, Iván Álvarez; and Pablo Wagner, a former government official. The men were placed in a special unit of a maximum-security prison here.

The judge placed two other defendants under house arrest and ordered police supervision for another two.

During the hearings last week, National Prosecutor Sabas Chahuán detailed how Penta officials issued hundreds of fake invoices, evaded taxes, falsified statements and illegally financed the electoral campaigns of candidates from the right-wing opposition party Independent Democratic Union, known as UDI, with which Mr. Délano and Mr. Lavín had close ties.

Carlos Gajardo, another prosecutor, accused the Penta Group of having “a culture of tax evasion” and of becoming a “machine to defraud the state.” Mr. Gajardo told the court that the company “showed losses every year, but its executives filled their pockets with millionaire bonuses every year.” He added: “How do you explain that?”

Mr. Lavín has denied the accusations. “He presents us as a mafia, as if we were Al Capone or something of the sort, and it is unfortunate to hear that,” he told reporters after the first day of hearings.

The scandal, which has marred Chile’s image as being relatively free of corruption, began with an anonymous tip to the tax agency in August accusing Mr. Álvarez, the auditor, of fraud. Prosecutors say Mr. Álvarez helped falsify tax statements for 122 people, including Penta executives.

One of the men involved in the scheme was Mr. Bravo, Penta’s general manager. Investigators discovered in his computer false invoices issued by the wives of Mr. Délano and Mr. Lavín that helped the company evade taxes. Mr. Bravo cooperated with investigators, helping to unravel Penta’s financing of the electoral campaigns of nearly a dozen prominent members of the UDI and two former ministers under previous governments, Laurence Golborne and Andrés Velasco.

Telephone calls and emails intercepted by investigators revealed how UDI candidates asked Penta to fund their campaigns.

The scandal has shaken the UDI, and some political allies have called on its leaders to step aside. During a recent party meeting, UDI leaders decided not to take any action until after the judicial investigation.
Continue reading the main story
Continue reading the main story

The Penta Group, with over $30 billion in assets, has investments in health insurance, pension administration, real estate, education and banking. Mr. Délano and Mr. Lavín began making their fortune in the insurance sector in the 1980s, profiting from privatization during the latter part of the military dictatorship.

“Pentagate,” as the local media has labeled the case, has become a test of the judicial system, which has often been criticized for leniency toward white-collar crime, as well as for the democratic system itself, said Marta Lagos, director of the polling firm Latinobarómetro. “It’s a turning point for democracy in Chile, an opportunity to restore public faith,” she said. “For years people have suspected this collusion, this incestuous relationship between money and politics, and this case confirms it.”

Scandal has also touched the government of President Michelle Bachelet. News emerged in February that Ms. Bachelet’s son and daughter-in-law had met with the owner of another financial institution to obtain a $10 million loan for a company they owned in order to finance a land deal.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/08/world/americas/executives-are-jailed-in-chile-finance-scandal.html
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Re: The Battle of Chile

Postby cptmarginal » Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:30 pm

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/19/sport ... .html?_r=0

In Chile’s National Stadium, Dark Past Shadows Copa América Matches

By DAVID WALDSTEIN JUNE 17, 2015

SANTIAGO, Chile — A haunting yellowish glow radiates from the tiny section of empty wooden benches and crumbling concrete behind the north goal at Estadio Nacional. All around this space there is noise: 47,000 soccer fans screaming and jumping in delight as Chile’s national team plays Ecuador in the opening game of the Copa América.

But no one sits on those benches. They are reserved in perpetuity, a somber memorial to the thousands of people who were beaten and tortured here 42 years ago in the home of Chilean soccer.

Estadio Nacional, the site of six games in this year’s Copa América, including the final on July 4, is perhaps the most infamous sports arena in the world. For nearly two months after the Sept. 11, 1973, military coup that overthrew Chile’s democratically elected Marxist president, the stadium served as a makeshift prison camp where as many as 20,000 men and women suffered at the hands of a military junta, led by the right-wing army chief, Gen. Augusto Pinochet, that had seized control of Chile.

“The stadium became a synonym for the cruelty of the Pinochet regime,” said René Castro, one of the longest-serving prisoners at the stadium. “They did unspeakable things to us there. Now it is a place for football. People have fun there.”

Estimates vary for the number of people who were imprisoned there, and official records say that 41 people were murdered in the stadium in the eight weeks it served as a detention center.

For weeks after the coup, the military rounded up political and social activists and suspected supporters of the former president, Salvador Allende, and brought them to the concrete edifice, which opened in 1938 and hosted matches at the 1962 World Cup, including Brazil’s 3-1 victory over Czechoslovakia in the final.

“I can remember some of the other prisoners talking about going to games there,” Mr. Castro said.

It was the stadium’s intended purpose — international soccer, or at least the prospect of it — that eventually forced the Pinochet government to end its use as a prison camp on Nov. 9, 1973. That month, officials began preparing it for Chile’s scheduled World Cup qualifying match against the Soviet Union. The teams had played a scoreless tie in Moscow in the first leg, but when the Soviets complained about the site of the return match, saying the stadium was a place of blood, FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, said it would investigate.

Many of the prisoners, including Mr. Castro, were rounded up and taken below on the day FIFA officials arrived, into dressing rooms underneath the stadium where they could not be seen from the playing field. At gunpoint, Mr. Castro said, they were instructed to remain silent. But other prisoners were left in the bleachers that day, and remembered watching the men from FIFA go about their inspection.

“We wanted to yell out and say, ‘Hey, we are here, look at us,’ ” said one of those prisoners, Felipe Agüero, who was held captive for about a month. “But they seemed only interested in the condition of the grass.”

Mr. Agüero, a soccer fan who said he had attended many games at the stadium in his youth, was a 21-year-old student and member of a small political party in Allende’s socialist coalition. In an interview at his Santiago office of the Ford Foundation last week, where he serves as a program director for human rights in the Andean region, he described his treatment inside Estadio Nacional.

He said he was blindfolded and subjected to routine beatings, including being thrown against the concrete walls beneath the stands, at times headfirst. He said he was subjected to “massive amounts of electricity” over his entire body and burned with cigarettes.

He has since returned to the stadium to attend soccer matches, he said, “but it took me a long while to go back.”

Today, Mr. Agüero and Mr. Castro, despite the agony they endured there, endorse the use of the stadium as a site for entertainment. Over the years, Estadio Nacional has hosted concerts and political rallies as well as 70 games in the Copa América, including Chile’s 2-0 victory over Ecuador in the tournament opener and its 3-3 tie with Mexico on Monday.

In 1987, in the waning years of the Pinochet dictatorship, Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass there, defiantly calling the stadium a place of pain and suffering.

Near the end of the Pinochet regime, Chile’s government moved to reclaim the stadium from its bloody past. It was used as a polling site for the 1988 plebiscite that signaled the end of Pinochet’s rule, and later during the first post-Pinochet democratic elections for president and Congress. In 1990, a massive and joyous political rally was held there to celebrate the victory of Patricio Aylwin, the first democratically elected president since the coup. Edward M. Kennedy, a senator from Massachusetts at the time, was a guest of honor.

The stadium continues its democratic role today as a voting station. But for most Chileans, it is best known as the home of the national soccer team, La Roja.

Former prisoners say they would like to see more done to memorialize what happened there. In addition to the preserved seating area behind the north goal, there is a small, dank and dusty museum underneath those stands with well-known photographs from that time, a ghostly reminder of what Mr. Castro called the “insane” mentality that produces brutality for no reason. There is also a standing monument on the grounds outside the stadium, and other areas in adjoining facilities have also been left as they were during the terror of 1973.

“It is good what they have,” Mr. Agüero said. “But I would like to see the government do more to make it really stand out as a memorial. This way, it will be harder for people to forget.”

[...]
More than reporters or political extremists, intelligence agents are inclined toward baleful explanations that emphasize conspiracy.
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