The Coup, The Struggle for Democracy and a New Beginning – Santiago’s Museo De La Memoria Y Los Derechos Humanos

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

Forty-five years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to roam around freely in Latin America—unless the other me had had a taste for military dictatorship tourism, and I don’t think she would have.

Forty-five years ago, the US-backed Plan Cóndor implemented a campaign of political repression and state terror involving intelligence operations and assassination of opponents in most of South America.

Forty-five years ago, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay were right-wing dictatorships and the governments of Colombia, Peru and Venezuela were sporadic members of Operation Condor as well. Things weren’t any better in Central America, by the way.

I love exploring today’s South America, but it also makes sense to look at what it was just a few decades ago, if only to see how much a country can change, for the better or for the worse.

In Chile, all it took was a military coup (with US help) overthrowing Allende on 11 September 1973. Allende apparently committed suicide as the armed forces were bombarding La Moneda and Augusto Pinochet took control of the country.

Followed years of terror until the election of a “transition” president in 1988. Dozens of history books and documents will give you a better overview of these years and Chile’s present that, as an outsider, I can only touch upon.

Today, Argentina, Chile and many other Latin America countries are trying to deal with their past. In Argentina, I visited the ESMA, in Santiago, I went to the Museum of Memory and Human Rights. It’s not a fun place but it gave me hope—things can change for the better.

Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos

Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos: September 11, 1973, the coup

Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos: September 11, 1973, the coup

Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos: September 11, 1973, the coup

Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos: September 11, 1973, the coup

Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos: September 11, 1973, the coup

Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos: September 11, 1973, the coup

Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos: September 11, 1973, the coup

Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos: September 11, 1973, the coup

Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos: September 11, 1973, the coup

Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos: the struggle for truth and justice

Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos: the struggle for truth and justice

Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos: some of the victims

Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos: the fight for freedom and democracy and the 1988 election

Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos: the fight for freedom and democracy and the 1988 election

Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos: the fight for freedom and democracy and the 1988 election

Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos: the fight for freedom and democracy and the 1988 election

Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos: the fight for freedom and democracy and the 1988 election

Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos: Chile thanking the international community for help and support

Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos: the struggle for human rights continues

Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos: the struggle for human rights continues

Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos: the struggle for human rights continues

Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos: the struggle for human rights continues

Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Share.

About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

8 Comments

  1. Yeah. Even if I’ve never been a fan of Chávez nor Maduro, what happens in Venezuela is a textbook coup of these infamous times. In particular, the immediate support of Guaidó by Canada is sickening.
    Seriously, you can’t claim that the government of a country failed to bring economic stability to its people when in the same time you put harsh economic sanctions on said country.

    • I’m not exactly knowledgeable about Venezuelan politics but I’m highly suspicious when the US backs whoever is in charge. All the Venezuelan I chatted with (there are hundreds here) said it didn’t change anything for them, same bullshit, definitely not the president/change they were waiting for.

  2. We went to a similarly themed museum this weekend: the Memorial ACTe in Guadeloupe, which exposes historical slavery in the Caribbean islands and beyond. Definitely a tough subject matter that made me totally depressed about the human condition (since slavery still exists) and the despicable portion of the population that puts their own wealth and power above human rights. But as any good museum should, it ended on a hopeful note. Highly recommended if you’re ever in the area!

    • Growing up in Nantes, a city that got rich from slave trade, I had the chance to see quite a few great exhibitions about the slave trade. One of them kind of traumatized me when I was a kid, “Les anneaux de la mémoire”, in the early 1990s… Like you said, pretty depressing but the more we talk about it, the less likely it will be tolerated (because it definitely is, still today, in some parts of the world).

Leave A Reply