When the Romance Ended: Leaders of the Chilean Left, 1968-1998

When the Romance Ended: Leaders of the Chilean Left, 1968-1998

When the Romance Ended: Leaders of the Chilean Left, 1968-1998

When the Romance Ended: Leaders of the Chilean Left, 1968-1998

Synopsis

The unanticipated arrest of General Augusto Pinochet in London on October 16, 1998 served to punctuate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the most cataclysmic event in Chilean history -- a violent coup d'etat that abruptly ended decades of democratic rule. A steadily increasing series of explorations, interviews, and images in the popular press and media has begun to unearth the horrors of the dictatorship and its defenders and to reevaluate the stories of the democratically elected Allendists the coup had brutally purged. Based on interviews and analysis of a generation of young leaders of the Chilean political elite who came to power with Allende's election in 1970, When the Romance Ended focuses on how Allende's followers conceptualize and justify their political objectives and programs through the course of their political victory, violent defeat, and gradual return to politics during Chile's redemocraticization process. Examining the 1960s generation's program of revolutionary social transformation, as well as the integral role the group played in the return to democracy in Chile, Hite explores what happens to the political identities of leaders such as these in a context of traumatic political upheaval and change.

Excerpt

In 1973 Chile experienced the most cataclysmic event in her history, a violent military coup d'état that abruptly ended decades of democratic rule. the military strafed and bombed the presidential palace, and amid the shelling and flames Chilean president Salvador Allende ended his life. Over the next several years the military junta led by General Augusto Pinochet imprisoned, tortured, exiled, and disappeared thousands of Chilean citizens. the dictatorship lasted for seventeen years. During the final years, cracks began to appear in the regime, and the military oversaw a gradual, controlled transition to democracy. in the 1989 national elections, leaders of the opposition movement, many of whom had been in the Allende government that the military had overthrown, emerged euphoric in their victory yet haunted by a painful past. Out of the disaster of dictatorship came a democratic rebirth not unlike many of the democratization movements that have taken place or are taking place internationally.

It has now been ten years since the passing of the presidential sash from Pinochet to a democratically elected civilian, Patricio Aylwin, and a good twenty-five years since the coup. Yet arguably only today have Chileans truly begun to engage in a public, collective—albeit divided—remembrance of the tragedy and brutality of the overthrow of Allende and the Popular Unity government. the unanticipated October 16, 1998, arrest of Pinochet in London most forcefully contributed to what began with the twenty-fifth anniversary of the September 11 coup: a steadily increasing series of explorations, interviews, and images in the popular press and media unearthing the horrors of the dictatorship and those who defended it. With Pinochet's arrest, debates about the past have moved quite perceptibly beyond the private spaces of homes and gatherings of close friends to the public sphere and the streets.

As the Chilean political class engages in the 1999–2000 presidential campaign and pending change of administration, such revelations and de-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.