Sunday, September 11, 2011

Nuestro Cine: 9/11/73

We will soon publish a few short posts examining the 9/11 attacks and its impact on the Latino community in the U.S. For this post, however, we're going to look at another important event that occurred decades ago.

September 11th is a notable date in Latin American history for it was on that day in 1919 U.S. Marines invaded Honduras while thirteen Haitians were killed in the St. Juan Bosco massacre of 1986. Yet the most well-known event on that date was the 1973 military coup that overthrew Chile's civilian government.

The overthrow of President Salvador Allende and the subsequent regime under Gen. Augusto Pinochet which lasted until 1990 continue to be the subject of debate. Backers of the late dictator claimed that the coup was needed in order to prevent Chile from turning into a communist country under a socialist leader. Detractors, meanwhile, contend that the CIA-backed coup helped usher in a wave of brutal repression under the iron hand of Pinochet.

The aftermath of the coup thirty-eight years ago today can be seen in "The Death of Pinochet", a film that depicted the reactions of Chileans on the day he died. The conflicting views on the impact of the coup and Pinochet's rule can be seen in this documentary, which aired last month in New York as part of the Latinbeat series. The Spanish-language trailer to the film provides a glimpse into mixed feelings of joy, sadness and anger held by residents of Santiago on that day in December 2006:

Approximately 5000 people in Santiago today participated in a march to commemorate the hundreds (if not thousands) of people who died in the 1973 coup. The event was reportedly marred by clashes between police and 300 demonstrators.

Online Sources - La Tercera, La Nacion, BBC News, The Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence,

Video Source - YouTube

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