Showing posts with label Gael Garcia Bernal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gael Garcia Bernal. Show all posts

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Report: Pinochet Wanted to Defy “No” Vote


Among the finalists for top foreign film at tonight's Oscars is “No,” which is based on the successful campaign that beat Chilean strongman Augusto Pinochet in a 1988 plebiscite.  The campaign’s efforts may have nearly been in vain according to recently declassified documents.

Several papers uncovered by the U.S. National Security Archive (NSA) showed that Pinochet was very reluctant to relinquish power in the hours before and after his electoral defeat. 

"I'm not leaving, no matter what," he reportedly told several of his closest advisers one day before the crucial vote was held.  He also supposedly claimed that he planned to do "whatever was necessary to stay in power," which he obtained via a controversial coup d’état fifteen years before. 

The NSA also revealed that although the U.S. government strongly supported the 1973 coup and the Pinochet regime, several agencies and diplomats gave there backing to the anti-Pinochet electoral campaign.  As U.S. intelligence reports indicated before the plebiscite that Pinochet would consider using violence to stay in the presidency, officials tried to privately exert pressure on the Chilean government.      

A U.S. Defense Department paper noted that Pinochet was “nearly apoplectic” as he headed towards a 56%-44% defeat.  At a meeting hours after the polls closed the dictator sought the support of military commanders and “spoke of using the extraordinary powers to have the armed forces seize the capital.”  They refused to go along with Pinochet’s power grab, however, and in the end he would admit defeat.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Nuestro Cine: Selling Democracy

The annual celebration of Chile’s “Fiestas Patrias” (“Patriotic Holidays”) took place this week in recognition of the country’s 202nd year of independence.  It was an occasion for Chileans to come together to show their patriotism and pride for their country.

The signs of unity on display on Tuesday contrasted sharply with the divisions displayed one week before on the 39th anniversary of the coup d’état against the country’s civilian government.  In Santiago, for instance, police and protesters clashed after a “largely peaceful demonstration” in memory of the hundreds of victims targeted by the military junta. 

The silver screen has not been immune from the heated opinions on the September 11, 1973 coup and the subsequent military regime led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet.  In June supporters and detractors of the late dictator faced off at the screening of a documentary that praised the late dictator as a “national hero who saved Chile from communism.” 

“No” is a 2012 movie that takes a critical look at the Pinochet government. The film stars Mexican actor Gael García Bernal as Rene Saavedra, an advertising executive heading a marketing campaign trying to convince voters to defeat the strongman in a 1988 national referendum.  The movie dramatizes the many difficulties faced by the campaign including limited resources and pressure from the government.  The film also shows archival footage including commercials that helped sway pubic opinion against Pinochet.

Below the page break is a clip from “No” where Saavedra and his associates encounter resistance to their plan from opposition activists: