Pinochet Directly Ordered Killing On US Soil Of Chilean Diplomat

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By Jonathan Franklin for The Guardian, General Augusto Pinochet directly ordered the 1976 assassination of a Chilean diplomat who was killed in a car bomb in Washington DC, according top secret US intelligence documents declassified by the Obama administration. The documents, which were handed to the Chilean president, Michelle Bachelet, on Tuesday in Santiago by the US secretary of state, John Kerry, also show that the former dictator was so concerned with covering up his role in the murder that he planned to assassinate his own head of intelligence, General Manuel Contreras.

60,000 March For Human Rights In Chile, Anniversary Of Allende Take-Over

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By AFP in Telegraph – Some of the 60,000 carried pictures of their kin who were abducted or killed by the state and held signs with slogans such as “40 years after the coup, nobody and no one has been forgotten.” After a two-hour march, one group of hooded demonstrators set up barricades and squared off with police, some of whom were hit with stones and sticks. Police subdued the protesters with tear gas and water cannons. The march ended at a cemetery with a memorial to the victims of Pinochet’s Cold War regime. “Forty years on, we are still demanding truth and justice. We won’t rest until we find out what happened to our loved ones who were arrested and went missing” never to return, said Lorena Pizarro, leader of a relatives’ rights group.

Can The Movement For Free, Quality Public Education Win In Chile?

The next few months are of critical importance to Chile’s long-running education movement. President Michelle Bachelet has said she plans to implement comprehensive education reform this year, which will guarantee quality education for everyone. To ensure this happens, the movement has increased pressure on the government with huge protests by teachers and students last month, including an indefinite strike by the National Teachers Union that began June 1.  Over the years, the movement has learned to temper its expectations. In 2011 — when protests were last at a peak — many thought change was imminent, only to suffer frustration and loss of momentum in the years that followed. But this time may be different. According to Bill Moyer — a social change activist and founding member of the Movement for a New Society, a network of activist collectives that played a key role in nonviolent social movements in the 1970s and 1980s — movements often go through eight stages. Based on the model he designed for understanding the cycle of a social movement — called the Movement Action Plan, or MAP — the education movement in Chile is nearing the final stages. Before learning about those, however, it is important to understand how it got to this point.  Students have historically been at the forefront of social protests in Chile. High school students were some of the first to defy Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship, while university students used their campuses as safe places for resistance. After the end of Pinochet’s regime the student movement took time to re-focus their demands and set up new forms of organization and protest.  Following this process of re-adjustment, high school students sparked Chile’s movement for education in 2006 — known as the “penguin revolution” because of the shape and color of the school uniforms — with a very specific demand for free and universal student transport passes. They soon moved on to more structural demands against the neoliberal economic policies affecting education, specifically the Organic Constitutional Act of Teaching, which reduced state involvement in education and came into force on the last day of Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship on March 10, 1990.  The movement was briefly successful in putting education on the political agenda. Mobilizations came to an end after President Bachelet — during her first term in office from 2006 to 2010 — repealed the controversial act. However, the demand for free, quality public education, was still far from being met.  At this point, the movement entered stage three, or “ripening conditions,” where people form new groups and small civil disobedience actions start to dramatize the problem. After the 2006 protests there was a period of lower activity within the movement, but slowly new collectives began to emerge, along with a clearer demand for radical transformation of education in Chile.  The movement was then ready for the fourth stage, or “take off.” This usually happens after a trigger event — caused by the movement itself or by the power-holders — and, after significant organizing, which leads to massive demonstrations, large acts of civil disobedience and extensive media coverage.  In Chile, the trigger was the 2010 election of Sebastián Piñera, the country’s first right-wing president since Augusto Pinochet was forced out of office. Piñera’s government came to power as a reaction to years of frustration with the Coalition of Parties for Democracy — the center-left coalition that had been in power since the end of the Pinochet dictatorship. This development, combined with a growing perception that real social justice would not come from the top down, created stronger unity on the left to organize against the government.  Student organizers, who represented the many thousands of young people eager to engage politically by creative means other than the ballot box, understood that the time was ripe for massive mobilizations.  The movement then launched a campaign that involved a great diversity of actions, including mass marches, school occupations, flash mobs, an alternative referendum on whether education should be free and much more. Most of the student protests were heavily repressed by the police. The government tried to blame the violence on the students, but the images of students, teachers and parents marching peacefully being tear gassed and hit by water cannons belied this narrative. This repression backfired, as polls showed that the movement had more than 70 percent approval among the public, which put education at the top of the political agenda in 2011.  At the time there was a feeling within the movement that it was possible to change things immediately, but as Moyer argues, change takes time and movements usually have to go through various stages before achieving their goals. One weakness of the student movement is that it is very dependent on the school year. Students struggle to keep the momentum going during the summer break and every year there is new student leadership.  Between 2012 and 2014, the movement went through the fifth stage, which Moyer calls the “perception of failure.” In this stage, there is a lower level of participation in actions and the movement appears to be having less of an impact. Many participants felt that large protests weren’t bringing about real change in education and that it was time to look for new strategies. There were also divisions among those in the movement, most notoriously manifested in the different positions taken by activists on voting — first in the 2012 local elections and later during the 2013 presidential and parliamentary elections. While many of the university student leaders strongly supported voting for different candidates to local government — and some even ran and got elected to parliament themselves — the high school student leadership could not have been more different. They called for a boycott of the elections, arguing that no real change would come through electoral politics.  During the fifth stage, politicians often argue that they have “received the message of the people” and that now it is their turn to design and implement the changes that the people have demanded. For the Chilean student movement, this meant that the debate moved from the streets to Congress and the political parties. At the same time, the mainstream political conversation was dominated by the presidential elections of 2013. Many people had hoped Michelle Bachelet’s re-election would come with a mandate to radically reform the education system. Bachelet had finished her first presidential term in 2010 with historically high approval rates, thanks to economic measures that — in a limited, but direct way — supported working-class people. The main message of her 2013 presidential campaign was a commitment to end inequality in Chile.  Since her re-election, however, Bachelet has failed to put forward education proposals that actually meet the movement’s demands. The government argues that this is not due to a lack of political will, but rather the limited resources of a stagnant economy. To implement and be able to afford their education reform, the government passed tax reform last year, with the goal of raising more taxes from big companies. To many, however, this reform fell short of the promise to end inequality in the country. Chile doesn’t lack resources, what it lacks is a just distribution of wealth.  At present, the movement is in the sixth stage, which Moyer called “winning over the majority.” After more than a year of Bachelet’s government, the movement is clear that the radical change they demand for free, quality public education, will not come through the reform that this government is proposing. The government reforms face strong opposition in Congress, so the government has had to water down their proposals to make sure they get approved. The movement understands that it is now vital to work on proposals that counteract those put forward by the government and use its power to secure as good a deal as possible, knowing that it will not be the end of the struggle.  While there have been proposals for reform from students and teachers over the years, they have become more important than ever now that the government is sending education bills to Congress. On June 6, the Chile Student Confederation, which represents students from the so-called “traditional” universities — public schools that were privatized by Pinochet — agreed on an education proposal called “Chile decides.” It put forward a petition with nine points, including: the development of curriculum by teachers, stability for workers, internal democracy for schools, free and universal education, and an end to profit in education in all its forms.   View image | The proposals have been accompanied by growing social pressure. In June, there was an increase in the regularity and the number of people at marches. For instance, the protest organized by students on June 10 mobilized almost 350,000 people throughout Chile. These actions are happening at the same time as the indefinite teachers’ strike is taking place.  According to Moyer, there are two stages after the sixth: “success” and the “consolidation of success and moving over to other struggles.” Even though these stages are not necessarily linear, and not all movements go through all of them, it is a model that attempts to make sense of the processes experienced by a movement and to ultimately show that change takes time.  The education movement in Chile is at a historic point, having already gone through several stages of a long struggle. It wouldn’t be in the position it is now — with Bachelet’s government set to reform the Chilean education system this year — if not for continuous organizing and creative actions. The movement is aware that this is a crucial moment and it has raised its level of mobilization accordingly, knowing it is possible that the government might make compromises on many of their demands in response to pressure from more moderate sectors. However, if the movement manages to gain majority support — as it did in 2011 — it may be able to secure free, quality public education for everybody in Chile at last.

By Javier Gárate in Waging Nonviolence – The next few months are of critical importance to Chile’s long-running education movement. President Michelle Bachelet has said she plans to implement comprehensive education reform this year, which will guarantee quality education for everyone. To ensure this happens, the movement has increased pressure on the government with huge protests by teachers and students last month, including an indefinite strike by the National Teachers Union that began June 1. Over the years, the movement has learned to temper its expectations. In 2011 — when protests were last at a peak — many thought change was imminent, only to suffer frustration and loss of momentum in the years that followed.

Massive Marches In Chile For Education Reform Face Violent Police

During the strike, the students pushed back on some of the police vehicles. Ueslei Marcelino / Reuters

By Jennifer Baker in Revolution News – About 350 thousand people marched throughout the cities of Chile on Wednesday against proposed changes to the education system. Some 200 thousand people marched in the capital of Santiago. Wednesday’s march and Thursday’s events (below) were planned to coincide with Chile’s national men’s soccer(football) team participates in the opening game of the Copa Americas. High School students joined teachers and professors who are now on their second week of an indefinite strike. Wednesday’s events were organized by the Confederation of Chilean students (CONFECH), The college of teachers, the National Coordinator of Secondary Students (Cones) And The House Coordinator of Secondary Students (ACES). CONFECH estimated their group alone at 200 Thousand participants.

Newsletter - Overcome Fear With Love

Love Over Fear

Instead of taking action to prevent or mitigate the next crisis, politicians are causing more harm as they work hand in hand with the wealthy elites who are trying to grab even greater power and extract even greater riches. Maryland’s governor was quick to bring in the National Guard and militarized police, but just cut Baltimore education funding by $11.6 million to fund pensions, while last week the state approved funding for a youth jail the people in Baltimore don’t want. This article provides five key facts about Baltimore and a graphic that shows how the United States built its wealth on slavery, Jim Crow and racially-based economic injustice and kept African Americans from benefiting the economy. Also, as a special addition to recognize BB King, he sings “Why I Sing the Blues” describing the history of African Americans from slavery until today.

Civil Resistance & The Geopolitics Of Impunity

Rather than justice, Spain elected for collective amnesia to deal with the crimes of General Francisco Franco, seen here during the nationalist victory parade celebrating the end of the Spanish civil war on 20 May 1939. Public Domain.

The first of these cases is probably the most unsavoury, and we have more than enough examples worldwide, especially in Latin America (Chile, Argentina, Perú, El Salvador, etc.). Here, the perpetrators employ relevant institutional powers to forge a renewed ‘democratic’ structure, in which they receive a guarantee of legal impunity for previous criminal activities justified by a misguided concept of national security and stability. Such is the case of the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Despite the gradual democratisation signalled by the 1988 national referendum to remove him from power, he clung to his position as head of state for a further two years, and his subsequent appointment as a senator for life took place and was previously sanctioned under the terms of decree no. 2191 in 1978.

Women Farmers In Chile Join Together To Create Economic Autonomy

From left to right: Nancy Millar, Blanca Molina and Patricia Mancilla on Molina’s small farm near the town of Valle Simpson in the southern Chilean region of Aysén. The three women belong to the only rural women’s association in the Patagonia wilderness, which has empowered them and helped them gain economic autonomy. Credit: Marianela Jarroud/IPS

More than 100 women small farmers from Chile’s southern Patagonia region have joined together in a new association aimed at achieving economic autonomy and empowerment, in an area where machismo and gender inequality are the norm. Patricia Mancilla, Nancy Millar and Blanca Molina spoke with IPS about the group’s history, and how the land, craft making and working together with other women helped them to overcome depression and situations of abuse, and to learn to trust again. “We have at last obtained recognition of rural women,” said Mancilla, president of the Association of Peasant Women of Patagonia. “Peasant women have learned to appreciate themselves. Each one of our members has a history of pain that she has managed to ease through working and talking together.”

BREAKING: CODEPINK Attempts Citizen's Arrest Of Kissinger


Washington, DC –– On Thursday, January 29, CODEPINK protesters spoke out during Senate Armed Services Committee hearing attempting to perform a citizens’ arrest on Henry Kissinger. Holding handcuffs and large signs that read: KISSINGER: WAR CRIMINAL and ARREST KISSINGER FOR WAR CRIMES, activists read aloud a citizens’ arrest [pasted below]. In response, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Committee, called the human rights activists “lowlife scum” and said it was “the most disgraceful and despicable demonstration he had ever seen.” “CODEPINK is really proud of our action in the Senate today, speaking out on behalf of the people of Indochina, China, East Timor and peace-loving people everywhere,” said CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin, “Henry Kissinger is responsible for the deaths of millions. He’s a murderer, a liar, a crook, and a thug, and should be tried at the Hague.”

Chile’s LGBT Movement Marches United

The March for the Respect of Sexual Diversity in Chile on October 18. (Agencia Uno)

Yesterday, Chile celebrated a historical moment: for the first time, the LGBT movement marched united to demand equal rights. Historically, there has been much reluctance to work together, but in 2013 seven organizations within the movement came together and yesterday’s march was a result of their collaboration. This signals a shift in the movement in Chile as it strives for ever greater steps toward equality. The LGBT movement in Chile has often been criticized for being so divided. In response to this critique, seven organizations — Acciongay, Daniel Zamudio Foundation, Equals Foundation, Mums, Transexual Organization for the Dignity of Diversity, Breaking the Silence, and It Gets Better Chile — came together on May 17, 2013, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, to form the Front for Sexual Diversity.

Chilean Police Attack Columbus Day Protesters

A Mapuche Indian activists dodges a jet of water during a protest against Columbus Day in Santiago October 12, 2014. This year marks the 522th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival to the Americas. — Reuters pic - See more at:

SANTIAGO, Oct 13 — Chilean police fired tear gas and water cannon yesterday to break up thousands of indigenous protesters demanding land rights and condemning Columbus Day, after masked demonstrators began throwing stones. The march in Santiago began festively, with demonstrators decked out in colorful clothing and playing traditional indigenous music from around the country. But some protesters turned violent, throwing stones at police, who responded by firing water cannon and tear gas. That broke up the demonstrators, who police said numbered about 6,000.

Exalted War Criminal Makes The Mass Media Rounds


The former national security adviser seems to be everywhere lately. He made an appearance at an event with other former secretaries of state, leading Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank (9/3/14) to call him “the most celebrated foreign-policy strategist of our time,” and to note that of those gathered, “the wisest, as usual, was Kissinger.” Of course, a clear vision of Kissinger would help too. The record is well-documented, from backing a coup in Chile (“We will not let Chile go down the drain”) to supporting the dirty war in Argentina to Indonesia’s bloody campaign in East Timor. Kissinger is most closely associated with the wars in Vietnam and Cambodia. Of the latter, he famously delivered this order: “A massive bombing campaign in Cambodia. Anything that flies on anything that moves.” Credible estimates of the number of people killed as a result of this order range as high as 800,000.

Chile Rejects $8bn Dam Project In Patagonia

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President Michelle Bachelet’s government has rejected a huge $8bn hydroelectric project in Chile’s Patagonia region, citing its adverse impact on the environment. The decision by the Chilean cabinet to shelve the controversial seven-year-old scheme was a victory for environmentalist groups which fought the proposal to build five dams in a pristine river basin. “The Hidroaysen hydroelectric project is hereby rejected,” said Pablo Badenier, the environment minister. Hundreds of people on Tuesday cheered the decision in the streets of Santiago and in the region of Aysen, about 1,300km south of the Chilean capital. Patricio Rodrigo, executive secretary of the Patagonia Defence Council, called the decision “the greatest triumph of the environmental movement in Chile”. It “marks a turning point, where an empowered public demands to be heard and to participate in the decisions that affect their environment and their lives,” Rodrigo said. The joint Spanish-Chilean venture formed for the project now has 30 days to challenge the decision in the Environmental Court of Valdivia in southern Chile.

US Tried To Stop Allende Before He Was Elected

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Covert U.S. planning to block the democratic election of Salvador Allende in Chile began weeks before his September 4, 1970, victory, according to just declassified minutes of an August 19, 1970, meeting of the high-level interagency committee known as the Special Review Group, chaired by National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger. “Kissinger asked that the plan be as precise as possible and include what orders would be given September 5, to whom, and in what way,” as the summary recorded Kissinger’s instructions to CIA Director Richard Helms. “Kissinger said we should present to the President an action plan to prevent [the Chilean Congress from ratifying] an Allende victory…and noted that the President may decide to move even if we do not recommend it.” The document is one of a compendium of some 366 records released by the State Department as part of its Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series. The much-delayed collection, titled “Chile: 1969-1973,” addresses Richard Nixon’s and Kissinger’s efforts to destabilize the democratically elected Socialist government of Salvador Allende, and the U.S.-supported coup that brought General Augusto Pinochet to power in 1973. The controversial volume was edited by two former officials of the State Department’s Office of the Historian, James Siekmeier and James McElveen.

Chilean Artist Sets Fire To $500m Worth Of Student Debt Papers


A heap of ashes is allegedly all that remains of $500 million in “pagarés” — or debt papers — stolen and burned by a Chilean activist. A video by Francisco Tapia, aka “Papas Fritas,” went viral this week in which he confessed to burning the legal papers certifying debt owed by Universidad del Mar students and had thus liberated the students from their debt obligations. “It’s over, it’s finished,” Tapia said in his impassioned five minute video, the Santiago Time reported. “You don’t have to pay another peso [of your student loan debt]. We have to lose our fear, our fear of being thought of as criminals because we’re poor. I am just like you, living a shitty life, and I live it day by day — this is my act of love for you.” The university is still collecting on its student loans, but not without great difficulty. The destruction of the documents occurred during a “toma” — student takeover — of the campus and means the embattled university owners must now individually sue each of its students to assure debt payment — a very costly, time-consuming process, the paper reported. Tens of thousands of students flooded the streets of Chile last year, demanding education reform. Now, it seems, tensions are escalating once again.

Activists In Chile Score Victory Over Monsanto


This month, rural women, indigenous communities, and farmers in Chile found themselves on the winning end of a long-fought battle against a bill that had come to be known by many in this country as simply, the “Monsanto Law.” The bill, which would have given multinational agribusiness corporations the right to patent seeds they discover, develop or modify, was withdrawn by the Chilean government now controlled by newly elected members of the center-left coalition known as the New Majority, amid concerns that the law would bring harm to the country’s small and mid-sized farmers. In making the announcement on March 17, new Secretary General Ximena Rincón pledged that the Chilean government will “analyze all that is known in our country and internationally about this issue in order to protect the rights of agricultural communities, small and medium-sized farmers, and the heritage of seeds in our country.”