Chile History – Government of Augusto Pinochet

Augusto Pinochet Ugarte took the head of the board and adopted, in July 1974, the title of “Supreme Chief of the Nation.” His government under Pinochet was characterized by unleashing a harsh repression against the political opposition, for which he allocated almost all of the powers of the State. In 1977, he created the intelligence services, the DINA and the National Information Center (CNI), who played an important role in the repression and in the authoritarian regime that he established. The persecution of opponents of the regime went beyond national borders, such as the attack on Orlando Letelier in Washington in 1976. Thousands of people were arrested. Many were executed, tortured or had to go into exile, while others were imprisoned for a long time or “disappeared”.

He suspended the Constitution, dissolved Parliament, imposed absolute censorship, and banned all political parties. He launched the country in a campaign of terror against the left and bloody repression. In 1980, he promulgated a new constitution known as the 1980 Constitution, which established a presidential system of government, created a National Security Council, chaired by the President and made up of the Commanders-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, the President of the Senate and the President of the Supreme Court of Justice. It also recorded the creation of designated senators, the second round of presidential elections and the binomial electoral system, establishing that the current President would remain in power until 1988.

On October 5 of the same year, Pinochet organized a plebiscite with a view to redirecting his mandate, after March 1989, until 1997. While the “no” won with about 55% of the votes, Pinochet announced that he would extend his term until March 1990. However, in December 1989, Chile had the first organized presidential vote in 19 years. The election gave the majority to the Christian Democratic candidate Patricio Aylwin.

While Pinochet remained at the head of the Armed Forces, President Aylwin appointed, in April 1990, a “commission of inquiry for truth and reconciliation” on human rights violations under the preceding regime. His economic reforms tended to maintain a high growth rate and to establish social integration. The country opened up abroad by multiplying exports, particularly to the United States, thanks to a bilateral trade and investment agreement. The municipal elections of June 1992reinforced the victory of the Christian Democrats.

Presence of women during the dictatorship

Since the coup d’état and its multiple consequences in social, economic and cultural terms, driven by the force of life and affections, they would have to develop the best capacities and would make emerge, despite everything, solidarity, creativity and courage in the face of barbarism, becoming the first and most persevering fighters against the dictatorship. [4]

When the Catholic Church implemented the creation of soup kitchens and bags for unemployed in the parishes, women took care of the organization and direction in the collection of food and obtaining donations. They also organized arpilleras workshops, laundries and amasanderías. To face the situation of repression that they suffered directly, the wives, mothers, sisters of detainees who came to COPACHI for legal support, [5] began to meet and coordinate their efforts. From these meetings emerged the Grouping of Relatives of the Disappeared Detainees. The Agrupación’s tireless struggle led to finding the truth in some cases: Lonquén, Laja and Yumbel proved that those detained disappeared had been executed. [6]

In 1975, the military regime made public a draft substitute for the Labor Code where women lost maternal jurisdiction by virtue of paid work or contracts for fixed periods. [7] Some time later, the National Trade Union Coordinator (CNS) was formed and within it a Women’s Department that would be in charge of organizing working women and urging them to fight for their rights.

The women also organized to publicly express their denunciation of the wave of human rights abuses, the atomization of social and political participation, articulating a discourse that would become the expression of a new “feminist awakening” [8] that was it would become a permanent mobilizing agent.

One of the characteristics that express the great call of the women’s movement and feminism in dictatorship, is the use of slogans and creative images with high symbolic content. Several were the slogans that resounded not only in Chile but also at the Latin American level (Gaviola, Largo and Palestro 1992), such as “Democracy in the country, in the house and in the bed” created by Julieta Kirkwood and the team that devised the Fury magazine. Kirkwood re-founded the feminist movement in Chile and was one of the initiators of the Feminist Movement in opposition to the Pinochet dictatorship.

Cristina Moyano in the text NGO in dictatorship: Social knowledge, intellectuals and political opposition in….., highlighted:

… the women’s movement articulated a field of knowledge use and a broad social process…. it gave rise to a social actor from a conflict …. that guided the construction of a project of cultural change.

The closure of the cycle of social mobilization of women during the dictatorship was expressed in commemoration of the 8 of March of 1989 with a rally in the state Santa Laura, to which attended more than 25 000 women from various sectors. This act was visualized as the last International Day of Women in dictatorship, so it symbolized the birth of the new woman and her commitment to democracy. [9]

Registered bulletins and organization or group that prepared it
Organ of diffusion Group or Organization that elaborates it
And what about us Reflection Women’s Workshop of the Santa Cristina parish
Women in the fight Prepared by political prisoners from Nueva Imperial
Hey neighbor Committee for the Defense of Women’s Rights (CODEM), Maipú.
Presence of woman Women’s Department of the Unitary Socialist Movement (MSU)
Little leaf Commission on the Rights of Women
Guacolda Female Action
Woman, voice and people Of female settlers of the Herminia population
Our awakening From the solidarity workshops José María Caro
Ormiga ?
Women’s word Atacama Women’s Union (Udema)
Popcorn Las Domitilas Group
Testimony Chilean Women’s Liberation Front
We Feminist editions Centro Mujer
Sintracap Newsletter Inter-company Union of Private Home Workers (Sintracap)
Come on woman Committee for the Defense of Women’s Rights (CODEM).
Fury Federation of Socialist Women
Circle Newsletter Circle of Women’s Studies
La Morada bimonthly newsletter La Morada Women’s House Corporation
Your voice woman Committee for the Defense of Women’s Rights (CODEM), Concepción.
The Cicada Committee for Women’s Unity
Ridem Newsletter Women’s Information and Dissemination Network (Ridem)

The Mexican researcher Sandra Ivette González Ruiz from the National Autonomous University of Mexico to carry out her research Writing in dictatorship, Chilean feminist poets… traveled to Chile to interview feminists and listen to women, activists, poets, writers and survivors of the Pinochet’s dictatorship in his final reflections he wrote:

During the dictatorship in Chile, poetry written by women flourished, first those who published from the literary field, especially from Cuarto Propio, a feminist publishing house founded still under the dictatorship. Women writers who reflected on what it means to be a woman and to write and on particular violence against women, reflections that reached their climax at the First International Congress of Women’s Literature. Later, the important literary production written in prisons where there were not only poetry workshops, but also presentations of poetry books. This poetry written by the political prisoners is also a way of representing and breaking up captivity. And finally the poetry written by women settlers, also from workshops, political poems that deal with the struggle and social organization. This varied and heterogeneous poetry strains the category of female literature that classifies poetry written by women based on characteristics traditionally associated with the feminine, and at the same time strains the only voice and the silence imposed by the dictatorship disputes the ways of representing violence. [10]

Chile History - Government of Augusto Pinochet

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