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Santiago, 1973 – Swansea 1980   Leave a comment

Español: Mural a Víctor Jara, pintado en el ga...

Español: Mural a Víctor Jara, pintado en el galpón que lleva su nombre. Barrio Brasil, Santiago, Chile. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Español: sepulcro de Víctor Jara en el Cemente...

Español: sepulcro de Víctor Jara en el Cementerio General de Santiago de Chile (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Marchers for Salvador Allende. A crowd of peop...

Marchers for Salvador Allende. A crowd of people marching to support the election of Salvador Allende for president in Santiago, Chile. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Santiago, 1973 - Swansea 1980


This is a poem which was written for me by a visiting student leader when I was Chair (Cadeirydd) of NUS Wales (UCMC) in 1979-80. The previous September, on the anniversary of General Pinochet‘s coup, the fifty-strong community of Chilean refugees in Swansea had staged a three-day hunger strike, together with exiles worldwide, to draw attention to the unknown fate of the many ‘disappeared’ in the country. The coup had begun with the murder of President Allende and many of his supporters. Some, like the leader of the ‘New Song’ movement, Victor Jara, were tortured, mutilated and killed in the national stadium in Santiago. A concert for Chile was held in Swansea, featuring Dafydd Iwan, who had written a song in Welsh about Jara. He also sang it in English for the Chileans present. During the Falklands Conflict, in 1982/3, Margaret Thatcher made an alliance with Pinochet and prevented his extradition to France, one of the many countries who had indicted him for crimes against humanity. Those tortured by the tyrant had included the British nurse, Sheila Cassidy, and a number of US citizens working in Chile at the time of the coup. The role of the CIA in supporting the coup has been well documented and portrayed in the film, ‘Missing’ starring Jack Lemmon, based on the true story of a US Republican’s search for his son. Swansea remained one of the major centres for the exiled supporters of the Allende government, a socialist coalition, who’s President was the world’s first avowed Marxist to be elected.001



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