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November 21, 1976 - Image 3

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1976-11-21

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page five-

Number 1

Editor: Stephen Hersh

Associate Editors: Ann Marie Lipinski, Elaine Fletcher

November 211 1976

The Tah-n U mski
th e 'dem ocra cy o f tor tur
.***.* Tgk ORTURE AND TERROR. The two words



Isabel Allende



were spoken again and again during
the four-day-long Teach-In on Latin
America last week. But as chilling as
fthose words are, they somehow didn't
seem powerful enough to relate the full
impact of what the current fascist govern-
ments of Latin America do to their citi-
zen s.
The University auditoriums echoed with
descriptions of brutal treatment. Some of
the descriptions were first hand; others
were accounts by friends and relatives
of the victims. There 'were also films,
some of which gave accounts of the bru-
talitie in graphic detail.
Who are the victims? Many of them are
leftists, opponents of the regimes. Some
of these worked actively against their
governments, others are merely ideologic-
ally opposed to their country's leaders.
But it's not only leftists who are
subj ect to arrest and torture. Priests, law-
yers and doctors; poor people and rich peo-
ple; young people and old people - in
short, anyone who isn't willing.,to give in
to any order by the government - is vul-
nerable. Said one victim of repression who
appeared in Saul Landau's film Brazil,
"The only democracy is democracy of tor-
Which are the countries where this
takes place? Chile is the most prominent
example, and also the most relevant to
Americans -= the coup which introduced
fascism there three years ago was precipi-
' ated by American intervention.
And the list goes on; there's Brazil, Ar-
gentina, Nicaragua, El Salvador.
;tis such leftist leaders as Salvador Al-
lende, the late Chilean president who died
in a rightist coup, who represent the in-
terests of the- Latin American people. But
the Latin American left has not proven
itself strong enough, to establish much
firm control.
Most of the blame for this must be at-
tributed to the United States. The Ameri-
can government has consistently set itself
up as an active enemy of the left, in Latin
America as around the world.
It was the Teach-In's goal to/publicize


Foft ISABEALLENDE, the fury' of the
As the daughter of the late Chilean
!President Salvadorf Allende, she was able
to watch from close quarters tI' e pro-
gress of her country along. the "peace-
ful road to socialism" from 1970 to 1973.
Her father took charge of Chile with the
support of a coalition of political parties
of the left and the center. At the time,
the country was in, the grip of poverty :
hunger was rampant, housing was a dis-
grace, education was serving only a frac-
tion of the children, health care was in-
adequate, and industry - most of which
was owned 'and controlled by investors in
the U.S. and other foreign countries -
was operating at. less than full capacity.
and was consistently paying the workers
less and less.
Salvador, Allende, a Marxist, moved
to shake Chile up. Always careful to work
within the law - he considered his Donu-
lar mandate tor be partly based on the
assumption that he would administer the
country according to its constitution-Al-
lende charted a course of radical econonm-
.ic reform. He nationalized a large chunk
of the country's industry, mast prominent-
ly the copper companies. He put more
wages in the, hands of the workers and
reorganized production to get it working
close to its potential. He started a pro-
gram of agrarian reform, and poured mon-
ey into such essentials as food production
and distribution, which in the past had
been all but ignored.
But Allende soon came up against a
hard reality: foreign economic interests
don't like to cooperate with socialist gov-
ernments. The United States cut off its
flow of credit to Chile. And under the
aegis of then-President Nixon and Secre-
tary of State Henry Kissinger, the U.S.
funneled millions of dollars into the coun-
try clandestinely, with the aim of "destab-
ilizing" the government. The money sup-
This article was wvritten by Stephen Hlersh,
and is Partly based on~ an interview with Isabel
Allende conduc'ted by the writer along with
Robert Miller and Paul O'Donnell. The latter, a
teaching fellow in the University's Spanish de-
partment, doubled as translator.

ported rightist parties and several lengthy
strikes which hurt Chile's economy.
Then cainetthe coup. A handful of fas-
cist generals, led by Augusto Pinochet,
used the armed forces to take over the
presidential palace in an attack which
killed the president. As his daughter Isa-
bel said in her Teach-In speech, the coup
managed to "impose the interests of im-
perialism and the bourgeoisie on policies
in Chile."
In a conversation after her Rackham
Auditorium= speech Thursday, Allende dis-
cussed her feeling that her father's social-
ist government was placed in' a position
of checkmate by the hostility of both the
Chilean right and the United States.
Speaking calmly but with obvious con-
viction, she also talked about the tasks
now facing opponents of Latin Ameri-
can repression.

f, Daily Photo by PAULINE LUKENS~
Teach-in discussion panel (from left to right): Enrique Kirkberg, former rector at the Technical
University in Chile, Amy Congers, former teacher and political prisoner in Chile, and Abe Fein-
glass, Amalgamated Meatcutters Union Vice President.

the facts of life under the Latin Amerftan
lier has known exactly what the
Chilean government meant by its f are-
well words to her and her husband.
"We were told before we left Chile that
DINA (the Chilean secret police) had a
long arm and would; catch us wherever
we were doing something against the
junita," she told a Teach-In audience Tues-

This story was compiled by Elaine
Stephen Hersh, Ann Marie Lipinski,
Toole, Mary Watson and Linda Willcox.


See ISABEL, Page 4

September 21, a year and a half- after
his exile from Chile, Orlando Letelier was
killed in a car bombing in Washington
kD. C. Isabel confidently blames the DINA,
and the U. S. In part, for, her husband's
Orlando, Letelier, the former Chilean
ambassador to the U. S. under Salvador
Allende, was an outspoken critic of na-
tional lewder Gen. Augusto Pinochet's
economic policies. He fought for more
than a year an~d a half in the U. S. to block
foreign aid and loans to the Chilean gov-
erment's record of repression; torture,
murder and denial of human rights to
the general population. This didn't sit well
with the. Pinochet regime -- her hus-
band's assassination is ample proof of
that, says Isabel- Letelier.
She also attributes partial blame to the
U. S. for not listening'to her husband. "If
they (the U.S.)_ had stopped sending mon-
ey -.the (Pinochet) government breathes
money -- then, without that money the-
government could not breathe and would
die," she told students. It follows, she said,
that the Pinochet government would not
have killed her husband.
During Teach-In discussions, Isabel
Letelier spoke of atrocities allegedly com-
mitted against political prisoners and the
population of Chile. She recalled Gen.
Carlos Prats, Allende's 'army chief, who
was exiled in Argentina and killed two
years ago in a car bombing similar to the
one which took her' husband's life. She
spoke of Bernardo Leighton, a liaison be-
tween exiles in Europe and the European
Christian Democrats, who was seriously
wounded by a gunman in Rome in 1975;
and Pascal Allende, nephew of the former
Chilean President, who was the target of
an assassination attempt in Costa Rica.
But no case was more poignant, because of
the immediate tragedy, than that of her
In the last two months of the Allende
regime in 1973, Letelier was called back to
Santiago where he served, as the Foreign
Minister, Minister of the Interior, and-
Minister of Defense in the final days. In
the aftermath of the coup, he was taken
prisoner by Pinochet's forces.
Detained in the basement of the Air
Force buildings in Santiago, hp learned
"the sounds of torture,'-which he never
forgot," his widow said.


Doily Photo by ANDY FREEBERG
Isabel Allende

Isabel Letelier

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
g How VStrange...
How strange that my bones don't bleed How funny they don't take the shape of my body
Tafter so many years, How hollow
months, -"My tortured body"-seems
;,.days. to say to me every'day.
Body so dry that it seems like a mistake And it's so real!
that there's still skin, It's so real.
i' and flesh,
f'.and life. I look at myself and I can't accept it as mine.
I can't be this fleshless ghost.
Strange sensation this one of being alive. There must be some mistake in God's big machine
At first I though that there is no dignity without that repeats the same thing like a scratched record
___________________freedom, innocently persistent.

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