Chilean musician Violeta Parra


This 6 February 2018 video about Chilean musician and visual artist Violeta Parra is called A Committed Chant Against Injustice.

More about her is here.

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Clerical sexual abuse and papal visit in Chile


This video says about itself:

Catholic bishop heckled by opponents of child sex abuse

22 March 2015

Newly named bishop of Osorno in Chile Juan Barros was pushed and shoved by demonstrators carrying black balloons as he squeezed through the crowd in Saint Matthew’s Church.

Many Chilean Catholics say Barros covered up the sexual abuse of children committed by his superior Fr. Fernando Karadima Farina in the 1980s and ’90s.

Karadima was found guilty by the Vatican.

Read more here.

By Lucia Newman in Chile today:

Crisis of faith in Chile as pope visits amid sexual abuse scandal

Santiago, Chile – The last time a pope visited Chile was in 1987, when the then staunchly Catholic South American country was in the midst of military rule.

Even communists embraced John Paul II, because of the Chilean Church’s outspoken defence of human rights.

But 31 years on, the arrival of the first Latin American pope is not provoking the same euphoria.

Chile has suffered some of the worst cases of ecclesiastic sex abuse in the region, and the Catholic Church is paying the price.

When the former archbishop of Buenos Aires became Pope Francis in 2013, his charisma and above all his promises to reform some of the darkest practices of the Vatican, captured the imagination and admiration of much of the world, especially in his region.

He vowed that there would be zero tolerance for sex abuse within the Catholic Church and formed a special commission to investigate the issue, inviting two victims to take part.

Five years later, growing unhappiness over the Vatican’s follow up on zero tolerance is casting a shadow on the papal visit here.

The pontiff’s controversial decision to name Father Juan Barros as Bishop of Osorno, even though he was accused of facilitating and covering up abuses for Chile’s most notorious pedophile priest, Fernando Karadima, left many stupefied.

And when Pope Francis was caught on video telling a pilgrim in Rome that Osorno parishioners were suffering because they were “dumb” and “twisted by the left”, there was outrage.

Silvana Gonzalez is one of dozens of Catholics who protested on the steps of Osorno’s Cathedral on the eve of the Pope’s arrival.

“We are not happy to receive him, because he says one thing and does another. The Church continues covering up abuses and the pope rewards the culprits. And calling us dumb is an insolent offence that we cannot tolerate”, Gonzalez told Al Jazeera.

Just days before the pope’s arrival, the Boston-based research group bishopaccountability.org published a database listing some 70 Chilean priests, deacons, religious brothers and even a nun who have been accused of molesting children. Some remain in active ministry.

‘Millions of Catholics have lost faith’

Some 30 of Osorno’s parishioners are coming to Santiago for the Pope’s arrival. They will be joining other protesters who say they want to hold the pope accountable.

Among them is Juan Carlos Cruz, one of three of Karadima’s victims. He says the pope has betrayed Chile by defending the institution and re-victimising the survivors.

“The pope has great headlines but no follow up. Apart from Bishop Barros, we have Cardinal Errazuriz, who was rewarded by being named to the committee of eight cardinals that counsel him, along with George Pell, another abuser from Sydney”, says Cruz. “And the current Archbishop of Santiago, Ricardo Ezzati, has been named a cardinal, when he has covered up not only our abuses but those of many others.”

Pope Francis knows that in Chile and in Peru, where he will also stop, millions of Catholics have lost faith.

Just ahead of his trip, the pope ordered the Vatican to take over an elite Catholic group in Peru, after years of charges that its founder sexually abused scores of children and adult members .

And after saying that there was no room on the pope’s schedule to meet with abuse victims during his trip to Chile and Peru, the Vatican is now indicating that it won’t rule it out.

These are important gestures. But Pope Francis will have to do more to inspire trust in the Catholic Church, which in Chile is now the lowest in Latin America.

“In many countries but especially in Chile, sex abuses within the church have been and continue to be very painful. Cases are still being revealed. The pope’s visit here is an opportunity to tell him about these issues. What we need is an open heart to listen to what he has to say”, says Javier Peralta, director of the National Commission for the Papal Visit.

POPE FRANCIS STUNNED SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIMS OF A CHILEAN PRIEST By accusing them of slander. [HuffPost]

POPE Francis was accused yesterday of covering up the Chilean church child abuse scandal after reports he had read the allegations in 2015: here.

Chilean anti-dictatorship mural restored in England


Gilberto Hernandez, one of the Chilean exiles who worked on the artwork, pictured with the mural. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

From the Yorkshire Evening Post in England:

Forgotten Leeds mural tells enduring story of solidarity

By Chris Bond

Friday 08 December 2017

For decades a giant mural painted by a group of Chilean students and refugees had been forgotten about, hidden from view behind a wall in the foyer at Leeds University Union.

It could have been lost forever had a Chilean PhD student not happened to catch a glimpse of it during a refurbishment earlier this year and recognised his country’s national flag. The student posted a picture online of the artwork, which turned out to be a mural painted in 1976 by Chilean exiles who had fled from General Pinochet’s reign of tyranny in their homeland.

The mural, copied from the kind of cultural poster often found on the streets of Chile prior to Pinochet’s military coup, features miners and agricultural workers along with the slogan ‘And There Will be Work For all’ written in Spanish.

Now, more than 40 years after it was first painted, the damaged mural is being restored with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It was originally created in the Students’ Union to help draw attention to the plight of the thousands of Chileans who suffered under Pinochet’s rule in the aftermath of the coup that ousted the democratically elected Marxist leader, Salvadore Allende, in 1973.

The story of the Chilean students and refugees who painted the mural was covered at the time by … the Yorkshire Evening Post. Among those who worked on it was Gilberto Hernandez. He had been a journalist in Chile and spent two years in prison before being released.

He was allowed to leave the country with his young wife, but left behind his mother, sister and friends. Thousands of political refugees fled Chile during this period, with many arriving in the UK and in particular places like Sheffield and Leeds. Mr Hernandez was among those who came to Leeds, arriving here in the autumn of 1975. He said: “There were over 200 Chilean people that came to Leeds and we were supported by organisations like the Chile Solidarity Campaign, which helped us find accommodation and families to stay with until we were settled. “We went to the university for meetings and to use the cafe and we asked them if we could paint a mural and they said ‘yes.’”

Mr Hernandez studied at the university before working as a librarian at The Yorkshire Post for more than 20 years, but over time he and his Chilean friends forgot about the mural. Which is why he is delighted that it has now been ‘found’ and is being restored. He believes it is not only important to Chilean exiles living in the UK, but all those who have found themselves in a similar situation.

He said: “It has a strong meaning to me because it denounces the crimes committed by the Pinochet dictatorship and still acts as a symbol of solidarity and friendship for the people who have been persecuted by dictators and continues to show hope for refugees.” Once restored, the mural will form the centrepiece of a resource library dedicated to refugees and asylum seekers, bringing members of the student, local and Chilean communities together.

Union Affairs Officer Jack Palmer said: “We hope that the mural’s inspiring story will encourage new political artwork in Leeds and bring students, refugees, local residents and the Yorkshire Chilean community closer together.” The restoration work will begin next month and is due to be completed by February. In September 1973, Chile’s president Salvador Allende, the … democratically-elected Marxist head of state, was overthrown and died in a military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet and backed by the CIA.

Under the subsequent dictatorship, more than 3,000 political opponents were killed, while thousands more were tortured or disappeared. People were arrested for their political or trades union work, or simply for supporting the previous government. Many of the refugees that fled to the UK ended up in Leeds. About 30 refugees landed in the city in November 1974, with the remainder arriving in October the following year.

See also here.

How Scottish workers sabotaged Chilean dictator Pinochet


This video says about itself:

NAE PASARAN (2013) – Official Trailer

In a small Scottish town in 1974, factory workers refuse to carry out repairs on warplane engines in an act of solidarity against the violent military coup in Chile. Four years pass then the engines mysteriously disappear in the middle of the night. Forty years later they re-unite to look back on what was gained and what was lost.

Director: Felipe Bustos Sierra Producer: Rebecca Day (SDI Productions) Executive Producers: Sonja Henrici & Noe Mendelle Editor: Anne Milne Animation Director: Frederic Plasman Camera: Julian Schwanitz Sound: Jack Coghill

Highlights: Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013 DOK Leipzig 2013 – Official Selection and Animadoc Dove Award Nomination Arcipelago 2013 – International Competition The Short Planet – Rome London Short Film Festival 2014 – Official Competition Glasgow Short Film Festival 2014 – Scottish Competition Tribeca Film Festival 2014 – Official Competition

By Felipe Bustos Sierra in Scotland:

The cots who downed Pinochet’s war planes

Saturday 2nd December 2017

Felipe Bustos Sierra tells the extraordinary story of working-class international solidarity that has inspired his documentary Nae Pasaran

I first met Robert Somerville at his Motherwell tower block flat five years ago this month. I had known of the story of the workers at Rolls Royce East Kilbride for decades but found out their names only recently. Robert and his fellow shop stewards led one of the longest and most efficient boycotts against the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, although it has taken five years to find out how much they accomplished.

From 1974 to 1978, they refused to repair and return Avon jet engines from the Chilean air force.

These engines had powered the Hawker Hunter jets that bombed the Moneda Palace in Santiago on September 11 1973 and put an end to the first left-wing democracy in Latin America.

The Chilean military-led coup and the death of President Salvador Allende marked the beginning of 17 years of dictatorship, systematic human rights abuse and press censorship. The National Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission have estimated that there were around 30,000 victims of human rights abuses in Chile, with 27,255 tortured and 2,279 executed.

Six months after the coup, aero-engine inspector Bob Fulton, nicknamed “Tank commander” for his years as a WWII tank mechanic, noticed the job sheets for the first Chilean engine on his desk. With the help of his colleague Stuart Barrie they alerted anyone working on Chilean engines: “These engines are blacked. We’ll not work on them.”

By the end of the day, eight engines of the Chilean air force were found throughout the factory and work on them stopped.

The works committee, of which Somerville and John Keenan were representatives, backed Bob’s decision which was supported by the Amalgamated Engineering Union (AEU) executive.

No jobs were lost and, after a year of deliberation with the management, the Chilean engines were loosely assembled, put into crates and left to rust in the yard. The longest boycott in the history of Chilean solidarity had begun.

On the August 26 1978 at 2am, two lorries and an iron crane with fake licence plates from an fictional transport company were let into the yard and took away the engines. The workers were told soon after that the engines were back in Chile and already in service. It was the last they heard about the matter, with little indication as to whether they’d had any impact.

The “blacking of Chilean engines by Scottish workers” had become one of the old myths of the Chile solidarity movement shared at solidarity events throughout the 1970s and ‘80s, well beyond the time of the engines’ disappearance.

Robert, John, Bob and Stuart have told me this story in their own words, from their own — at times, very different — memories over the last five years.

At the end of our initial meetings, they each had the same question, “Do you think we can still find the engines?”

For the last five years, I have researched and filmed in Britain and Chile a documentary called Nae Pasaran (They Shall Not Pass) — an investigation into the true impact of the boycott.

The film, for the first time, includes interviews with Chileans who crossed paths with the engines, for better or worse, and provides painstakingly documented evidence that the boycott was a triumph kept hidden by the Pinochet propaganda machine.

Based on our research, the Chilean ambassador bestowed, in 2015, on three of the workers the highest honour given to foreigners by the government of Chile. The Scottish pensioners became Commanders of the Republic of Chile.

Finally, earlier this year, we discovered the lost engines in Chile and managed to bring one back to Scotland. It’ll be returned next year to East Kilbride as a monument to the workers’ solidarity.

While we have reached our goals, including hearing the true impact of the boycott straight from the mouth of one of Pinochet’s last surviving generals, our goals have in the end taken us well beyond our financial resources.

We are currently running a fundraising campaign to allow us to complete the documentary.

It concludes on December 20 2017. We would be grateful for any contribution made.

Felipe Bustos Sierra is a Chilean filmmaker, born in exile in Belgium and now living in Scotland. To donate visit www.naepasaran.com.

Pinochet torturers sentenced in Chile


This Spanish language 15 December 2016 video is about a commemoration in Chile of the kidnapping, disappearance, torture and murder of five months pregnant Reinalda del Carmen Pereira Plaza by the secret police of dictator Pinochet.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

Ex-cops jailed for ‘disappearance

CHILE: A judge sentenced 35 former agents of General Augusto Pinochet’s secret police on Wednesday for the 1976 kidnapping and torture of a pregnant Communist Party member who was never seen again.

Judge Miguel Vazquez sentenced Pedro Espinoza, Juan Hernan Morales and Ricardo Victor Lawrence to 10 years in prison. The 32 others received seven-year jail terms for their part in the crime or four years as accessories.

Five-month-pregnant medical technician Reinalda Pereira, who aided dissidents resisting the dictatorship, was kidnapped on December 15 1976.

See also here.

Photo of Reinalda del Carmen Pereira Plaza

This photo commemorates Reinalda del Carmen Pereira Plaza.

New Pacific marine parks


This video says about itself:

9 October 2017

Two countries have made a big new splash in ocean conservation. Niue, a tiny island in the South Pacific, has committed to protecting 49,000 square miles of ocean, including one of the world’s best habitats for reef sharks. Additionally, Chile will create two new reserves totaling 240,000 square miles. Both countries will restrict fishing in the new marine protected areas. All three reserves were scientifically supported by National Geographic Society’s Pristine Seas program.