Project

Enduring Rifts: Chile 40 Years After the Pinochet Coup

Forty years after the coup headed by Gen. Augusto Pinochet, Chile remains a wounded, divided nation where the past lives in the present.

The nation’s enduring rifts are visible in the glaring contrast between the country’s elite, who enriched themselves during the dictatorship, and the entrenched poverty in Santiago’s shantytowns—a gap that has grown in recent years.

History is alive in the homes of people like Ana Gonzalez, a woman whose husband, two sons and daughter-in-law were "disappeared" during the dictatorship.

And it’s a force in the November presidential election featuring Michelle Bachelet and Evelyn Matthei. The daughters of Air Force generals played together as children, but their lives were changed permanently by the coup.

Matthei’s father Fernando joined the junta. Bachelet’s father Alberto remained loyal to Salvador Allende and the constitution, paying for that decision with his life.

Yet there are also glimmerings of Chile coming to terms with its bloody past. Among the most important: this September 11 saw an unprecedented outpouring of memory-related activity.

January 12, 2014|

Chile With Filters

Juan Pablo Garnham interviews brothers Jeff Kelly Lowenstein and Jon Lowenstein about their impressions of Chile's past, present and future.