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European Solidarity with Chile – 1970s – 1980s

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Edited By Kim Christiaens, Idesbald Goddeeris and Magaly Rodríguez García

The overthrow of the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende and the coming to power of a military regime led by Augusto Pinochet on 11 September 1973 drew worldwide attention towards Chile. The political repression shook the world and ignited one of the largest social movements of the 1970s and 80s. Hundreds of solidarity committees and a gamut of human rights and justice organizations mobilized thousands of people. This volume offers a compelling insight into the exceptional impact that the Chilean crisis made in Western and Eastern Europe. In doing so, it provides a new and broader perspective into the history of the Cold War, transnational activism, and human rights.
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A Global Perspective on the European Mobilization for Chile (1970s-1980s)

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Kim Christiaens, Magaly Rodriguez Garcia and Idesbald Goddeeris

Just as many of us vividly remember our whereabouts upon learning of the shocking events of 11 September 2001, so too did the news of general Augusto Pinochet’s military coup, which overthrew democracy in Chile on that same September day twenty-eight years earlier, leave a profound impact on many contemporaries.1 Images of troops attacking the presidential residence, La Moneda, in the capital Santiago, the arrest of thousands of citizens, and the installation of a military regime were broadcasted worldwide and provided seemingly endless ammunition for television and public debate throughout the weeks and months after September 1973.2 The death of the democratically elected president Salvador Allende, the record of his emotional last message, and the torture and execution of dissidents stirred the consciences of global public opinion. Even if the autumn of 1973 witnessed several crises and events with international resonance, such as the Yom Kippur War in October, the crushed student uprising in Greece in November, and Palestinian terrorism in December, it was the plight of Chile that became the most important cause for mobilization by a plethora of European social movements. Not only by dint of their size and resonance, but also by their resilience over the more than sixteen years of dictatorship, campaigns against Pinochet and in support of his opponents became one of the main post-war causes célèbres for activism by innumerable citizens and a broad range of human rights and solidarity...

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