Saturday, March 24, 2012

Chilean student leader Camila Vallejo in Argentina

"La sola mención de su nombre lleva directo a uno de los más importantes movimientos de protesta juvenil –y más allá del límite generacional– que sacudió a Latinoamérica en el último tiempo." ("Just the mention of her name calls directly to mind one of the most important youth protest movement - and one that reaches well beyond the generational borders - that has taken place in Latin America in recent times") - Ailín Bullentini, En marcha a la Plaza de Mayo Página 12 24.03.2012

Chilean student protest leader Camila Vallejo
Even though South America has fared relatively well during the current depression so far, thanks largely to their increasing rejection of neoliberal economics (the "Washington Consensus" of the 1990s), there have also been significant protest movements of indignados there during the last few years, notably in Chile, which the Pinochet turned into a Chicago School experiment in deregulation and Milton Friedman economics. The current billionaire President of Chile, Sebastián) Piñera, is committed to the neoliberal model and wants to have further deregulation and privatization.

Student leader Camila Vallejo (full name: Camila Antonia Amaranta Vallejo Dowling) became a charismatic and effective leader of protests in Chile, particularly those aimed at protecting and explanding access to higher education. She developed that role in her former office as chairperson of the Juventudes Comunistas de Chile (Young Communists of Chile). Yes, that naughty young woman is a Commie, can you believe that?

Still, however shocking her political affiliations may be to Americans - although in FOXWorld that would mean she's pretty much like President Obama - she has been impressively effective in articulating grievances felt by large numbers of Chileans and organizing protests to articulate them. She currently serves as the Vice President of the Federación de Estudiantes de la Universidad de Chile (FECH).

In the Página 12 interview, she says, "Los jóvenes chilenos no somos hijos de la democracia, sino de la posdictadura" ("We Chilean youth are not children of democracy, but rather of the post-dictatatorship"). She was in Argentina to attend a marching commemorating the dark anniversary of the military coup in 1976, which began a seven-year military dictatorship, the most brutal in Latin American history. The fall of the Junta in 1983 and the re-establishment of democracy have become a founding myth for Argentine democracy, myth in the sense of being an emotionally-charged symbol. Working through the history of that period, including by legal prosecution of those who committed crimes on behalf of the Junta, continues to be an important part of the "kirchnerista" government of Cristina Fernández and her predecessor as President, her late husband Néstor Kirchner.

Camila compares Argentina's current state of democracy favorably to that in Chile because she believes Argentina enjoys a much greater degree of democracia plena (full and/or open democracy). One appealing feature of Argentina's current practice for her are the legal proceedings against criminals under the military dictatorship:

–¿Considera que en Chile podrían enjuiciarse y condenarse a los genocidas?

–Hay muchos atrasos en el país; uno tiene que ver con los juicios por los crímenes de lesa humanidad cometidos. Pero, ¿y los que ocurren hoy? Hace poco menos de un año, un carabinero asesinó a un niño, Manuel Gutiérrez, un delito que está juzgando la Justicia militar. Eso no puede ser, ahí tiene que intervenir la Justicia civil. Muchas cosas no han avanzado. Mucha gente que está en el poder hoy es responsable de lo que sucedió en la dictadura. (El presidente chileno, Sebastián) Piñera fue el empresario que más se enriqueció durante la dictadura. Los dos medios de comunicación más poderosos son golpistas. Son responsables, avalaron y son cómplices de torturas y asesinatos de la dictadura y apuntan a dejar atrás la historia, dejarla en el pasado, pensar en el futuro.

... mucha gente [en Chile] añora la dictadura. Existen sectores, aunque no son mayoritarios, muy de derecha, muy reaccionarios, y que recuerdan eso como los buenos momentos de nuestro país.

Do you believe that in Chile it would be possible to prosecute and convict those guilty of genocide? [the interviewer uses "genocide" inappropriately here to refer to crimes of repression under the Pinochet military dictatorship in Chile - Bruce]

There are many backward things in the country; one has to do with legal proceedings over the crimes against humanity that were committed. But, and those that are happening today? A little less than a year ago, a [military] rifleman murder a boy, Manuel Gutiérrez, a crime that is being handled by military justice. This can't be, civilian justice has to intervene there. (The Chilean President, Sebastián) Piñera was the businessman who got the richest during the dictatorship. The two most powerful of the news media were supporters of the coup. They were responsible for, endorsed and were complicit in tortures and murders of the dictatorship and aim to leave history behind, to leave it in the past, think about the future.

... many people in Chile miss the dictatorship. There are sectors, though they are not a majority, very rightwing, very reactionary, and who remember that as the good moments of our country.
Camila is not in agreement with the concept of Look Forward, Not Back when it comes to official crimes, it seems. Nor should she or anyone else be.

This video (Camila Vallejo YouTube date 02/28/2011) shows her talking about the needs of Chile on the anniversary of the Earthquake of 2010.

This one shows her more in Evita mode (Discurso Camila Vallejo 19/10/11 - El Infiltrado YouTube date 10/20/2011):

See also:

Camila Vallejo: "Tenemos que aprender mucho de Argentina" Página 12 24.03.2012

Oliver Trenkamp, Chilenische Studentenführerin. Lehr uns revoltieren, Comandante Camila! Spiegel Online 30.01.2012. A caption on her photo there reads, "Sie ist eine knallharte Kommunistin und beliebter als der Präsident" ("She is a hardcore Communist and more beloved than the President") Presumably it's the President of Chile meant there.

William Moss Wilson, Just Don't Call Her Che New York Times 01/28/2012

Ulrich Ladurner, Die Mächtige. Klug, schön, eloquent: Eine Studentin führt die Proteste in Chile an Die Zeit 21.08.2011

Revolutionskunde für Anfänger Die Zeit 02.02.2012



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