Dictatorship Series - Legacies of Dictatorship in Chile

  • Instituto Cervantes, 15-19 Devereux Court, London

Canning House and Instituto Cervantes are co-presenting this series of talks that looks at military dictatorships in 20th Century Latin America and their legacies to present day. Each talk will focus on a different country.

The 17-year military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) left at least 3000 Chileans dead or disappeared, tortured many more, and forced hundreds of thousands into exile. Pinochet was in power for longer than any other Chilean ruler in history; his dictatorship was also one of the longest-lasting in twentieth century Latin America. This longevity and the fact that a substantial proportion of the Chilean population still declared their support for the regime in the plebiscite of October 1988 cannot be explained fully by either the military orchestrated state terror or by Pinochet's personal power. The complex realities of cultural production (hugely diverse and creative despite brutal and widespread censorship), neoliberal economic reform (which benefitted many in the Chilean upper classes but debilitated the working class and its organisations, and which combined free market policies with state ownership of key natural resources) and political participation (in a officially entitled "organic democracy" which closed down congress and brutally suppressed dissent) during this period, help us to explain why attitudes towards the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile remain subject to such intense debate today.

Joanna Crow - Senior Lecturer in Latin American Studies at the University of Bristol. She holds a BA in French and Spanish from the University of Leeds (1994-1998), an MA in Latin American Studies from the Institute of Latin American Studies, London (2000-2001), and a PhD from University College London (2002-2006). She has written and spoken widely on Chilean cultural and intellectual history, focusing in particular on indigenous Mapuche history and indigenous-state relations in Chile. Her first monograph 'The Mapuche in Modern Chile: A Cultural History' was published by University Press of Florida in 2013. She is currently working on two new projects: one on Mapuche intellectual networks in Chile, and another on Chile-Peru relations during the twentieth century.

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