March 30, 2012

0161 CHILE (Metropolitana de Santiago) - La Moneda Palace (UNESCO - Tentative List)

Santiago, Chile – March 29, 2012 (i.e. yesterday)
The Associated Press: "Bands of hooded youths clashed with police in Chile's capital Thursday during another round of riots on what has come to be known as the day of the combatant [more accurate Dia del joven combatienteDay of the Young Combatant]. Young people have been staging the violence every March 29 in memory of two youths [brothers Rafael and Eduardo Vergara Toledo] killed by police in 1985 during the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. Chile has been democratic for more than two decades and other activists criticized the rioting, saying the violence is used by Chilean news media and government officials to weaken support for movements pushing for social change. […] More than 1,500 police were deployed and used tear gas and water cannons to disperse hundreds of protesters from inside and outside the campus of the University of Santiago. The university suspended classes, and nearby traffic was snarled."

Military dictatorship in Chile, ended in 1990, began with the coup of September 11, 1973 (a nefarious day, it seems, September 11), when a military junta led by President's Commander-in-Chief Augusto Pinochet, unofficially supported by the Nixon administration and the CIA, eventually took control of the government, after bombing La Moneda presidential palace (on the image) and killed President Salvador Allende, who rejected the ultimatum for him to step down. I will quote again from Memoria del fuego, the outstanding book by Eduardo Galeano (the English translation is mine, so please excuse the clumsiness): "A black cloud of smoke rises from the burning palace. President Allende dies in the post. Military kill thousands of people across the country. Civil State Office doesn't record these deaths, because it would not take place in registers, but General Tomás Opazo Santander says that the victims don't exceed 0.01% of total population, which is not a high social price, and CIA Director, William Colby , explaines to Washington that, thanks to executions, in Chile is avoided a civil war. Mrs. Pinochet declares that mothers tears will save the country.”

Allende was elected president in 1970, and Eduardo Galeano again summarizes perfectly the circumstances: "In an inadmissible act of incivility, Chilean people chooses Salvador Allende as President. Another president, the president of ITT, International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation, offers one million dollars to the one who will end such a misfortune. U.S. President also devotes ten million dollars for the same purpose: Richard Nixon instructs CIA to prevent Allende to sit in the presidential chair or, if he still sit down, to overthrow him. General Réne Schneider, head of the army, refuses to start military coup and falls into an ambush:
- These bullets were for me - says Allende.
The World Bank and all official and private banks suspends the loans, except for loans for military expenditure. International price of copper collapses it. From Washington, Chancellor Henry Kissinger explains:
 - I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people. ”

After this quote from Henry Kissinger (June 27, 1970) I don't think that I can add something about those events. Just a few words about the building of the Presidency (the one on the postcard), named Palacio de la Moneda (Mint Palace), or simply La Moneda, which today also houses the offices of three cabinet ministers: Interior, General Secretariat of the Presidency and General Secretariat of the Government. Designed by Italian architect Joaquín Toesca in Neoclassical style and opened in 1805, the building was used as mint between 1814 and 1929, and also as the seat of government and presidencial residence since 1845. In 1930, in front of the palace was built Plaza de la Constitución (Constitution Square), and after the presidency of Gabriel González Videla (1946-1952) La Moneda ceased to serve as a presidential residence.

During the military coup d'état about which I wrote before, the palace was partially destroyed. Reconstruction and restoration projects were completed on March 11, 1981, although some bullet marks have been preserved and can still be seen nowadays. Since the beginning of this century the palace's inner courtyards were opened to the public, and the gate Morandé 80, used by Chilean presidents to enter the palace since the early 20th century, was re-opened. A traditional guard mounting happens every odd-numbered day, including Sundays, at 10 a.m.

About the first stamp, belong to the Universidad de Talca set, I wrote here. The second was issued in 2011, for Christmas (Navidad).

Only two things I still have to do in the end. First, to thank Hernán for this wonderful postcard, especially because he wrote it on 1 January, even if it went towards me on January 5. The second, to dedicate this post to a postcrossing colleague who believes in justice of the bullet (generic speaking), without realizing that the two terms are antagonistic. In addition, the bullet never was and never will be legitimate, no matter who uses it, or even I would say that he who uses it ceases to be legitimate itself. In short, the bullet (its use, I mean) is the appanage of the people lacking of intelligence or morality. Of course this discussion doesn't include defense, but not because it wouldn't be need, but because the issue would require a separate discussion.

Sender: Hernán (direct swap)
Sent from Santiago (Chile), on 05.01.2012

No comments:

Post a Comment