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Chilean Solidarity

Pages produced by Hannah Copestake as part of her work for the Undergraduate Research Support SchemeLink opens in a new window, September 2016.

The Chilean coup of 11th September 1973 led to an international outcry when Salvador Allende’s socialist Popular Unity (UP) government was overthrown by General Augusto Pinochet’s military junta. Following the seizure of power, left-wing political activity was repressed and many activists were immediately detained. The Junta was responsible for the torture and execution of thousands of people. The government forced the ‘disappearance’ of an unknown number of people, many of whose bodies to this day have not been recovered.

In the immediate aftermath of the coup various individuals and organisations around the UK rallied to Chile’s aid. Organisations such as the Chile Solidarity Campaign and the Chile Committee for Human Rights were established to galvanise the British public and the government into action. In response to the coup the World University Service (WUS) created their Chile programme which was the biggest of all of the UK-based campaigns. Such organisations were responsible for the creation of initiatives such as ‘adopt a prisoner’ and assisted the movement and settlement of political exiles. The WUS alone assisted 900 refugees to come to the UK.