Articles2017-09-08T23:48:22+01:00

Indestructible Podcast #24: Argentina’s Far-Right President Javier Milei w/ Francisco Dominguez (LISTEN)

By |31/December/2023|

In episode 24 of Indestructible Podcast, Rodrigo speaks to academic Francisco Dominguez about Argentina’s new far-right president Javier Milei.

Indestructible: Latin America with Rodrigo Acuña is a podcast from Alborada bringing you monthly discussions with some of the most interesting voices working on and from Latin America.

In episode 24 of Indestructible Podcast, Rodrigo speaks to academic Francisco Dominguez about Argentina’s new far-right president Javier Milei.

An expert on Latin American politics, Dr Francsico Domiguez is a former senior lecturer at Middlesex University in the UK and co-editor of ‘Right-Wing Politics in the New Latin America: Reaction and Revolt’, published in 2011 by Zed Books.

The podcast is available on Spotify and other podcast streaming website.

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With every episode our patrons get an email with links to articles, books, podcasts and documentaries related to the episode. Click here is the link for this episode.

::: Episode 24:

Argentina’s Far-Right President Javier Milei

Listen to episode 24 below or on Audioboom and a range of other podcast streaming websites

Click here to go to the Indestructible homepage.

Presented by Alborada contributing editor Rodrigo Acuña

Produced by Pablo Navarrete

Music by Chylez Productions.

Please consider supporting the podcast on Patreon.

Get in touch with the podcast: info [at] alborada [dot] net

 

The Americas Uncovered: Britain and the Other 9/11 (LISTEN)

By |30/November/2023|

In episode eight of our podcast The Americas Uncovered, host Dr Peter Watt speaks to journalist John McEvoy about Britain’s cosy relationship with the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile.

I the latest episode, John tells Peter about ‘Britain and the Other 9/11‘, the forthcoming documentary he is co-directing, and his investigative journalism on the UK’s role in Latin America more broadly.

This podcast was recorded an in-person event – more info here.

John is a PhD candidate at the University of Liverpool, UK and an investigative journalist whose work focusses on British foreign policy and Latin America. He regularly writes for Declassified UK.

Presented by Dr Peter Watt (University of Sheffield, UK)

Music by Peter Watt

Artwork by Simon Díaz-Cuffin

Listen to the podcast here or below.

To see all the episode of The Americas Uncovered podcastclick here.

Remembering Joan Jara

By |23/November/2023|

Following the brutal murder of her husband Victor, Joan Jara, who passed away aged 96 on 12 November, dedicated her life to fighting for justice and human rights.

I first met Joan in 1974 at the house of Connie Seifert in Highgate, north London, when they were hosting a reception for the famous Chilean folk band Inti-Illimani.

Joan had recently come back to her home country with her two small children after her terrible ordeal of finding her husband’s tortured and brutalised body in a morgue, days after the horrific September 1973 military coup which killed the country’s constitutional president Salvador Allende and many thousands of his government’s supporters.

She was traumatised, desperately sad and putting a brave face on facing the future without Victor. Victor Jara was the most well-loved, committed, courageous, immensely popular singer/songwriter Chile has ever known. Joan and I had both returned to Britain after having lived in Chile for years; our compañeros were famous or well-known supporters of the Popular Unity government who had both suffered the terror of military raids on our homes and detention of our loved ones. Our meeting that evening in Highgate was the beginning of our long friendship.

I had been lucky. My compañero Ricardo was alive, after months of detention on Quiriquina Island and local prison.

But in Joan’s case, Victor had been assassinated in the Estadio Chile (Chile Stadium). On the eve of his imminent death, he penned a poem for the world to witness the horrors that he and the thousands of other prisoners detained there were suffering in the stadium.

Despite her sadness and the difficulties of adapting to life in London with her two daughters, Manuela and Amanda, Joan threw herself into solidarity work, campaigning to free the thousands of prisoners being held without trial by the criminal Pinochet regime. She tirelessly travelled the world denouncing the Junta and campaigning for the disappeared and for human rights.

Joan, a classically trained dancer, had worked in dance and performance in Chile for many years before the coup. That was her profession and her vocation. She was not a writer, yet she agreed to write her story – and I can remember her confessing to me how difficult she was finding writing the book. An Unfinished Song is a well-written and moving account of her life before and after going to live in Chile, and the personal tragedy of the coup which murdered Victor Jara. Later, Ricardo and I collaborated with Joan on translation of some of Victor’s unpublished songs for a Danish publisher.

Until the coup, Joan had always felt very much at home in Chile – Victor’s home country. So in 1984, she decided to return to Chile, setting up a school for modern dance, Espiral (Spiral), which is still going strong today, run by her daughter Manuela. She subsequently created the Victor Jara Foundation, which her daughter Amanda helps to run. The last time Ricardo and I met up with Joan was in 2016. An interesting conversationalist at her 89 years,

Elections in Argentina: A Working Class Perspective

By |2/November/2023|

The first-round results of Argentina’s presidential election on 22 October reflect a popular rejection of right-wing candidate Javier Milei’s proposal to ‘take away rights’.

A few days before the 22 October elections in Argentina, almost 90 per cent of the polls indicated that the winner would be Javier Milei, the ‘insane’ candidate of the right – as described by Estela de Carlotto, president of the legendary human rights group Abuelas de Plaza Mayo (Grandmothers of Plaza Mayo). As it turned out, Sergio Massa (of the coalition Unión por la Patria – UP) prevailed over Milei by almost seven points. Massa and Milei will face off on 19 November in the run-off for the presidency of the country with South America’s second-largest economy.

On 13 August, Milei prevailed over all the other candidates in Argentina’s primary. In the months between that election and the one in October, Massa – who is the Minister of the Economy in the current government – added three million votes to his tally.

Georgina Orellano, National General Secretary of AMMAR (Asociación de Mujeres Meretrices de Argentina), told me how this phenomenon was experienced in Constitución, the area of Buenos Aires where the main headquarters of her organisation is located. Sex workers organised themselves to monitor both electoral processes in the schools where it was their turn to vote. ‘In the PASO [primary elections],’ she told me, ‘the worrying result was that the UP force came in third and Milei in first place.’ However, this time, ‘we won in almost all the schools in the Constitución neighborhood.’ In fact, ‘in all the polling stations where sex workers supervised the elections, Massa won.’

The Practical and the Theoretical

Elsa Yanaje, marketing director of the Instituto Nacional de Agricultura Familiar, Campesina e Indígena (National Institute of Family, Peasant and Indigenous Agriculture) and member of the Federación Rural para la Producción y el Arraigo (Rural Federation for Production and Rooting) believes that the result of the PASO (primary election) was linked to two things: on the one hand, Milei’s communications success in being the only candidate who reflected underlying anger or weariness with the country’s economic situation. ‘It was about saying what is not said,’ Yanaje said. That is, ‘what a citizen angry with the management [of the central government] could think.’

Yanaje said that in the PASO a vote to warn (more than to punish) was given to the current government. A vote that asked: ‘What kind of methodology are you going to use to reverse the situation or somehow guarantee some basic services?’ Argentina is currently facing a strong economic contraction and high inflation rates, which have especially affected ‘those who were already below the poverty line,’ says Yanaje.

In this context, Milei’s proposals ‘were somehow charming,’ but in practice, Yanaje adds, ‘we knew that [they were] difficult to maintain.’ Between the two choices, the leader explains, ‘What was reversed [with the new election results was]… a decision between the practical and the

Indestructible Podcast #23: Beatriz Allende – A Revolutionary Life in Cold War Latin America w/ Tanya Harmer (LISTEN)

By |30/September/2023|

In episode 23 of Indestructible Podcast, Rodrigo speaks Tanya Harmer about her latest book book ‘Beatriz Allende: A Revolutionary Life in Cold War Latin America’.

Indestructible: Latin America with Rodrigo Acuña is a podcast from Alborada bringing you monthly discussions with some of the most interesting voices working on and from Latin America.

In episode 23 of Indestructible Podcast, Rodrigo speaks Tanya Harmer about her latest book book ‘Beatriz Allende: A Revolutionary Life in Cold War Latin America‘.

Dr Tanya Harmer is a specialist on the Cold War in Latin America with a particular interest in the international, transnational and global dynamics of the struggle. She has written widely on Chile’s revolutionary process in the 1970s, the Cuban Revolution’s influence in Latin America, counter-revolution and inter-American diplomacy, solidarity networks, women and gender. More info here.

The podcast is available on Spotify and other podcast streaming website.

Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Please consider supporting the podcast on Patreon.

::: Episode 23:

Beatriz Allende: A Revolutionary Life in Cold War Latin America

Listen to episode 23 below or on Audioboom and a range of other podcast streaming websites

Click here to go to the Indestructible homepage.

Presented by Alborada contributing editor Rodrigo Acuña

Produced by Pablo Navarrete

Music by Chylez Productions.

Please consider supporting the podcast on Patreon.

Get in touch with the podcast: info [at] alborada [dot] net

El Conde Review: Pinochet as Gothic Monster

By |26/September/2023|

Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet returns from the grave as a depressed immortal vampire living off blood and impunity.

Chile’s infamous dictator Augusto Pinochet returns from the grave in Pablo Larraín’s latest unconventional biopic, El Conde (2023). Premiered in Venice just in time for the 50th anniversary of the US-backed military coup spearheaded by Pinochet in 1973, the film aims to satirise his public figure yet falters when trying to reflect on the enduring legacy of impunity inherited by the 17-year-long regime.

Reimagined as a 250-year-old vampire who faked his own death in 2006, Pinochet (portrayed by Jaime Vadell) is tired of being called a thief rather than a murderer and wants to die once and for all. Hidden away in an isolated Patagonian mansion, he’s surrounded by his wife Lucía Hiriart (Gloria Münchmeyer), who refuses to let him die, and a not-so-loyal henchman Fyodor Krassnoff (Alfredo Castro). The plot takes off when Pinochet’s money-grabbing descendants pay a visit to secure their inheritance, accompanied by an undercover nun and accountant Carmencita (Paula Luchsinger) tasked with organising the family’s dark money as well as murdering the Count himself.

This farcical Dracula-style monster story, co-written with frequent collaborator Guillermo Calderón, sets up a potentially powerful allegory of Pinochet’s bloody reign, which was part of a wider wave of military dictatorships supported by the US in the 1970s that murdered, disappeared, tortured and exiled thousands. By portraying a vampire who is equally avaricious as he is bloodsucking, Larraín defies the heroic image adored by far-right Pinochet supporters. In this vein, the narrative is packed with references that acknowledge his financial corruption and murderous reign, with allusions to his multiple bank accounts created under false names such as ‘Daniel Lopez’ as well as the direct reference to his henchman Krassnoff, named after real-life Miguel Krassnoff, a military official sentenced to more than 1,000 years imprisonment for torturing and murdering during the dictatorship.

The stark monochrome contrast found in each frame imbues this tale of murder and betrayal with an equally dark atmosphere, highlighted by harsh tones and nightmarish shadows. In the tradition of German expressionist horror, seen in films like Nosferatu (1922), El Conde is masterfully filmed by veteran Cinematographer Ed Lachman (The Limey, I’m Not There, Carole). The long, sharp cape which Pinochet wears with pride creates a haunting image as he glides over Santiago and strides towards his victims. This imagined alternative reality inhabited by the dictator aids Larraín’s metaphor, bringing forth the horror and decadence that surrounds his figure and still looms over Chile.

However, in the current context, where far-right politicians in Chile have come out of the woodwork to defend the dictatorship, it is important to note the legacy of Pinochet is not so much about his personal financial profiteering or his lust for blood. Pinochet, like many other dictators in the region, was enabled by a larger network of local elites, in collaboration with the CIA and the State Department, who remain in positions of power until today. More than military henchmen like Krassnoff

Chile’s New Constitution Process Hijacked by the Far Right (WATCH)

By |23/September/2023|

Chile’s 2019 Social Explosion demanded a new constitution to replace the current Pinochet-era document, but the right has now gained control of the process.

In 2019 the nation of Chile was shaken by a mass protest movement that has come to be known as the Social Explosion. A central demand of the Social Explosion was the abolition of the current constitution drafted in 1980 under US-backed fascist dictator Augusto Pinochet. In 2020, Chileans overwhelmingly voted for a new constitutional process in a referendum. However, just two years later, a plebiscite overwhelmingly rejected a new proposed constitution.

Since then, the far right has hijacked the process by stacking the constituents to create another constitutional draft with their own representatives. The Real News reports from Chile, speaking directly with women and LGBTQ activists at the frontlines of this struggle, who explain how the new constitution has gone from being a vehicle to expand gender equality to a grave threat against women’s rights and LGBTQ rights.

Producer, Videographer, Translation: Nick MacWilliam
Narrator: Marlena Weinberg
Video Editor: Leo Erhardt
Videographer: Simón Díaz-Cuffin Additional
Footage: Alborada Films, Universidad de Santiago, Ruptly

This video report was originally commissioned and released by The Real News Network.

Archives

Latin American News Roundup #1

By |2/September/2023|

News in brief from around Latin America.

Here is a roundup of recent news stories from Guatemala, Ecuador and Colombia.

Progressive candidate elected to Guatemalan presidency in surprise result

There has been a major political shift in Guatemala with the victory of progressive candidate Bernardo Arevalo in the presidential election on 20 August. A rank outsider until barely two months earlier, Arevalo roused voters tired of the inequality, corruption and autocracy entrenched under Guatemala’s business and political elite. His Semilla party won 17 of the country’s 22 regional departments, an astounding performance, on a platform of respect for democracy, indigenous rights and social investment. However, right-wing opponents tied to the traditional oligarchy have turned to the courts in an attempt to block Arevalo’s ascension, while the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights warned of an assassination plot against the president-elect. Read more here.

Progressive Luisa González and millionaire Daniel Noboa head to runoff elections in Ecuador

Via Globetrotter

On 20 August, over 13 million Ecuadorians took part in the early general elections to elect the country’s next president, vice president and 137 members of the National Assembly amid a wave of violence and record rates of homicide.

After 60 per cent of the votes had been counted, at around 9pm on 20 August, president of the National Electoral Council Diana Atamaint gave a public address and confirmed that Ecuadorians would return to the polls for a runoff election on 15 October, since no candidate hit the threshold to win outright.

Luisa González of the left-wing Citizen Revolution Movement party won this first round of elections with 33 per cent of the vote, while Daniel Noboa of the right-wing National Democratic Action alliance trailed behind her with 24 per cent. Both candidates will now head to the second round in October.

The key concerns among voters as they headed to the polls on 20 August were sharp increases in crime, which the government of incumbent conservative president Guillermo Lasso blames on drug-trafficking gangs, and the struggling economy, which has caused a rise in unemployment and migration.

González, a protégé of former leftist president Rafael Correa, has promised to address the security crisis by strengthening the institutions and entities in charge of managing security, which she alleges Lasso and ex-president Lenín Moreno dismantled. She also promised to address the root causes of violence, such as poverty and inequality. She has vowed to increase public spending and revive Correa’s large-scale social welfare programmes and public infrastructure projects.

Musician Lisandro Vallecilla Riascos killed during Colombian music festival

Cali’s famous Petronio Alvarez festival was marred by tragedy on 20 August when musician Lisandro Vallecilla Riascos a member of the internationally renowned Pacific folklore group Canelón de Timbiquí, was killed in a shooting. From the coastal region of Guapi, Canelón de Timbiquí blend traditional African-Colombian rhythms with socially conscious messaging (read this review from 2012 by Alborada co-editor Nick MacWilliam). Lisandro was a well-known community organiser whose death adds to the shocking figure of more than 1,500 social activists killed in Colombia since the 2016 peace agreement.

Indestructible Podcast #22: Puerto Rico’s Struggle for Independence w/ Margaret Power (LISTEN)

By |31/August/2023|

In the 22nd episode of Indestructible Rodrigo speaks to Margaret Power about her latest book book ‘Solidarity Across the Americas: The Puerto Rican Nationalist Party and Anti-Imperialism.’

Indestructible: Latin America with Rodrigo Acuña is a podcast from Alborada bringing you monthly discussions with some of the most interesting voices working on and from Latin America.

In the 22nd episode of Indestructible Rodrigo speaks to Margaret Power about her latest book book ‘Solidarity Across the Americas: The Puerto Rican Nationalist Party and Anti-Imperialism.’

Margaret Power is professor emerita of history at the Illinois Institute of Technology in the USA.

The podcast is available on Spotify and other podcast streaming website.

Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Please consider supporting the podcast on Patreon.

::: Episode 22:

Puerto Rico’s Struggle for Independence. With Margaret Power

Listen to episode 22 below or on Audioboom and a range of other podcast streaming websites

Click here to go to the Indestructible homepage.

Presented by Alborada contributing editor Rodrigo Acuña

Produced by Pablo Navarrete

Music by Chylez Productions.

Please consider supporting the podcast on Patreon.

Get in touch with the podcast: info [at] alborada [dot] net

 

The Americas Uncovered: Chile’s Chicago Boys (LISTEN)

By |14/August/2023|

In episode seven of our podcast The Americas Uncovered, host Dr Peter Watt of Sheffield University in the UK, speaks to Maria Vásquez Aguilar and Pablo Navarrete following an in-person screening of the documentary, The Chicago Boys.

Maria Vásquez Aguilar is a PhD candidate at te University of Sheffield, a child exile and co-founder of Chile Solidarity Network and Chile 50 Years UK.

Pablo Navarrete is the founding editor of Alborada and director of Alborada Films.

Click here to go to The Americas Uncovered homepage.

Presented by Dr Peter Watt (University of Sheffield, UK)

Music by Peter Watt

Artwork by Simon Díaz-Cuffin

Listen to the podcast here or below.

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