Chile

Subterranean solidarity

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The entrapment and eventual release of 33 Chilean miners provoked a media frenzy. But beneath the self-serving sympathy of Chile's politicians lies the real story of solidarity.

"Renewing the wooden piles increased the cost of the mineral, so they were allowed to fall into disrepair. The result was that [they] were continually having to carry out an injured man or sometimes a miner killed when the roof collapsed in the deadly corridor. But the company always persuaded the men to return for a few cents more..." - Baldomero Lillo, El chiflon del diablo.

Lillo wrote his stories of the Chilean mines at the beginning of the 20th century. How little conditions have changed in the first decade of the 21st.

A Tale of Two Chiles

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Chile still has lessons for us today.

'Working class scum... ignorant peasants... children of whores...' So we were greeted by the snarling mob of rich Chileans as we arrived at the court in September 1999. Dodging their spit, we were told how our families had deserved to die. I've never felt such vitriolic class hatred before or since.

A decade after the end of his brutal dictatorship, Augusto Pinochet was finally facing legal sanction. In what was to prove an uncharacteristic moment of principle, home secretary Jack Straw had concluded that he was fit to stand trial on murder charges filed by a Spanish judge.

Chile 1973: The Other 11 September

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Thirty years ago the left wing government of Chile was drowned in blood. Ian Birchall tries to draw lessons from the tragedy.

On 11 September we shall be urged to remember the dead of the World Trade Centre in 2001. Many socialists will also remember another massacre, the Chilean coup of 1973. The important thing is not to mourn, but to learn. The best tribute we can pay to those who died is to draw the lessons from the mistakes they paid for so dearly.

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