05 November 2012

An Allende returns to Chilean politics

Last Sunday, Maya Fernández Allende was elected mayor of Ñuñoa, a district of Chile's capital, Santiago. Ms. Allende is a granddaughter of Salvador Allende, the Chilean president who died when General Augusto Pinochet headed a coup that ended Chile's lengthy democracy and introduced a reign of torture and murder.

Democracy eventually returned after 16 years of brutal dictatorship and now an Allende has returned to politics as well. Raised in Cuba, where her family fled after the coup, she came home in 1992 and joined the Socialist party but didn't run for office until 2008 when she won her first election as a member of the local council. Her victory was part of a leftward swing in municipal elections across Chile with Allende herself winning in a district long held by right wing politicians.

An official photograph of Salvador Allende wearing the Chilean presidential sash decorates the new mayor's office. She was too small when he died to remember him but says she would loved to have known him as a grandfather and has promised to be faithful to his legacy.

"The dictatorship did not allow you to express yourself, you might talk and then be disappeared, so people stopped talking," said Ms. Allende. "There was lots of silence. This generation has changed, it has come back to the street, to knock on the door, to bang the table."

Olé for the new generation and olé for Mayor Allende.

1 comment:

  1. It's lamentable that Kissinger will never be called to account for his role in the death of Allende.