Friday, September 29, 2023

The Faculty of Law of the U. of Chile meets with alumni from 1973 to reflect on the Coup

Dean Pablo Ruiz-Tagle emphasized in the event that after the coup, more than fifty professors were exonerated and many students were expelled because of their political ideas. There are also students and graduates who were killed and disappeared, who are remembered every year at the Memorial. which is It is located in the grounds of the Faculty. He added that the coup d’état has consequences of all kinds: the imposition of appointed authorities, the return of centralism by taking away all power from students and teachers in decisions. “All collegiate organizations were dissolved and the FECh was banned. The growing utilitarian and economic concept of the university was also imposed. The academic career was limited and discriminated by a criterion of ideological compliance. The intervening and monitored university emerged in full force, as the philosopher Jorge Millas called it,” he said.

Carlos Cereceda, President of the Association of Civil Servants, invited reflection, “asking all Chileans, especially in the political sectors, to learn from the mistakes made in the past, so that such sad events do not happen again again. We invite you to defend democracy with good arguments, an open and transparent dialogue, as well as respect for people’s rights. May the sense of tolerance lead us to respect others, and that thinking differently is not a cause of division, conflict or violence.

Professor Eduardo Sepúlveda remembers the enthusiasm of the faculty in the 70s, where “we learned that there are differences,” he said. After the coup, “there was a lot of pain, students were persecuted, officials and academics were released, we remember them all on this occasion.” He invited us to think about the future, “that we must build it on the fundamental principles of respecting the dignity of each of the teachers, students and workers because we are building the community together.”

The lawyer, graduate and former prosecutor of the Supreme Court, Lya Cabello, said that after the loss of democracy, learning was very difficult for his generation. “Dictatorship means terror, a break in the world as we know it, a complete cessation of being together, the fabric of the society in which we grew up is torn apart and leaves us defenseless. Human rights , which is something that we experience in these classrooms, a subject of study, we never thought that we would have to experience the systematic violation of it. The romantic idea of ​​death for our ideas quickly faced the horror of torture, the complete loss of dignity as human beings. He concluded by inviting us to learn from mistakes and to think that democracy is the only form of government that guarantees freedom and equality. And if there are two we can build unity, brotherhood, and with it a better country.” “The only thing that matters now is not to make the same mistakes of the past. It is important that we meet again in that respect and in the conviction that democracy is the only possible form of government that can guarantee the organization of the ideas we each have about what we want in society, even if they are opposites. ideas.

Camila Betancur, from the Student Center, appreciated the meeting where the experience was shared among the generations who lived through the Coup d’état while studying or working at the Faculty. “We believe that all members of the university community have a duty to work on collective memory. Remember and affirm those who are no longer here and fought for a more just country.

The graduate Álvaro Varela, who received the 2023 Law Faculty Award this week (, emphasized the importance of remembering, especially for the students present, who he spoke about his 4 and half a year He Lived in college (1969-1973), which he describes as intense and gave him training that guided his life, he said. “I was expelled from the university for being a student leader, just for political reasons. And not just me, but the entire board of directors of the Student Center, in the office. “A unique case of the University, where the entire board of directors of the student center was destroyed, fired and eliminated, for political, not academic, reasons.”

Varela highlighted the presence in the event of Sebastián Ramos, vice president of the Student Center at the time, who was kidnapped to leave this Faculty and suffered serious physical consequences as a result. “To deport us, the law, due process, was destroyed by a Law School, by law professors.” He reported that they were not allowed to give evidence in so-called summaries. Lists with their names were published by the Faculty calling for our censure and our records were sent to the military intelligence service.

“The consequences are severe for many students, officials, teachers. But there are also those who have a unique role with famous actions and deeds, such as the dean of the time, Máximo Pacheco, who is with him – as of Varela – he has deep political differences, but who risks it for many students. He also highlighted the professor of Air Law, Jacinto Pino, who, while hiding, took an exam at Mapocho Station for the field which he had to pass to graduate. He also highlighted the professors Carlos Ruiz Bourgeois and Juan Bustos, who made great movements in the people. Likewise, unknown officials who gave him important information to defend his himself against the summaries applied to him by the Faculty. “At that time we lived with great strength, enthusiasm, affection and closeness, even in discussions, with teachers, students and administrators,” he recalled.

“How important it is to know these stories, reflect on them, look at the present and plan for the future. Perhaps, in many years to come, dear students, you too will be in a memorial event. I hope that they are and I hope that the new generations will also listen to their experiences, experiences and memories. Only in this way we can become a better country and share more with the people who there is respect and dignity that everyone deserves,” Varela concluded.

Professor Matías Insunza, organizer of the meeting, thanked the attendance and the place of the meeting – in person and online – and invited those present to review the orders of expulsion and suspension of students from that time, which showed a great outside the Aula Magna.

The event featured the musical intervention of the lawyer and graduate of the 1972 generation, former member of the Lex Choir, Santiago Barra, who together with the concert pianist from the University of Chile, Miguel Sepúlveda, performed two songs by Víctor Jara.

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