The four congressional rookies will be sworn in in March, and have pledged to continue fighting for their cause from within the system.
Vallejo, 25, a member of the Communist Party, won over 40% of votes in the popular district of La Florida near the capital of Santiago. A trained geographer, she gained wide attention as the president of the University of Chile Student Federation, or FEch in Spanish, in 2011.
On Sunday she won a seat in Congress under the broad left-wing New Majority coalition led by Bachelet.
On the night of September 15, 1973, Victor Jara was picked out of a line of prisoners being led out from the Chile Stadium to the National Stadium, another detention centre, in the days following Pinochet’s coup. It was the last time he was seen alive by anyone except the military. On the morning of September 16, his bullet-ridden body appeared alongside those of six other victims just outside Santiago’s Cementerio General.
It took three decades for the Chilean justice system to identify the eight soldiers involved, and it is now requesting the extradition of one of them from the government of the United States.
It was weapons in the hands of members of Chile’s military that discharged the 44 bullets that killed Victor Jara. But the folk-singer became a legend in his homeland; and today, 40 years after the massacre, he is a major icon for musicians and their fans around the world.
Just last week, in his first concert in Chile, rocker Bruce Springsteen interrupted his usual repertoire to sing “Manifiesto”, one of Jara’s most emblematic songs. It was a tribute from one creative force to another, sealing once and for all the universal importance of the Chilean artist’s work. “If you are an activist and a musician, Victor Jara continues to be a great inspiration”, said Springsteen.
On June 22, about a hundred activists held a nonviolent protest at the gate of the Fuerte Aguayo Chilean Naval Base, in the coastal town of Concón, 90 miles northwest of Santiago. They were demanding the closure of the base built by the US Southern Command inside Fuerte Aguayo which opened in April 2012. The action was a joint effort by several Chilean human rights and peace groups, including School of the Americas Watch and FOR’s sister organization Serpaj Chile.
The US Southern Command built a 30,000-square foot complex of eight buildings designed to simulate an urban environment and to train police and military forces from throughout Latin America on military operations on urban terrain. This happens at a time when the United States is increasingly promoting militarization of crowd control and humanitarian operations – at home and abroad – and has expanded considerably the list of threats armed forces in the hemisphere are called to address.