Independent Media Centre Ireland

Chilean Miners who wont be coming home.

category international | worker & community struggles and protests | opinion/analysis author Saturday October 16, 2010 15:48author by john throne - Facts For Working Peopleauthor email loughfinn at aol dot com

Not a mention of the US backed Pinochet dictatorship in the censored capitalist media coverage.

In 1973 the democratically elected Allende government which was trying to improve conditions for the Chilean workers and peasants was overthrown by a US backed dictatorship. The thug Pinochet was put in power. It slaughtered tens of thousands of workers and peasants. Pinera the President of Chile we see with his phony grin and his brother were backers of the dictatorship. We need to reach out to the miners to help them use their worldwide fame and strength to organize an international tour to organize the organized and to build solidarity with all workers.

The Chilean Miners of Copiapo that will Not be Coming Home

(left)Santiago's Soccer Stadium where several thousand were tortured and murdered

Many relatives and friends of the rescued San Jose miners will be marching on the streets of Copiapo this Sunday. They will start out at the city’s Cathedral and amass at the cemetery. They will be commemorating the early hours of October 17th, 1973 when their loved ones were trucked out of the city, never to return.

Ten minutes out of town 16 socialist, communist and trade unionists, were told to get out of the back of the army truck. Most had been rounded up days after the September 11th CIA-backed coup that overthrew Chile’s popularly elected Socialist government in 1973.

In October, General Sergio Arellano, toured northern Chile’s jails to read over the files of the thousands of arrested leftists. In the city of Copiapo he personally picked out 16 people to be put on the back of the truck.

Some time in the early hours, the truck stopped just outside of town. As the workers were ordered off the truck, a few workers refused. They were stabbed repeatedly by the soldiers who climbed onto the truck. And the executions began. Every one murdered was either stabbed to death or shot to death, some both.

Rodolfo Villarroel’s father was a Communist Party member, a mineworker, and a local leader of the miners’ union. His body was finally recovered in 1990. It had been buried 2,000 feet below the ground, in an abandoned mine. Rodolfo will be on the march on Sunday, “they used a bucket to collect the remains of my father (from the mine).”

After the coup, army officers who could not be trusted to kill civilians were considered not tough enough were dismissed and replaced. And the socialist tradition in Chile was buried in blood.

The coup leader, General Pinochet, dismantled all the reforms of the Socialist government, privatizing in every direction.
One beneficiary of the dictatorship was the current President of Chile, the billionaire, Sebastian Pinera. Another was Sebastian Pinera’s uncle, Archbishop Pinera. And perhaps the best-known Pinera until recently, Sebastian’s brother, Jose.

Jose worked directly for the murderer General Pinochet. He was not only Minister of Labor, but ironically, also Minister of Mines. He oversaw the privatization of Chile’s mines and the deregulation of the conditions, which ultimately led to the San Jose Mine collapse.

This Sunday, let’s remember the 16 workers, including miners, who were trucked out of town by the Pinochet regime, because of their socialist values.

Dwight Cabello, 28, Civil Servant
Carmen Agapito, 31, Mechanic
Antonio Castillo, 40, Copper Miner
Carmen Carvajal, 30, Truck Driver
Roberto Cortazar, 20, Radio Host
Ambrosio Gamboa, 34, Journalist
Hugo Garcia, 43, Engineer,
Carmen Guardia, 17, Highway Worker
Jesus Larravide, 21, College Student
Ricardo Mancilla, 21, Community College Student
Mario Palleras, 27, Municipal Worker
Lenonelo Vicenti, 33, College Professor
Ernesto Ugarte, 24, College Student
Santos Tapia, 32, Mine Worker
Ivan Sierra, 27, Radio Host
Pedro Perez, 29, Engineer

By Rob Rooke, the grandson of a coalminer

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