September 18, 1973: An independence day like none before

Finally, what we’ve all been waiting for, the military take over! Last week, on September 11 in the morning, the military took control of Santiago, bombing La Moneda. Salvador Allende, who was turning Chile into a communist country, is gone. It has been a tense week in some senses, there has been a curfew, and the military has put forth the new laws for maintaining order. But in general, spirits are high among my family and friends.  The fear of the communist take over is gone, the chaos that has plagued our city and country…the riots, the protests, the marches, all over.

Today we had a luncheon to celebrate Independence Day next door at my parents’ house. There were distinguished members of the military, my mother’s doctor colleagues, my father, as mayor of Viña, made a speech expressing gratitude to the military for restoring order to this country and how this independence day is one in which we can finally celebrate Chile and know it is safe from the hands of the communists. He’s quite good at making speeches.

To be perfectly honest, though, in the midst of the great relief, I know this change is not good for everyone. Rosa, our maid, is increasingly worried and preoccupied. I’d like to say we’ve always been something like family. Her mother was the nana in our house growing up and I consider Rosa something of an older sister. She’s always been so kind to me, and now to my children. Our political differences are clear and until recently they were just a fact of life. But in the last few years, the political tension has been so high that it may be too much to surpass. That being said, she still tells me things. Many people in her neighborhood are demoralized by the defeat but beyond that, they are scared. She had a cousin who was taken by the military (granted he was an Allende-supporting communist) but in any case. It makes me worry about my nephew, Jaime, ever since he’s been in the U de Chile en Santiago, he has become an Allende-supporter, and went to rallies and all. University can change a person if you don’t watch out I suppose, but anyways, Rosa’s stories make me worry about him.

That’s all for now. More later. Happy Independence Day!

1 thought on “September 18, 1973: An independence day like none before

  1. ssvolk says:

    Hi, Paula. Yes, we were pretty happy, too. I wouldn’t worry about your nephew or your maid, for that matter. The military know what they are doing and will only be looking for those people who pose a threat to our national security and to what Chile has always been. You’ll see, things will soon get back to normal, and it will soon be just the way it always has been. So tell me more about you, what you are doing, who your friends are!

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