October 2, 2023

When New York City Stood With Chile

Mariana Fernandez

In this special section, co-sponsored by The Indypendent and the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung New York Office, we delve into the landscape of the New York City movement in solidarity with Chile in the tumultuous aftermath of the Sept. 11, 1973, coup that saw the overthrow of President Salvador Allende’s democratically elected government and the rise of General Augusto Pinochet’s oppressive dictatorship. Fifty years later, we honor the sacrifices and draw inspiration from the enduring legacy of New York’s solidarity actors in their pursuit of justice and democracy amid one of Chile’s darkest chapters.

The news of the military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet on Sept. 11, 1973, sent shockwaves across the world. The oppressive Pinochet dictatorship, which subjected thousands of Chileans to torture, murder, and disappearance, ignited international resistance to his illegitimate government. Standing in support of the Chilean people, New Yorkers felt compelled to respond. Amid the upheaval and repression in Chile, New York City became one of the centers for exiled Chileans seeking safety and support. Various solidarity initiatives blossomed throughout the city. Leftists, artists and exiles emerged in this context as key protagonists in a multifaceted movement that sought to amplify the voices of those suffering in Chile and challenge the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Pinochet regime.

The solidarity movement with the Chilean people also played a crucial role in enlightening Americans about the extent of U.S. imperialism’s influence in Latin America. These groups exposed the immoral strategies employed by the U.S. government and corporations to safeguard their economic and political interests and the consequences of U.S. interference in foreign governments. 

This special section looks into these New York’s networks and the pivotal role they played in raising awareness. As we uncover stories of solidarity in action, we witness how the boundaries of nationality, language and culture dissolved, and a profound sense of interconnectedness took root. New York’s response to the Chilean coup epitomized the true spirit of internationalism, showcasing the power of collective action in advocating justice on a global scale.


Top photo: Performers bid goodbye to the audience at An Evening with Salvador Allende, organized by Phil Ochs with Friends of Chile, Felt Forum at Madison Square Garden, New York, May 9, 1974. Photographer: Marcelo Montealegre