This is the last of a 6-part series about the implementation of non-violent struggle against oppression in various countries throughout the world.
The second episode looks at the situation in Chile. Following the overthrow of the elected leader Salvador Allende in 1973 by the Chilean military with CIA support, General Pinochet came to power, and ruled with ruthless authoritarianism from then forward.
Many were the kidnappings, disappearances, assassinations and beatings of anyone who showed opposition, and organising against the regime was always going to be difficult, as it meant laying your life on the line.
Beginning in 1983 protests were staged against the government, but were repressed with increasingly violent means by the military. The country almost fell into civil war, with youth taking to the streets and inspired by uprisings elsewhere wanted the violent overthrown of the regime.
In 1988 a plebiscite was held to confirm Pinochet’s rule for a further period, but opposition members and the church organised a No-vote to prevent his confirmation. After a long and successful campaign the vote went against the general by 56% vs. 44% and he was forced to step down.
The last episode is unusual as in this case a ruthless dictator was defeated at the polling booth, rather than through strikes or boycotts.
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