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Chilean Stencils and Politics

January 20, 2006

A while back, I asked my friend Salvador to take some pictures of political graffiti during his trip to Chile. Salvador is back and he has brought 26 pictures of excellent stencils and slogans he spotted on the street. A wide spectrum of radical politics color Chile’s urban landscape. Some pieces are explicitly anarchist, others socialist; others are less ideological but deliver a clear and powerful message of dissent and hope for a better world. Click here to view all of the pictures on Salvador’s Flickr account. The image above reads, “Rebel Action Muralists”
This might also be a good time to mention the recent presidential election in Chile. Michelle Bachelet, a 54-year-old pediatrician, is Chile’s first female president and the first democratically elected women president in Latin America. Bachelet is part of a new generation of political leadership for the center-left Concertación coalition – an oftentimes testy alliance of the Christian Democratic Party, the Socialist Party, and the Party for Democracy and the Radical Party.
Bachelet is the daughter of a high-profile Air Force general who strongly supported the government of President Salvador Allende in the 1970s and who later died as a result of torture received in Pinochet’s prisons. She and her mother were later briefly arrested and tortured, before exiling themselves – first to Australia and then East Germany. She returned to Chile from exile in 1987 to practice medicine and continue her involvement with Socialist Party politics.
Bachelet is also a single mother of three and a self-declared agnostic. For many, her political victory represents an important challenge to the sexist machismo and Christian intolerance of Chilean political institutions. Her socialist ideology also represents another obstacle for the United State’s quickly sinking neo-liberal agenda in Latin America. Of course, many remain skeptical that any political party can ever bring freedom or sustainable solutions to the people of Latin America. The first image bellow (from left to right) reads, “The political parties are not part of the solution. They are part of the problem. Annul and Organize!”

The second image reads, “Political prisoners. On hunger strike since 12/4/2004. To the streets!!!” The third image reads, “Because they take everything from us. We reclaim everything. We will take everything. Capitalism is misery.”


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4 comments on “Chilean Stencils and Politics”

its interesting and ironic too that she was also the first female defense minister in chile and oversaw the same people who tortured/killed her father.

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