Published 01/14/2024 16:21 | Edited 01/14/2024 16:47
Along the green, dusty and hot corridors of Parque Bernardo O’Higgins, a large leisure area in the heart of Santiago, several generations of Chileans walk around, trying to join in the shade of one of the eight large conversation circles set up on Saturday (13) , first day of the 35th Fiesta de Los Abrazos. The largest left-wing party in the Americas, held by the Communist Party of Chile, mixes culture and politics in a free and spontaneous format, with simultaneous debate tents involving topics such as access to housing in the country, the right to retirement, the student movement Chilean, communication and public security. All converge with the central theme of the Festival, which this year is: “For Chile, let us move forward together, building a future!”
The party’s audience represents the diversity of militancy in the country over the last few decades. On the one hand, older women and men are very proud to have been the ones who faced, with great courage, the years of Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship, between 1973 and 1990. At the moment, Chile remembers the 50th anniversary of the coup that assassinated President Salvador Allende in 1973, which imposed a period of extreme violence, torture, deaths and suppression of political freedoms.
On the other side, younger people walk around, with tattoos on their bodies, sneakers on their feet, t-shirts with slogans preaching equality and cell phones in hand. They are the generation that, since the beginning of the 2010s, has been transforming the country’s history on the streets, with gigantic popular demonstrations against ultraliberalism and for the right to education, health and public security, for the lives of women, indigenous peoples and by the reformulation of the state itself, which led to the country’s new constitutional formulation.
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One of the important representatives of this new generation was present on the opening day of the Fiesta de Los Abrazos, the President of the Republic Gabriel Boric. He participated in the inauguration of the Festival, with several of his ministers and alongside the president of the Communist Party, Lautaro Carmona. The Secretary of International Relations of the PCdoB, Ana Prestes, was also one of the guests at the event. Boric, who last year became the country’s first president to attend the event, recalled, in his speech, the origin of the Festival and its name, when Chileans met and embraced each other in resistance to Pinochet’s dictatorship.
“Today, that hug we give here also continues to be an act of resistance and rebellion, because it shows that we are together and that being together we are much stronger to fight for the construction of a more just and dignified Chile”, he declared.
In his presidential team there were more young people who contributed to the country’s recent political change, such as the communist mayor of Santiago Irací Luiza Hassler Jacob, and the Minister General Secretary of Government and former student leader Camila Vallejo. She also spoke, during the meeting, at another table, focused on the topic of the media, the internet and social networks, the regulation of which is heavily debated in Chile, as well as in Brazil.
The president of the Communist Party Lautaro Carmona highlighted the important role of the Festival and the integration created by the event to face the moment of advance of the extreme right in Chile and on the continent. “The fight to stop the advance and the danger from the right is what must be done. Give ethical centrality to democratic and progressive sectors in the permanent challenge of achieving favorable correlations of strength. This included parties, movements, political sectors with and without parliamentary representation. Our invitation must be coherent so that we can achieve integration for everyone,” he said.
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The 35th Fiesta de Los Abrazos has its second and final day of activities this Sunday (14). Brazil and PCdoB are represented by secretary Ana Prestes, who will speak to Chileans during the debate “The challenges of integrating left-wing and progressive governments in Latin America”, alongside other guests from Colombia, Guatemala, Argentina, Cuba and Venezuela.