Disillusionment in Action: The Origins and Outcomes of US Solidarity with Chilean Refugees
Fearing detention, torture, or execution under the Pinochet regime, hundreds of thousands fled Chile during the 1970s for other nations in the Americas and Europe. The United States, however, had covertly supported the installation of Pinochet's anticommunist government, and was reluctant to help the international community shelter these refugees. Nevertheless, a domestic solidarity movement in support of the Chileans realized significant cuts in U.S. aid to Pinochet's Chile in 1974 as well as a parole program for Chilean refugees in 1975. Activists on university campuses, religious groups, NGOs, and certain congressmen were most critical to propelling this solidarity movement forward. The movement found such broad support because it echoed a familiar rejection of secretive and interventionist government conduct just as the Watergate Scandal unfolded and the Vietnam War drew to a close. 1970s activism in solidarity with the refugees, consequently, reflects concerns much larger than Chile. The movement not only furthered discussion regarding the state of democracy at home, but also energized long-lasting efforts to redefine the United States' economic and political priorities abroad.
Cornell Historical Society