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Michael N. Escobar - IAS 102 - Oct. 15, 2004 - Annotated Bibliography


A. Research Question:


I will be studying in Santiago, Chile, in the Spring 2005 semester, thanks to the UC Education Abroad Program. I want to take advantage of that opportunity to do field research in support of a potential thesis which would address part of my chosen concentration in the Latin American Studies major: human rights in the Andean countries. Chile is a perfect example of the interdependence of three key issues: human rights, economic development, and political stability. With a long tradition of electoral democracy, and a vigorous civil society, the coup of 1973 came as something of an aberration for Chile, and led to drastic reforms which have had long-lasting consequences for the country and the region.


I want to learn more about the way the Catholic sector of civil society (the church hierarchy, the lay brotherhoods and other social organizations) experienced the violence of the Pinochet dictatorship. What impact did the 1973 regime change have on the grass roots of these groups, and how did they adjust and regroup?


It is a well-known case that in Brazil, the "base communities" set up by the church evolved from being religious study groups, to lobbying for social services in the urban slums, to being a linchpin of the democratization movement. This was a time when the Church, at all levels, was very influenced by liberation theology - a particularly Latin American school of thought (its birth generally marked by the episcopal conference of Medellín, Colombia, in 1968). Liberation theology has been criticized as a "Marxist reading of the gospels," but it is known to have had great influence in Latin America especially in the 1960s and 70s. For clarity's sake it should be explained that, essentially, liberation theology argues that the kingdom of Christ is to be realized in historical time, not at the ahistorical day of judgement, and that the Church ought to orient itself with a "preferential option for the poor," that the poor are Christ's chosen ones.


This theology faced, in the Pinochet regime, a classic "bureaucratic authoritarian" state, which did not hesitate to use violence to dismiss its opponents, as it undertook a program of national restructuring designed to atomize society - to liquidate civil society as such, to make people better fit with the modern neoliberal economy, to attack social organizations and solidarity at all levels. Ultimately, this is a paper about the effect of high-level political change on grass-roots organizations, which stands to bear fruitful lessons for students of world affairs today.


B. Primary sources


1. Chile. Comisión Nacional de Verdad y Reconciliación. Informe Rettig: informe de la Comisión Nacional de Verdad y Reconciliación. 2 vols. Santiago, Chile: La Nación: Ediciones del Ornitorrinco, 1991.


This is the official Rettig Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which did work similar to that done in Nicaragua and South Africa, after the dictatorship ended. As an authoritative source of data on "what happened" under Pinochet, this is a crucial piece of reference: no self-respecting paper could ignore it. Nevertheless, it suffers from a liability to miss much depth: this commission could only publish what evidence and testimony were brought before it, so those persons still too intimidated to speak out would not have had their voices heard. This is particularly salient because Pinochet became a senator-for-life upon stepping down from the presidency, and in general the rule was impunity for the victimizers. Democracy was bought at the price of accomodation with the old agents of the dictatorship.


2. Catholic Church. Archdiocese of Santiago. Derechos humanos en Chile: enero-diciembre 1986. Santiago, Chile: Arzobispado de Santiago, 1988.


This is a contemporary report by the Catholic Church itself on the human rights situation at the time. It consists of testimony and research results by the Vicariate of Solidarity, which was the main organ by which the Church performed humanitarian work for the victims of the regime and pressed for respect of human rights and a return to democracy. Flaws inherent in the work may derive from flaws in the organization which created it: apparently some of the Chilean bishops saw the coup as inevitable before it happened, and were more or less supportive of it. The Church had to weigh how much to speak out against how much pressure it would be able to withstand from the government - the Vicariate's predecessor, the Commission for Peace in Chile, was ordered closed by Pinochet in 1975, two years after it had been launched, because the government grew more bold in oppressing church-sponsored groups.


3. Guarín Avellaneda, Graciela. Viví en Chile bajo la dictadura de Pinochet. Bogotá, Colombia: Cargraphics S.A., 2001.


This is a historical novel by an author who fled Chile after the coup. It is a "novel of testimony." Although a novelization, it may have worthwhile insight into the situation through the eyes of someone who lived it, and thus be useful as context.


4. Pinochet Ugarte, Augusto. Reflexiones en torno a una visión política de Chile: clase magistral de S.E. el presidente de la República, general de ejército don Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, con motivo de la inauguración del año académico de la Universidad de Chile, 6 de abril de 1979. Santiago, Chile: Editorial Universitaria, 1979.


This is the published version of a "master class" given by the dictator himself, in 1979, to open the academic year of the University of Chile: "reflections on a political vision of Chile." These are the dictator's own words, while in power, about his vision of the country.  It will be necessary in my paper to look at the goals and visions of all the various Catholic organizations and contrast them with the plan of the regime; thus we will see the ideological basis of the conflict which the dictatorship sought to win.


5. Wyman, Goldschmidt, ed. Los poetas y el general: voces de oposición en Chile bajo Augusto Pinochet, 1973-1989. Santiago, Chile: LOM Ediciones, 2002.


This is a collection of poetry written in Chile during the dictatorship. It is specifically a collection of "voices of opposition" presumably of all stripes. One of the things that happened during the dictatorship was the flowering of a new development in popular music, the "nueva canción" (new song), protestive and youthful. The ways in which the dictatorship has influenced the poets will be one way to understand the research question of this paper - how political change affected the grass roots.



C. Secondary sources


1. Aguilar, Mario I. "Cardinal Raul Silva Henríquez, the Catholic Church, and the Pinochet Regime, 1973-1980: Public Responses to a National Security State." The Catholic Historical Review 89, no. 4 (2003): 712.


The author discusses Cardinal Henríquez - the cardinal of Chile at the time of the coup - and tells a story of how he reacted to events. The author concludes that the Cardinal "managed to engage the Catholic Church with public concerns within a difficult political period in Chilean history" by supporting civil society. His decision to do so was made easier by the influence of the recent, reformative Second Vatican Council (1965) and the Latin American Bishops' Conference of Medellín (1968).


As Dean of Divinity at the University of St. Andrews, it may be surmised that author Dr. Mario Aguilar would be naturally predisposed towards being sympathetic to his subject, a churchman in a difficult time: he might be expected to paint things in the best possible light, to cast his actions in the greatest degree of free agency, to idealize the Cardinal.


2. Cancino Troncoso, Hugo. Chile, iglesia y dictadura 1973-1989: un estudio sobre el rol político de la iglesia católica y el conflicto con el régimen militar. Odense, Denmark: Odense University Press, 1997.


This book narrates the responses of the bishops of Chile to the military regime's policies. The author focuses on collecting official public statements by the national conference of bishops; it is useful as a chronologue of the official positions of the church over the period of the regime. He fails to analyze the reactions elicited by these statements on the part of the lower ranks of the Church, which is precisely the part of the church in which I am most interested. According to this article, the Church hierarchy was more or less unified, and my general knowledge tells me that this is not quite right - even liberation theology was not universally accepted, and its adherents did not support it to the same degree.


3. Cohen, Youssef. "Chile: The Authoritarian Transition to Electoral Politics." In Authoritarian and Democratic Regimes in Latin America, ed. Russel H. Fitzgibbon, 395. New York: Garland Pub., 1994.


Chile is interestingly different from Argentina and Brazil, the two other "Southern Cone" countries which experienced dictatorship and democratization roughly contemporaneously. Argentina's generals left power in disgrace after defeat in the Falklands War; the Brazilian generals were forced out by a growing popular movement led by the "new unions" of Lula da Silva (today's President). By contrast, Pinochet stage-managed his exit, and to this day the country operates under the 1980 constitution which he engineered. This is not to discount the fact that he did indeed lose a contested plebiscite to continue the military government in 1988. This article is helpful to understand how that transition took place, which is necessary to understand how grassroots organizations operated and how effective they were.


4. Doyle, Michael W., and Gary Selber. "The Evolution of Chile: Prosperity for Some." In Today's Life Choices, 29 minutes. United States: Films for the Humanities, 1998.


This brief film traces Chile's trajectory from a "Marxist" state (that's a bit of a stretch), to military dictatorship, to democracy. It focuses on economic reform and the widening gap between rich and poor, exploring the moral implications. Since liberation theology locates itself with the poor, to see the effects of neoliberalism on the most vulnerable class of society is important for writing this thesis. The film notes that "critics" have come to "question whether democratic capitalism is the right solution". By posing the dicotomy in this fashion it sets us up for a conclusion that democratic capitalism is probably the least worst system, which is bias.


5. Fleet, Michael. The Catholic Church and Democracy in Chile and Peru. A Title from the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies. Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1997.


This is one of many studies I will need to read in order to understand the past literature on my subject. Chile and Peru are interesting comparative cases, because Chile received a great deal of immigration from Europe in the late 19th century, as it industrialized, whereas Perú has always had a large indigenous population, and has experienced violence and friction between the dominant white or mestizo states and the mestizo or indigenous masses.


6. Fruhling, Hugo. "Resistance to Fear in Chile: The Experience of the Vicaría de la Solidaridad." In Fear at the Edge: State Terror and Resistance in Latin America, ed. Juan E. Corradi, Patricia Weiss Fagen, and Manuel Antonio Garreton, 301. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992.


Specifically focusing on the central human rights/humanitarian organization of the Church during the Pinochet era, this chapter provides a concise description of the activities and programs the Vicaría (Vicariate) undertook, and analyzes the effects it had in terms of moderating the regime's repression, and mitigating the effects of that repression on the citizenry in terms of reducing levels of fear, which facilitated the growth of other opposition groups.


7. Hipsher, Patricia L. "Democratization and the Decline of Urban Social Movements in Chile and Spain." Comparative Politics 28, no. 3 (1996): 273-297.


One apparent historical conundrum to be dealt with in talking about Chile is a decline in activism and debate at the time when opportunities and avenues for the same are being opened up. The article compares the ends of the Franco and Pinochet regimes, discussing how the political climate in Spain and Chile at the time of writing differs from the climate before the respective seizures of power. She concludes that the end of authoritarianism leads to the demobilization of the movements that opposed them, in general, and specifically that the leftist opposition in Chile (and Spain) chose moderation so as to avoid "provoking" a right-wing revanche. However, she fails to consider two things: for Spain, the general rightward shift of European socialism in the 1980s (cf. François Mittérand's privatizations); and for Chile, the end of the Cold War and presumed triumph of the Washington Consensus in the 1990s (Chile having been reformed, during the dictatorship, according to strictly orthodox neoliberal lines).



8. Power, Margaret. Defending Dictatorship: Conservative Women in Pinochet's Chile and the 1988 Plebiscite. Pittsburgh, PA: Latin American Studies Association, 1998.


Ms. Power has written several chapters, articles, and books on the subject of conservative women in Latin America. The conservatism of women has been much analyzed by scholars of Latin America; women cooperate in passing on the cult of traditional femininity, as well as being entrusted with the keeping of spirituality within the home, particular for Catholic families. It is true that a significant portion of Chilean society, particularly the middle and wealthy sectors, supported the coup at the time it happened. Ms. Power's study of the women who stood by it in the difficult years afterwards will be important to understand the back-and-forth dynamic between power and opposition.


9. Sigmund, Paul E. "Revolution, Counterrevolution, and the Catholic Church in Chile." Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 483 (1986): 25-35.


Written during the dictatorship, the author chronicles the whole sweep of Chilean history and how the Church fits into it, starting from the colonial period, when the Church was quite definitely an arm of Spanish power. Starting in the 60s, when the first center/center-left government was elected and pursued moderate land reform, continuing with the Socialist Allende government, and up through the Pinochet regime, all the revolutionary or counter-revolutionary governments have sought legitimation or accomodation with the Church. To understand this institutional role of kingmaker will help us to understand the decisions taken by the Church elite, and better understand the actions of the rank and file.


10. Smith, Brian H. "Churches and Human Rights in Latin America: Recent Trends in the Subcontinent." Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 21, no. 1 (1979): 89-127.


This is a scholarly work written just after the crest of dictatorial violence. NB the Amnesty law passed in Chile in the 1980s gives carte-blanche pardon for all crimes committed by the government up to 1976 - in a span of three years, many sources estimate that at least 3,000 died. This is also the time of the terrible civil wars in Central America and an amazingly destructive military government in Argentina. In this context of suffering, Smith looks at the role of the churches to protect human rights. In the case of Chile, divisions of opinion within the Church, and between the Catholic, Protestant and Jewish communities, weakened the responses that the faith-based communities could make in protest of the State's policies. This will be an important nuance to consider in my research: to keep in mind that the Catholic Church is far from monolithic.


11. Valenzuela, J. Samuel Valenzuela and Arturo, ed. Military Rule in Chile: Dictatorship and Oppositions. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986.


Dictatorship and oppositions: this book examines the various movements that opposed the regime. It chronicles the events leading up to and following the great protests of 1983 which "reactivated" civil society, such as it was. At the time of writing the plebiscite had not yet happened, so it will be useful to get into the mindset of a contemporary scholarly observer. The interplay between the religious groups, unions, political parties, and other organizations, will be necessary to understand in order to evaluate the status of these religious bodies which are my focus.

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