Chapter 14 La Moneda in Ruins: the Palace Tomb and Epitaph of Salvador Allende

In: Negotiating Space in Latin America

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Abstract

This chapter analyzes La Moneda, Chile’s National Palace, as a space circumscribed by president Salvador Allende. It takes as a premise that Allende’s struggle to become president marks him and the palace. He was a candidate for the presidency in 1952, 1958, and 1964, and was elected in 1970 to a six-year term. His presidency was truncated by a coup d’état on 11th September 1973. He fought against the coup at La Moneda. When it was all over, he committed suicide there, refusing to give up. The spaces inhabited by the former president at La Moneda include physical areas as well as images, objects, and words, that is, expressions and things that ‘construct’ the president. This frame of reference yields the possibility of a multidimensional analysis. This chapter concentrates on a space of hope, when Allende became president; a space of struggle and hope, when he fought to continue his term; a space of betrayal, by Pinochet and others who had sworn to follow the constitution; and a space of renewal in post-authoritarian Chile.

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