Que Vivan Los Estudiantes Que Rugen Como Los Vientos”: Students as the Weathervane of Chilean Politics, 1964–73

Thursday, January 3, 2019: 3:30 PM
Salon 6 (Palmer House Hilton)
Danielle Barefoot, University of Arizona
“Long live the students who roar like the wind,” crooned Violeta Parra, a popular Chilean folk artist, in her 1963 hit, “Me gustan los estudiantes”. Parra’s lyrics praised student power, recognizing their mobilization as a catalyst for political and social change. The song released a year ahead of the hotly contested 1964 Chilean presidential election, which shepherded a decade of political turmoil ending with the violent military coup d’état of 1973. Across Chilean campuses, Parra’s words reverberated students’ clamor for university reforms. As hinted by the lyrics, weather imagery occupies a prevalent position in period sources. This paper employs these tropes, exploring university student activism in the brewing storm that was Chilean politics from the Frei presidency to the immediate aftermath of the September 11th coup. Set amid regional and hemispheric Cold War tensions, this paper contributes to the historical understanding of universities as spaces of emergent political constructed around student networks.
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