Chile, Miners’ wives from El Teniente advance by the bridge Maipo rive

Several hundred miners and their wives from El Teniente framed Feminist Command of El Teniente (FCT) avoided the police on the Maipo River. Elsewhere, in Santiago the Leftist Revolutionary Movement (MIR) initiated a protest on the streets with the purpose of intercepting the miners of the Teniente coming from Rancagua. Nearby, miners and the FCT went to La Alameda Street in order to meet with students at the Catholic University. On the way, the police moved quickly into the streets shooting at miners, students and individual supporters. Shortly, the police could not control the situation caused by the demonstrators. As a result, the police deployed more officers in the streets to neutralize the crowd.  The miners stood firmly against the police, and many of them ended wounded in the protest. After the incidents, the government totally rejected negotiations with the miners of El Teniente (El Rancagüino: Rancagua, June 15-16, 1973)…


El Rancaguino

On June 16, 1973, the miners accused the Secretary of Labor Luis Figueroa and the Minister of Mining Sergio Bitar of having acted unconstitutionally by not applying Law 17.713, and for this reason, the miners demanded that Bitar and Figueroa resign.

In the meantime, the strike was being mobilized throughout Santiago, where miners of El Teniente hoped that President Allende would open a dialogue with the miners.  However, some of the people from the Communist Party were trying to stop miners from gaining an audience with the President.

Nevertheless, on June 16, 1973 Allende received the miners at 12:45 p.m.  At the meeting, President Allende, Minister of Labour Luis Figueroa, Sergio Bitar and Jorge Arrate economic advisors, Union Leaders all discussed the cost of living issues with the miners of El Teniente according to Law 17.173. The President explained to the miners’ representatives that the government had ideas about helping the miners. However, Eduardo Long Alessandri, lawyer for the Confederación de Trabajadores del Cobre (CTC) said that the President had ignored the workers’ problems. (El Rancagüino: Rancagua, June 16, 1973).

This group of miners’ wives framed themselves as the Feminist Command of El Teniente or FCT…

There is no need to go out and search for news related to women, because it is produced daily in very different areas… and now we are not talking about the international arena, with female Prime Ministers such as Indira Gandhi or a Golda Meier, neither is it about Princesses who sew idly and at the same time become horse-riding champions such as Ana of England or many others.  No, we are not referring to a national arena or beyond that, even local with women involved in professional and political affairs, or even the trade union.

They are not leaving any ground unturned: women who do Karate; women that give life to groups related with problems connected to the community, problems such as provisions, family planning, having limited children and others; women who move the feminine department of commerce with their own lives.  Women who awake the unions or “gremialismos” and they transform into authentic heroines of a movement that held a threat over the zonal such as those of the “Teniente.”   Women conscious of the human rights in the community, made their voices heard with decisiveness, with bravery, when they realize their rights are being violated.”  The women of today are many-faceted and the news in which they are protagonists is also. (El Rancagüino: Rancagua, Wednesday, August 15, 1973)

Carmen discurso

“No hay que salir ya en busca de la noticia relacionada con la mujer, que esta se produce a diario en los más diversos planos, nos llena carillas y nos hace hasta acelerar el paso para seguirles el ritmo.

Y no hablamos ahora de un plano internacional, con mujeres Primer Ministros, como una Indira Gandhi o una Golda Meier, ni de Princesas que tejen idilios al mismo tiempo que se convierten en campeonas ecuestres, como una Ana de Inglaterra, o tantas otras.

No, nos estamos refiriendo a un plano nacional y más que ello, local, con mujeres en lo profesional en lo político, en lo gremial.

No les van quedando terrenos vedados: mujeres que hacen Kárate; mujeres que le dan vida a agrupaciones relacionadas con problemas candentes de la comunidad, como los de abastecimiento, de planificación familiar, los del niño limitado y otros; mujeres que mueven con vida propia un departamento femenino del comercio.

Mujeres que despiertan al gremialismo, y se convierten en auténticas heroínas de un movimiento que tuvo en jaque a la zonal como las de El Teniente.

Mujeres que conscientes de los derechos del ser humano dentro de una comunidad, hacen oír su voz, con decisión, con valentía, cuando estiman que estos se ven atropellados.

La mujer de hoy es polifacética y la noticia que protagoniza también lo es.”

(El Rancagüino: Rancagua, Wednesday, August 15, 1973)

By Victor P. U.

To my mother who passed away.