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Marcia Campos

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Eulogy for Fernando Alegria / Elegía a Fernando Alegría

I first read his book “Lautaro, Young Liberator of Arauco” in my infancy, in an old catholic girl’s school in Santiago, Chile where nuns shuffled about in their black habits and white coifs.  More than 20 years of life experiences and relocations would pass by before I met its author... continue reading ->

Juan Felipe Herrera

Fernando Alegria, Conductor of the Américas / Fernando Alegría, conductor de las Américas

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There we were, Fernando and I - facing the feverish audience at the Fine Arts building of San Francisco. The people were clapping, shouting, rocking on the seats from one side to the other as Fernando finished reading ¡Viva Chile Mierda!  then, a pensive wave rolled through them. They imagined and felt the atrocities of los desaparecidos in Chile, during and after the Chilean Coup de’etat in 1973 as his poems unfolded with my plain guitar chords accompanying his words... continue reading ->

Alejandro Murguía

Remember Me When You Drink Good Wine / Recuérdame cuando bebas buen vino

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I first met Fernando Alegría around 1972, although I had probably heard of him before. It was at the time that Salvador Allende had been elected president of Chile. A group of us had been working around the Chicano zine El Pocho-Che, the group included Ysidro Macias, Roberto Vargas and Rene Yañez amongst others. When Macias left El Pocho-Che  I inherited the role of editor and we moved from being a zine to being a publisher by renaming the group Editorial Pocho-Che... continue reading ->

Juan Esteban Plaza

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Snapshots of an Enduring Past / Instantáneas de un pasado persistente

In contrast to their posthumous canonization, the worthiest creators of an imaginary Chile (not the real, horrific one whose hallmarks Enrique Lign used to lament), lived lives marked by exile or ostracization. In 1891, immediately after losing a civil war which he pursued because he intended to radicalize the liberal reforms of the XIX century... continue reading ->

Jorge Ruffinelli

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My Neighbor, Fernando Alegria  / Fernando Alegría, mi vecino

In 1994, Fernando Alegría (Santiago de Chile 1918 - Walnut Creek, California 2005) published a biographical narrative titled Allende: A Novel. Alegria had known the Chilean president sacrificed in La Moneda on September 11, 1973 and had been Chile’s honorary consul in San Francisco during Allende’s administration. As legend has it, the military coup had caught Alegria unawares in Santiago, and to get out of the country he had relied on arrangements made by his university, Stanford, with the Department of State. Anyway, his departure had been carnivalesque... continue reading ->