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Todas Las Manos: Commemorating 50 Years Since the Military Coup in Chile

Exhibit Dates: September 9-October 22, 2023

Exhibit Location: MLK Library, Floor 1, Great Hall, East

Todas Las Manos: Commemorating 50 Years Since the Military Coup in Chile is a five-part mural installation created by Francisco Letelier and artists from the Latin American Youth Center. The public art project celebrates the pursuit of human rights and global justice and commemorates the 1976 assassination in Washington of former Chilean Ambassador Orlando Letelier (the artist's father) and Ronni Karpen Moffitt by agents of the Chilean dictatorship on the streets of Washington DC. Letelier and Moffitt were colleagues at the Institute for Policy Studies.

On September 21, 1976, agents of dictator Augusto Pinochet detonated a car bomb, killing Letelier and Moffitt as they traveled to work in Washington, DC. Until 9/11, this assassination was considered the most infamous act of international terrorism on U.S. soil. 

In the 50 years since the Chilean coup, courageous human rights activists and lawyers, family members of victims, and others inside and outside Chile have achieved many measures of justice. In connection with the Letelier-Moffitt case, U.S. courts convicted several of the assassins and Chilean courts sent two high-ranking Chilean military officers to prison for their roles in the crime.

In a move that provoked fear among dictators around the world, British authorities arrested Chilean General Augusto Pinochet in London in 1998 on charges of “crimes against humanity.” After a lengthy house arrest, Pinochet returned to Chile, where he faced some 300 pending criminal charges for human rights violations, tax evasion, and embezzlement at the time of his death in 2006. Advocates continue to pursue legal actions against human rights violators under the dictatorship and for the further declassification of documents relating to U.S.-Chile relations, including the role of U.S. officials in supporting the Pinochet regime.

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Compilation image of Todas Las Manos murals, courtesy of Francisco Letelier

Related Event

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Headshots: Todas Las Manos panelists

Public Art, Activism, and Historic Memory

Friday, September 22, 2023, 3:00-5:00 p.m.

MLK Library, Floor 1 East (New Books area)

View event details and register




On the 50th anniversary of the military coup in Chile, a panel discussion will examine the importance of culture as a tool for building solidarity and advancing justice.

This panel is in conjunction with the exhibition of "Todas Las Manos," a five-part mural installation created by Francisco Letelier and artists from the Latin American Youth Center on display at the library from September 9 - October 22. The public art project celebrates the pursuit of human rights and global justice and commemorates the 1976 assassination in Washington of former Chilean Ambassador Orlando Letelier (the artist's father) and Ronni Karpen Moffitt by agents of the Chilean dictatorship. Letelier and Moffitt were colleagues at the Institute for Policy Studies. 

In the half century since the Chilean coup, Chilean exiles have created a new home in the United States. Through solidarity and cultural exchange, efforts in Chile have joined efforts to advance social justice and memory in the United States and around the world. Join us for poetry and discussion.

Participants:  

  • Francisco Letelier, Chilean-American visual artist and writer, creator of the mural installation Todas Las Manos
  • His Excellency Juan Gabriel Valdés, Ambassador of Chile to the United States 
  • E. Ethelbert Miller, literary activist and the author of numerous books of poetry, including Where are the Love Poems for Dictators? 
  • Sarah Anderson, Institute for Policy Studies
  • Moderated by Tope Folarin, Institute for Policy Studies Executive Director and author, A Particular Kind of Black Man