The Chilean Flag by Elvira Hernandez
Poetry. Latinx Studies. Women's Studies. Translated by Alec Schumacher. Introduction by Cecilia Vicuña. THE CHILEAN FLAG narrates the vicissitudes of the Chilean flag during the Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990), evoking the fate of victims of political violence. The Chilean flag is a protagonist divested of agency, a national emblem subjected to the whims of political exigency, a body tortured by those who profess their allegiance to her. Written in 1981, the book became a potent symbol in opposition to the dictatorship and was passed around in mimeographed copies until it was formally published in 1991. Despite the uniquely Chilean context of the work, this poem contains an urgent message for readers today as rising nationalist movements mobilize patriotic discourse in order to silence dissenting voices.