WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
25 Sep 2023 | Press Release

President Boric Recognizes WOLA on 50th Anniversary of Coup in Chile

Washington D.C, September 25, 2023-President Gabriel Boric awarded the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) a medal in recognition of international solidarity at a special ceremony last Saturday to commemorate fifty years since the coup in Chile, which toppled democratically elected president Salvador Allende.

“This recognition of international solidarity with Chile seeks to highlight and thank those institutions whose work in the defense of human rights and democracy was essential to raise awareness about the Chilean reality and contribute to the recovery of democracy,” said an official statement.

WOLA was among three other organizations to receive the prestigious medal: the Institute for Policy Studies, the United States Institute of Peace and the National Democratic Institute.

WOLA President, Carolina Jiménez Sandoval, who received the award on behalf of the organization at an intimate reception held at the residence of the Ambassador of Chile, Juan Gabriel Valdés, said: “We are here today to remember Orlando Letelier and Ronni Karpen Moffitt, to remember the thousands who were killed or disappeared, to remember the tens of thousands of victims of torture, to remember the hundreds of thousands of people forced into exile, to remember the U.S. support for a cruel and unjust dictator.”

“We gather in Washington D.C to remember the events of the 1970s because without memory there is no justice.  Without memory there is no dignity for victims, there is no hope for human rights, and no possibility that we can live up to the promise of “Never Again, Nunca Más!” added Jiménez Sandoval.

Also present at the ceremony to receive the award was WOLA founder, Joe Eldridge who was living in Santiago de Chile at the time of the coup on September 11, 1973. “It is an honor to receive this recognition from President Boric. WOLA’s human rights work was born out of the indignation that many of us felt following the coup in Chile 50 years ago this month.”

“On behalf of WOLA, I am extremely humbled and grateful to President Boric and the courageous people of Chile who have come a long way to establish the democracy they know today,” he added.

Earlier in the day , in a public ceremony held at Sheridan Circle in Northwest Washington D.C, the Chilean President had addressed, mainly in Spanish, a crowd of over one hundred people , steps away from where a car bomb, placed by agents of General Augusto Pinochet in 1976, killed former Chilean Ambassador for the Allende government, Orlando Letelier, and Ronni Karpen Moffitt, his colleague at the Institute for Policy Studies.

“From Chile, and on behalf of the government of Chile, we honor their memory by working every day to strengthen and nurture that democracy, raising our voices in the face of human rights violations regardless of the political color of those who violate them, and fighting for a more humane, freer, fairer, more equitable and happier world,” said President Boric.

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WOLA is a leading research and advocacy organization advancing human rights in the Americas. We envision a future where public policies protect human rights and recognize human dignity, and where justice overcomes violence. WOLA tackles problems that transcend borders and demand cross-border solutions. We create strategic partnerships with courageous people making social change—advocacy organizations, academics, religious and business leaders, artists, and government officials. Together, we advocate for more just societies in the Americas.