On 11 September 1973, twenty-eight years to the day before terrorists caused mayhem in New York, a savage military coup was launched in Chile, hitherto peaceful under a democratically-elected government. Thousands were arrested, many - or most - were tortured and killed, and thousands of others managed to flee to Peru and Argentina or to find protection in foreign embassies.
By 1978, there had also been a military coup in Argentina and the "Junta"
required many Chilean refugees, seen as a danger to the State, to leave the country. Refugees from other Latin American countries who had found refuge in Chile were amongst them. For these people stranded in Mendoza, a city at the foot of the Andes, UNHCR needed to undertake the task of preparing documentation that could lead to their getting visas to go to other countries. I was sent to do that.
A young refugee from Uruguay in need of a visa to get out of Argentina
A Chilean refugee couple being interviewed for their resettleent dossier. They soon went to Goteborg, Sweden, where they told me later that they were happy and had good Swedish friends
Crossing a very wide river in eastern Honduras with a ICRC delegate