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Salvador Allende's granddaughter: another face of the political changes in Chile

  • Maya Fernández Allende was appointed Minister of Defense by future President Gabriel Boric

  • Granddaughter of the late president, her mother committed suicide in Havana in 1977

I admire my grandfather's loyalty and my mother with Chile”, has repeated Maya Alejandra Fernández Allende. She is 50 years old, a present full of promises and a past that connects her with a lineage, not just any. The future president Gabriel Boric has appointed her none other than head of the Ministry of Defense . More than a paradox of history, his appointment speaks of how society has elaborated over the years the 1973 coup and the experience of the democratic transition, with its achievements and pending issues. The face of Fernández Allende gained greater visibility in the heat of the profound changes that went through that country after the social outbreak of 2019 and the launch of the Constituent Assembly that will eradicate the matrix inherited from the military dictatorship. The arrival in the Government of a new generation of leftists is one of the immediate effects of the so-called “blowout”. In a few weeks, starting on March 11, Maya will have to articulate the relations between a 36-year-old president and the Armed Forces.

, the most politicized daughter, also married to the Cuban diplomat Luis Fernández de Oña. That morning, the father put on a helmet. He took the machine gun that he had given him Fidel Castro and ordered him to leave the Palacio de la Moneda. Along with her mother, Hortensia Bussi and little Maya, her daughter, went into exile. Four years later, Beatriz Allende would also commit suicide with a shot to the head.

The reasons for his death always had a halo of incognito. In Cuba he had had another son, Alejandro Salvador Fernández. By decree, Castro ordered that he take his mother's surname first, to carry, as a man, with all his historical burden. But it was Maya, upon returning to Chile at the end of the dictatorship in 1990, who finally decided to follow the family tradition, as did her aunt, Senator Isabel Allende. "At least I can bring a flower to my grandfather and my mother. I think of all those people who cannot put a flower on their husband, son, sister or brother. There is a lot of pain".

In addition to starting a university career, he joined the Socialist party. She was a volunteer firefighter and was part of the Directorate of International Economic Relations. Maya was elected a socialist senator in 2013 and 2017. Some fellow supporters thought they saw in her a budding leadership, to the point that, two years ago, the head of the socialist caucus, Luis Rocafull, considered that she had “presidential” conditions.

Decisive support

Fernández Allende has stood out in his training for early support of Boric's candidacy. He did it in the primaries that made him a candidate for the presidency, last July. That determination unnerved part of the sectors most inclined to the center of his party. José Miguel Insulza, a former Allende supporter who, over the years, abandoned youthful rage, asked the illustrious granddaughter to “

would freeze his militancy ” if he joined the ranks of the new left. Many praised his courage, however. “Being phenomenal includes making decisions that have costs,” feminist political scientist Javiera Ulloa said at the time. Finally, socialism unambiguously backed Boric, among other reasons because it was necessary to prevent the victory of the extreme right-wing

José Antonio Kast.

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