Circle 044: Isabel Morel Letelier and E. Lovell Dyett, Human Rights and Third World Women's Projects, December 9, 1986

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There was a sense of Deja Vu as Isabel Morel Letelier seated in a corner of the Parker House Press Room, talked softly about the need for human rights to be placed squarely atop the world's agenda. "Human rights means human equality," she said. "It's a proper goal for all of us."

With some prodding by "official" interviewer Lovell Dyett of Boston TV and radio and questions from the floor, she recounted somewhat reluctantly her ongoing efforts to trigger change into the thick-skinned dictatorship of Chilean leader Augusto Pinochet to vindicate her martyred husband Orlando, the country's former foreign minister under Allende who was killed in a car bombing on the streets of Washington ten years earlier, in 1976.

Chile was under martial law at the time, and the Inter-American Development Bank had just fostered a new loan. Showing her characteristic realism, Letelier drew the connection between the development loans and the survival of the government. Noting that the only free elections in Chile today are university ones, she said the government doesn't really know what people think. Speaking with the same quiet authority of two other onetime Boston women Corazon Aquino and Coretta Scott King, each widowed by political assassination, each thrust into the forefront of public affairs, Letelier explained that when there are no national free elections, the government tends to isolate itself and to magnify its enemies.

by Crocker Snow, Jr. (Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Worldpaper)


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