It has always been the intention of the Hora Chilena project to make the full stories of all those people we interviewed available to the wider public. Not only do they capture an important passage of social history, but the individual tales are, without exception, fascinating personal sagas which resonate for many people beyond Chile and the UK who have found themselves displaced.
On Wednesday December 11th, the entire Chilean community of Cambridge plus about a hundred of their friends gathered at the city’s Arts Picturehouse to watch the premiere of Hora Chilena, a documentary made by Camila Iturra, Lautaro Vargas and Kip Loades. The film is about two once unconnected groups, brought together by one of the great tragedies of the late twentieth century which still remains an emblematic and searing moment in the political memory of my generation.
Two weeks ago a fire tore through the dry, tinderbox forest on the outskirts of Valparaiso, Chile's third largest city and a Unesco World Heritage site.
Leo Castillo was a prominent member of Cambridge's Chilean community. At the Hora Chilena reunion event which saw people reunited after decades of lost contact, he was asked to say some words. His speech, recounted here, was an thought-provoking recollection of the sometimes dark, often humorous journey and always eventful journey of the Chilean exile and their British helpers, which looked to the future with optimism.