Book burnings in Chile

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Chilean soldiers burning books in 1973

Book burnings in Chile were done by the military junta led by Commander-in-Chief Augusto Pinochet following 1973 Chilean coup d'état. The military burned the books they considered subversive,[1] including leftist literature as well as other books that didn't fit the junta's ideology, being part of a campaign to "extirpate the Marxist cancer".[2]

Following the coup, the military began raids to find potential opponents of the regimes, who were then held and some of them executed at the Estadio Nacional and other places. In addition to this, during the raids the military gathered and burned large numbers of books: not just Marxist literature, but also general sociological literature, newspapers and magazines.[3] In addition to this, such books were withdrawn from the shelves of bookstores and libraries.[2]

The book burning attracted international protests: the American Library Association condemned them, arguing that it is "a despicable form of suppression" which "violates the fundamental rights of the people of Chile".[3]

Sporadic book burning occurred throughout the junta's regime which lasted until 1990. On November 28, 1986, the customs authorities seized almost 15,000 copies of Gabriel García Márquez's book Clandestine in Chile, which were later burned by military authorities in Valparaíso. Together with them, copies of a book of essays by Venezuelan presidential candidate Teodoro Petkoff were also burned.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The books have been burning", CBC News, June 22, 2011
  2. ^ a b Bosmajian, p.141
  3. ^ a b Bosmajian, p.174
  4. ^ 14,846 Books by Nobel Prize Winner Burned in Chile, LA Times, January 25, 1987