Carlos Arredondo, Carlos, Arredondo, Chile, Scotland, music, poetry, culture, Latin America  



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My story, a labyrinth, evolves round three very different countries miles apart in distance, history and culture. I just wanted to share my experience!

In Scotland I become a sort of a cultural worker engaged in activities around the theme of music, poetry, tradition, identity and memories which had allowed me to do social and solidarity work and recognise that Scotland is in need of being an independent country away from the politics of Westminster.


Part of my work has been to contribute to the solidarity movements with Latin América in the UK and Scotland in this case wth Nicaragua in London below

and Glasgow below

Another dimention to my work has been to research, document and write a history of the Chilean refugees in Scotland. This is important because it is about a drama that began in Chile on the 11th of September of 1973. On this date, a bloody coup d' etat took place with terrible consequences for the country. The coup was staged by the army General Augusto Pinochet, with the support of the Government of the United States, against the democratic elected Socialist Government of Salvador Allende.

The "UNHCR began work in Chile in 1973, a week after the overthrow of the government of Salvador Allende. Immediately after the coup, the then High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadruddin Aga Khan, sent a cable to the military junta reminding them of Chile’s obligations to protect refugees.

As soon as it had opened its office, UNHCR began helping thousands of refugees from other countries who had earlier fled to Chile, and who now were being detained or felt threatened under the new government. UNHCR staff established inviolable “safe havens” inside Chile where these refugees could be lodged, protected and assisted while new countries of asylum were arranged. Several appeals were issued asking third countries to open their doors to these refugees. In 1973-74, UNHCR Santiago managed to find resettlement for about 2,600 foreign refugees, helped those opting for repatriation to return to their countries of origin, and assisted the ones who chose to remain in Chile.

At the same time, UNHCR staff in neighbouring countries had to cope with an influx of tens of thousands of Chileans escaping military repression. In all, UNHCR provided protection and assistance to more than 200,000 Chileans in surrounding countries. In the years that followed, UNHCR focused on reunifying the families of fleeing Chilean refugees."(taken from a UNHCR magazine  |  01 June 1996).

It is against the backdrop of this sad experience that affected me and millions of Chileans that I found myself and other chileans in Scotland doing a lot of solidarity work against the bloody military dictatorshipthings in our country. Although, I never belonged to any particular Chilean left-wing Party I joined the strong solidarity movement with Chile in Scotland. In the 70s ad 80s many importat politicians of The Labour Party in England as in Scotland supported us.

Below. 1976, June, Renfrew. I with the Chilean Folk Group I formed in Glasgow in Nov 1974 to do solidarity work. It was the first Chilean musical group in Britan. Here we are with the Labour leader Michael Food.

Below.Singing and given a speech about the Pinochet dictatorship to more than three hundred thousands people at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow in 1982.


In May 2010, for example, The Scottish Refugee Council and The United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees.(UNHCR) asked me to support their activities to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the The United Nation Convention on Refugees. With pleasure, I accepted their invitation because I knew so well that this organization had played a great role during the dictatorship. One of the highlights of these activities, was to have tea at the Home Office with the conservative Minister Theresa May. I was one of three refugees in Britain invited to the Home Office.

Another interesting experience for me has been to become a Unison Shop Steward to represent the Support Staff in my place of work. I hate the idea of history passing me by my side - I want to be part of it!

I love playing my guitar

1984 Work with
the 7:84 theatre Co.


1988, Edinburgh, I organized
this symbolic referendum

1998, Demo-London
detention of Pinochet


Performing at the
Edinburgh University


Carlos Arrendondo, FABULA, For a better understanding of Latin America - Carlos Arredondo, Carlos, Arredondo, Chile, Scotland, music, poetry, culture, Latin America
2001 By Craig McLean for a
photographic exhibition
in Edinburgh

In a film , a 'wee' part,
with Gregor Fisher



2011. UNHCR-Tea with
Theresa May at
the Home Office

Work with the 7:84 Theatre
Co. Canada- The playwright
J. McGrath


2010 Support in Edinburgh for the
Chilean earthquake -


2011. London. At the Home
Office with UNHCR staff. Meeting
with the Home Secretary
Theresa May

Support against cuts on
jobs and education
in Scotland

2010 Chilean earthquake
The fisherman Alejandro
Reyes was the recipient
of a boat we bought for him
in Edinburgh

Latin America Canta
En Edimburgo


  Carlos Arredondo, Carlos, Arredondo, Chile, Scotland, music, poetry, culture, Latin America