An Interview with Aida Moreno and Sylvia Alvancado

In this interview, we hear from two Chilean arpilleristas whose lives were overcome by Pinochet's dictatorship during the 1970s and beyond. Aida Moreno and Sylvia Avancado along with many other women in Chile decided to take back what was taken from them when they had their lives completely uprooted by the long lasting Chilean military rule. They fought back this oppression through expression, and more specifically by making arpilleras. The interview titled, "Nueva Esperanza," which translates to "New Hope," addresses how Chilean women were able to use not only arpilleras, but also communal housing to formulate a sense of community and culture that was lost under the dictatorship. Arpilleras empowered women and served as a form of education, allowing for the international community, as well as the nation itself to learn and tell the story of women and men who had their lives forever altered. Women would risk their lives to smuggle these art pieces out of the country, and this allowed them to generate an income to feed their family. Nueva Esperanza was the name of the workshop that these particular women worked in during the dictatorship and it created a tight-knit community of women who were able to support one another.  

"La Casa de La Mujer de Huamachuco" is a community foundation that was established in 1989 by Aida Moreno herself. The project functions as a training and community service centre as well as a daycare for children of working women. This idea was inspired by the tight-knit communities between women that were formed during the dictatorship, and Aida wanted to continue the spirit of "women supporting women" through this project. Casa de la Mujer has been recognized by the Chilean government and the international community and has received many awards. They have also received funding from their government for this project. This is one of the many examples of the positive aspects of culture and society that were a result of a tumultuous time in Chilean history. Without the dictatorship and the making of arpilleras, as Aida and Sylvia said in the interview, they would have never formed this organization which helps so many women today. In more ways than one, this interview highlights the new hope that exists because of the dictatorship in Chile and highlights the strength that Chileans have in order to reconcile from such a horrific human rights atrocity.

To learn more about Aida and her foundation, please visit their Facebook page; "La Casa de La Mujer de Huamachuco":

Bibliography (Photographs in Video):

Coup of September 11, 1973. Bombing of La Moneda (presidential palace). 1973. Political History of the Library of the Chilean National Congress. Accessed April 17, 2019.

Weekly Review. Chile, 1973. Burning Marxist literature. February 9, 1973. CIA Freedom of Information Act. Accessed April 17, 2019.