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“I made this song on October 5, 1974, 20 or 30 minutes after Miguel Enríquez died in combat,” Pablo Milanés told a recital before singing “I will step on the streets again.”
“It’s the only one that took me 10 minutes to compose,” he told another event some time before.
The concert, at the Víctor Jara stadium in Santiago de Chile, was a tribute to the 30th anniversary of the death of the militant of the MIR (Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria), one of the armed groups that rose up against the military government of Augusto Pinochet ( 1973-1990).
Milanés, who died at dawn this Tuesday at the age of 79, continued that October 2004 by speaking of all the deaths of the Pinochet regime and his “sympathy” with the Mirista movement, one of the hardest hit by the repression that followed. the coup that overthrew socialist president Salvador Allende.
Then the Cuban singer-songwriter strummed his guitar and began to sing:
“I will step on the streets again of what was bloody Santiago, and in a beautiful liberated square I will stop to cry for the absent…”
(You can listen to the song here)
But who was Miguel Enríquez and how did he die on October 5, 1974?
years of militancy
Miguel Enríquez was born in Talcahuano, in southern Chile, on March 27, 1944.
He was the son of Edgardo Enríquez, who was rector of the University of Concepción and later Minister of Education in the Allende government, and Raquel Espinosa, a graduate of the Law School of the same field of study.
At his secondary school, the Enrique Molina Garmendia high school, he met many of the young people who would join the MIR with him, such as Marcello Ferrada de Noli and Bautista van Schouwen. Others, like Sergio Pérez Molina, he would meet at the University of Concepción, where he graduated as a doctor in 1968.
In that year, he married his first wife, Alejandra Pizarro, and a year later their daughter, Javiera Alejandra Enríquez Pizarro, was born.
It is during the years of study that Enríquez and many of his companions join different leftist movements such as the Socialist Youth Federation (FJS), the Revolutionary Socialist Movement (MSR) and the Revolutionary Marxist Vanguard (VMR).
The MIR was founded in August 1965 with various factions, many of which they were inspired by the Cuban Revolution of 1959who promoted armed struggle and who would confront the country’s most traditional left, represented by the Socialist Party.
The writer Ignacio Vidaurrázaga, author of the book “El MIR de Miguel. Crónicas de Memoria”, describes Miguel Enríquez as follows: “He brought together attractions and charisma, as well as humor and irreverence. Ironic and talkative. Studious and tenacious. In love without brake. And capable of running for hours, lighting new cigarettes”.
In his book, Vidaurrázaga comments that on September 11, 1973, the day of the coup against Salvador Allendethe MIR sent the president, through his daughter Beatriz, the offer to rescue him from the Palacio de la Moneda.
The president’s response was that he would remain at the seat of government, to which he would have added a direct message to Miguel Enríquez: “Tell him that now it is his turn.”
In an interview with Cuban journalist Rogelio Nogueira in Havana, Beatriz Allende recalled the MIR militant since they met in university days:
“At that time he already stood out in various aspects. Of course he was a good medical student, although I would say that he was not a typical student. He studied the subjects he wanted, those that interested him, especially Neurology; however, his most frequent studies were of another type: history books, economics books, Marxism books, and already books and military literature“.
According to that interview, Allende began to worry about the militants of the MIR when the movement went underground during the presidency of the democratic government of Eduardo Frei Montalva (1964-1970).
Later, various MIR cadres were part of Allende’s personal security from the beginning of his government in November 1970, although the MIR youth did not always coincide with the Popular Unity (UP) government.
“It was a special relationship, of affection, of consideration; it is fair to say that many times they disagreed, however there was an important dialogue of a political nature that was maintained -despite their differences- during the three years of the government,” said Beatriz Allende. .
After the coup, Enríquez and other MIR comrades decided to stay in the country to organize resistance against Pinochet.
However, on October 5, 1974, three agents from the National Intelligence Directorate (DINA) killed him in the commune of San Miguel, in the capital of Chile.
His new wife, Carmen Castillo, who was pregnant, is injured in the attack but survives. Their son, Miguel Ángel Castillo, will be born in Oxford, England.
In June 1973, Manuela Gumucio’s son, Marco Enríquez Ominami, ME-O, was born, who was Chilean presidential candidate in 2009 and founder of Grupo Puebla, a political and academic forum made up of representatives of the Latin American political left.
In “I will step on the streets again”, Milanese He denounced the Chilean coup of 1973. The musician did not set foot in Chile for 26 years, until in 1998 General Augusto Pinochet left his post as head of the Army, eight years after the return to democracy.
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