Amitai Schnitzer, Emerson Preparatory School

Amitai Schnitzer chronicles her mother's life story- one requiring incredible strength in the face of adversity.

(Published: 2019)

In 1970, Salvador Allende won the Chilean presidential election by popular vote. Victory chants erupted in the streets and eyeliner streaked down the faces of joyous maids. My mom, a rising journalist, recalls the glory and hope of the scene vividly. Almost immediately after, the then president of the United States, Richard Nixon, informed the CIA that they would not accept the victory of a Marxist president elect, and spent $10 million on stopping Allende from coming to power or unseating him. Three years after his vic tory, as he increased wages for workers and scaled back austerity programs, he was assassinated in a U.S. led coup and replaced by the rightwing dictator, Augusto Pinochet.

My mom barely survived. She was taken by the military police to a “detention facility” where she would presumably be killed like most other fearless journalists, when another journalist took a photo of her struggling and screaming. Her family friends were the most likely ones to have betrayed her because they had direct ties to Pinochet’s son. She then fled to Austria, leaving her family behind and abandoning her home country for a new life.