Friday, March 8, 2013

A Controversial Coin

This is the 10 peso coin, equal to about 2 cents in USD.  During the 1980s, the Pinochet government started making it with an angel on the back with the date of the coup, September 11th, 1973 as the date of "liberty." These were made all throughout the 80's.

When Chile returned to democracy, they started making the 10 peso coins with Bernardo O'Higgins, one of Chile's independence leaders.  Since then, there have been efforts to take the Pinochet angel coins out of circulation.  People collect them and exchange them for the new coins.  So, they are increasing hard to find, but I found one!  Although I don't like what it stands for, I like it because it is an interesting relic of Chile's tumultuous past.

Another interesting legacy of Chile's leaders is their presence in street and place names.  It seems like every Chilean city or town I have been to has streets named Pedro de Valdivia, Bernardo O'Higgins, Arturo Prat, Salvador Allende and other figures from Chilean history.  Interestingly enough, I have not seen any streets named Augusto Pinochet.

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