Rural west Wales yet again brings hope to the valleys and beyond in these troubling political times. Machynlleth is hosting its seventh ‘El Sueño Existe’ festival. Translating as ‘The Dream Lives On’, this bi-annual political and cultural festival punches way above its weight to keep alive the radical and beautiful spirit, music and politics of the iconic Chilean singer, Victor Jara.
Chilean academic and solidarity activist, Dr. Francisco Dominguez, Middlesex University, sums up: “In all my many years as an activist in Britain, I have found that one of the most beautiful gestures of commitment with Latin America’s struggles is the El Sueño Existe Festival in the depths of marvellous Wales. It is solidarity at its very best.”
Victor Jara, a member of the Chilean Communist Party, was a musical advocate for Salvador Allende’s Popular Unity Government of 1970-73. Allende’s democratic election introduced far-reaching social reforms including peasant land rights, free healthcare and education for workers and the promotion of popular art and culture. The military coup of 1973, led by Thatcher’s old friend, fascist General Pinochet, violently and abruptly overturned this progress with support from Nixon’s US government, on another historic, if less commemorated, September 11th.
Singing of workers’ struggles, joys and sorrows, Victor Jara was a voice of hope throughout Chile. His execution after the coup failed to kill his message and throughout Latin America he remains a symbol of socialist resistance to centuries of oppression and genocide.
The inspiring El Sueño Existe festival, gathers Latin American musicians and dancers, artists and poets, film and play-makers, journalists and academics, Welsh language and solidarity activists, coming together as Allende might have imagined. As well as embracing Chilean contexts, and promoting all cultures engaged in progressive change, each festival highlights one Latin American country. This year the focus is Ecuador, riding high on the triumph of Lenin Moreno’s election as Citizens’ Revolution President, and you can expect some exciting commentary on this world event.
The festival is run by volunteers and supported by Unite the Union, Wales. For info & tickets (approx. £50 + camping £12, campervan £22) go to festival website:
www.elsuenoexiste.com or contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.