In the year 1970; a group of men marching. One youth looks at the camera, raising his fist; others join him lifting a banner that reads ‘VOP’ (Vanguardia Organizada del Pueblo, ‘Organized Vanguard of the People’). We undertake a journey into the events of the past, reconstructing the history of repression in Chile and revisiting the adventure of a group of revolutionary youths which, embedded in the action of the 70s, would later be repressed by the very government of the Unidad Popular (‘Popular Unity’).
The assassination of the former vice president and interior minister Edmundo Pérez Zujovic on Hernando de Aguirre street in Santiago on June 8th, 1971, as well as the deadly assault on the headquarters of the Police of Investigations on General Mackenna Street in Santiago on June 16th, 1971 are perhaps the most memorable, yet not the only acts of the VOP (1969–71). The VOP is considered one of the few revolutionary organizations that decided to continue conducting urban guerrilla warfare once the Unidad Popular government came to power. Their unpardonable provocation was answered heavily by the Allende government that tried to bury them with blood, torture, imprisonment and oblivion.
The documentary De Martires y Verdugos was made possible by the Proyecto Documental Uno in October 2009. The names of its protagonists, the militants of the VOP, don’t appear on any memorial or in any official report of the Chilean State. Nevertheless, their story clearly establishes that those who appear to be the martyrs of democracy were and are the executioners of the people.