Dancing the Cueca and munching on empanada, approximately 75 students and family members celebrated the anniversary of Chile's independence from Spain at a party held Saturday evening at the Christian Association. "Viva Chile!" said Fernando Carrizo, a 17-year-old Chilean-American from Allentown, Pa. who attended the party with his family to celebrate Chile's independence and to meet other Latin-Americans. The evening's activities were structured after a "pena," a type of coffee house that originated in Chile, where people get together to eat, sing, dance and read poetry. Both Chilean committees have been in existence since 1973, when the legally elected President of Chile, Salvador Allende, was overthrown by Augusto Pinochet. According to Vivian Schatz, a University graduate who has worked for the Penn Chile Committee since its start in 1973, this year's celebration was especially important. This is the first Chilean Independence Day celebration in 17 years without the dictatorship rule of Pinochet, who was voted out of office last year. "The Chileans can finally have a real celebration," Schatz said. Juan Figueroa, also a University graduate and member of the Penn Chile Committee, spoke during the evening celebration, detailing the historical importance of Chilean Independence Day, and introduced the evenings activities. The three-hour celebration included traditional Chilean food, music and dancing. Pia Nicolini, a Chilean-American whose recipes have been featured in the Food section of the Philadelphia Inquirer, did some of the cooking. The foods were typical of Chilean Independence Day. They included: empanada, a dish made of raisins olives and onions in a fried dough; pastel de choclo, a spicy corn and chicken pie; salad, and cake. Gill Smith, who works for the Chilean Committee for Human Rights, passed around a petition asking for the release of political prisoners in Chile. The petition will be presented to Patricio Aylwin, the president of Chile, next month at the United Nations. "Tonight is an important event to bring together activists who are concerned with human rights and Latin America," said Milagros Cisneros, a second-year graduate student at Temple University.Comments powered by Disqus
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