General Francisco Franco’s rise to power on April 1939 ended the civil war that had extended for almost 3 years. Thousands of Spaniards were forced to seek asylum in different countries and one of those was Chile. Pedro Aguirre Cerda, the president at the time, supported the cause and designated Chilean Pablo Neruda as the consul in charge of transferring the refugees. That is how, on September 3, 1939, more than 2.000 Spanish refugees arrived at the port of Valparaíso on the Winnipeg cargo ship.
Today, within a few days away of the 75th anniversary of this historical event, Casa de la Ciudadanía Montecarmelo and Agrupación de Amigos del Winnipeg have organized different cultural events to commemorate its arrival on the coasts of Chile.
The exhibition “Reflotamiento del Winnipeg” gathers different testimonies of men and women that travelled in the ship, which were compiled by an art collective directed by the Spanish curator Juan José Santos and displayed in Casa de la Ciudadanía Montecarmelo. The exhibitions will be open until August 27.
The actors Julio Jung, Humberto Duvauchelle and Pedro Sánchez presented the multimedia performance with live music «Versos en la proa del Winnipeg” (Verses in the prow of the Winnipeg), in which they recited poems of Pablo Neruda and of the Spanish poets Federico García Lorca, Rafael Alberti and Luis Cernuda.
The concert “Canciones de ida y vuelta” will present songs that were popular in Chile and Spain in 1939 and will have the participation of singers like Gonzalo Cuadro and Eva Gómez. The event will take place on August 29th.
Also, and for the first time, Casa de la Ciudadanía Montecarmelo organized activities to commemorate the Winnipeg for children. The play “Los niños del Winnipeg” (The Kids of the Winnipeg”), written by Spanish actress Edurne Rankin, tells the story of the journey from a childish and innocent perspective. The last show will be on August 30th.
More information can be found here.