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Antonio Llidó's Memorial
Plaza de los Ceibos, Quillota, Chile

Antonio Llidó Mengual (* Xàbia, Alicante Province, Spain April 29, 1936 – Santiago de Chile, October 25, 1974 [1]) was a Spanish Roman Catholic priest and pedagogue who became a leading member in the Movimiento Cristianos por el Socialismo (Christians for Socialism Movement) and the Marxist-Leninist Movimiento de Izquierda Revolunaria (Revolutionary Left Movement) in Chile. Llidó was born just before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War and had grown up in war-torn fascist Spain. He had left his country to free himself from some of the restraints of the Catholic Church hierarchy and Franco’s repression.

During his missionary work in Chile he settled and lived among the impoverished workers and peasants of the Quillota province. Here he intimately experienced the daily struggle to survive of the local people and came to completely identify with their yearnings for social change. Like many politically conscious youth of his time in Chile, he became active in a number of political organizations that worked to organize and mobilize the poor to fight for social change.

After the September 11, 1973 Pinochet-led coup he was arrested, tortured and executed. He is among the list of people deemed disappeared under the Pinochet regime. His tragic ordeal through the torture centers of the Pinochet regime has been traced and recreated via the testimonies of various fellow detainees or witnesses who spent time with him before his forced disappearance.

References

  • Memoriaviva (Complete list of Victims, Torture Centres and Criminals - in Spanish)
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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Antonio Llidó Mengual (April 29, 1936October 25, 1974) was a Spanish Catholic priest and pedagogue who adopted socialist political ideals whilst a missionary in Chile. He is among the many victims of the Augusto Pinochet regime deemed disappeared.

Contents

Sourced

  • Faith in a distant, ephemeral God, solver of problems by house call, has also been left behind. Increasingly I come to understand my religion and priesthood as a committment to the society in which I live. A committment to men and women who struggle for a new social order where slavery has no place, that prepares people to fully realize themselves, in which injustice and exploitation cease to be our daily bread. I understand Jesus Christ as very related to this matter. I understand Jesus Christ as each one of my brothers and sisters. I understand that in uniting with them in this struggle, perhaps I will be capable of overcoming the small and large personal needs that are only relevant because they impede me from fully giving myself to this task.
    • Letter to a friend on March 9, 1971 (from the book Antonio Llidó: Epistolario de un compromiso,Tàndem Edicons,España (1999) ISBN 84-8131-227-4
  • I do not wish to be melodramatic, but at some point I have to say it. If something bad should happen to me, I want you to know that my commitment to what I am doing has been freely contracted, with the joy of knowing that this is precisely what I should be doing at this moment. Fear is constantly present in each one of us, because none of us are movie heroes. But we refuse to accept that fear must condition our actions and prevent us from doing what with a cool head and fervent heart we understand should be done.
    • From the last letter received by his family on September 1974[1]

About Antonio Llidó

  • Between September 26 and September 30 of 1974 Fr. Antonio Llidó Mengual was placed in our cell. Over the course of two or three days, Fr. Llidó was taken from the cell many times for interrogation. Each time he returned in worse physical condition. After three days he moved with great difficulty due to the pain inflicted in torture. His shirt was stained in blood and he apparently had internal hemorrhages and torn muscles. On one occasion a doctor who worked for the DINA examined his vital signs and recommended immediate hospitalization. In response to the doctor's urgent recommendation, the official whose last name was Morel [Marcelo Moren Brito] responded that this was impossible, as the interrogations had not finished. The doctor insisted in vain, expressing his sense of powerlessness and indignation.
    • Fellow detainee, Julio Laks Feller sworn testimony before the Spanish consulate on November 27, 1977.
  • Despite his physical state and the abuse inflicted by DINA agents, who grossly mocked his condition as priest, he found strength to console his cellmates, sharing his crusts of bread or fruit peels to help us survive.
    • Fellow detainee, Julio Laks Feller sworn testimony before the Spanish consulate on November 27, 1977.
  • There I also met the Spanish priest Antonio Llidó. He was accused of having hidden and protected people of the MIR who were persecuted. Antonio Llidó never denied this, saying that he could not lie to them. The guards would laugh at him, and commented that when Antonio Llidó was being tortured he was asked to name people, and he would say that he could not give them the names. 'And why not?' the guards asked. 'Because of my principles,' Antonio replied in his Spanish accent, which the guards mockingly imitated.
    • Fellow detainee, Rosalia Martinez Cereceda sworn testimony on December 19, 1999.
  • From the moment he arrived in Chile, the poverty, misery, and the anguish of the poor deeply affected him. Such was the situation he observed throughout the Valparaíso area. He lived very modestly, eating what the poor ate, living from his earnings as a French teacher. During the harvest season, he joined the humble farm workers working with them, and worked as an unskilled laborer.
    • Statements made by Fr. Jesus Rodriguez in an interview with Memory and Justice Chile Organisation on June 19, 2003. [2]
  • Chile was highly politicized in those years. Working classes had a great yearning for justice. And with reason, because many social abuses existed. Antonio Llidó's life was closely tied to groups of the poorest workers. Within that world of working people, various political groups advocated changes for a new society. He associated with many of them and had good relations with these groups that had such a strong yearning for justice.
    • Statements made by Fr. Jesus Rodriguez in an interview with Memory and Justice Chile Organisation on June 19, 2003. [3]
  • After the military coup, he was advised to return to his native land. He responded that he would not leave. In the hour of such hardship, he would not abandon the modest people with whom he had lived. He wished to share their lot. Still, shortly after the coup he was forced to leave the area because the military were looking for him, to kill him just as they looked for so many people. All of us who lived in Chile in those years bear witness of that fact. He went to Santiago, where he continued helping people who were fleeing. He fled with those who were fleeing. Even though he himself was in danger, he continued helping others who were persecuted. Once more, he was counseled to leave Chile, and once more he chose to stay and run the same fate shared by the poor and persecuted.
    • Statements made by Fr. Jesus Rodriguez in an interview with Memory and Justice Chile Organisation on June 19, 2003. [4]

References

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