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Carlos Caszely Against Dictatorship with Football

His body is a bit chunky. With his thick hair and mustache, he looks at first sight to the mix of footballer Diego Maradona and drug dealer Pablo Escobar. His name is Carlos Caszely, a Chilean footballer known for daring to oppose the dictator Augusto Pinochet.

On September 11, 1973, the Augusto Pinochet government overthrew Salvador Allende's socialist government. About seven thousand people were gathered at the Santiago National Stadium for questioning - and there were often people immediately executed. Tens of thousands of Allende supporters were killed and eliminated when Pinochet came to power. Anxious feelings immediately infiltrated the football business.

A few weeks after the coup, the Chilean football team had to fight against the Soviet Union in the final round of the 1974 World Cup. The match will take place at the Santiago National Stadium. But problems arise. how to organize matches if the stadium is transformed into a prison camp?

the Soviet Union protested.

As a world football authority, FIFA intervened and sent emissaries. Upon learning that FIFA will come to Chile, the prisoners are hidden. The image of Chile must be beautiful in the eyes of the world, thought Pinochet. As a result, FIFA, which inspected the stadium and found no detainees, decided that the match could take place.

However, the Soviet Union refused to participate in the competition by act of solidarity. When the day of the match arrived, they did not come for the Chilean team to win automatically without having to worry about anything. They won the 1974 World Cup ticket.

Caszely really wanted to refuse to play. But the safety factor of the family has made him doubtful. Caszely did not want to endanger his family, which could be stopped by the authorities because of his refusal. Caszely added that the match that occurred at that time was "a ridiculous and embarrassing act".

Caszely's frustration peaked in 1974. When the Chilean national team was about to leave for Germany, Pinochet released them at a banquet. One by one, the Chilean players shook hands with Pinochet, with the exception of Caszely.

"There was a cold vibration in my back, I saw a figure like Hitler with five people behind him, and when he gets closer, I hide my hand behind him, he did not experiment with me," Caszely said.

It takes a lot of courage (and carelessness) to dismiss a dictator's handshake. However, Caszely did not bother. By rejecting Pinochet's handshake, Caszely wanted to protest against the authoritarian and arbitrary government. Caszely's decision must be paid dearly: his mother was arrested and detained by the authorities.

The last game that changes Chile

Caszely was born on July 5, 1949. He grew up in a family with a strong left-wing tradition. In this environment, Caszely's political views have been refined. "Since I can think for myself, I like (the view) to leave and never change course," I Caszely.

Caszely's football career lasted from 1969 to 1986. As a striker, Caszely enjoyed a golden age defending the best club in Chile, Colo-Colo. During his stay in Colo-Colo, the Chilean championship, he was the top scorer in local and regional competitions.

Unfortunately, Caszely's success with Colo-Colo did not extend to the national team. On two occasions, Chile failed to qualify twice for the next round. In the 1974 edition, Chile played without winning. In fact, Caszely had a red card in the opening match against West Germany. Four years later, Caszely was not called by the national team because of the intervention of Pinochet. Then, in 1982, he again failed to bring Chile to the next round.