I watched The Opposition last year but didn’t write about it because the film was so disturbing. This ESPN 30 for 30 TV episode documents how General Pinochet’s junta tortured and killed dissidents. They used the Chilean national stadium as a prison while the team prepared to qualify for WC 1974.
A final playoff game against Russia was scheduled in the stadium, which Russia forfeited in protest. In response to Russia’s protest, FIFA sent a delegation to inspect the stadium. They spent 10 minutes checking the grass and the showers while the Chilean Federation collaborated with the government to hide prisoners further inside the stadium, and even kept some of the detainees in the stands.
Sports washing in 1974
Watching this film reminds me how often tyrants use sporting events as propaganda to convey normalcy and instill patriotism. Interviews with players Carlos Cazely and Leonardo Veliz, and journalist Vladimiro Mimica, who was a torture victim, paint a vivid picture of the political situation. It’s worth 22 minutes of your time.
The seats behind the north goal at Estadio Nacional remain empty as a memorial and reminder to Nunca Mas. Copa America 2015 is being played there.
8 SoccerMovieMom Rating = 8