Saturday, November 26, 2011

Camila Vallejo

Camila Antonia Amaranta Vallejo Dowling (born in Santiago, April 28, 1988) is a graduate student of geography from the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism of the University of Chile, and was elected president of the University of Chile Student Federation (FECH) in November 2010 - she is the second woman to hold this post after Marisol Prado (1997-1998). Vallejo has become the principal spokesperson for the Confederation of Chilean Students (CONFECH) which initiated a movement against the privatization of education at the end of April 2011. She is also a prominent member of the Communist Youth of Chile, where she forms part of this organization's Central Committee.

Vallejo is the daughter of Reinaldo Vallejo and Mariela Dowling, both former members of Chilean Communist Party and activists in the Chilean Resistance during the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

Vallejo lived her childhood between the communes of Macul and La Florida, and she studied in Colegio Raimapu, a Co-Ed private school in La Florida. In 2006, Vallejo entered the University of Chile to study geography. There, she started forming ties with leftist students and getting involved in politics, which led her to join the Chilean Communist Youth the next year. She was counselor of the Federación de Estudiantes de la Universidad de Chile (FECh, Student Federation of the University of Chile) in 2008, and was chosen as president in 2010.

She has acquired public attention as a leading spokesperson and leader of the 2011 student protests in Chile, alongside other student leaders: Giorgio Jackson from the Student Federation of the Catholic University of Chile and Camilo Ballesteros from the Student Federation of the University of Santiago de Chile.

In August 2011, the Supreme Court of Chile ordered police protection for Camila Vallejo after she received death threats.

Public image
Camila Vallejo has been considered the most important and influential Communist icon of the 21th century in Chile, and also the symbolic successor of Gladys Marín.

She has been praised publicly by several entertainers. In September 2011, Calle 13 traveled to Chile to support the student movement, and in a concert they invited some students and members of the Confech, including Camila. After this event, Argentine singer-songwriter Kevin Johansen wrote to Calle 13's vocalist via Twitter, "I told you René, Camila Vallejo is mine!".

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