Chilean poet-diplomat and politician, Pablo Neruda, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. He was a versatile writer and his works include surrealist poems, historical epics, political manifestos, and love poems. He is considered the national poet of Chile. As a politician, he served a term as a senator for the Chilean Communist Party and held several diplomatic positions.
Chilean professional footballer Alexis Sanchez currently plays for Serie A club Inter Milan and the Chile national team. He plays as a forward. He is Chile’s all-time leading goalscorer and helped Chile win the the 2015 Copa América tournament, marking one of the greatest achievements of his career.
Chilean-French filmmaker and artist, Alejandro Jodorowsky, is best known for his avant-garde films. A multifaceted personality, he is also a novelist, poet, musician, composer, and spiritual guru. His films are filled with surreal images and mysticism. A much-revered figure in international cinema, he is the recipient of the Jack Smith Lifetime Achievement Award from the Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF).
José de San Martín was an Argentine general who played an important role in the Spanish American wars of independence. San Martín is considered a national hero of Peru and Argentina. The Order of the Liberator General San Martín, the highest honor conferred by the government of Argentina, was created in his honor.
Chilean president Sebastian Pinera not only boasts of a Harvard doctoral degree but is also a successful businessman, having introduced credit cards to the Chilean public through his company Bancard. His Fundación Futuro works for causes such as energy and water conservation. He is married to his neighbor Cecilia Morel.
Legendary Chilean folk singer Víctor Jara was eventually gearing up for a career as a priest and later studied theater, eventually switching to music. He pioneered the nueva canción genre of music in the middle of extreme political turmoil. He was tortured and shot dead during dictator Augusto Pinochet’s reign.
A vagabond who roamed around countries such as Chile, Mexico, and France, author Roberto Bolaño eventually settled in Spain, where he spent his days working odd jobs, such as garbage collection and dishwashing, and wrote at night. He is remembered for his Rómulo Gallegos Prize-winning novel The Savage Detectives.
Orlando Letelier was a Chilean politician, economist, and diplomat. After his arrest due to his participation in the 1973 Chilean coup d'état, Letelier was exiled from Chile. In 1975, Letelier left for Washington D.C., where he achieved popularity as an economist and teacher. Orlando Letelier was murdered in 1976 by agents of the Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional.
Mark González is a Chilean retired football player who was chosen to play three Copa América tournaments during his career. He also represented his national team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Renowned for his speed, Mark González helped his national team win their second Copa América Centenario in 2016.
Legendary Chilean painter Roberto Matta is remembered as a significant figure of the abstract expressionist and surrealist art of the 20th century. The Praemium Imperiale-winning artist had initially studied architecture in Santiago and had then worked for Le Corbusier in Paris. His inscape works were influenced by Freud’s psychoanalysis.
Lautaro was a Mapuche war leader best remembered for spearheading the indigenous resistance against the conquest of Chile by the Spanish. He led the warriors of Mapuche to a series of triumphs against the Spanish. He was killed at the Battle of Mataquito in his early 20s. Lautaro is credited with developing tactics that were used even after his death.
Chilean author and journalist Luis Sepúlveda started his career leading a student movement under Salvador Allende’s rule. He was tortured and jailed during dictator Augusto Pinochet’s rule, and spent much of his life moving from one country to another. He later penned award-winning novels such as Un viejo que leía novelas de amor.
Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle served as the President of Chile from 1994 to 2000. Under his presidency, poverty in Chile decreased and improvements were made in education and health sectors. An important politician, Frei also served as the President of the Senate of Chile from 2006 to 2008.
Chilean diplomat and Nazi sympathizer Miguel Serrano was also an occultist who practiced kundalini yoga and studied Hinduism. He later became one of the most prominent authors of esoteric Hitlerism, claiming that the Aryan race had originated from extra-terrestrial entities. He was also the Chilean ambassador to countries such as Yugoslavia and India.
Ricardo Lagos is a Chilean lawyer and politician who served as the President of Chile from 2000 to 2006. He openly denounced Dictator Augusto Pinochet on live television in 1988. He also served as the Minister of Education from 1990 to 1992.
Patricio Aylwin was a Chilean politician who served as the President of Chile from 1990 to 1994. Aylwin did much to reduce inequality and poverty. Under his presidency, the number of people living in poverty in Chile decreased significantly. He also served as the President of the Senate of Chile from 12 January 1971 to 22 May 1972.
Argentine-born Chilean-American author Ariel Dorfman has not just served President Salvador Allende as his cultural advisor but has also taught at the University of Chile. During Augusto Pinochet’s rule, he was exiled to the US. His best-known written work is his play Death and the Maiden. He now teaches at Duke University.
Adan Jodorowsky is a French-Mexican actor, musician, and director. Apart from his work as a musician, Jodorowsky has earned fame as a director, winning critical appreciation and prestigious awards for his 2012 film The Voice Thief. In 2014, the movie was selected by Diane Pernet to compete at the world's first festival about fashion films, ASVOFF.
Regarded as the intellectual father of South America, Venezuelan-Chilean poet Andrés Bello one taught revolutionary leader Simón Bolívar and also inspired the struggle for Venezuelan independence. He established the University of Chile and also penned masterpieces such as Las Silvas Americanas. As a legislator, he inspired the Chilean Civil Code.
One of the greatest Latin American poets in history, Nicanor Parra was often likened to Pablo Neruda. Apart from writing, he spent most of his life teaching theoretical physics at the University of Chile. He was a pioneer of the antipoetry style, which went against traditional styles of poetry.
Seasoned Chilean politician and reformer Arturo Alessandri Palma served as President of Chile thrice. A member of the Liberal Party of Chile, Palma earlier served as Minister of Finance and as Minister of the Interior. Following his presidency, Palma continued with his political journey and served as Senator of the Republic of Chile and as President of the Senate of Chile.
Eduardo Frei Montalva was a Chilean politician who served as the President of Chile from 1964 to 1970. An important and influential politician, Frei also served as the President of the Senate of Chile from 1973 to 1973. Apart from his political career, Eduardo Frei Montalva was also known for his teaching career in Columbia University.