Leopoldo Víctor Vargas.

(July 9, 1933- March 26, 2011)

Leo Vargas was born on July 9 1933 in Putaendo, San Felipe, Chile. He was the love child and the only son of Susana Vargas Berrios.

He married Ms. Erika Caroca Atenas, on May 5, 1956, in Santiago de Chile.

Leopoldo Victor Vargas died after a long struggle with diabetes and all its complications in Santiago’s Hospital de la Fuerza Aérea de Chile on the afternoon of Saturday March 26 2011. He is survived by his wife, and by four children and six grandchildren.

Mr. Vargas was a Non-commissioned officer (NCO) of the Chilean Air Force, Aerial Photographer, Photojournalist, Presidential Photographer (1964-1973) and is the author of the award-winning picture of the World Press Photo of the Year 1973, and of the Official Portrait of Chilean President Salvador Allende Gossens and the first Official Portrait of each of the members of the Military Junta right after the Coup in 1973- Army General Augusto Pinochet, Aviation General Gustavo Leigh, Admiral José Merino, and Carabineros’ General César Mendoza Durán.

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EIGHTH COMMEMORATION OF THE DEATH OF LEOPOLDO VICTOR VARGAS (3/26/2019).

Leopoldo Victor Vargas (2)

        Great men are bound to do great things. The greatest ones of these are humble and modest about their accomplishments. Chilean Photographer Leopoldo Víctor Vargas, belongs to this latter small group.

        Eight years ago, on the afternoon of Saturday 26th, 2011, Presidential Photographer and Chilean Air Force NCO (R) Leopoldo Víctor Vargas past away in Santiago de Chile, at age 78.

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World Press Photo of the Year 1973. *

Last Monday 26th, January 2015, was the 41st anniversary of the publication, in the American newspaper The New York Times, of the picture of the only Chilean photographer winner of the prestigious prize World Press Photo of the Year 1973, awarded by the World Press Photo Foundation in the Netherlands. It is the world’s most important prize in Photojournalism.   The image shows one of the last photos of Chilean President Dr. Salvador Guillermo Allende Gossens alive, wearing a helmet and rifle on his shoulder, inside the Chilean Palace of Government, La Moneda, the day of the Coup d’état, on September 11, 1973. It was taken that fateful morning at about 09:40 a.m. by Leopoldo Víctor Vargas– presidential photographer and non-commission officer (NCO) of the Chilean Air Force. [1] Since it’s publication in The New York Times this picture has become a truly world photo icon.

World Press Photo 1973 (Spanish)

The World Press Photo of the Year 1973  depicts Chilean President, Dr. Salvador Allende, during his tour of inspection through La Moneda Palace of government, looking for the best positions for its defense, while the Coup is in progress. Allende is flanked by two members of his personal guard, known by the acronym GAP, which in Spanish stands for “Group of Personal Friends” of the President. On Allende’s far right is Héctor Daniel Urrutia Molina (a.k.a. Miguel) and to the far left side is, the tallest one, squinting, Luis Fernando Rodríguez Riquelme (a.k.a. Mauricio). Right behind the President is José Muñoz, Captain of the Carabineros Presidential Guard, and Allende’s friend Dr.Danilo Bartulín Fovich.

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Tanquetazo

 

Forty three years ago, on Friday 29th, June 1973, there was a putsch against the government of Chilean President Salvador Allende. This failed putsch is known as Tanquetazo or Tancazo.

 

Allende el día del Tanquetazo
Chilean President Salvador Allende is met by the Army Commander in Chief, General Carlos Prats, upon his arrival  to La Moneda Palace, at around 11:41 am.
Photo captured at the entrance to the seat of the Chilean government, right after the Tanquetazo putsch had been crushed by the loyalist forces.
Friday 29th, June 1973, La Moneda, Santiago de Chile.
Photo: (Possibly) Luis Poirot.