María Verónica San Martín

Make the Economy Scream

María Verónica San Martín

Make the Economy Scream

Edition Size



Hand-painting, Letterpress


Loose pages


7 × 4.75 × 2.5 in




Brooklyn, NY

$ 5,500.00


View Collectors

Brown University, John Hay Library

Library of Congress (LoC)

Smith College, Mortimer Rare Book Room

Stanford University

The Center for Book Arts

University of Delaware Library

Walker Art Center

Wesleyan University, Olin Library

Make the Economy Scream is an artwork based on the declassified document originally created in 1970 and titled “Meeting with the President”. The document was recently released by the National Security Archive of Chile with other materials from the Chile Project of the Nixon administration as lead by renowned war criminal Henry Kissinger. It main objective was to overthrow the democratically elected government of socialist President Salvador Allende in order to protect American commercial interests. Three years after this document was created a military operation planned in conjunction between the CIA, and orchestrated by Kissinger, and Augusto Pinochet provoked the depreciation of the copper market and thus weakening the country’s economy, as well as providing Kissinger and Pinochet ample coverage to commit numerous crimes against humanity. Portraits of some Chilean victims mirror the status of people of color in the United States under the racist Trump regime.

The copper box contains faces of people who have been repressed by the DINA, an intelligence agency that committed uncountable human rights violations and crimes against humanity and which was created by the CIA and Pinochet immediately after the coup in 1973. The faces are made with charcoal painting and gel medium on plastic sheets. Victims are wrapped in a handkerchief printed with handset type and documenting the handwritten notes of a specific conversation between President Nixon, Henry Kissinger, and John Mitchell in which they discussed the project to overthrow Allende.

The document is printed with Stymie metal type at The Center for Book Arts in New York City, (where the artist is now completing a year-long residency) using black ink on a white handkerchief. Once you open the copper lid with the engraved title you see the fabric folded (like the handkerchiefs people used to bring to funerals) and then you see the many faces of the victims inside.  The use of the copper to construct the container for the images of the ‘disappeared’ refers to how Kissinger and Pinochet made the economy scream in Chile in order to facilitate the coup against Allende by decreasing the price of Chile’s primary raw material export.

The correlation between this historical event and the price of oil underlying the right-wing led political dissent in Venezuela is remarkable

Original document from the National Security Archives, Washington, D.C.:
( 3 Handwritten instructions from Nixon Sep 15 1970.pdf)In Collection:
University of Delaware