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Left Socialist Blog

Chile 11th September 1973: Remembering the Coup.

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Sunday the 8th of  September 2013, thousands of Chilean march in Santiago for the defence of human rights (from here).

These are some interesting commentaries.

Allende’s Legacy Strong 40 Years After Chile Coup

LUIS ANDRES HENAO Associated Press

As bombs fell and rebelling troops closed in on the national palace, socialist President Salvador Allende avoided surrender by shooting himself with an assault rifle, ending Chile’s experiment in nonviolent revolution and beginning 17 years of dictatorship.

But as the nation marks Wednesday’s 40th anniversary of the coup led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet, Allende’s legacy is thriving. A socialist is poised to reclaim the presidency and a new generation, born after the return to democracy in 1990 has taken to the streets in vast numbers to demand the sort of social goals Allende promoted.

“Forty years after, he is mentioned more than ever by the young people who flood the streets asking for free, quality education,” said his daughter, Sen. Isabel Allende.

“Allende’s profile keeps on growing while Pinochet is discredited.”

Chileans have focused their anger on the costly university system installed under Pinochet, and on the vast gap between rich and poor that resulted from his free-market economic policies.

France’s exiled Chileans remember 1973 coup

France welcomed thousands of Chilean exiles in the wake of the 1973 military coup that overthrew President Salvador Allende. Forty years on, FRANCE 24 asked some of them to share their memories from the tragic day and its aftermath.

Gonzalo Fuenzalida remembers September 11, 1973 – the day the democratically elected president of Chile, Salvador Allende, was overthrown by General Augusto Pinochet – like it was yesterday. A 17-year-old student at the time, Fuenzalida left his high school when teachers said the military coup was imminent and was only 50 metres from La Moneda presidential palace when soldiers overran the capital of Santiago. “I never ran so fast in my life,” he recalled.

Fuenzalida is among the thousands of Chileans who were forced to flee their country in the wake of Allende’s overthrow and death, and who eventually settled in France. They are commemorating the 40th anniversary of the coup this year from their adopted home with a mixture of longing and sorrow.

“On the way home I saw soldiers hit women and shove children with a violence I was unfamiliar with. I could feel the fascist fear spreading across the city,” Fuenzalida recalled.  The horror eventually reached his own family: his father, an Allende supporter who lived in northern coastal town of Iquique, was arrested and summarily tried. He was executed on October 30, 1973. “That’s the date the dictatorship started for me,” Fuenzalida said. More here.


Chilean opposition leader Michelle Bachelet has called for a full investigation on the human rights abuses committed during Gen Pinochet’s rule.

She led a ceremony to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the coup that brought the general to power.

She demanded an end to impunity and said Chileans had the right to find out what happened to the victims.

The opposition has boycotted an official ceremony to mark the coup.

At the ceremony, centre-right President Sebastian Pinera criticised the “violent coup that started a 17-year period of military rule”.

But he said it was “the predictable outcome” after “repeated violations of the rule of law” under the government of socialist President Salvador Allende.

La última foto de Allende, a las puertas de la Moneda / ORLANDO LAGOS

El Pais reports that both sides of the Chilean political scene, left and right,  held separate ceremonies to commemorate the Coup.

Those still nostalgic for Pinochet remain in evidence on the right including in the Unión Demócrata Independiente of billionaire  President Piñera.

The President was amongst those who  opposed the arrest  and detention of Augusto Pinochet, in London, initiated by Baltasar Garzón, arguing that it was an attack on the sovereignty and dignity of Chile.


 Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet (Left) is leading in opinion polls as her country gears up for the November presidential election.

A survey released Thursday showed that 44 percent of the respondents want Bachelet, the candidate of the center-left New Majority coalition, to be the next president.

Her main rival, Evelyn Matthei of the right-wing Independent Democratic Union, trailed with 12 percent, according to the poll, conducted by polling firm Center for Public Studies.


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