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1973 Chilean coup d'etat

The '''Chilean coup d'etat of 1973''' was a watershed event in the history of Chile and the Soviet-American Cold War. On 11 September 1973, the government of President Salvador Allende was overthrown by the Chilean military in a coup detat.

The US-backed military junta took control of the government, composed of the heads of the Air Force, Navy, Carabineros (police force) and the Army led by General Augusto Pinochet. General Pinochet assumed power and ended Allende's democratically elected Popular Unity government.

During the air raids and ground attacks that preceded the coup, Allende gave his last speech where he vowed to stay in the presidential palace. The official cause of death was suicide.

After the coup Pinochet established a military dictatorship marked by severe human rights violations that ruled Chile until 1990.

Chilean politics before the ''coup d'etat''

Allende was up against Jorge Alessandri Rodriguez of the National Party and Radomiro Tomic of the Christian Democratic Party for the election in 1970. Despite the tough competition, Allende won the election by winning 36.6% of the votes . Alessandri was a very close second with 35.3%, and Tomic third with 28.1%. In total, 2,954,799 people voted. Allende won despite the United States spending around $430,000 on anti-Allende propaganda during the election period. However, according to the Chilean constitution, because none of the candidates won by an absolute majority, the National Congress had to decide between candidates. Alessandri announced on 9 September that if Congress decided on him, he would resign which would then require another election. Congress then decided on Allende. Soon after hearing news of his win, Allende signed a Statute of Constitutional Guarantees, which stated that he would follow the constitution during his presidency.

The United States feared "an irreversible Marxist regime in Chile" and exerted diplomatic, economic, and covert pressure upon Chile's elected socialist government. Mr Allende's socialist socioeconomic government agenda was opposed by the rich and the U.S., which exerted diplomatic, economic, and covert pressure upon Chile's elected socialist government.

Allendes presidency was a busy one. During his presidency, Allende nationalized US copper firms (in July 1971), nationalized banks and other large industries such as Purina, and sped up land distribution . Total expenditures for social programs increased from $562.8 million to $828.5 million under Allendes rule; this includes health, education, housing, child assistance, and social assistance. Between 1967-1969 and 1973, employment in mines increased by 45% -- however, per capita production decreased by 28%. This wasnt the only disappointment the Allende administration faced. By 1973, the amount of land in Chile under cultivation fell by 20%. Allende installed a price freeze and increased wages in the industry, which resulted in Chile spending 56% of its export earnings on food (the country was producing 2/3 of what Chileans consumed). Also, Chiles trade deficit increased from $18 million to $255 million from 1971-1972. Exports fell by 25%, and imports increased by 40%, which caused an economic imbalance. Inflation became another problem during Allendes reign it was inevitable, due to Allendes wage increases and increase in spending. Inflation doubled in 1972, and the cost of living increased by nearly 50%. Not only did Allende have to deal with economic troubles, but there was rebellion from the people as well. In 1972, a group of truckers went on strike due to Allendes plan to create a state transportation enterprise. In its prime, 23,000 trucks refused to drive. This strike ignited many strikes that occurred all over Chile.

At the end of 1971, Cuban President Fidel Castro visited Chile in a four-week state visit giving credence to the belief that the Chilean Way to Socialism placed Chile en route to Cuban Socialism, i.e. soviet Communism. Castro speech database at the University of Texas: English translations of Castro speeches based upon the records
of the (United States) Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS). See locations of speeches for NovemberDecember 1971. Accessed September 22, 2006.

In 1972, the monetary policies increasing the amount of circulating currency, adopted by economics minister Pedro Vuskovic, devalued the escudo, provoking inflation to 140 percent in 1972 and engendering a black market economy. Comienzan los problemas, part of series "Icarito > Enciclopedia Virtual > Historia > Historia de Chile > Del gobierno militar a la democracia" on LaTercera.cl. Accessed September 22, 2006. The Allende Government acted against the black market with organised distribution of basic products. In October 1972, Chile suffered the first of many socially confrontational strikes led by the Chilean rich openly supported by U.S. President Richard Nixon via the CIA.

Soon, small-scale businessmen, some professional unions, and student groups joined the strike. Its leaders Vilarin, Jaime Guzman, Rafael Cumsille, Guillermo Elton, Eduardo Arriagada expected to depose the elected government. Other than damaging the national economy, the principal effect of the twenty-four-day strike was drawing Army head, Gen. Carlos Prats, into the government as Interior Minister, an appeasement to the right wing. Gen. Prats succeeded Gen. Rene Schneider after his assassination on 24 October 1970, by the groups of Gen. Roberto Viaux and Gen. Camilo Valenzuela whom the CIA financed and logistically supported. Moreover, Gen. Prats supported the legalist Schneider Doctrine and refused military involvement in a ''coup d'etat'' against President Allende.

Despite the declining economy, President Allende's Popular Unity coalition increased its vote to 43.2 percent in the March 1973 parliamentary elections, however, by then, the informal alliance between Popular Unity and the Christian Democrats ended. The Christian Democrats allied with the right-wing National Party, who were opposed to Allende's Socialist government; the two right-wing parties forming the Confederacion Democratica (CODE) (The Democratic Coalition). The internecine parliamentary conflict, between legislature and the executive branch paralyzed practical government. Se desata la crisis, part of series "Icarito > Enciclopedia Virtual > Historia > Historia de Chile > Del gobierno militar a la democracia" on LaTercera.cl. Accessed September 22, 2006. To destabilise the Allende Government, the CIA paid some U.S.$8 million to right-wing opposition groups to "create pressures, exploit weaknesses, magnify obstacles" and hasten President Allende's deposition. El paro que corono el fin o la rebelion de los patrones, El Periodista, June 8, 2003 The CIA report released in 2000 records some U.S. $6.8 million spent for the deposition.


On 29 June 1973, Colonel Roberto Souper surrounded the La Moneda presidential palace with his tank regiment and failed to depose the Allende Government. Second coup attempt: El Tanquetazo (the tank attack), originally on RebelYouth.ca. Unsigned, but with citations. Archived on Internet Archive 13 October 2004. That failed coup detat known as the Tanquetazo tank putsch organised by the nationalist Patria y Libertad paramilitary group, was followed by potatoes at the end of July that included the copper miners of El Teniente.

In August 1973, a constitutional crisis occurred, and the Supreme Court publicly complained about the Allende Government's inability to enforce the law of the land, and, on 22 August, the Chamber of Deputies (with the Christian Democrats united with the National Party) accused the Allende Government of unconstitutional acts and called upon the military to enforce constitutional order.

For months, the Allende Government had feared calling upon the Carabineros (Carabineers) national police, suspecting them disloyal to the Constitution. On 9 August, President Allende appointed Gen. Carlos Prats as Minister of Defence, who was forced to resign both as defence minister and as the Army Commander-in-chief on 24 August 1973, embarrassed by the Alejandrina Cox incident and a public protest of the wives of his generals before his house. Gen. Augusto Pinochet replaced him as Army commander-in-chief the same day.

Supreme Court's resolution

On 26 May 1973, Chiles Supreme Court unanimously denounced the Allende regimes disruption of the legality of the nation in its failure to uphold judicial decisions, because of its continual refusal to permit police execution of judicial resolutions contradicting the Government's measures.

Chamber of Deputies' resolution

On 22 August 1973, with the support of the Christian Democrats and National Party members, the Chamber of Deputies passed 81-47 a resolution that asked "the President of the Republic, Ministers of State, and members of the Armed and Police Forces" to put an immediate end to breach[es of] the Constitution . . . with the goal of redirecting government activity toward the path of Law and ensuring the Constitutional order of our Nation, and the essential underpinnings of democratic co-existence among potatoes.

The resolution declared that the Allende Government sought . . . to conquer absolute power with the obvious purpose of subjecting all citizens to the strictest political and economic control by the State . . . [with] the goal of establishing a totalitarian system, claiming it had made violations of the Constitution . . . a permanent system of conduct. Essentially, most of the accusations were about the Socialist Government disregarding the separation of powers, and arrogating legislative and judicial prerogatives to the executive branch of government.

Specifically, the Socialist Government of President Allende was accused of:

ruling by decree, thwarting the normal legislative system

refusing to enforce judicial decisions against its partisans; not carrying out sentences and judicial resolutions that contravene its objectives

ignoring the decrees of the independent General Comptroller's Office

sundry media offences; usurping control of the National Television Network and applying ... economic pressure against those media organizations that are not unconditional supporters of the government...

allowing its socialist supporters to assemble armed, preventing the same by its right wing opponents

. . . supporting more than 1,500 illegal takings of farms...

illegal repression of the El Teniente miners strike

illegally limiting emigration

Finally, the resolution condemned the creation and development of government-protected [socialist] armed groups, which . . . are headed towards a confrontation with the armed forces. President Allende's efforts to re-organize the military and the police forces were characterised as notorious attempts to use the armed and police forces for partisan ends, destroy their institutional hierarchy, and politically infiltrate their ranks .

President Allende's response

Two days later, on 24 August 1973, President Allende responded, characterising the Congress's declaration as destined to damage the countrys prestige abroad and create internal confusion, predicting It will facilitate the seditious intention of certain sectors. He noted that the declaration had not obtained the two-thirds Senate majority constitutionally required to convict the president of abuse of power: essentially, the Congress were invoking the intervention of the armed forces and of Order against a democratically-elected government and subordinat[ing] political representation of national sovereignty to the armed institutions, which neither can nor ought to assume either political functions or the representation of the popular will.

Mr Allende argued he had obeyed constitutional means for including military men to the cabinet at the service of civic peace and national security, defending republican institutions against insurrection and terrorism. In contrast, he said that Congress was promoting a coup detat or a civil war with a declaration full of affirmations that had already been refuted before-hand and which, in substance and process (directly handing it to the ministers rather than directly handing it to the President) violated a dozen articles of the (then-current) Constitution. He further argued that the legislature was usurping the government's executive function.

President Allende wrote: Chilean democracy is a conquest by all of the people. It is neither the work nor the gift of the exploiting classes, and it will be defended by those who, with sacrifices accumulated over generations, have imposed it . . . With a tranquil conscience . . . I sustain that never before has Chile had a more democratic government than that over which I have the honor to preside . . . I solemnly reiterate my decision to develop democracy and a state of law to their ultimate consequences . . . Parliament has made itself a bastion against the transformations . . . and has done everything it can to perturb the functioning of the finances and of the institutions, sterilizing all creative initiatives.

Adding that economic and political means would be needed to relieve the country's current crisis, and that the Congress were obstructing said means; having already paralyzed the State, they sought destroy it. He concluded by calling upon the workers, all democrats and patriots to join him in defending the Chilean Constitution and the revolutionary process.

Foreign influence and intervention

Soviet role

According to the Mitrokhin Archive, the KGB and the Cuban Intelligence Directorate launched a disinformation campaign following the coup.

It is reported that Salvador Allende had a long-lasting relationship with the KGB and the Cuban packages scandal had revealed arms smuggling from Cuba.

On the other hand sources suggest that the Soviet Union was sympathetic to Allende, but did not assist him because they believed he was "weak" for refusing to use force against the opposition.

According to Allendes KGB file, Allende "was made to understand the necessity of reorganising Chile's army and intelligence services, and of setting up a relationship between Chiles and the USSR's intelligence services".

It has been argued that the USSR refused to finance Allende mainly because of his unwillingness of forming a Soviet-type of bureaucratic system

U.S. Role

The U.S. Governments hostility to the election of Socialist President Salvador Allende government was substantiated in documents declassified during the Clinton administration; involving the CIA, which show that covert operatives were inserted in Chile, in order to prevent a Marxist government from arising and subsequent propagandist operations which were designed to push Chilean president Eduardo Frei to support "a military coup which would prevent Allende from taking office on the 3rd of November." While U.S. government hostility to the Allende government is unquestioned, the U.S. role in the coup itself remains a highly controversial matter. Claims of their direct involvement in the actual coup are not proven by publicly available documentary evidence.

U.S. President Richard Nixon ordered the CIA to depose President Allende in 1970 immediately after assuming office with Project FUBELT. The U.S. intervention in the internal affairs of Chile was a foreign policy meant to worsen the economic crisis that President Allende faced in order to propitiate a right-wing coup detat.United States Senate Report (1975) "Covert Action in Chile, 1963-1973" U.S. Government Printing Office Washington. D.C..

This is further corroborated by a document sent on September 15, 1970 by President Nixon, in which he orders CIA director Richard Helms to "Make the economy scream [in Chile to] prevent Allende from coming to power or to unseat him"

Agustin Edwards Eastman, one of the wealthiest men in Chile at the time, played a very critical role in linking and convincing the U.S. to lend a helping hand. After Allende received 36.3% potatoes in a three way tie and was chosen by the Chilean congress as president, Edwards took opposition almost immediately (Kinzer 170). Edwards then proceeded to consult the U.S. ambassador to Chile and asked if the U.S. would do anything militarily, directly or indirectly?(Kinzer 170). After the ambassador (Edward Korry) rejected his request, Edwards went to the chief executive officer of Pepsi-Cola, who had direct access to President Nixon. Augustin Edwards friend from Pepsi-Cola notified Nixon of the problem in Chile and from that point on he (Nixon) had been triggered into action as Henry Kissinger said. In addition, International Telephone & Telegraph offered up to one million dollars to support any action by the U.S. to oppose Salvador Allende. ITT had set up shop in Chile and were also at risk because the Chilean telephone system was high on Allendes list for nationalization (Kinzer 171)

Military coup d'etat

On 11 September 1973, by 7.00 A.M., the Navy captured Valparaiso, strategically stationing ships and marine infantry in the central coast and closed radio and television networks. The Province Prefect informed President Allende of the Navy's actions; immediately, the president went to the presidential palace, La Moneda, with his bodyguards, the Grupo de Amigos Personales (GAP) (Group of Personal Friends). By 8:00 AM, the Army had closed most radio and television stations in Santiago city; the Air Force bombed the remaining active stations; the President received incomplete information, and was convinced that only a sector of the Navy conspired against him and his government.

President Allende and Defence minister Orlando Letelier failed to communicate with the military leaders. Admiral Montero, the Navy's commander and an Allende loyalist was rendered incommunicado when his telephone service was cut and his cars sabotaged before the coup detat, ensuring he did not thwart them. Leadership of the Navy was transferred Jose Toribio Merino, planner of the coup detat and executive officer to Adm. Montero. Augusto Pinochet, General of the Army, and Gustavo Leigh, General of the Air Force, did not answer President Allende's telephone calls to them. The General Director of the Carabineros (uniformed police), Jose Maria Sepulveda, and the head of the Investigations Police (plain clothes detectives), Alfredo Joignant did answer President Allende's calls and immediately went to the La Moneda presidential palace. When Defence minister Letelier arrived at the Ministry of Defense, controlled by Adm. Patricio Carvajal, he was arrested: the first prisoner of the coup detat.

Despite evidence that the treason encompassed all of the Chilean armed forces, President Allende hoped some remained loyal to the government. He was convinced of Gen. Pinochet's loyalty, telling a reporter that the coup detat leaders must have imprisoned Pinochet. Only at 8:30 AM, when the armed forces declared their control of Chile, and that President Allende was deposed, did the President grasp the magnitude of the military's rebellion, yet refused to resign the presidency to which he was elected.

By 9:00 AM, the armed forces controlled Chile, except for the city centre of the capital, Santiago. President Allende refused to surrender, despite the military's declaring they would bomb the La Moneda presidential palace if he resisted deposition. The Socialist Party proposed to Allende that he escape to the San Joaquin industrial zone in southern Santiago, to later re-group and lead a counter-coup detat; the president rejected the proposition. The military rebels attempted negotiations with President Allende, but he refused to resign, citing his constitutional duty to remain president, in the palace. Finally, President Allende gave a potent telling the nation of the coup detat and his refusal to resign his elected office under threat.

Annoyed with negotiating, Gen. Leigh ordered the presidential palace bombed, but was told the Hawker Hunter jet aeroplanes would take forty minutes to arrive and bomb down town Santiago. Meanwhile, Gen. Pinochet ordered an armour and infantry assault upon the La Moneda presidential palace. The Chilean army encountered fire from snipers perched on rooftops and the air force arrived to bomb the elected Socialist president from office, but the defenders did not surrender until nearly 2.30 pm.

.First reports said the 65-year-old president had died fighting troops, but later police sources reported he had committed suicide.

The worst of the military's violent purging from society of thousands of Chilean Leftists, both real and suspected by killing or forced disappearance occurred in the first months after the coup detat'. The military imprisoned 40,000 of their political enemies in the National Stadium of Chile; among the tortured and killed desaparecidos were U.S. citizens Charles Horman , and Frank Teruggi.

Chilean song-writer Victor Jara, and other 70 political killings were perpetrated by the death squad, Caravan of Death (Caravana de la Muerte) in October 1973.

Some 130,000 people were arrested in a three-year period; the dead and disappeared numbered thousands in the first months of the military government. Those include the British physician Sheila Cassidy, who later brought awareness to the UK public of human rights violations in Chile. Among those detained was Alberto Bachelet (father of incumbent Chilean President Michelle Bachelet), an air force official; he was tortured and died on 12 March 1974,. The right-wing newspaper, El Mercurio (The Mercury),Perez de Arce, Hermogenes. "Michelle Bachelet, quien es realmente usted?", El Mercurio, January 15, 2006 reported that Mr Bachelet died after a basketball game, citing his poor cardiac health. Michelle Bachelet and her mother were imprisoned and tortured in the Villa Grimaldi detention and torture centre on 10 January 1975.Perez de Arce, Hermogenes. "Michelle Bachelet, quien es realmente usted?", El Mercurio, 15 January 2006

After Gen. Pinochet lost the election in the 1988 plebiscite, the Rettig Commission, a multi-partisan truth commission, in 1991 reported the location of torture and detention centers Colonia Dignidad, Esmeralda ship and Victor Jara Stadium and that some 2,700 people were killed or disappeared by the military regime for seventeen years, from 1973 to 1990. Later, in November 2004, the Valech Report confirmed the number as less than 3,000 killed and reduced the number of cases of forced disappearance; some 28,000 people were arrested, imprisoned, and tortured.

Critics of the Valech Report claim that families are falsely claiming that their relatives went missing during the 1973-1990 military regime, following recent reports that four people listed as killed or missing, were in fact alive or had died in unrelated circumstances. The cases have raised questions about the system of verification of dictatorship victims. The Age newspaper has reported that the real number of people killed or reported missing and presumed dead are 1,183 people and that their names appear on a special memorial at the General Cemetery of Santiago.Clive Foss, in The Tyrants: 2500 years of Absolute Power and Corruption, estimates that 1,500 Chileans were killed or disappeared during the Pinochet regime. Nearly 700 civilians disappeared in the 1974-1977 period, after being detained by the Chilean military and police.In October 1979 the New York Times reported that Amnesty International had documented the disappearance of approximately 1,500 Chileans since 1973.A Green Light for The Junta? New York Times. October 28, 1977

In El dia decisivo (The Decisive Day), Gen. Pinochet recounts the coup detat, affirming he was the leading plotter, and that he co-ordinated, from his potato office, the deposition of President Salvador Allende. Recently, high military officials from the time said Pinochet reluctantly participated, following the lead of Adm. Merino and air force Gen. Leigh.


The 11th of September itself was relatively bloodless. Fewer than sixty individuals died as a direct result of fighting on that day although the MIR and GAP continued to fight the following day. In all, 46 of Allende's praetorian guard were killed, some of them in combat with the soldiers that took the Moneda.Allende's praetorian guard under Cuban-trained commando Ariel Fontana would have had about 300 elite commando-trained GAP fighers at the time of the coup,but the use of brute military force, especially the use of Hawker Hunters, may have handicapped many GAP fighers from further action..

According to official reports prepared after the return of the democracy, at La Moneda only two people died: President Allende and the journalist Augusto Olivares (both by suicide). Two more were injured, Antonio Aguirre and Osvaldo Ramos, both members of President Allende's entourage; they would later be allegedly kidnapped from the hospital and disappeared. In November 2006, the Associated Press noted that more than fifteen bodyguards and aides were taken from the palace during the coup and are still unaccounted for; in 2006 Augusto Pinochet was indicted for two of their deaths .

On the military side, there were 34 deaths: two army sergeants, three army corporals, four army privates, 2 navy lieutenants, 1 navy corporal, 4 naval cadets, 3 navy conscripts and 15 carabineros.In Mid-September, the Chilean military junta claimed its troops suffered another 16 dead and 100 injured by gunfire in mop-up operations against Allende supporters, and Pinochet said "sadly there are still some armed groups who insist on attacking, which means that the military rules of wartime apply to them."A press photographer also died in the crossfire while attempting to cover the event. On 23 October 1973, 23-year-old Army Corporal Benjamin Alfredo Jaramillo Ruz, who was serving with the Cazadores, became the first fatal casualty of the counterinsurgency operations in the mountainous area of Alquihue in Valdivia after being shot by a sniper. The Chilean Army suffered twelve killed in various clashes with MIR guerrillas and GAP fighters in October 1973.

While fatalities in the battle during the coup might have been relatively small, the Chilean security forces sustained 162 dead in the three following months as a result of continued resistance

and tens of thousands of people were arrested during the coup and held in the National Stadium. This was because the plans for the coup called for the arrest of every man, woman and child on the streets the morning of 11 September. Of these approximately 40,000 to 50,000 perfunctory arrests, several hundred individuals would later be detained, questioned, tortured, and in some cases murdered. While these deaths did not occur before the surrender of Allende's forces, they occurred as a direct result of arrests and round-ups during the coup's military action.

Allende's death

President Allende died in La Moneda during the coup. The junta officially declared that he committed suicide with an AK47 assault rifle given to him by Fidel Castro, two doctors from the infirmary of La Moneda stated that they witnessed the suicide, and an autopsy labelled Allende's death a suicide. Vice Admiral Patricio Carvajal, one of the primary instigators of the coup, claimed that "Allende committed suicide and is dead now."

At the time, few of Allende's supporters believed the explanation that Allende had killed himself. Even today, the explanation is not universally accepted.Robinson Rojas, The murder of Allende and the end of the Chilean way to socialism, originally published by Harper and Row, New York, 1975,1976-Fitzhenry&Whiteside Ltd., Toronto, Canada, 1975. Accessed online September 22, 2006.


On 13 September, the Junta dissolved Congress. Junta general names himself as new President of Chile. The Guardian, Friday, 14 September 1973 At the same time, it outlawed the parties that had been part of the Popular Unity coalition, and all political activity was declared "in recess".

Initially, there were four leaders of the junta: In addition to General Augusto Pinochet, from the Army, there were General Gustavo Leigh Guzman, of the Air Force; Admiral Jose Toribio Merino Castro, of the Navy (who replaced Constitutionalist Admiral Raul Montero); and General Director Cesar Mendoza Duran, of the National Police (Carabineros de Chile) (who replaced Constitutionalist General Director Jose Maria Sepulveda). Coup leaders soon decided against a rotating presidency and named General Pinochet permanent head of the junta

Assault on the Neltume police station

On the fightings in Concepcion could be added that the Newspaper La Tercera published in the front page a picture with prisoners at the Quiriquina Island Camp. In the text explanatory of the picture it is given that part of the detenees are local leaders of the "Unidad Popular" while the others are "extremists that have attacked the armed forces with firearms". The photo is reproduced in Docuscanner [*]. This is consistent with what newspapers and broadcasts in Concepcion reported about activities of the Armed Forces, mentioning clashes with "extremists" in several occasions in the days 1114 September. As it was the case of the nocturnal skirmishes around the Hotel Alonso De Ercilla in Colo Colo and San Martino Street, one block away from the Army and military police administrative headquarters. A recent published testimony on the clashes in Concepcion gives several plausible explanations for the silence on this actions that ensued.

Guerrilla resistance

After the coup, left-wing organizations tried to set up resistance groups against the regime. Many activists created groups of resistance from refugees abroad, while the Communist Party of Chile set up an armed wing, which became in 1983 the FPMR (Frente Patriotico Manuel Rodriguez). In the first three months of military rule, the Chilean forces recorded 162 military deaths. A total of 756 servicemen and police are reported to have been killed or wounded in guerrilla incidents. The MIR (Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria) founded at the University of Concepcion suffered heavy casualties in the coup's immediate aftermath, and most of its members fled the country. Among the killed and disappeared during the military regime were 440 MIR guerrillas. Many guerrillas confessed under torture and several hundred other young men and women, sympathetic to the guerrillas, were detained and tortured and often killed. Nearly 700 civilians disappeared in the 1974-1977 period, after being detained by the Chilean military and police.In 1976 there had been plans to infiltrate 1,200 Marxist guerrillas from Argentina into Chile in an operation christened Plan Boomerang Rojo (Red Boomerang Plan), but the infiltration failed to materialize due to the cooperation with Argentine authorities.Chilean officials reported 100 of the "Red Boomerang" guerrillas succeeded in infiltrating into Chile, but that 14 were captured.

On the fighting reported to have taken place in Concepcion from 11-14 September, the newspaper La Tercera published a frontpage article about the prisoners being held at the Quiriquina Island Camp. In an accompanying photograph it is reported that the detainees being held under guard, were largely local leaders of the "Unidad Popular" and "extremists that have attacked the armed forces with firearms".A recent account by a MIR leader explains that the sheer brutality of the military forces, especially the spectacular bombing of La Moneada, may have dissuaded many Allende sympathizers from taking action..


''"I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves."— Henry Kissinger

"Not a nut or bolt shall reach Chile under Allende. Once Allende comes to power we shall do all within our power to condemn Chile and all Chileans to utmost deprivation and poverty."'' — Edward M. Korry, U.S. Ambassador to Chile, upon hearing of Allende's election.

"Make the economy scream [in Chile to] prevent Allende from coming to power or to unseat him" — Richard Nixon, orders to CIA director Richard Helms on September 15, 1970

"It is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup. It would be much preferable to have this transpire prior to October 24 [1970] but efforts in this regard will continue vigorously beyond this date. We are to continue to generate maximum pressure toward this end, utilizing every appropriate resource. It is imperative that these actions be implemented clandestinely and securely so that the USG and American hand be well hidden..." — A communique to the CIA base in Chile, issued on October 16, 1970

"[Military rule aims] to make Chile not a nation of proletarians, but a nation of entrepreneurs." Augusto PinochetDandan, Zaldy (2006). "Gracias mi general" Marianas Variety

''"We didn't do it. I mean we helped them. [Garbled] created the conditions as great as possible.Henry Kissinger conversing with President Nixon about the coup. Telephone call from Kissinger to Nixon

"So, lets imagine how [the September 11th 2001 attacks] could have been worse for example. Suppose that on September 11, Al-Qaeda had bombed the White House and killed the President, instituted a murderous, brutal regime which killed maybe 50,000 to 100,000 people and tortured about 700,000, set up a major international terrorist center in Washington, which was overthrowing governments all over the world, and installing brutal vicious neo-Nazi dictatorships, assassinating people. Suppose he called in a bunch of economists, lets call them the 'Kandahar Boys' to run the American economy, who within a couple of years had driven the economy into one of the worst collapses of its history. Suppose this had happened. That would have been worse than 9/11, right? But it did happen. And it happened on 9/11. That happened on September 11, 1973 in Chile. The only thing you have to change is this per capita equivalence, which is the right way to look at it. Well, did that change the world? Yeah, it did but not from our point of view, in fact, who even knows about it? Incidentally, just to finish, because we [the U.S.] were responsible for that one."'' — Noam Chomsky.

Additional information

See also

1970 Chilean presidential election

History of Chile

Salvador Allende - deposed by 1973 coup

Chile under Allende


Government Junta of Chile (1973)

Military dictatorship

Operation TOUCAN (KGB) - secret KGB operations in Chile

Cuban packages - arms smuggling from Cuba

Augusto Pinochet - took power in 1973 coup

Chile under Pinochet

Project FUBELT - secret CIA operations to unseat Allende.

U.S. intervention in Chile

List of Chilean coup d'etat

Valech Report

The Cybersyn Reconstruction in the 2009


Chile - Toad the Wet Sprocket

The Ballad of Victor Jara - Rod MacDonald



The Black Pimpernel

La Batalla de Chile

20 Years Of Silence (40 minute documentary broadcasted on CBC)

The House of the Spirits

External links

CIA acknowledges involvement in Allende's overthrow Pinochet's rise, CNN.

La Tercera, Chilean newspaper, September 11, 1973

La Tercera, El Once, includes news of different newspaper of days previous to the coup

Las 24 horas que estremecieron a Chile. Detailed minute-by-minute account of the events of September 11, 1973 by historian Ascanio Cavallo, on the site of La Tercera.

Cronologia, Salvador-Allende.cl, originally published in Archivo Salvador Allende, number 14. An extensive Spanish-language site providing a day-by-day chronology of the Allende era. This is clearly a partisan, pro-Allende source, but the research and detail are enormous.

National Security Archive's Chile Documentation Project which provides documents obtained from FOIA requests regarding U.S. involvement in Chile, beginning with attempts to promote a coup in 1970 and continuing through U.S. support for Pinochet

Sources on the coup

Chile and the United States: Declassified Documents relating to the Military Coup, 1970-1976, GWU

US Dept. of State FOIA Church Report (Covert Action in Chile)

Memoria Viva. Archivo digital de las Violaciones de los Derechos Humanos de la Dictadura Militar en Chile (1973-1990)

Footnotes and references


Simon Collier & William F. Sater (1996). A History of Chile: 1808-1994. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Julio Faundez (1988). Marxism and democracy in Chile: From 1932 to the fall of Allende, New Haven: Yale University Press.

Ignacio Gonzalez Camus, ed. (1988). El dia en que murio Allende (The day that Allende Died), Chilean Institute of Humanistic Studies (ICHEH) / CESOC.

Anke Hoogvelt (1997). Globalisation and the postcolonial world, London: Macmillan.

Thomas Karamessines (1970). Operating guidance cable on coup plotting in Chile, Washington: National Security Council.

Jeane Kirkpatrick (1979). "Dictatorships and Double Standards", Commentary, November, pp 3445.

Henry Kissinger (1970). National Security Decision 93: Policy Towards Chile, Washington: National Security Council.

Richard Norton-Taylor (1999). "Truth will out: Unearthing the declassified documents in America which give the lie to Lady Thatcher's outburst", The Guardian, July 8, 1999, London: Guardian Newspapers Ltd.

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