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Gustavo Leigh

Air General Gustavo Leigh Guzman was a Chilean general, who represented the Air Force in the 1973 Chilean coup d'etat and, for a time, in the ruling junta that followed. Leigh was forced out of the military government in 1978.

Leigh was born in Santiago, son of Hernan Leigh Banados and Laura Guzman Cea. After a brilliant career, President Salvador Allende named him commander-in-chief of the Air Force on August 17, 1973. However, Leigh was the first to sign the coup document, drafted by Vice Admiral Jose Toribio Merino, to depose Allende.

Leigh quickly emerged as the toughest member in the four-man military junta. Just hours after the coup, Leigh vowed that the military would "eradicate the Marxist cancer from our fatherland, until the last consequences." It was on his personal orders, he disclosed later, that the air force bombarded and heavily damaged the presidential palace to put down the resistance by Allende and a small group of his followers. He responded to criticisms that his order to bomb the La Moneda palace saying, "It was a hard measure to take, but believe me when I say that [...] it was a measure that saved many lives, because President Allende had decided to die in La Moneda [...]."

Related websites

The Guardian Obituary

Short biography

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Gustavo Leigh

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