September 11, 1973: the coup in Chile

September 11, 1973: the coup in Chile

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The September 11, 2001 It is marked in the collective memory as a tragic day: members of the jihadist network Al-Qaeda crashed two planes into the Twin Towers in New York. About 3,000 people died and about 6,000 were injured, But September 11 is also the anniversary of another tragic day: the coup in Chile.

After a brief government of the Popular Unity of almost three years, the president of Chile, Salvador Allende, was overthrown by a military coup that would give way to a 17 year dictatorship.

The Chilean road to socialism

Allende assumed the presidency of Chile on September 4, 1970, with 36.3% of the electoral census, with the purpose of transforming the country into a socialist state by democratic means, through the rule of law and renouncing an armed revolution, becoming the first politician of Marxist ideology who acceded to the presidency of the government through elections .

The Allende government It experienced a very unstable situation due to the amount of misgivings it generated among the conservative sectors of the country and also towards the United States, which did not agree with the nationalization of copper and of some American companies that were in Chile.

Henry Kissinger, US Secretary of State, along with President Nixon, instructed the CIA to prevent Allende from being invested president of Chile in the first placeBut when that failed, a campaign of operations was launched to impede the governance of the country.

An attempt was made to choke the Chilean economy by restricting credit and freezing economic aid. The World Bank and other international financial institutions also limited loans. CIA agents sabotaged the economy and fomented an opposition movement against the government.

The international context

The Allende government is in a very complex historical moment.

In the 1970s, Cold War It was a reality that faced two countries with great military capacity and with atomic weapons, United States and the Soviet Union, each a reflection of two antagonistic and opposing economic models, capitalism Y communism.

The involvement of the United States in the coup in Chile it has to do with a world context in which North Americans tried to control the advance of Marxism and socialism in Latin America.

The Cuban Revolution had occurred in 1959 and the United States was not willing to see that trend be repeated in different Latin American countries.

The coup in Chile

At first the coup was planned for September 15 or 16, to be able to camouflage its preparation with the rehearsal of the military parade of September 19.

It was finally set on September 11, The day that Allende had launched a call for a national plebiscite to decide his continuity as president.

The coup began at dawn with the rise of the Navy. Later it was spread throughout the territory by the Army, Navy, Aviation and Carabineros.

The blow was devastating, the Popular Unity could not be allowed room for maneuver to reorganize and defend itself, all the defense plans planned by the Popular Unity government were useless.

Allende's reaction

Allende was informed in the early morning of September 11 of the situation. At seven in the morning he went to the Palacio de la Moneda and there he remained armed with his most loyal collaborators.

The coup leaders informed her that she had to immediately hand over her position to the supreme chiefs of the Armed Forces and ordered her to vacate the Palacio de la Moneda before eleven in the morning, otherwise she would be attacked by land and air.

The military offered Allende the possibility of surrendering and leaving the country, but he rejected the offer.. At 10:30 a.m., the tanks opened fire on La Moneda and at 11:50 a.m. the bombing of La Moneda took place.

Despite the attacks, those who still resisted in La Moneda, with Allende at the head, refused to surrender. General Palacios decided to take it at 2 o'clock.

Allende's death and the coup in Chile

It seems then Allende decided to surrender and committed suicide shooting himself with his AK-47 to the chin.

In the afternoon, a Governing Board was formed. Despite some pockets of resistance in some parts of Santiago, the coup had triumphed and together they took control of the country.

Thus began 17 years of a civic-military dictatorship.

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