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Sept. 11, 1973: A CIA-backed Military Coup Overthrows Salvador Allende, the Democratically Elected President of Chile

September 11, 2003
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30 years ago today President Nixon and Secretary of State National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger helped orchestrate the coup that put General Augusto Pinochet in power and President Allende dead. Pinochet would go on to kill at least 3,000 Chileans over the next 17 years.

We turn now to another September 11: September 11, 1973.

30 years ago today, the democratically elected President of Chile Salvador Allende was overthrown and died in a bloody CIA backed military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet.

Pinochet oversaw the killing of at least 3,000 Chileans during a brutal 17-year military reign, which lasted until 1990.

The coup was backed by then-President Nixon and Secretary of State National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger. Salvador Allende was honored yesterday in a ceremony at the palace were he died 30 years ago.

In 1998, Pinochet was arrested in London on torture and genocide charges on a warrant issued by a Spanish judge. British authorities later released Pinochet after doctors ruled him physically and mentally unfit to stand trial.

This past August, current Chilean president Ricardo Lagos announced a plan to pay compensation to thousands of families who had relatives killed during Pinochet’s military regime.

  • Vladimir Vega, refugee from Chile living in London. He spent five years in prison and left the country as soon as he was released in May, 1978.
  • Peter Kornbluh, he is the author of The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability. He is a senior analyst at the National Security Archive, a public-interest documentation center in Washington.

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