Forty years ago on September 11, a US backed coup d’état took place in Chile, led by the Chilean Army Commander-in-Chief Augusto Pinochet overthrew the elected socialist President Salvador Allende, ending civilian rule a week before its 48th anniversary. The coup established a military dictatorship with support from the CIA and DIA, that ruled Chile until 1990 that was marked by numerous human rights violations. According to various reports and investigations 1,200-3,200 people were killed, up to 80,000 were interned, and up to 30,000 were tortured by his government including women and children.
Pinochet’s rule ended in 1990 after a 1988 plebiscite led to democratic elections for the Presidency and Congress. Pinochet stepped down from the presidency continuing to serve as Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army until 10 March 1998. On 10 October 1998, Pinochet was arrested in London in connection with numerous human rights allegations, but following a legal battle was released and returned to Chile in March 2000. In 2004, Chilean Judge Juan Guzmán Tapia ruled that Pinochet was medically fit to stand trial and placed him under house arrest. By the time of his death on 10 December 2006, about 300 criminal charges were still pending against him in Chile for numerous human rights violations, tax evasion, and embezzlement during his 17-year rule and afterwards.
Pinochet’s arrest in London came as a result of the life long efforts of Spanish attorney Juan Garcés, who was an personal adviser to Allende and was with him on the day of the coup. Garcés left the presidential palace before it was bombed, charged by Allende to tell the world what he had witnessed.
Juan Garcés joined Democracy Now!‘s hosts Amy Goodman and Aaron Maté to discuss his efforts to bring Pinochet to justice.
Transcript can be read here
In Part 2, Peter Kornbluh, author of The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability, joins the conversation to discuss how US politicians, banks and corporation aided the coup.
Trascript can be read here
In the last segment, the discussion turns to the U.S. role under President Richard Nixon and his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger.
Peter Kornbluh, who spearheaded the effort to declassify more than 20,000 secret documents that revealed the role of the CIA and the White House in the Chilean coup, discusses how Nixon and Kissinger backed the Chilean military’s ouster of Allende and then offered critical support as it committed atrocities to cement its newfound rule. [..]
In 1970, the CIA’s deputy director of plans wrote in a secret memo: “It is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup. … It is imperative that these actions be implemented clandestinely and securely so that the USG [the U.S. government] and American hand be well hidden.” That same year President Nixon ordered the CIA to “make the economy scream” in Chile to “prevent Allende from coming to power or to unseat him.”
Transcript can be read [here
It appears that the US is still at it.