Remembering the Other 9/11: The Chilean September 11, 1973 Coup D’Etat
“Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Keep in mind that, much sooner than later, the great avenues will again be opened through which will pass free men to construct a better society. Long live Chile! Long live the people! Long live the workers!”
–President Salvador Allende’s farewell speech (September 11, 1973) 
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An event taking place in the South American country of Chile 50 years ago this coming week, not only claimed the life of democratically elected President Salvador Guillermo Allende Gossens, but of 2,200 other Chileans, including social activists and students. Roughly 30,000 people were tortured in the National Stadium of Chile and other makeshift detention centres. Almost 1,500 more simply disappeared. 
In other words, in terms of the number count of dead people in a country, Chile’s 9/11 easily equalled or exceeded America’s 9/11. 
Allende’s socialist government, in power since the 3rd of November 1970 came crashing down not by any democratic process but via a violent coup d’etat.
A military dictatorship headed by Augusto Pinochet was now in charge of the Latin American country. And thanks to the diligent work of Peter Kornbluh, a senior analyst at the National Security Archive and director of the archive’s Chile and Cuba Documentation Projects, we now know through declassified documents that the U.S. played a role in the plot to overthrow Allende and side with Pinochet. 
It is one of the best counter-examples one can think of to the assumed, overstated principle that America fights for democracy and human rights!
Likewise, as the Canadian foreign policy writer Yves Engler has pointed out, there have been several examples through the years immediately before the coup that show the country’s government the more right wing government and withdrew their support when Allende was in power…
“Worried about growing support for socialism, Ottawa gave $8.6 million to Frei’s Chile, its first aid to a South American country. When Allende won the next election Canadian assistance disappeared. Export Development Canada (EDC) also refused to finance Canadian exports to Chile, which contributed to a reduction in trade between the two countries.”
The purpose of this week’s Global Research News Hour radio program is just to remind the world about another great tragedy of America’s so-called altruistic endeavours in a foreign country, but to show how the Chilean people have endured and to hold aloft hope for a better society and a better future!
On the show’s first half hour, we hear from a member of the Chilean military at the time, Francisco Valenzuela, about what he witnessed at the time, and how the military transformed against Allende. Another Chilean Canadian, Bernardo Jorquera, briefly describes the 50 commemoration of the event taking place in the city of Winnipeg at 6pm local time at CCFM Centre Culturel, Franco Manitobain on 340 Provencher Blvd.
In the second half hour, York University in Toronto Emeritus Professor of Politics Liisa North breaks down the book she edited: Canada-Chile Solidarity 1973-1990: Testimonies of Civil Society Action. The book documents the ways in which Churches and unions were active in coordinating the formulation of foreign policy with regard to refugees and dealing with a military dictatorship.
Francisco Valenzuela is a 93 year old former military man working for Allende. He now lives in Winnipeg, Canada.
Bernardo Jorquera is an organizer and chair of the Winnipeg Chilean Association Committee.
Liisa L. North is Emeritus Professor of Politics at York University in Toronto. She has made many important contributions as a teacher, researcher of rural issues and reformist movements in Latin America, and social activist.
(Global Research News Hour Episode 399)
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Other stations airing the show:
CIXX 106.9 FM, broadcasting from Fanshawe College in London, Ontario. It airs Sundays at 6am.
WZBC 90.3 FM in Newton Massachusetts is Boston College Radio and broadcasts to the greater Boston area. The Global Research News Hour airs during Truth and Justice Radio which starts Sunday at 6am.
Campus and community radio CFMH 107.3fm in Saint John, N.B. airs the Global Research News Hour Fridays at 7pm.
CJMP 90.1 FM, Powell River Community Radio, airs the Global Research News Hour every Saturday at 8am.
Caper Radio CJBU 107.3FM in Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia airs the Global Research News Hour starting Wednesday afternoon from 3-4pm.
- Julian Borger (3 Sep 2023), ‘Fifty years on: the lasting tragedy of Chile’s coup’, The Guardian; https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/sep/03/fifty-years-on-the-lasting-tragedy-of-chiles-coup
- Lucia Newman (6 Sep 2023), ‘Fifty years after Chile’s coup, the search for truth continues’, Al Jazeera; https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/9/6/fifty-years-after-chiles-coup-the-search-for-truth-continues