Posted:11 Sep 2012 09:22 AM PDT
Today it is 39 years ago that Pinochet launched a bloody CIA-assisted coup against the democratically-elected socialist President Allende of Chile.
On September 11, 1973, General Augusto Pinochet and his right-wing supporters in the Chilean military and government staged a brutal coup d’etat that overthrew the democratically elected and socialist-leaning administration of Salvador Allende.
They did so with substantial assistance from the Nixon administration and the CIA, which had been supporting anti-socialist forces throughout Chile following the election of Allende in 1970 and his efforts to nationalize some key industries including the phone company, whose majority owner was the U.S.-based International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT).
Following the coup — in which tens of thousands were arrested and imprisoned in Chile’s football stadiums, untold numbers were tortured, executed, or “disappeared,” and Allende shot himself inside the presidential palace following his farewell speech — the Chicago Boys who had been trained in Friedman’s brand of neoliberalism, previously rebuffed in the 1970 election, were now suddenly given the keys to the Chilean economy by the Pinochet regime.
This came on the heels of a proposal published on the day of the coup by the Chicago Boys to restructure Chile as a kind of laboratory of neoliberalism.
During the airforce bombardment of the Presidential palace, La Moneda, Allende addressed the nation one final time. These were Allende’s famous last words, delivered after personally engaging in a bitter hours-long firefight with Pinochet’s treasonous military forces, and just moments before taking his own life with a rifle given to him as a gift by Fidel Castro:
The BBC made this documentary, The Other 9/11, about the coup. Don’t mind the sometimes dreadful choice of music; the film is actually the only full-length English-langage documentary that interviews people from both sides, and provides a number of fascinating insider accounts of the coup that was to unleash the era of neoliberalism onto Latin America and the world: