The modern history of Chile is inescapably punctuated by the events that took place on September the 11th in 1973. After several unsuccessful campaigns (1952, 1958 and 1964), Dr. Salvador Allende became the first Marxist leader to be democratically elected to government in 1970. The left saw it as an opportunity to follow socialist ideals within a peaceful political framework, while the Chilean ruling class were naturally less impressed, eventually becoming resentful of the industrial and land reforms that were to follow. Furthermore, global players with a vested interest in the political direction of South American nations also had concerns over the election result. Henry Kissinger has the rather controversial statement on Chilean politcswidely attributed to him: “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves”.  A comment that, perhaps with hindsight, is not so suprising given the emerging evidence of CIA involvement in Chile and South America more generally. See John Pilger’s interview for a frank admission of United States’ intentions in the region, given by Duane Clarridge, who went on to become head of the CIA’s Latin American Division in 1981. On September the 11th 1973 the Allende government was the subject of a coup d’état perpertrated by once friend and recently appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army, General Augusto Pinochet. The BBC’s documentary below The Other 9/11 gives  a good basic account of the run up to the coup and the immediate aftermath with interviews from key protagonists from both sides.

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