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Cile: la strage di Pinochet : cile: Internet Archive
[“United Kingdom” by Ken Loach is about the September 11, 1973 Coup d’état in Chile. It’s a segment from the film 11’09"01 September 11. (via Sophia)

11’09"01 September 11
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/11%2709%2201_September_11 ]

[Also here: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x415e ]
kenloach  chile  1973  salvadorallende  pinochet  coup  henrykissinger  richardnixon  intervention  democracy  imperialism  capitalism  socialism  via:sophia  cia 
5 weeks ago by robertogreco
What Salvador Allende Feared
"On September 11, 1973, Chile’s socialist president Salvador Allende was overthrown in a CIA-backed military coup. In this 1971 interview, published in English for the first time, Allende expressed his fears of internal destabilization and US interference."
salvadorallende  1973  1971  chile  history  us  intervention  rossana  rossanda  henrykissenger  richardnixon  socialism  cia  capitalism  democracy  coup 
5 weeks ago by robertogreco
Allende in Chile Today
"Nearly five decades after the coup that overthrew leftist president Salvador Allende, the Chilean left is starting to rebuild power. But it still wrestles with the legacy of the bloody defeat of Allende’s democratic revolution."
salvadorallende  chile  2019  naomititelman  politics  economics  history  pinochet  coup 
5 weeks ago by robertogreco
The Coup in Chile
[Also here:
https://www.marxists.org/archive/miliband/1973/10/chile.htm
https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4016-the-coup-in-chile
https://jacobinmag.com/2016/09/chile-coup-santiago-allende-social-democracy-september-11-2 ]

“What happened in Chile on September 11, 1973 did not suddenly reveal anything new about the ways in which men of power and privilege seek to protect their social order: the history of the last 150 years is spattered with such episodes.

Even so, Chile has at least forced upon many people on the Left some uncomfortable reflections and questions about the “strategy” which is appropriate in Western-type regimes for what is loosely called the “transition to socialism.”

Of course, the Wise Men of the Left, and others too, have hastened to proclaim that Chile is not France, or Italy, or Britain. This is quite true. No country is like any other: circumstances are always different, not only between one country and another, but between one period and another in the same country. Such wisdom makes it possible and plausible to argue that the experience of a country or period cannot provide conclusive “lessons.”

This is also true; and as a matter of general principle, one should be suspicious of people who have instant “lessons” for every occasion. The chances are that they had them well before the occasion arose, and that they are merely trying to fit the experience to their prior views. So let us indeed be cautious about taking or giving “lessons.”

All the same, and however cautiously, there are things to be learnt from experience, or unlearnt, which comes to the same thing. Everybody said, quite rightly, that Chile, alone in Latin America, was a constitutional, parliamentary, liberal, pluralist society, a country which had politics: not exactly like the French, or the American, or the British, but well within the “democratic,” or, as Marxists would call it, the “bourgeois-democratic” fold.

This being the case, and however cautious one wishes to be, what happened in Chile does pose certain questions, requires certain answers, may even provide certain reminders and warnings. It may for instance suggest that stadiums which can be used for purposes other than sport — such as herding left-wing political prisoners — exist not only in Santiago, but in Rome and Paris or for that matter London; or that there must be something wrong with a situation in which Marxism Today, the monthly “Theoretical and Discussion Journal of the Communist Party” has as its major article for its September 1973 issue a speech delivered in July by the General Secretary of the Chilean Communist Party, Luis Corvalan (now in jail awaiting trial, and possible execution), which is entitled “We Say No to Civil War! But Stand Ready to Crush Sedition.”

In the light of what happened, this worthy slogan seems rather pathetic and suggests that there is something badly amiss here, that one must take stock, and try to see things more clearly. Insofar as Chile was a bourgeois democracy, what happened there is about bourgeois democracy, and about what may also happen in other bourgeois democracies.

After all, the Times, on the morrow of the coup, was writing (and the words ought to be carefully memorised by people on the Left): “Whether or not the armed forces were right to do what they have done, the circumstances were such that a reasonable military man could in good faith have thought it his constitutional duty to intervene.”

Should a similar episode occur in Britain, it is a fair bet that, whoever else is inside Wembley Stadium, it won’t be the editor of the Times: he will be busy writing editorials regretting this and that, but agreeing, however reluctantly, that, taking all circumstances into account, and notwithstanding the agonising character of the choice, there was no alternative but for reasonable military men . . . and so on and so forth.

When Salvador Allende was elected to the presidency of Chile in September 1970, the regime that was then inaugurated was said to constitute a test case for the peaceful or parliamentary transition to socialism. As it turned out over the following three years, this was something of an exaggeration. It achieved a great deal by way of economic and social reform, under incredibly difficult conditions — but it remained a deliberately “moderate” regime: indeed, it does not seem far-fetched to say that the cause of its death, or at least one main cause of it, was its stubborn “moderation.”

But no, we are now told by such experts as Professor Hugh Thomas, from the Graduate School of Contemporary European Studies at Reading University: the trouble was that Allende was much too influenced by such people as Marx and Lenin, “rather than Mill, or Tawney, or Aneurin Bevan, or any other European democratic socialist.” This being the case, Professor Thomas cheerfully goes on, “the Chilean coup d’état cannot by any means be regarded as a defeat for democratic socialism but for Marxist socialism.”

All’s well then, at least for democratic socialism. Mind you, “no doubt Dr Allende had his heart in the right place” (we must be fair about this), but then “there are many reasons for thinking that his prescription was the wrong one for Chile’s maladies, and of course the result of trying to apply it may have led an ‘iron surgeon’ to get to the bedside. The right prescription, of course, was Keynesian socialism, not Marxist.”

That’s it: the trouble with Allende is that he was not Harold Wilson, surrounded by advisers steeped in “Keynesian socialism” as Professor Thomas obviously is.

We must not linger over the Thomases and their ready understanding of why Allende’s policies brought an “iron surgeon” to the bedside of an ailing Chile. But even though the Chilean experience may not have been a test case for the “peaceful transition to socialism,” it still offers a very suggestive example of what may happen when a government does give the impression, in a bourgeois democracy, that it genuinely intends to bring about really serious changes in the social order and to move in socialist directions, in however constitutional and gradual a manner; and whatever else may be said about Allende and his colleagues, and about their strategies and policies, there is no question that this is what they wanted to do.

They were not, and their enemies knew them not to be, mere bourgeois politicians mouthing “socialist” slogans. They were not “Keynesian socialists.” They were serious and dedicated people, as many have shown by dying for what they believed in.

It is this which makes the conservative response to them a matter of great interest and importance, and which makes it necessary for us to try to decode the message, the warning, the “lessons.” For the experience may have crucial significance for other bourgeois democracies: indeed, there is surely no need to insist that some of it is bound to be directly relevant to any “model” of radical social change in this kind of political system.”
ralphmiliband  chile  pinochet  salvadorallende  history  1973  coup  power  society  socialism  democracy  control  politics  communism  marxism  1970  1970s  moderation  democraticsocialism  socialorder 
5 weeks ago by robertogreco
The ‘Chicago Boys’ in Chile: Economic Freedom’s Awful Toll | The Nation
"Repression for the majorities and “economic freedom” for small privileged groups are two sides of the same coin."



"A Rationale for Power

The economic policies of the Chilean junta and its re­sults have to be placed in the context of a wide counter­revolutionary process that aims to restore to a small minority the economic, social and political control it gradually lost over the last thirty years, and particularly in the years of the Popular Unity Government.

Until September 11, 1973, the date of the coup, Chilean society had been characterized by the increasing participation of the working class and its political parties in economic and social decision making. Since about 1900, employing the mechanisms of representative democ­racy, workers had steadily gained new economic, social and political power. The election of Salvador Allende as President of Chile was the culmination of this process. For the first time in history a society attempted to build socialism by peaceful means. During Allende’s time in office, there was a marked improvement in the conditions of employment, health, housing, land tenure and education of the masses. And as this occurred, the privileged do­mestic groups and the dominant foreign interests perceived themselves to be seriously threatened.

Despite strong financial and political pressure from abroad and efforts to manipulate the attitudes of the middle class by propaganda, popular support for the Allende government increased significantly between 1970 and 1973. In March 1973, only five months before the military coup, there were Congressional elections in Chile. The political parties of the Popular Unity increased their share of the votes by more than 7 percentage points over their totals in the Presidential election of 1970. This was the first time in Chilean history that the political parties supporting the administration in power gained votes dur­ing a midterm election. The trend convinced the national bourgeoisie and its foreign supporters that they would be unable to recoup their privileges through the democratic process. That is why they resolved to destroy the demo­cratic system and the institutions of the state, and, through an alliance with the military; to seize power by force.

In such a context, concentration of wealth is no acci­dent, but a rule; it is not the marginal outcome of a difficult situation—as they would like the world to believe—but the base for a social project; it is not an economic liability but a temporary political success. Their real failure is not their apparent inability to redistribute wealth or to generate a more even path of development (these are not their priorities) but their inability to convince the majority of Chileans that their policies are reasonable and necessary. In short, they have failed to destroy the consciousness of the Chilean people. The economic plan has had to be enforced, and in the Chilean context that could be done only by the killing of thousands, the estab­lishment of concentration camps all over the country, the jailing of more than 100,000 persons in three years, the closing of trade unions and neighborhood organizations, and the prohibition of all political activities and all forms of free expression.

While the “Chicago boys” have provided an appearance of technical respectability to the laissez-faire dreams and political greed of the old landowning oligarchy and upper bourgeoisie of monopolists and financial speculators, the military has applied the brutal force required to achieve those goals. Repression for the majorities and “economic freedom” for small privileged groups are in Chile two sides of the same coin.

There is, therefore, an inner harmony between the two central priorities announced by the junta after the coup in 1973: the “destruction of the Marxist cancer” (which has come to mean not only the repression of the political parties of the Left but also the destruction of all labor organizations democratically elected and all opposition, including Christian-Democrats and church organizations), the establishment of a free “private economy” and the control of inflation à la Friedman.

It is nonsensical, consequently, that those who inspire, support or finance that economic policy should try to present their advocacy as restricted to “technical consid­erations,” while pretending to reject the system of terror it requires to succeed.

* * *

This note on “Allende’s Economic Record” was published next to the piece.

There is a widespread notion—reported by the Amer­ican press, often without substantiation—that the Allende government made a “shambles” of the Chilean economy. It is hardly acceptable to judge an ongoing sociopolitical process only by traditional economic indi­cators which describe aggregate economic features and not the general condition of society. However, when those indicators are applied to Chile, the Popular Unity Government fares very well.

In 1971, the first year of the Allende government, the GNP increased 8.9 percent; industrial production rose by 11 percent; agricultural output went up by 6 percent; unemployment, which at the end of the Frei government was above 8 percent, fell to 3.8 percent. Inflation, which in the previous year had been nearly 35 percent, was reduced to an annual rate of 22.1 percent.

During 1972 the external pressures applied on the government and the backlash of the domestic opposition began to be felt. On the one hand, lines of credit and financing coming from multinational lending institutions and from the private banks and the government of the United States were severed (the exception being aid to the military). On the other hand, the Chilean Congress, controlled by the opposi­tion, approved measures which escalated government expenditure without producing the necessary revenues (through an increase of taxes); this added momentum to the inflationary process. At the same time, factions of the traditional right wing began to foment violence aimed at overthrowing the government. Despite all this and the fact that the price of copper, which represented almost 80 percent of Chile’s export earnings, fell to its lowest level in thirty years, the Chilean economy continued to improve throughout 1972.

By the end of that year, the growing participation of the workers and peasants in the decision-making process, which accompanied the economic progress of the preceding two years, began to threaten seriously the privileges of traditional ruling groups and pro­voked in them more violent resistance. By 1973, Chile was experiencing the full effects of the most destructive and sophisticated conspiracy in Latin American history. Reactionary forces, supported feverishly by their friends abroad, developed a broad and systematic campaign of sabotage and terror, which was intensified when the government gained in the March Congressional elections. This included the illegal hoarding of goods by the rich; creation of a vast black market; blowing up industrial plants, electrical installations and pipe lines; paralysis of the transportation system and, in general, attempts to disrupt the entire economy in such a way as to create the conditions needed to justify the military coup. It was this deliberate disruption, and not the Popular Unity, which created any chaos during the final days of the Allende government.

Between 1970 and 1973, the working classes had access to food and clothing, to health care, housing and education to an extent unknown before. These achievements were never threatened or diminished, even during the most difficult and dramatic moments of the government’s last year in power. The priorities which the Popular Unity had established in its program of social transformations were largely reached."
orlandoletelier  2016  chicagoboys  chile  history  economics  policy  politics  freedom  capitalism  miltonfriedman  socialism  1973  pinochet  salvadorallende  class  work  labor  solidarity  democracy  coup  marxism  neoiliberalism 
april 2019 by robertogreco
Greg Grandin reviews ‘Allende’s Chile and the Inter-American Cold War’ by Tanya Harmer · LRB 19 July 2012
"Harmer dispatches two myths favoured by those who blame the coup on Allende himself. The first is that his commitment to democracy was opportunistic and would soon have been abandoned. ‘One might even,’ Falcoff writes, ‘credit the Nixon administration with preventing the consolidation of Allende’s “totalitarian project”’. The second is that even if Allende wasn’t a fraud he was a fool, unleashing forces he could not control – for example, the left wing of Popular Unity, and the Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria, which was further to the left of Allende’s coalition and drew inspiration from the Cuban Revolution, Cuba conceived here as a proxy for Moscow.

Harmer shows that Allende was a pacifist, a democrat and a socialist by conviction not convenience. He had an ‘unbending commitment to constitutional government’ and refused in the face of an ‘externally funded’ opposition ‘to take a different non-democratic or violent road’. He invoked history to insist that democracy and socialism were compatible, yet he knew that Chile’s experience was exceptional. During the two decades before his election, military coups had overthrown governments in 12 countries: Cuba in 1952; Guatemala and Paraguay in 1954; Argentina and Peru in 1962; Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Honduras and again Guatemala in 1963; Brazil and Bolivia in 1964; and Argentina once more in 1966. Many of these coups were encouraged and sanctioned by Washington and involved subverting exactly the kind of civil-society pluralism – of the press, political parties and unions – that Allende promoted. So he was sympathetic to the Cuban Revolution and respected Castro, especially after he survived the CIA’s Bay of Pigs exploit in 1961. And when Allende won the presidency, he relied on Cuban advisers for personal security and intelligence operations.

But Cuba’s turn to one-party authoritarianism only deepened Allende’s faith in the durability of Chilean democracy. Socialism could be won, he insisted, through procedures and institutions – the ballot, the legislature, the courts and the media – that historically had been dominated by those classes most opposed to it. Castro warned him that the military wouldn’t abide by the constitution. Until at least early 1973 Allende believed otherwise. His revolution would not be confronted with the choice that had been forced on Castro: suspend democracy or perish. But by mid-1973, events were escaping Allende’s command. On 11 September he took his own life, probably with a gun Castro gave him as a gift. The left in the years after the coup developed its own critique of Allende: that, as the crisis hurtled toward its conclusion, he proved indecisive, failing to arm his supporters and train resistance militias, failing to shut down congress and failing to defend the revolution the way Castro defended his. Harmer presents these as conscious decisions, stemming from Allende’s insistence that neither one-party rule nor civil war was an acceptable alternative to defeat.

A photograph of Allende taken during his last hours shows him leaving the presidential palace, pistol in hand and helmet on head, flanked by bodyguards and looking up at the sky, watching for the bombs. The image is powerful yet deceptive, giving the impression that Allende had been at the palace when the coup started, and was beginning to organise resistance to it. But Allende wasn’t trapped in his office. He’d gone there earlier that morning, despite being advised not to, when he heard that his generals had rebelled. The Cubans were ready to arm and train a Chilean resistance and, Harmer writes, ‘to fight and die alongside Allende and Chilean left-wing forces in a prolonged struggle to defend the country’s revolutionary process’. But Allende ordered them not to put their plans into operation, and they listened: ‘The Chilean president,’ Harmer says, ‘was therefore far more in control of Cuba’s involvement in his country than previously thought.’ He also rejected the idea of retreating to the outskirts of Santiago and leading an armed resistance: in Harmer’s assessment, he committed suicide rather than give up his commitment to non-violent revolution.

Many, in Chile and elsewhere, refused to believe that Allende had killed himself. The story had to be that he was executed, like Zapata, Sandino, Guevara and others who died at the hands of traitors. Che fought to the end and had no illusions about the bourgeoisie and its democratic credentials. Allende’s legacy is more ambiguous, especially for today’s revived Latin American left, which despite its remarkable electoral success in recent decades still struggles to tame the market forces set free after the Chilean coup. In 2009 in Honduras, for instance, and last month in Paraguay, democratically elected presidents were unseated by ‘constitutional coups’. In both countries, their opponents dressed up what were classic putsches in the garb of democratic proceduralism, taking advantage of vague impeachment mechanisms to restore the status quo ante.

For Brazil’s Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT), founded in 1980 by militant trade unionists including the future president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the coup in Chile reinforced the need to work with centrist parties to restore constitutional rule. Social issues weren’t completely sidelined, but attaining stability took precedence over class struggle; for the first time in Latin American history, a major left-wing party found itself fighting for political democracy as a value in itself, not as part of a broader campaign for social rights. ‘I thought a lot about what happened with Allende in Chile,’ Lula once said, referring to the polarisation that followed the 1970 election, when the Popular Unity coalition won with only a bit more than a third of the vote. That’s why he agreed to set the bar high for a PT win. During the Constituent Assembly debates leading up to the promulgation of Brazil’s 1988 post-dictatorship constitution, Lula insisted that if no one candidate received a majority in the first round of a presidential election, a run-off had to be held between the top two contenders, which would both give the winner more legitimacy and force him or her to reach out beyond the party base. Like Allende, Lula stood for president three times before winning at his fourth attempt. Unlike Allende, though, each time Lula ran and lost and ran again, he gave up a little bit more of the PT’s founding principles, so that the party went from pledging to overturn neoliberalism to promising to administer it more effectively.

In Venezuela, Hugo Chávez drew a different lesson from the defeat of the Popular Unity government. Soon after he was elected president in 1998, before coming out as a confrontationalist, indeed before he even identified himself as a socialist, Chávez began to compare himself to Allende. Wealthy Venezuelans were mobilising against even the mildest economic reforms, as their Chilean predecessors had done, taking to the streets, banging their pots and pans, attacking the government through their family-owned TV stations and newspapers, beating a path to the US embassy to complain, and taking money from Washington to fund their anti-government activities. In response, Chávez began to talk about 1973. ‘Like Allende, we are pacifists,’ he said of his supporters, including those in the military. ‘And like Allende, we are democrats. Unlike Allende, we are armed.’ The situation got worse and worse, culminating in the coup of April 2002 which, though unsuccessful, looked very like the coup against Allende. Chávez found himself trapped in the national palace speaking to Castro on the phone, telling him he was ready to die for the cause. Ever the pragmatist, Castro urged him to live to fight another day: ‘Don’t do what Allende did!’"
greggrandin  salvadorallende  history  marxism  socialism  democracy  2012  tanyaharmer  venezuela  economics  inequality  class  pacifism  cuba  fidelcastro  brazil  brasil  lula  luladasilva  latinamerica  us  richardnixon  intervention  revolution  government  argentina  honduras  guatemala  paraguay  perú  bolivia  hugochávez  pinochet  chile  henrykissinger  tanyharmer  coldwar  markfalcoff  dilmarousseff  authoritarianism  dictatorship  coup 
april 2019 by robertogreco
Episode 906:The Chicago Boys, Part II : Planet Money : NPR
[This two-parter is, overall, super light-handed on the coup and doesn't investigate enough how Allende's policies were sabotaged by the US and thus the state of the Chilean economy in 1973 was not an indication of their effectiveness, but leaving it here for future reference.]

"This is the second part in our series on Marxism and capitalism in Chile. You can find the first episode here. [https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2019/04/10/711918772/episode-905-the-chicago-boys-part-i ]

In the early seventies, Chile, under Marxist President Salvador Allende, was plagued by inflation, shortages, and a crushing deficit. After a violent coup in 1973, the economy became the military's problem.

Led by Augusto Pinochet, the military assigned a group of economists to help turn around Chile's economy. They had trained at the University of Chicago. They came to be known as the Chicago Boys.

Today's show is about the economic "shock treatment" they launched. It eventually set Chile on a path to prosperity, but it did so at an incredible human cost. One that Chileans are still grappling with today."

["#905: The Chicago Boys, Part I" description:

"Chile is one of the wealthiest, most stable economies in South America. But to understand how Chile got here--how it became the envy of neighboring countries --you have to know the story of a group of Chilean students who came to study economics at the University of Chicago. A group that came to be known as the Chicago Boys.

In the 1960s, their country was embracing socialism. But the Chicago Boys would take the economic ideas they had learned at Chicago and turn them into policies in Chile. They ended up on the front lines of a bloody battle between Marxism and capitalism, democracy and dictatorship."]

[via: "Detainees would be electrocuted, water boarded, had their heads forced into buckets of urine and excrement, suffocated with bags, hanged by their feet or hands and beaten. Many women were raped and for some detainees, punishment was death." https://twitter.com/zunguzungu/status/1118167201846968320

who also points to the source of that quote: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2013/09/life-under-pinochet-they-were-taking-turns-electrocute-us-one-after-other/ ]
chile  chicagoboys  economics  policy  politics  2019  history  pinochet  salvadorallende  miltonfriedman  dictatorship  coup  democracy  capitalism  socialism  authoritarianism  noelking  jasminegarsd  cia  us  intervention  propaganda  marxism  cuba  fidelcastro  cubanrevolution  neoliberalism  freemarketcapitalism  cuotas  finance  financialization  wealth 
april 2019 by robertogreco
Documenting U.S. Role in Democracy’s Fall and Dictator’s Rise in Chile - The New York Times
"A dimly lit underground gallery guides visitors through a maze of documents — presidential briefings, intelligence reports, cables and memos — that describe secret operations and intelligence gathering carried out in Chile by the United States from the Nixon years through the Reagan presidency."



"“These documents have helped us rewrite Chile’s contemporary history,” said Francisco Estévez, director of the museum. “This exhibit is a victory in the fight against negationism, the efforts to deny and relativize what happened during our dictatorship.”

The Memory and Human Rights Museum opened in 2010 during the first term of President Michelle Bachelet and offers a chronological reconstruction of the 17-year Pinochet government through artifacts, recordings, letters, videos, photographs, artwork and other material. About 150,000 people visit the museum annually, a third of them groups of students, Mr. Estévez said.

The National Security Archive donated a selection of 3,000 declassified documents to the museum several years ago, while the State Department provided the Chilean government with copies of the entire collection. Chileans, however, have rarely seen them.

“To see on a piece of paper, for example, the president of the United States ordering the C.I.A. to preemptively overthrow a democratically elected president in Chile is stunning,” Mr. Kornbluh said. “The importance of having these documents in the museum is for the new generations of Chileans to actually see them.”"
chile  2017  us  cia  salvadorallende  pinochet  1973  1970  history  coup 
october 2017 by robertogreco
The United States Didn’t Just Help Topple Allende—We Trained the Economists, Too | The Nation
"A new documentary, Chicago Boys, looks at the Chilean economists who brought neoliberalism from the halls of Chicago to the policies of Latin America."
chicagoboys  economics  miltonfriedman  chile  history  pinochet  us  salvadorallende  economists  policy  politics  greggrandin  2015  1973  coup 
september 2017 by robertogreco
The Assassination of Orlando Letelier and the Politics of Silence
"FORTY YEARS AGO last night, agents working for the Chilean secret service attached plastic explosives to the bottom of Orlando Letelier’s Chevrolet as it sat in the driveway of his family’s home in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C.

A few blocks away, across Massachusetts Avenue, my family’s Pinto sat in our driveway unmolested. Our whole neighborhood, including my mother, father, sister, and me, slept through everything.

Forty years ago this morning, the Chilean agents followed Letelier as he drove himself into Washington, down Massachusetts to the think tank where he worked. The bomb went off as Letelier went around Sheridan Circle, ripping off most of the lower half of his body. He died shortly afterward, as did Ronni Moffitt, a 25-year-old American who’d been in the car with him. A second passenger, Moffitt’s husband Michael, survived.

Letelier’s murder was ordered by the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who’d overthrown the country’s democratically elected president Salvador Allende three years before in a military coup. Letelier, who had been Allende’s defense minister, was arrested during the coup and tortured for a year until Pinochet bowed to international pressure and released him. But in Washington, Letelier became the leading international voice of the opposition to Pinochet, who decided he had to be eliminated.

There are still many unanswered questions about this time. Exactly how complicit was the U.S. in the overthrow of the Chilean government? Why did the CIA ignore a cable telling it that Chile’s agents were heading to the U.S.? Why did Henry Kissinger, then Secretary of State, cancel a warning to Chile not to kill its overseas opponents just five days before Letelier was murdered?

But for me, the most interesting question is this: How it is possible I was right there but didn’t learn about the assassination of Orlando Letelier until 20 years later?

Social Silence

It’s true I was only in second grade when Letelier was killed. But this was a mafia-like hit executed in the middle of our placid, leafy suburb. Moreover, it goes far beyond Letelier – the entire neighborhood was dripping with the bloody history of Chile:

• If you went a few blocks in the other direction from Letelier’s home you’d come to the house of Ted Shackley, on Sangamore Road. Shackley, sometimes called “The Blond Ghost,” was head of the CIA’s Western Hemisphere Division in 1973, and played a key role in encouraging Pinochet’s coup. Shackley’s house was directly across the street from Brookmont Elementary School – where my sister and I were on the morning of September 21, 1976.

• Down the hill from our house was Western Junior High, where my sister would later go. One of Western’s other alumni is Michelle Bachelet, the current president of Chile. After the coup, Bachelet’s father was tortured to death; Bachelet and her mother were tortured as well.

• When Letelier was killed, his son Francisco was called out of geometry class at Walt Whitman High School – which both my sister and I would later attend.

• Our neighborhood was directly across the Potomac River from the CIA’s headquarters in Virginia. It was so close that one of our neighbors who worked there commuted there on nice days by canoe.

• On Letelier’s final drive into Washington, his path appears to have taken him within a block of St. Columba’s Episcopal Church; its parishioners at the time included George H.W. Bush, then head of the CIA. Shortly after Letelier was killed, the CIA leaked a false report to Newsweek that Pinochet hadn’t been involved.

Given all this, you might guess that the adults would have mentioned something about Letelier’s assassination – not necessarily to decry it but simply to liven up the endless car pooling to soccer practice. That never happened.

Nor was this an aberration. In addition to soccer practice, there was lots of pee wee football practice at Woodacres Park around the corner from Letelier’s house. During the fall of 1980, my father volunteered to sub as coach if Iran released the hostages being held in Tehran – because our regular coach worked for the Defense Department and was part of the team that was on call to debrief them. All we kids knew about this was that these strange foreigners were angry at us for some incomprehensible foreign reason. No one informed us that the U.S. had overthrown Iran’s government in 1953, so Iranians had rational reasons to be hostile toward us.

So despite the fact that it was right there in front of me, I didn’t learn about Letelier (or the U.S. history with Iran) from adults, or TV, or in high school, or college. I had to learn about them on my own, by getting books out of the library and reading them.

Shhhhhhhhhh

The answer to my question, I now believe, is that this is the way all countries work. Anthropologists call this phenomenon “social silence” – the most important aspects of how societies work are exactly the ones that are never discussed and most easily forgotten.

But it’s impossible to suppress the past completely – it inevitably leaks out around the edges, even if just as a generalized anxiety. I remember when my Bethesda friends and I went to see “Blue Velvet” when it came out in 1986 and how completely it made sense to us: Everything is polished, happy, and mundane on the surface, while underneath there’s an eternal, animalistic, merciless struggle for power.

Orlando Letelier is gone and he’s not coming back. We can’t change that. But we can break the social silence about his death, who we are as a country, and what we’re capable of doing."
chile  orlandoletelier  2016  pinochet  history  jonschwarz  terrorism  us  socialsilence  silence  henrykissinger  salvadorallende  coup 
september 2017 by robertogreco
Movie Review - - Film: A Chilean Duo:' Que Hacer' on Bill With 'Allende' The Cast - NYTimes.com
"The recent events in Chile, culminating in the death of the Marxist President, Salvador Allende Gossens, and the imposition of military rule, lend a special poignancy to an unusual and engrossing new film called "Que Hacer" ("What's to Be Done").

Mordant, self-aware, freighted with sensitivity toward Chile's problem, wary of caricature, disposed toward consciousness of human fallibility, it is a deft blend of fiction and documentary set in the tumultuous days leading up to the election of Dr. Allende in 1970.

Although its bias is clearly pro-Allende—its villains are militant rightists, an American foundation representative who talks about "matrices" and, especially, a mysterious American engineer who is most certainly a C.I.A. man—it leaves unresolved the question of precisely what it means to be a revolutionary.

On the documentary level, "Que Hacer" makes its points about Chile and its problems through the faces and voices of its people, the flimsiness of their hovels and the hardship of their lives, in a landscape possessed of mineral and agricultural riches and studded with the billboards of American industry.

On the fictional level, it delineates political argument through a revolutionary returned from Cuba, a Communist legislator living in luxury, his terrorist son, the American engineer, a revolutionary priest and a girl working for the Peace Corps.

The performances by a cast of unfamiliar faces are restrained and appropriately despairing. The mordant commentary comes from occasional glimpses of the film crew itself and particularly from the presence and singing of Country Joe McDonald.

The work of Saul Landau, who produced this film and served as one of its directors, also includes an earlier, well-received documentary on Fidel Castro. "Que Hacer" will remind some audiences of the Costa-Gavras films, "Z" and "State of Siege," although it is less blatantly emotional.

It shares the bill with a 30-minute documentary interview with Dr. Allende, with Mr. Landau asking the questions. History will render its eventual judgment, but at least in this film, Dr. Allende emerges as a compassionate leader who "thought that man should have a different dimension."

The films opened yesterday at the Bleecker Street Cinema."

[See also:

"¡Qué hacer!" [Wikipedia]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C2%A1Qu%C3%A9_hacer!

"Review: Que Hacer? by Saul Landau, Raul Ruiz, Nina Serrano"
http://fq.ucpress.edu/content/26/2/33

"Película "Que Hacer", Primera parte"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4A6ZRWMNMsc

"Película "Que Hacer", de Saul Landau, Raul Ruiz y Nina Serrano (Segunda Parte)"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkRVnRnNRTs

"Raúl Ruiz: Cineasta de culto, con más de 200 películas a su haber, desde obras underground de bajo presupuesto hasta superproducciones con estrellas como Marcello Mastroianni y Catherine Deneuve."
https://www.thisischile.cl/raul-ruiz-2/

"El cine político de Raúl Ruiz en el periodo de la Unidad Popular: Desencuentros e ironías"
http://www.r7a.cl/article/el-cine-politico-de-raul-ruiz-en-el-periodo-de-la-unidad-popular-desencuentros-e-ironias/ ]
film  chile  history  saullandau  ninaserrano  raúlruiz  salvadorallende  1970  1973  coup 
july 2017 by robertogreco
Q&A: Chilean author on the CIA’s role in the 1973 military coup
"The Santiago Times speaks to Carlos Basso, an investigative journalist, about his new book on the CIA in Chile, why Allende was a threat and the unofficial story of the coup."
chile  1973  history  pinochet  cia  carlosbasso  salvadorallende  itt  anaconda  kennecott  coup 
august 2013 by robertogreco
John A. McCone, Head of C.I.A. In Cuban Missile Crisis, Dies at 89 - New York Times
"In 1973 he was called before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to testify in an inquiry into whether I.T.T. and other multinational companies had tried to bring about the downfall of the Marxist Government of Chile under Salvador Allende Gossens. Testifying about $1 million that was offered by I.T.T. to the United States for use in Chile, Mr. McCone insisted that the money was to build housing and to assist agriculture, not to bribe members of the Chilean Congress who would help bring down Mr. Allende."
chile  1973  johnmccone  salvadorallende  intervention  via:javierarbona  coup 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Patricio Guzmán’s ‘Nostalgia for the Light’ to Open - NYTimes.com
"What finally enabled Mr. Guzmán to make “Nostalgia for the Light,” which opens on Friday at the IFC Center in Greenwich Village, was his realization that the subjects he wanted to address did have a point in common: the preservation of memory. The women who comb the desert looking for the remains of loved ones who disappeared under the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet share that trait with the archaeologists and geologists who work in the shadow of the astronomical observatories that dot the Atacama, drawn by its clear skies.

Remembrance has, of course, also been the main theme of Mr. Guzmán’s own body of work, which has been primarily political. But his best-known film, the three-part, four-and-a-half-hour “Battle of Chile,” has come to be regarded as something more than just the record of a particular historical moment."
light  nostalgiaforthelight  history  remembrance  salvadorallende  chile  archaeology  geology  pinochet  patricioguzmán  astronomy  memory  documentary  film  2011  atacama  nostalgiadelaluz  time  present  past  future  coup 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Nostalgia for the Light / Trailer - YouTube
"Nostalgia for the Light takes place 10,000 feet above sea level to the driest place on earth, the Atacama Desert, where atop the mountains astronomers from all over the world gather to observe the stars. The sky is so translucent that it allows them to see right to the boundaries of the universe. The Atacama is also a place where the harsh heat of the sun keeps human remains intact: those of Pre-Columbian mummies; 19th century explorers and miners; and the remains of political prisoners, "disappeared" by the Chilean army after the military coup of September, 1973."

[See also: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1556190/combined ]
nostalgiaforlight  science  astronomy  space  2011  atacama  patricioguzmán  chile  documentary  film  time  present  past  future  salvadorallende  pinochet  coup 
january 2012 by robertogreco
FILM - FILM; The New Battle of Chile: Keeping Memory Alive - Biography - NYTimes.com
"What Mr. Guzman and a team of four had done was to wade into Santiago's turbulent streets and film everything they witnessed in the 10 months preceding the coup, led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet, on Sept. 11, 1973, and on that day itself. Despite some heavy-handed Marxist narrative -- Mr. Guzman and his colleagues were fervent Allende supporters -- the result was gripping. As a couple of film critics noted, if Tolstoy had made movies, his work might well have looked like this."
chile  history  film  documentary  via:preoccupations  coup  patricioguzmán  thebattleofchile 
january 2010 by robertogreco
The Battle of Chile - DVD Review - Time Out Chicago
"If these two minutes were the only thing worth mentioning in Patricio Guzmán’s three-part documentary on the coup that permanently changed the country’s landscape, The Battle of Chile would simply be the apex of direct-cinema snuff movies. What Guzmán has given us, rather, is the definitive statement on the last gasp of South American democracy. Available for the first time on DVD, the three docs that make up this magnum opus—The Insurrection of the Bourgeoisie (1975), The Coup d’État (1977) and The Power of the People (1979)—are primers on what happened after seeds of dissent (planted by the CIA) started to bear fruit. Man-on-the-street interviews and anti-Commie union rallies offer social context; actual scenes of military assaults on citizens and the coup itself (!) show you history in the making."
chile  history  documentary  politics  coup  via:preoccupations  patricioguzmán  thebattleofchile 
january 2010 by robertogreco
1971 Socialist Internet In Chile - Chileno, Chile Travel Blog, Life in Santiago
"A Chilean who was watching...with me was bowled over by the sense of solidarity they displayed, the timbre in their voices, the idealistic glint in their eyes...amazed that people from her country could ever show so much enthusiasm for a common cause"
chile  history  change  economics  politics  coup  golpedeestado  pinochet  salvadorallende  cybersyn  staffordbeer 
april 2008 by robertogreco
La Batalla de Chile - Parte 2 - Patricio Guzman
"la historia del golpe de estado al gobierno lejitimo de Salvador Allende"

[Now here (Google Video redirects) on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_V8iVIpN6ZY ]
chile  history  film  documentary  salvadorallende  pinochet  golpedeestado  coup 
april 2008 by robertogreco
La Batalla de Chile - Parte 1 - Patricio Guzman
"la historia del golpe de estado al gobierno lejitimo de Salvador Allende"

[Now here (Google Video redirects) on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxRlhggVGoQ ]
chile  history  film  documentary  salvadorallende  pinochet  golpedeestado  coup 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Before ’73 Coup, Chile Tried to Find the Right Software for Socialism - New York Times
"An imposing man with a long gray-flecked beard, Mr. Beer was a college dropout who challenged the young Chileans with tough questions. He shared his love for writing poetry and painting, and brought books and classical music from Europe."
chile  history  technology  staffordbeer  cybersyn  salvadorallende  socialism  dropouts  unschooling  internet  cybernetics  management  networking  socialmedia  utopia  via:preoccupations  coup 
march 2008 by robertogreco

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