The body of former Chilean President Salvador Allende
was exhumed in May in an attempt to determine whether the democratically elected
Socialist president was murdered by the Chilean military in the initial stages
of the coup or whether he committed suicide as General Augusto Pinochet claimed
on that day, September 11, 1973.
The sixty-five year old president had
been in office for three years. An official investigation has also been opened
in the death of world renowned Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, who died on September 23,
1973. His death, the junta reported, was from prostate
cancer, but the newly released military files
indicate he too may have been murdered by the Pinochet regime.
Neruda was sixty-nine at the time of his
death. Neruda's driver has said that he (Neruda) had been poisoned by Pinochet's
Judge Mario Carroza ordered investigations into both deaths. While most appear to
support the investigations, some say they will "open up old wounds." While
Pinochet continues to have supporters in the Chilean right, most Chileans
want to see the truth, and perhaps justice.
wanton nature of Pinochet's regime and their
foreign backers, particularly U.S. President
Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, have always called into question the true
nature of the oft self-proclaimed "greatest democracy in the World" and its
foreign policy. Even prior to Salvador Allende's
election to the presidency in 1970, the U.S.
government was at work interfering with Chile's internal affairs and
sovereignty. For example, Nixon and Kissinger had funneled several million dollars to
candidates opposing Allende before the
election and continued funding opposition figures after the election.
Allende's first act as president was to make sure that all school
children had milk. In part, this policy was enacted because he, as a medical
doctor, saw developmental deficiencies in many poor children. Therefore, he
concluded that the inclusion of milk in their diet would greatly improve their
health and well-being.
At the same time, Allende and his Popular Unity Party allies were prevalent
among the copper miners, union people in general and shantytown dwellers.
Accordingly, the political right, rich and foreign corporate interests,
particularly Kennecott Copper, Anaconda and ITT, were
all set in opposition to Allende. This was especially the case since he aimed
to nationalized most major corporations in the belief that the revenue from a
nation's resources should be directed towards the common good, social development
and poverty alleviation rather then to enrich the already wealthy elites and
So it is understandable that Nixon and Kissinger
were very active in attempting to manipulate Chile's internal affairs
immediately after Salvador Allende's election. Indeed, the first act in relation
was the assassination of General
Schneider on October 22, 1970. (People should not forget that the first 9/11
type of event is considered by many researchers to have taken place in 1973 and
was an act of state terrorism against the democratically elected government of
Salvador Allende in Chile.) The assassination of Rene
Schneider, who was sympathetic to Chilean
the door for Pinochet to, then, lead the military.
"60 Minutes" aired an
episode outlining the Schneider story just a few days before the second (the US)
9/11 occurred. The timing perhaps was
Throughout the Allende presidency as he was implementing programs to
achieve the realization of his social and domestic policies, the U.S. was
running constant interference with Chile's trade relations and international
banking relations. Therefore, the reality with Chile is that we were never
allowed to see what a free, socialist Chile would have looked like because of
the constant interference and ultimately violent U.S. led opposition to a
democratically elected, socialist president.
(It is easy to imagine the reasons that a
successful socialist-leaning country would pose a serious threat to the USA in
relation to its prevalent economic models, political system and connected
ideological underpinning. In relation, the destruction or marginalization
of such a country, in tandem with propaganda about socialism, is an acceptable
and longstanding US policy whether involving Salvador Allende, Venezuela's Hugo
Rafael Cha'vez Frías or any number of other leaders who would cut into maximum
earnings by US favored corporations in order to serve their own countries'
people. Under the circumstances, perhaps US citizens can learn a lesson about
their own present economic conditions.)
So after the coup with the US's
darling Pinochet in power, Kennecott and Anaconda were free to extract Chile's
mineral wealth with no concern for the society, justice, nor ecological
considerations. Instead, profits and other sorts of self-serving gains were the
main concerns, just as they are today vis-à-vis the US government's cozy
relationship with big business at the expense of average people in their own
and other nations.
considered, Chile's current willingness to take an honest look at her history is
commendable, as the pursuit of truth and justice are sorely needed when such
grievous wrongs have existed for so many countrymen in the fairly recent
past. (The most common number of civilians killed by Pinochet's regime is "over
3,200." It's apparent that the number is way more then 3,200, but its hard to
find a more specific sum since much of the slaughter was undertaken in a
clandestine manner.) Moreover, Chile's example in such an honest
self-examination could eventually be emulated by many other governments,
including West Papua's
but almost totally ignored parallel to Chile's resource wealth and corrupt
history is West Papua, Indonesia. West Papua is one of the most resource rich
places on Earth with large amounts of gold
the tremendous resource wealth, most of
people residing there live in extreme poverty. Further, West Papua was taken
over by Indonesia during the time of the Suharto dictatorship, and with (of
course) the blessing of the US government.
Such a blessing is understandable in light of the fact that the primary
beneficiary of wealth extracted to date has been the U.S. based mining company
Freeport. Indeed, U.S. corporate interests continue to reap the resource wealth
across the world while demonstrating little or no concern for the populations or
environment in those places that are making them rich. So Freeport is hardly the
exception to the rule in its partnership with the brutal Indonesian military,
involved in many human rights abuses, serving as Freeport's main security
As a major player on both sides of the Pacific, Kissinger was, obviously,
involved in the killing for Kennecott and he is on the board of directors of
Freeport. West Papua is and has been for over forty years under occupation by
the Indonesian military, that is in turn supported by the U.S. with arms and
periodic training arrangements paid for by the US taxpayers. As we wait to
find out the truth concerning Salvador Allende and Pablo Neruda, we should bear
in mind that their history is simply one component in our struggle for truth and
justice -- a longstanding, ongoing and never ending process that must never be
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I am a free-lance writer/researcher who lives in Muskegon Heights, Michigan.