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General News    H4'ed 10/31/20

Two Latin American Victories for Equality and Sovereignty

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Chileans and Bolivians are turning the tide away from coup governments imposed on them by right-wing national militarists and the US State Department/CIA.

Within the past week, we have witnessed an overwhelming Chilean victory to rewrite the constitution forced upon them by General Augusto Pinochet, in 1980, and Bolivia's Supreme Electoral Tribunal confirmation that former President Evo Morales' political party, Movement for Socialism (MAS), won the election on October 18.

The new Bolivian president, Luis Arce, and vice-president, David Choquehuanca, beat right-winger coup-makers Carlos Mesa (a former president) and Luis Fernando Camacho: 55% to 29% and 14%.
Both houses of parliament will also have a MAS majority.

Seventy-eight percent (78%) of Chileans voting said yes to a new constitution; opposed 22%. While the ayes were expected to win, such huge support was unforeseen.

This shows how much Chileans want a different nation than that forced upon them by the bloody coup d'e'tat, September 11, 1973, which was guided by then Richard Nixon's hatchet man, Henry Kissinger. They murdered at least three thousand people the first days of the military coup. Thousands more "disappeared" or arrested died in prisons, tortured by the fascist Pinochet government. Over 100,000 people are known to have been arrested for political motivations.

Spanish National Court judge Baltasar Garzón sought to arrest and prosecute Pinochet for crimes against humanity. (1)

A new constitution will be written by a Constitutional Convention with new representatives elected by the people, on April 11, 2021. A year later, there will be an "exit" ratification plebiscite to repeal the Pinochet constitution.

This popular victory comes on the heels of grass roots protests and resistance movements last year, what was called the "Chilean Spring". For months, tens of thousands protested nearly daily. One day there were over one million in the streets. After two months of actions, the government estimated that a fourth of the nation's nearly 13 million people were protesting hikes in public transportation costs, and, generally, economic inequality and "elitism".

The government of Sebastia'n Piñera declared a state of emergency and police killed three dozen protestors, wounded hundreds, and imprisoned 30,000. Piñera was forced by the people to make concessions. He fired several ministers, including the head of military and police, and allowed a referendum to keep or change the Pinochet-created constitution.

Not Forgotten: CIA's Murder of Allende's Commander-in-Chief

October 22, 1970, armed thugs working for the CIA intercepted and shot to death Chilean army commander-in-chief, General Rene' Schneider, as he drove to the Ministry of Defense in Santiago, Chile. "The next day, CIA Director Richard Helms convened his top aides to review the covert coup operations that had led to the attack. "[I]t was agreed that " a maximum effort has been achieved," and that "the station has done excellent job of guiding Chileans to point today where a military solution is at least an option for them," stated a SECRET cable of commendation transmitted that day to the CIA station in Chile. "COS [Chief of Station] " and Station [deleted] are commended for accomplishing this under extremely difficult and delicate circumstances."

The National Security Archive (NSA) reposted declassified documentation about Kissinger and CIA's role in the assassination. The intent was to prevent the newly elected socialist Salvador Allende from assuming power. Here are excerpts from the article, "The CIA and Chile: Anatomy of an Assassination," posted in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the General's murder.

"CBS '60 Minutes' segment, 'Schneider vs. Kissinger,' drew on the declassified documents to report on a 'wrongful death' lawsuit filed in September 2001 by the Schneider family against Henry Kissinger for his role in the assassination. The '60 Minutes' broadcast aired on September 9, 2001, and has not been publicly accessible since then. In preparation for the 50thanniversary of the Schneider assassination, CBS News graciously posted the broadcast as a "60 Minutes Rewind" on October 21, 2020."

Henry Kissinger was secretly supervising the CIA's coup operations, and had cajoled President Richard Nixon into letting him prepare for a violent overthrow of the popularly democratically elected Allende.

"In Chile, the assassination of General Schneider remains the historical equivalent of the assassination of John F. Kennedy: a cruel and shocking political crime that shook the nation. In the United States, the murder of Schneider has become one of the most renowned case studies of CIA efforts to 'neutralize' a foreign leader who stood in the way of U.S. objectives," wrote NSA.

The CIA also murdered President Kennedy. (2)

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Ron Ridenour is a retired journalist, anti-war and radical activist; author of a dozen books, including "The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert".

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