Chile remembers 1973 coup

Chileans are commemorating the 30th anniversary of the fascist coup and the murder of former President Salvador Allende on Sept. 11, 1973, in a variety of ways.

Allende was the first Socialist to win the position of head of state in a country through the peaceful, electoral means in 1970. His government, a left coaltion called Popular Unity, lasted until Sept. 11, 1973, when he was overthrown by a military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet in collusion with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

A number of activities have been organized by the 30 Years Initiative Committee. The activities began on Aug. 31 and will culminate on Sept. 12.

The commemoration started with a “Tribute to the Witnesses of History” sponsored by the newspaper El Siglo, and honoring the militants and activists of the parties of the left that fought for the victory of the Popular Unity government and the struggles of Chile’s working class. El Siglo is the weekly of the Communist Party of Chile.

During the activities there will be exhibitions of painting, photography, and sculpture. There will also be exhibitions of publications of that time and documentary films.

On Sept. 7 a seminar titled “Alternatives and the Socialist Perspective in Latin America” will be held, along with a cultural festival. A number of international guests are expected to attend, as well.

On Sept. 11, the anniversary of the coup, there will be a great demonstration featuring a political and cultural program.

The final day of the commemoration will include an official ceremony renaming Santiago’s principal sports and cultural stadium the Victor Jara Stadium. The stadium is where the coup leaders locked up and tortured progressive, labor and left activists. Victor Jara, a very popular singer and a Communist, was among them. According to reports, Jara used his guitar and voice to inspire the prisoners with revolutionary songs, in defiance of their captors. In retaliation, the military broke Jara’s hands and later killed him.

The commemoration of the coup will include other activities, as well, including a youth camp from Sept. 4-11. Delegations from other parts of the world and different regions in Chile will take part in the programs taking place there.