Chile commemorates 50 years of Pinochet coup, still a divisive event
Chile marked the fiftieth anniversary of Augusto Pinochet's military coup, which led to a long, bloody dictatorship, leaving the country divided to this day.
On September 11, 1973, General Pinochet seized power in Chile with the tacit support of the United States, overthrowing socialist President Salvador Allende, who committed suicide at the presidential palace. What followed was a bloody dictatorship, officially responsible for 3,200 assassinations and disappearances, with nearly 38,000 people tortured.
Augusto Pinochet died in 2006 at the age of 91, without ever having been imprisoned or tried. However, half a century after the coup, Chile remains divided between supporters and opponents of the dictatorship.
The commemorations were marred by clashes, notably during a march in memory of the victims, where hooded demonstrators threw stones at the presidential palace and damaged a cultural center. Scuffles also took place elsewhere along the parade, and mausoleums were damaged in the cemetery housing a memorial to the victims.
Left-wing President Gabriel Boric strongly condemned this violence, while recalling the importance of the fight for truth and justice.
Portraits of people who disappeared during the military dictatorship during a march commemorating the 50th anniversary of the military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet, on September 10, 2023 in Santiago, Chile (Javier TORRES / AFP)
Although Salvador Allende's political heirs are in power today, the ultraconservative Republican Party, openly nostalgic for Pinochet, won the recent election of the Council charged with drafting a new Constitution, aimed at amending the one written under the dictatorship.
According to a recent survey, 40% of Chileans believe that Allende is responsible for the coup, while 50% condemn the Pinochet regime. However, in a country where 79% of the population was born after 1973 and where the economy and insecurity are the main concerns, commemorations of the coup do not attract much interest, according to a survey by the institute Criteria.
Former President Michelle Bachelet called for more clairvoyance and reflection on the country's past. Numerous commemorative events are planned in Santiago, with the participation of South American leaders and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who stressed the importance of celebrating Chile's commitment to democracy and rights of man on this anniversary.
The Global Security Organization Against Corruption pays tribute to the victims of the dictatorship in Chile and to all those who suffered from the atrocities committed during this dark period in the country's history. We salute the courage and resilience of the Chilean people, who have overcome countless challenges to work for a more democratic Chile, respectful of human rights and freedom of expression. We encourage Chileans to continue working together to consolidate these fundamental values and build a future where justice, truth and reconciliation can prevail.
Chile closed Monday with a candlelight vigil in a former torture center the ceremonies of the 50th anniversary of Augusto Pinochet's military coup and the fall of Salvador Allende's government, against a backdrop of social and political divisions over heritage of its own history.
Production Press & Media Department of OMSAC