Friday, September 11, 2009

The bloodiest September 11

On this day in 1973, a fascist military coup led by Augusto Pinochet and backed by the United States government, with direct involvement by Henry Kissinger, ousted and assassinated Chilean President Salvador Allende. Starting on September 11 and continuing for weeks and months, the Pinochet regime rounded up and killed tens of thousands -- best estimate is about 30,000 -- students, workers, trade unionists, communists, progressives of all stripes.

My comrade Greg has a good summary at his blog Absent Cause. It includes some information about the case of Victor Toro, currently fighting Homeland Security's effort to deport him. Victor was a leader of the MIR, the Left Revolutionary Movement, who was imprisoned and tortured by the Chilean fascists. He managed to get out of Chile and come to New York, where he has lived for over 30 years. Now the government is trying to kick him out of this country based not only on his undocumented immigrant status--but also, outrageously, based on a claim that he is a terrorist! He, the victim of the terrorist Pinochet regime! Yes, say the feds, Victor and the MIR and all who were trying to build a socialist society in Chile were terrorists.

It's no wonder Victor Toro, a fighter for revolutionary change, is still seen as a threat. Salvador Allende, though he was not a revolutionary, was a beloved leader and the democratically elected president was extremely popular for his efforts on behalf of the workers--and he was killed for it.

Here, set against powerful images of events before during and after the coup, are President Allende's final words to the people of Chile.

Because this is supposed to be a lit blog, I'll also note the book Chile: The Other September 11 by Ariel Dorfman and others. I doubt that it's got any useful, i.e., Marxist, political analysis but it may have some worthwhile reporting.