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Sat Apr 19, 2014, 02:32 AM


Why Allende Had To Die, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (New Statesman, reprint of 1973 article) [View all]

(note: this article, written shortly after the U.S.-backed coup that ended Chilean democracy on September 11, 1973-Chile's "9/11"-was posted on the New Statesman website this week in honor of the Nobel Laureate's passing)


It was towards the end of 1969 that three generals from the Pentagon dined with five Chilean military officers in a house in the suburbs of Washington. The host was Lieutenant Colonel Gerardo López Angulo, assistant air attaché of the Chilean Military Mission to the United States, and the Chilean guests were his colleagues from the other branches of service. The dinner was in honour of the new director of the Chilean Air Force Academy, General Carlos Toro Mazote, who had arrived the day before on a study mission. The eight officers dined on fruit salad, roast veal and peas and drank the warm-hearted wines of their distant homeland to the south, where birds glittered on the beaches while Washington wallowed in snow, and they talked mostly in English about the only thing that seemed to interest Chileans in those days: the approaching presidential elections of the following September. Over dessert, one of the Pentagon generals asked what the Chilean army would do if the candidate of the left, someone like Salvador Allende, were elected. General Toro Mazote replied: “We’ll take Moneda Palace in half an hour, even if we have to burn it down.”

One of the guests was General Ernesto Baeza, now director of national security in Chile, the one who led the attack on the presidential palace during the coup last September and gave the order to burn it. Two of his subordinates in those earlier days were to become famous in the same operation: General Augusto Pinochet, president of the military junta, and General Javier Palacios. Also at the table was Air Force Brigadier General Sergio Figueroa Gutiérrez, now minister of public works and the intimate friend of another member of the military junta, Air Force General Gustavo Leigh, who ordered the rocket bombing of the presidential palace. The last guest was Admiral Arturo Troncoso, now naval governor of Valparaíso, who carried out the bloody purge of progressive naval officers and was one of those who launched the military uprising of September 11.

That dinner proved to be a historic meeting between the Pentagon and high-ranking officers of the Chilean military services. On other successive meetings, in Washington and Santiago, a contingency plan was agreed upon, according to which those Chilean military men who were bound most closely, heart and soul, to US interests would seize power in the event of Allende’s Popular Unity coalition victory in the elections.

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Reply Why Allende Had To Die, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (New Statesman, reprint of 1973 article) [View all]
Ken Burch Apr 2014 OP
Ken Burch Apr 2014 #1
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dipsydoodle Apr 2014 #3
postulater Apr 2014 #4
Ken Burch Apr 2014 #7
postulater Apr 2014 #11
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Judi Lynn Apr 2014 #12
scarletwoman Apr 2014 #5
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scarletwoman Apr 2014 #8
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RainDog Apr 2014 #13
pa28 Apr 2014 #14