Chile president defends democracy after 50 years coup ushered Pinochet’s bloody military dictatorship.

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Chile president Monday, 50th anniversary from Augusto Pinochet General Augusto Pinochet 50th anniversary, on Monday issued warm democratic protection, which began nearly two decades of the brutal military dictatorship. The coup of September 11, 1973, when tanks rolled through the streets of Santiago and Hawker Hunter planes bombed the burning presidential palace of La Moneda, reverberated around the world. This marked the beginning of a series of pro-American right-wing dictatorships that ruled much of South America until the 1980s, characterized by mass arrests, torture and disappearances.

President Gabriel Borich said at the La Moneda presidential palace that democratic problems must be solved with more democracy. The presidential palace was bombed by warplanes when the coup began half a century ago. “A coup or the violation of the human rights of dissidents can never be justified,” Borik said in an address to a country where a significant number of people believe that the 1973 coup was justified, according to many public opinion polls. Pinochet, who died in 2006, was an outstanding leader who helped modernize the country.

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In this September 11, 1973 photo, a boy pushes a bicycle across a deserted street as an army tank moves towards La Moneda presidential palace during the coup against Chilean President Salvador Allende’s government. CREDI: aljazeera.com[AP Photo]

Pinochet’s military regime violated human rights and brutally persecuted opponents, imprisoning and torturing thousands of those who opposed the regime. 3,200 people died, of which 1,469 were missing. Half a century later, 297 people have been convicted of crimes against humanity and 1,300 cases are pending. It must be made clear that the coup is inseparable from what happened next. From the moment of the coup, the human rights of Chilean men and women began to be violated,” Boric said, later adding, “This was a dictatorship to the end. “

Christopher J., Special Advisor to the President of the United States on American Affairs Dodd heads the U.S. government delegation to Chile, according to the State Department. The US government supported the 1973 coup, and the Chilean government is calling on Washington to declassify documents that could shed light on that era. The day was marked by political polarization as the ruling party and the right-wing opposition clashed over their roles in the coup. President Gabriela Boric described the atmosphere as “energetic”, while former president Michel Bachelet (2006-2010 and 2014-2018) called it “toxic”. In Congress, lawmakers argued among themselves over the issue. Those tensions erupted in the streets over the weekend, when peaceful protests by thousands of Chileans to commemorate the missing and dead of the dictatorship were marred by violence. A small group of masked men threw stones at the windows. Borik, who joined the protest, wrote on social media that violent elements were “trying to disrupt the protest”.

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People march along Matta Avenue to protest the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet in Santiago, Chile, Nov. 1982. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

“They break windows and indiscriminately attack members of groups and political parties.” Borich continued to write: “As the President of the Republic, I strongly condemn these actions,” adding: “Intolerance and violence have no place in a democracy”.

In his speech on Monday, Borich stressed the need to stand by the victims of the dictatorship and not seek a false equivalency to appease those who defend Pinochet’s government. “Reconciliation is not achieved through neutrality or distance, but through clear solidarity with the victims of terrorism. Dear fellow citizens, reconciliation does not include attempts to equalize responsibility between victims and perpetrators,” Borik said. At the end of last month, Boror announced the first country sponsored plan and tried to find approx. 1,162 dictatorship and they still disappeared. He said on Monday that it would be his government’s “heritage”.

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Soldiers supporting the coup led by General Augusto Pinochet take cover as bombs are dropped on the presidential palace, known as La Moneda, on September 11, 1973.credit: aljazeera.com [Enrique Aracena/AP Photo]

“It’s time to solve these absences, correct the flaws and correct the harm to do yourself outside the pain.”

In the anniversary competition, Boror facilitated the agreement on democracy and the protection of human rights. The agreement was signed by his four predecessor, but three opposition leaders did not follow.

On Monday, a statement was entitled to a legal democratic alliance (UDI) cited the right to the coup, but talked about “institutional collapse” caused by “an emergency situation in Chile’s experience”.

It describes the accident in September. The events of December 11, 1973 were considered “inevitable” given the “social, political and institutional collapse” caused by the socialist government of President Salvador Allende (1970–1973).

The UDI also stated that it “unequivocally condemns violations of fundamental rights.”

Earlier, the opposition coalition “Let’s Go Chile” released a statement in which it did not mention words such as coup, dictatorship or human rights violations. It referred to the “collapse of democracy”.

UDI president Javier Macaya said the coalition would not attend Monday’s ceremony because it feared it would honor “figures we don’t think deserve respect, such as former president Salvador Allende.” Allende died by suicide on the day of the coup.

Borich mentioned Allende several times during his speech, saying that “the world continues to honor and respect him,” noting that there are some “who encourage us to forget his name.”

The UDI also stated that it “unequivocally condemns violations of fundamental rights.”

Earlier, the opposition coalition “Let’s Go Chile” released a statement in which it did not mention words such as coup, dictatorship or human rights violations. It referred to the “collapse of democracy”.

UDI president Javier Macaya said the coalition would not attend Monday’s ceremony because it feared it would honor “figures we don’t think deserve respect, such as former president Salvador Allende.” Allende died by suicide on the day of the coup.

Borich mentioned Allende several times during his speech, saying that “the world continues to honor and respect him,” noting that there are some “who encourage us to forget his name.”

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Employees leave the presidential palace after surrendering to the Chilean military. CREDIT: aljazeera.com [File: Alberto Bravo/AP Photo]

Allende’s daughter Sen. Isabel Allende also attended Monday’s commemoration and accused some of trying to change history.

“There are attempts to deflect responsibility for the tragedy we experienced in the darkest 17 years of our history,” she said. “The real culprits are those who undermined the institutional order, bombed this palace and killed thousands of Chileans.”

The local polling organization Cadem recently found that 51% of Chileans believed that the 1973 coup was “inevitable”. Local groups Pulso Ciudadano and Mori Chile also found that about a third of Chileans believe the coup is justified.

Monday’s memorial service was attended by more than 1,000 local and international guests, including several presidents of the region. Among the guests were Bolivian President Luis Arche, Colombian President Gustavo Petro, Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Poe and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. The meeting was also attended by prime ministers, parliamentarians, representatives of international organizations and human rights groups. The event began with the national anthem played on the piano by the well-known musician Valentine Trujillo. Throughout the morning, many people laid huge flowers in front of the statue of ousted President Allende on one side of Syntagma Square. As Borik campaigned for the anniversary of the coup, he faced opposition from some politicians and voters. A recent Pulso Ciudadano poll found that 60% of Chileans were uninterested, while nearly four in 10 said they blamed Allende’s government mainly for the coup. Allende’s government lasted three years and attempted radical but sometimes chaotic changes, which some conservatives have compared to the changes under Pinochet, which they say opened up Chile’s status as a South American country. A more stable, economically successful and safer country.

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La Moneda employees are forced to lay down on the sidewalk next to the building after being arrested by the military who took over the building on September 11, 1973. CREDIT: aljazeera.com [El Mercurio/AP Photo]

iolent protests over inequality rocked Santiago in 2019, sparking a movement to rewrite the Pinochet-era constitution. But voters rejected the proposal last year, dealing a major blow to the country’s progressives. Far-right leader Jose Antonio Castro was an outspoken supporter of Pinochet and is now playing a key role in the second attempt at a redraft. “Polarization is as widespread as it has ever been since the return to democracy,” said Christian Valdivieso, director of local consultancy Criteria.

“Without memory, there is no future.”

Boric, 37, who was born more than a decade after the coup, presided over a ceremony Monday at the presidential palace where Allende delivered the famous speech when his government collapsed 50 years ago. Allende took his own life shortly thereafter.

“Some people are asking us to turn the page and forget the past,” Borik, a self-described Allende admirer, said recently. “But without memory and truth, there can be no bright future.”

According to various Chilean human rights commissions, the dictatorship’s victims numbered 40,175, classified as political executions, disappearances, imprisonment or torture. Thousands of people have also gone into exile, and more than 1,000 are still missing. In 1990, the majority of Chileans voted for democracy in a referendum, ending Pinochet’s rule. He was never convicted and died in 2006. But many officers and former members of his secret police were convicted of torture, kidnapping and murder.

Gabby Rivera, president of the Chilean organization Relatives of the Disappeared, saw her father Luis Rivera taken away in November 1975. Over the years, her family received several versions of his fate, including that his body was thrown into the sea.

“We live this day with pain, but also with hope, because today we see a little bit of light,” she told Reuters. “We don’t know if there will be full justice, but we have to get to the bottom of things and find out where they are.”

Hundreds of commemorations are planned for Monday in Santiago, with regional leaders including Colombia’s Gustavo Petro and Mexico’s Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador Santiago Official commemorations were held. Special adviser to the President of the United States Chris Dodd and Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello were also present. “When we lose a missing inmate, the absence breaks our hearts in all of our hearts,” Borik said. “The state made them disappear, so it’s the state’s responsibility to find out where they are.”

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La Moneda is bombed during the coup. CREDIT: aljazeera.com[File: AP Photo]

Some Chileans defend or downplay human rights abuses, saying they are necessary to bring economic prosperity to the country, or even deny them outright. Carlos Gonzalez, who was detained, tortured and later deported in 1976, said it pains him to see people downplay the importance of the day.

“We really feel that this date has affected us, and seeing someone deny what happened makes you want to throw stones at the TV,” he said. “It’s good to talk about what happened. And as a survivor, I feel it’s an obligation to talk about it because there are so many people who didn’t survive.”

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