The presidents of Chile and Mexico held a joint press conference Sunday marking the 50th anniversary of the 1973 Chilean coup where General Augusto Pinochet ousted democratically-elected President Salvador Allende. The  presidents’ appearance followed an initially peaceful march which later saw clashes between civilians and police.On September 11, 1973, Pinochet launched a military coup to remove Allende from power, allegedly with US support. Subsequently, the 17-year military dictatorship under Pinochet resulted in more than 3,000 people killed and over 40,000 peopled disappeared. In Latin America, the 1973 coup is regarded as the “first 9-11,” when Western forces allegedly intervened to destroy the nation’s democracy, armed Pinochet’s death squads, and implemented harsh neoliberal policies that plunged the country into a severe economic crisis.Ahead of the 50th anniversary, the Chilean government announced a new initiative to find the remains of more than a thousand people who were disappeared during Pinochet’s dictatorship.During the joint address, Chilean President Gabriel Boric underscored the longstanding connections between Chile and Mexico. He stated that Chile and Mexico’s present alliance forges ahead with an unwavering commitment to people-centered democracy, prioritizing “The Poor First,” and upholding human rights and international cooperation. Mexican President Manuel Lopez-Obrador echoed Boric’s words and extolled the virtues of Allende and his commitment to being a revolutionary pacifist.The joint address took place following a march near the La Moneda presidential palace in the Chilean capital of Santiago. The march turned violent, leading to confrontations between civilians and law enforcement,. An Al Jazeera correspondent reported that members of the Communist Party and Socialist Party participated peacefully, but Pinochet supporters were armed with “rocks and Molotov cocktails.” Despite the turn of events, most participants in the march, bearing Chilean flags and shouting slogans demanding “truth and justice now” or proclaiming “Allende lives” continued to march peacefully. The march served as a reminder of the impact of the 1973 coup on Chilean democracy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *