Recovering the past for oppressed nations is vitally important in reestablishing their national identity. Chile is renewing efforts to understand what happened during the 1973 coup and how their democratic government was overthrown and replaced by a vicious dictatorship.

Chile is launching its first investigation into the death of President Salvador Allende, 37 years after the socialist leader was found shot through the head during an attack on the presidential palace.

“Allende’s death, during the bloody US-backed coup that brought Augusto Pinochet to power on September 11, 1973, had until now been ruled a suicide.

The investigation is part of an investigation into hundreds of complaints of human rights abuses during Pinochet’s 1973-1990 rule.

Beatriz Pedrals, a prosecutor in the appellate court in Santiago, said on Thursday that she had decided to investigate 726 deaths that had never previously been explored, including Allende’s.”

When will our western ‘dirty skeletons’ see the light of day and finally be allowed to make an impression on the mind of the public. Are we not as citizens of a democratic society obliged to know what is done in our name?

“Allende became Chile’s first socialist president when he came to power in 1970 after winning a narrow
election victory. But his ascent to power was not welcomed by all.

Conservatives in Chile and Washington feared his attempts to pave “a Chilean way toward Socialism” – including the nationalisation of US mining interests – would usher in a pro-Soviet communist government.

Henry Kissinger, US secretary of state under then president Richard Nixon, made quite clear what US intentions were after Allende’s election.

The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves … I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people,” Kissinger said at the time.”

This is not unusual, I mean look at the election of Hamas in 2006 in Palestine. Promptly ignored by the western powers because the people of Palestine had chosen, not the candidate backed by the West, but rather a candidate that they thought would better represent their will. This is an important lesson to learn in our history; we talk a great deal about freedom and democracy, but will not abide buy it when it goes against our preferred set of economic and political interests.

Allende was found dead in the presidential palace as soldiers supporting the coup closed in and warplanes bombed the building.

An official autopsy ruled that he had committed suicide, although the results have long been questioned by some politicians and human rights groups.

Osvaldo Andrade, the president of Allende’s Socialist Party, applauded the decision to investigate.
“Truth and justice remains a pending subject in Chile and whatever is done so that the truth comes out will always be well received by us,” Andrade said.

“There remains a deficit of truth and a deficit of justice in Chile and we hope that the deficit becomes ever more small.”
Pinochet governed as a dictator until March 11, 1990, and died in 2006.”

The repression of a society, torture, murder and disappearances in Chile were welcomed by the West. Hopefully this inquest will discover more of the tale so the people of Chile will know the forces that sent their society into a savage tailspin for decades, and more importantly to reinforce who was responsible for such actions.