On 4 September 1970, the doctor and parliamentarian, Salvador Allende Gossens, a presidential candidate for the political coalition, Unidad Popular, of socialist popularity and supported by progressive sectors and the country’s left triumphed in the elections. He became the new constitutional president of Chile.

A month later – on 4 November – he was sworn into office - this natural leader of the dispossessed, the peasants, the workers and students; a sympathizer and supporter of revolutionary movements in Latin America and other regions of the world. The first measures his government took, that directed his leadership though democratic paths and social improvements, stoked the hatred of the powerful.

The copper nationalizations, a measure supported by most of the working and popular sectors and his acclaimed speech at the UN General Assembly where he defended [the idea] that values of justice and equality could be realized, left no room for doubting the socialist character of his mandate.

A reaction began to take shape and a conspiracy was conjured up which brought together the most active groups of national and transnational capital, workers corporations and right-wing political forces that, with the support of the Central Intelligence Agency of the US (CIA), began different manoeuvres to undermine the governability of Allende and the Unidad Popular.

The truck drivers strike that paralyzed the country, the freezing of bank loans to the governing party and the subsequent attacks on supporters close to the President, were the precursor to the military coup that resulted in a blood bath for the people of Chile.

The coup, which the Army planned with the full support of the US government, was carried out under the leadership of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, General Augusto Pinochet, on 11 September 1973.

High officials leading the Army, the Navy, the Air force and the armed police all took part.

A telephone call in the first hours of the morning of this day notified Allende, who together with his bodyguard, made his way to the Palacio de la Moneda, the presidential headquarters, so that from there he could affront the rising fascists.

For seven hours the defenders of the Unidad Popular resisted. Salvador Allende and his collaborators confronted the forces of the infantry and the artillery; the tanks and planes that the fascist high-level officials deployed against them.

Several times Allende spoke to his people by radio. Among the rubble and shrapnel, making a defence to the treason to the legitimate government that had been entrusted to him by the will of the people, he made his way to the workers, peasants, women, professionals and the youth, with complete serenity and the conviction of someone who is known to be worthy and loyal to his people and his fatherland.

In the morning, a few minutes after nine, his final words were heard on Radio Magallanes. He bid farewell, confident that his final surrender to the coup leaders was a moral lesson which would cripple cowards and traitors.

On 28 September, an important date for Cubans to commemorate the establishment of its most popular organizations, the Defence Committees for the Revolution (CDR), the Commander-in-Chief, Fidel Castro, summoned the people to the Plaza de la Revolución. From there he made known the factual account of the death of President Allende.

Before the crowd that kept a respectful silence, the Cuban leader profoundly moved, did not gloss over the details of the immense feat orchestrated by Allende and his followers in the La Moneda. He fulfilled his revolutionary duty to inform Cubans and the world what really happened.

The drama that ensued the death of the legitimate president of Chile will be remembered as one of the most loathsome episodes in humanity’s history.

Allende and those with him offered up their lives, continue to live as a living example, not only for those that resisted the sombre phase of the long years of the fascist dictatorship in power but also for all the men and women who believe in a better future.

Anoosha Boralessa
Cuban Agency News
La Agencia Cubana de Noticias (ACN) es una división de la Agencia de Información Nacional (AIN) de Cuba fundada el 21 de mayo de 1974.