Date: Sat, 19 Sep 98 00:20:01 CDT
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rich Winkel)
Subject: RIGHTS-CHILE: Hot Debate over Extent of US Intervention in Coup
/** ips.english: 517.0 **/
** Topic: RIGHTS-CHILE: Hot Debate over Extent of US Intervention in Coup **
** Written 4:15 PM Sep 17, 1998 by newsdesk in cdp:ips.english **
Copyright 1998 InterPress Service, all rights reserved.
Worldwide distribution via the APC networks.
Hot Debate over Extent of US Intervention in Coup
By Gustavo Gonzalez, IPS
14 September 1998
SANTIAGO, Sep 14 (IPS) - Right and left-wing senators in Chile
argued Monday over the extent of US intervention against the
government of Salvador Allende, in the wake of the
declassification of documents in Washington.
Rightist opposition parliamentarians maintained that US support
for the military was not decisive, and that the coup staged 25
years ago against the democratically elected socialist president
would have taken place with or without US intervention.
Socialist legislators of the centre-left ruling coalition
argued, however, that the White House campaign to destabilise the
Allende administration sparked the bloody Sep. 11, 1973 coup,
which - they insisted - could have been avoided.
The declassification of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and
Richard Nixon administration documents has shed new light on the
US role in the military coup.
The documents, declassified by the government of President Bill
Clinton, were published on the Internet Friday by the independent
National Security Archive and reported on in Chile by the 'La
Tercera' daily on Sunday.
Also on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the coup,
former US ambassador to Chile Edward Korry provided 'Radio
Television France' with new information on CIA intervention in the
1964 presidential elections in Chile, when Christian Democrat
Eduardo Frei Montalva - the father of current President Eduardo
Frei - defeated Allende and his coalition of socialists and
communists with the support of right-wing forces.
Senator Francisco Prat, an independent right-leaning lawmaker,
said US intervention in Chilean politics dated back to World War
II. "Without a doubt, the intervention designed to prevent
Allende from taking office (in 1970), and once he was in office
efforts against him, are absolutely believable."
But he maintained that "there was never any intervention with
respect to the armed forces, whose independence was clearly
demonstrated after the coup by their relation with the United
States" - an allusion to the distance marked by the Jimmy Carter
administration, which even banned military aid to the dictatorship
headed by General Augusto Pinochet (1973-90).
But Nixon, who governed until 1974, and his security adviser
Henry Kissinger instructed the CIA after the coup which overthrew
Allende to "assist the junta in gaining a more positive image,
both at home and abroad," according to the declassified
It was not until 1975 that the US government began to review
its economic and military aid to the dictatorship, in response to
denunciations of human rights violations in Chile.
Senator Ignacio Perez of the rightist National Renovation Party
said the 1973 coup against Allende's government of Popular Unity
(UP) would have come about even without US intervention. "The
armed forces did not need US help in staging the coup, but the
opposition and business associations did need money to finance
campaigns, radio stations and other tools used to fight the UP."
But in the view of socialist Senator Carlos Ominami, the
declassified documents show that "US intervention in Chile was a
clearly established fact."
While the senator admitted that the UP committed errors, he
stressed that Nixon was already attempting to set the new
government up for failure even before it took office.
Ominami said the coup could have been avoided, because "there
were various possible solutions, and those who finally imposed
their own chose the cruelest and most violent option."
Senator Sergio Bitar, president of the Party for Democracy
(PPD), said that US intervention - economic pressure and the
financing of acts of sabotage - was without any doubt decisive in
"Many factors are involved in military coups. They cannot be
blamed on one single element. Twenty-five years have passed and we
must not forget that the more autonomous and independent a
country, the better," Bitar stressed.
The socialists and the PPD form the left wing of the governing
Coalition for Democracy, which is also comprised of the Christian
Democratic and Radical Social Democratic parties.
[c] 1998, InterPress Third World News Agency (IPS)
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