The Other September 11: The Legacy of Chilean Socialism and Salvador Allende

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of the other 9/11 – the one we don’t hear about.

Latin America's Turbulent Transitions

The Other September 11: The Legacy of Chilean Socialism and Salvador Allende

September 11, 2013

The coup d’etat by General Augusto Pinochet in Chile on September 11, 1973 transformed the history of socialism. Almost a thousand days before, Salvador Allende and the Popular Unity coalition had taken office promising a “Chilean Road to Socialism” based on democratic principles. The government launched an agrarian reform program, recognized the right of workers to take over factories and run them collectively, took control of most of the country’s banks, and expropriated multinational corporations like Kennecott and ITT, all within the framework of the Chilean constitution.

From the start most of the Chilean business clans backed by the U.S. government and the multinational corporations moved to undermine and destroy this experiment in democratic socialism. As Richard Nixon’s national security adviser Henry Kissinger declared: “I don’t see why we need to stand idly…

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