Chile’s 9/11

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Augusto Pinochet

September 11th, 2001 saw the terroristic attack on the United States as multiple planes were hijacked across the east coast and crashed into numerous areas of the country. The deadliest was the Twin Towers in New York City, making up 2,753 of the deaths of the total 2,996 deaths. However, this is not the only disaster to occur on September 11th. What is now referred to as the other 9/11. This 9/11 happened 28 years earlier in Chile. Saw the rise of the fascist dictator General Augusto Pinochet.

1970 Elections

Chile before Pinochet was a beacon of light in a dark period of democracy in South America. The only country not chalked full of coups and corruption. The change began with the 1970s general elections when Salvador Allende received 36.6% of the votes, Jorge Alessandri Rodriguez received 35.3, and Radomiro Tomic received 28.1% of the votes. With any candidate failing to reach 50+1%. This left the decision of the Presidency to the National Congress to choose between the three candidates. The CIA’s operation, named “Track I”, planned to influence Congress to elect Jorge Alessandri Rodriguez, with Rodriguez resigning, forcing a second election in which Eduardo Frei Montalva, the previous president, who could not run because of the limits on consecutive terms. Eduardo Frei Montalva was an ally of the United States. The United States did not want Salvador Allende to win as he was a socialist candidate. However, the CIA operation failed. Salvador Allende was elected president of Chile. The United States feared a successful socialist country, as revealed by declassified reports from the Nixon administration. This resulted in the backing of Augusto Pinochet’s coup d’etat.

Takeover of Chile

Augusto Pinochet’s military coup d’etat was successful on September 11th, 1973. Salvador Allende made a last stand in his home before finally taking his own life. Augusto Pinochet’s regime came into power quickly, outlawing other parties, the military seized all media, and locking up, torturing, and killing opponents of his government. Economically, Chile did not make any improvement, only seeing a decline. The amount of poverty increased to 44% of the entire population. Pinochet’s regime lasted until 1990, when Chile held its first election in 17 years, with Patricio Aylwin taking the victory. Pinochet tried to stay in power, but the military junta that he came to power with, would not support him anymore after the destruction he brought to their country.

Consequences

Pinochet would eventually die in 2006 in Chile. Pinochet’s regime killed, tortured, or imprisoned over 40,018 people during his 17-year reign. Chile pays the victims of Pinochet’s regime paying out hundreds of dollars a month to each person, affected by his regime. Another disaster took place on September 11th.

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