Sanders, AOC decry 1973 coup in Chile 

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 – Following the 50th anniversary of the bloody U.S.-backed coup d’état against democratically-elected Chilean President Salvador Allende, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), and Rep. Greg Casar (D-Texas) on Thursday introduced a Congressional resolution commemorating the coup, apologizing for the role the United States played, and calling for more transparency and further declassification of remaining U.S. records relating to events leading up to, during, and after the military coup.

The 1973 coup in Chile ushered in decades of military rule by General Augusto Pinochet, during which some 40,000 Chileans were killed, disappeared, tortured, or exiled. According to reports, President Richard Nixon ordered the CIA to “make the economy scream” and covertly block Allende’s inauguration through instigation of a military coup. Under the supervision of security adviser Henry Kissinger, the CIA continued its efforts to foster a “coup climate” and, in Kissinger’s own words to Nixon, “created the conditions as great as possible” for the military takeover.

Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) co-sponsored the resolution.

“Let me be clear: we must stand up for democracy here in the United States and beyond,” said Sanders. “And that means we must also acknowledge that the United States has not always defended democracy abroad, and in fact, has sometimes done the opposite. As we mark the 50th anniversary of the horrific coup in Chile, we must make clear that we regret our involvement and commit to supporting Chilean democracy. To build the lasting partnerships we need in this hemisphere, we will need to establish a basis of trust and respect. Part of that process includes full accountability for the coup and its aftermath.”

“This year marks 50 years since the 1973 coup in Chile. The Pinochet regime was responsible for horrendous human rights abuses and political suppression, including the murder of American citizens in Chile and targeted assassinations of political opponents within the United States,” said Kaine. “It is important that we acknowledge the United States’ role in the coup, but also learn from the U.S. Congress’s crucial role in ultimately bringing the regime’s atrocities to light, in order to strengthen our foreign policy in the future and be a better voice for human rights at home and abroad.”

Ocasio-Cortez said: “The U.S. cannot credibly show up as trustworthy partner that can help advance democracy in the present if we don’t own up to our complicated past. While we appreciate President Biden listening to our call and declassifying two relevant documents, there are still many outstanding questions. The people of Chile and the victims of Pinochet’s violence deserve answers.”

“Last month, I visited Chile with one of the first Congressional delegations led by leaders who came of age with a clear-eyed understanding of how America’s Cold War policy affected our neighbors. The legacy of American involvement in the region loomed large over our trip, but there was also a real willingness to build a relationship with the United States that looks beyond the Cold War,” said Castro. “If the United States is serious about building trust in Latin America, we have to be honest about our past. We need to help Chile heal by providing as much transparency as possible about the 1973 coup – and our role in Pinochet’s rise.”

“Fifty years ago the U.S. government supported a violent coup that toppled democracy in Chile and brought years of mass murder and authoritarianism to the country,” said Casar. “We should apologize and be transparent about the role that the U.S. government and major economic interests played in supporting the coup and the following years of authoritarian rule. Together, we can build a new relationship based on mutual respect and a commitment to peace.”

Earlier this month, Chilean President Gabriel Boric issued a fervent defense of democracy, stressing that the problems of democracy must be addressed through more democracy. The U.S. must always stand firmly on the side of those committed to democracy and the rule of law.

The resolution expresses profound regret for the U.S. contribution to destabilizing Chile’s political institutions and constitutional processes and recognizes the decades-long effort of Chile’s pro-democracy forces, applauding the Chilean people for rebuilding a strong and resilient democracy. It also vows that Congress will continue to engage with the Chilean people to participate in truth and reconciliation efforts, emphasizing that support for human rights is and should remain a key pillar of U.S. foreign policy not only in Chile, but across the globe.

To read the resolution, click here.


Categories: Congress, Press Release

13 replies »

  1. the u.s. has no right to interfere in other countries politics! who made us watch dog of the world! don’t we have enough problems here?

    • Indeed we do. And while it may be appropriate to intervene in some cases (as with assisting our NATO allies, for example, or in providing aid to Ukraine, for another), overthrowing an elected official just because we don’t like his political philosophy doesn’t make the cut for me, either.

      • We are not all fans of NATO, which is nothing than an international military entity. It is time to call an end to the war in Ukraine and demand for peace negotiations. Unfortunately, the international military complex doesn’t want peace. Peace doesn’t benefit central banks or our political leaders. Did anyone ask Ukrainians how they felt about living in a war torn country? Did anyone ask the Ukrainians about the illegal organ harvesting occuring of children in the country? I think not.

    • It was The Cold War… That is to say World War 2 was still going, but people weren’t shooting each other at that moment. Has anyone calculated the likely body-count for the timeline where the coup didn’t happen?

  2. Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez learned lessons from the demise of Salvador Allende, and the people and the nation of Venezuela have suffered badly ever since from those learned lessons. Allende used democracy to seize power, but he was no democrat. He was just another Marxist bent on seizing power.

    That Sen. Sanders and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez would tout Allende’s alleged democrat virtues is no surprise, but it is nevertheless disingenuous and disgusting. The Wall Street Journal’s Mary Anastasia O’Grady tells the truth about Allende here (and yes, it’s behind a paywall, but it is worth seeking out even with the pricetag):

  3. We know this must be important news, as Vermont’s barking buffoon Sanders
    is all over it, my God, doesn’t the US have its own coup happening !!!

  4. I suppose some folks think that the USA is, godlike, entitled to overthrow the elected officials of other nations. I don’t. Allende may have been a Marxist, but he was in fact elected.

  5. I was once in contact with a seriously left person from Chile. Also his girlfriend,. She was from the U.S. and was the daughter of a well known GOP member of Congress. This was about 30-odd years ago.
    I was told that the Christian Democrat Party in Chile had more to do with the coup than did the CIA. That the Party emphasized the CIA role in order to cover themselves.

  6. Interesting they are bringing this up while the J6 narrative is falling apart. Nancy did not speak to the DC Chief of Police. Yet, he testified he spoke to her 3 times that fateful day. Roll that beautiful bean footage that they have hidden for the past three years!

  7. Explain to me what in the Sam Hill this has to do with your job of representing and supporting Vermonters, Bern.

    Say what?

    I thought so. You have no sensible explanation.

  8. It seems to me that Mr. Sander’s and AOC’s comments are less intended to condemn the CIA’s involvement in the 1973 Chilean experience, and more intended to justify the current slow-rolling coup d’état of the U.S. government by the Democrat/Republican Party, the WEF, the UN, the CCP, and other socialistic organizations they support.

    Instead of withholding financial support for ‘duly elected’ totalitarians, the U.S. is now increasing its support of corrupt governments in Ukraine, Iran, China, and elsewhere.

    It’s a typical ‘good-cop v. bad-cop’ routine presented by the so-called ‘uniparty’. And we, as average and naïve citizens, always think we have to choose one side or the other. But it’s a proverbial false equivalence. To quote the now infamous Twilight Zone episode about ‘How to Serve Man’, I say; ‘Don’t get on. It’s a cookbook’.

  9. If you read Leftish Chilean’s history of the coup, the US part was very small consisting primarily of a million dollar donation to a right wing newspaper which would have published its stuff anyway and, of course, they did not sanction Chile after, like they do all over the world to further their aim to ‘topple’ regimes in Venezuela, Iran, Russia and China, actions which this coterie of fantasists
    obviously have few objections., nor spending billions to fight to the last Ukrainian Nazi against Russia. Allende overstepped the bounds of common sense. he and his supporters paid a terrible price which ought to be a lesson and a warning to these political premadonnas who turned out to be the biggest supporters of the biopolitical totalitarianism that raised its ugly head with the advent of Covid. They can thank God, however, that when they finally pay the price of their ignorance and foolishness, nobody is going to round them up, put them before firing squads or disappear them forever.