September 11, 1973 - military coup in Chile
On September 11, 1973, a military coup was carried out in Chile, which resulted in the overthrow of the government of the People’s Unity. Three years before this event, on September 4, 1970, a presidential election was held in Chile, won by the candidate of the left-wing “People’s Unity "socialist Salvador Allende.
The new leader set himself the task of making Chile a socialist country. For this, nationalization of private banks, copper mining and some industrial enterprises was carried out. Diplomatic relations were established with Cuba, China and other communist countries.
By September 1973, over 500 enterprises were located in the public sector and under state control, which provided about 50% of gross industrial output; the state owned 85% of the railway network. 3.5 thousand land holdings with a total area of 5.4 million hectares were expropriated, which were distributed among landless and land-poor peasants. About 70% of foreign trade operations were under state control.
The civil opposition sharply criticized the administration for its intention to move onto the rails of a planned economy. A wave of terrorism and armed conflicts between left and right factions was growing in the country. Following the unsuccessful attempt of a military coup in June 1973, a series of strikes under anti-government slogans took place.
On September 11, 1973, the armed forces, led by the newly appointed Allende new commander-in-chief, Augusto Pinochet, carried out a military coup.
The coup began in the early morning of September 11, when the ships of the Chilean Navy, which participated in the Unidens joint maneuvers with the US Navy, which took place off the coast of Chile, fired at the port and city of Valparaiso. The landed troops captured the city, the headquarters of the parties included in the "People's Unity" bloc, radio stations, a television center and a number of strategic facilities.
The radio stations delivered a statement to the rebels about the coup and the creation of a military junta as part of the ground forces commander General Augusto Pinochet, Navy commander Admiral José Merino, Air Force commander General Gustavo Lee, and Carabineer Corps General César Mendoza.
The rebels began shelling and storming the presidential palace "La Moneda", which was protected by about 40 people. The assault was carried out with the participation of tanks and aircraft. The proposal of the rebels to surrender in exchange for permission to leave Chile unimpeded by the defenders of “La Moneda” rejected. The putschists seized the building of the presidential palace. Salvador Allende refused to resign from the presidency and to submit to the coup. For a long time it was believed that he was killed in battle, but in 2011 a special forensic medical examination found that the ex-president of Chile committed suicide before the rebel soldiers broke into the presidential palace.
As a result of the 1973 coup, a military junta came to power. In accordance with the decree of the junta of December 17, 1974, General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte became president of the republic. He exercised executive power, while the junta as a whole was legislative.
All left-wing political parties, trade unions were banned, strikes were declared illegal. In 1975, a law was passed allowing for the closure of newspapers and radio stations, the messages of which can be regarded as "anti-patriotic".Elected local councils and local governments were abolished and replaced by officials appointed by the junta. Universities were cleaned and were given under the supervision of the military.
According to official data, during the years of Pinochet's rule in Chile from 1973 to 1990, almost 3.2 thousand people were killed for political reasons, nearly 1.2 thousand were missing, and about 28 thousand people were tortured.
In 1991, one year after the end of the dictatorship, a special Rettig commission was set up in Chile, which collected information about the dead or missing during military rule. She reported 3197 dead and missing during the dictatorship.
Tens of thousands of Chileans went through prison, about a million were in exile. One of the most famous and irrefutable examples of the cruelty of the coup was the murder of the singer and composer, the adherent of the communist views of Victor Hara in 1973. According to the investigation, for four days, Haru was beaten, tortured and finally shot at the Chile Stadium (since 2003, the stadium has been named after Victor Hara), firing 34 bullets at him.
The Chile Stadium and the National Stadium in Sanyago were turned into concentration camps.All the murders committed during the 1973 military coup came under the amnesty declared by Pinochet in 1979.
Augusto Pinochet ruled the country until 1990, after which he handed over power to the elected civilian president, Patricio Aylvin, remaining as commander of the army. On March 11, 1998, he resigned, taking the place of life senator. After repeated attempts to bring Pinochet to court in 2006, he was convicted of two murders. On December 10, 2006, at the age of 91, the former dictator died in the Santiago Military Hospital. His death was marked by numerous demonstrations - both his opponents and supporters.
In December 2012, the Chilean Court of Appeal ordered the arrest of seven retired military personnel involved in the murder of the singer Victor Hara during the 1973 military coup. Earlier, retired army lieutenant colonel Mario Manriquez, who led the concentration camp at the Chile Stadium in Santiago, was found responsible for the brutal crime.