In the video above we hear the last public words of Chilean President Salvador Allende, given in a farewell address to the nation on the day of his ouster–September 11, 1973. These are the type of leaders invariably targeted by US regime change operations–those who are devoted to their people.
After being elected president in 1970, Allende nationalized the copper mining industry, got rid of the central bank, and initiated a program of government-administered health care and education. He also established a minimum wage and housing assistance for the needy. In the three years he was in office, the standard of living in the country rose and the illiteracy rate dropped.
After engineering the coup against Allende, the US installed a military junta consisting of General Augusto Pinochet and three others. Pinochet quickly became the dominant force in the junta and the dictator of the country for the next 17 years. He initiated a policy of privatizing state-owned industries. Wages dropped by 8 percent, and by the time he left office in 1990 44 percent of Chilean families were living below the poverty level.
One of those murdered during the Chilean coup was Victor Jara, a popular singer and songwriter, who also worked as a teacher. Jara was arrested on September 12 and taken to the national stadium in Santiago, where he was held with thousands of other prisoners. He was tortured and shot, his body discarded outside the stadium along with other civilian prisoners killed by the army. When his wife, Joan Jara, reclaimed his body it had 44 bullet holes. According to Telesur, his politically charged music inspired a whole generation of political activists and musicians.
In June of this year, a Florida jury found a former Chilean military officer now living in the US liable for Jara’s murder. The civil litigation was initiated by Jara’s widow, Joan, now 88 years old, against former Lieutenant Pedro Barrientos Núñez.
A request for the extradition of Barrientos, who is now 67, has been issued by the government of Chile. So far, the US has refused.
US regime change operations, such the one in Chile 43 years ago and such as those currently underway in Syria and Venezuela, have caused incalculable harm and destruction and resulted in the deaths of untold numbers of people.