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Photo taken from RevistaBuzos.com.mx
Palacio de la Moneda, Santiago de Chile, during the coup d’état in September 11, 1973. Photo taken from RevistaBuzos.com.mx

[OP-ED]: Chile, the Other 9/11

Yet Sept. 11 is a tragic date not only in the U.S. On that day, Chile also darkens at the memory of the death of President Salvador Allende and the coup d’état…

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In an increasingly dangerous world ravaged by so many natural disasters and unspeakable tragedies of our own creation, the U.S. is about to arrive to another sorrowful anniversary of the World Trade Center terrorist attack. September 11, 2001 is a date forever seared in the nation’s memory, the day when the world watched in disbelief the steel and glass of the mighty twin towers come crashing down, taking with them the lives of nearly 3,000 New Yorkers.

Today, sixteen years after the infamy and horror of that attack, as another September 11 nears, the elapsed time disappears and New Yorkers are gripped again by a slow and strange quietude that is normally unknown in this bustling city. 

Yet Sept. 11 is a tragic date not only in the U.S. On that day, Chile also darkens at the memory of the death of President Salvador Allende and the coup d’état staged by Gen. Augusto Pinochet in 1973 with Washington’s support.

On that day, Chileans remember with pain the way the chief of his country’s armed forces betrayed the democratically elected president of Popular Unity and his people, to whom Pinochet subjected to 17 years of terror, disappearances, torture and murder.

Last month, President Trump, with a few imperial words filled with arrogance and devoid of any understanding of Latin America –specially Venezuela—brought back memories of not too distant military interventions, coup d’états and economic wars – of all of which were inflicted on Chile to depose Allende-- and revived the old fears and mistrust among U.S. neighbors to the South.

“We have many options for Venezuela, including a possibly military option if necessary,” Trump told a news conference at his golf club in New Jersey. A military option, he said was “certainly something that we could pursue”. 

Latin America’s condemnation of Trump’s threatening words was immediate and unanimous, with governments of all political stripes across the region calling instead for a peaceful solution.

The Latin American reaction was to be expected since there is a well-founded fear that, as professor Dennis Elter, an American political analyst has said, the U.S. really has no interest in democracy in Venezuela and could be planning a Pinochet like coup d'état there.

“Talk of US military intervention in Venezuela is not about protecting democracy but reemploying US imperialist rule,” Elter stated on Press TV.  “The US would support a Pinochet style coup in Venezuela at the drop of a hat.” 

If there is someone who really understands what a U.S. intervention means is Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet, who suffered prison and torture during the US-backed Pinochet dictatorship. Her parents were also jailed by the murderous dictator, and her father died of a cardiac arrest while in prison.

“Chile will do its utmost to support Venezuela to find a peaceful way out.  But Chile will not support military interventions, nor coup d'état,” Bachelet said on August 16.

Sixteen years after the tragic 9/11’s of U.S. and Chile, the message to Trump is clear and direct: Keep out of Venezuela and Latin America!

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