A Tale of Two Chileans: Pinochet and Allende by Robin Harris

By Robin Harris

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Additional resources for A Tale of Two Chileans: Pinochet and Allende

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The armed forces were also able to release previously identified stocks of food which helped remove the imminent threat of famine and so relieved the air of panic that this had induced. But the hard-line, well trained, highly armed Chilean Leftist paramilitaries and foreign extremists remained, and these now raised their own revolt against the new military government. The fighting was bitter, brutal and bloody and lasted for several months, much of it taking place in Santiago itself33. In the course of the struggle, 1261 people lost their lives, 82 of them being members of the armed forces.

They were also remarkably effective, bypassing likely centres of resistance and taking immediate control of radio and television centres and the main government buildings. By eleven o’clock that morning the military had assumed control and Allende, his daughters and close associates were holed up, surrounded by troops, in La Moneda Palace. 31 White Book, pp. 28-29 Several offers were made to those inside the Palace to leave the country in safety, for the generals had no wish to see continued agitation, let alone cope with an embarrassing martyrdom.

Lengthy documents detail plans for infiltration into the ranks of the armed forces, for acts of sabotage, for street fighting, for the organization of "liberated zones", for seizure of broadcasting stations and so on30. But the most important document detailing the UP’s plans for a violent take-over is one found on 13 September in the desk of a Communist former under-secretary of state for the Interior. This document and its translation, taken from the White Book, are re-produced here as Appendix B.

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