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Encyclopedia > Allende's death
Allende's last photograph alive
Allende's last photograph alive
This article is about the controversy about President Allende's death. For for the successful coup in September 1973 that brought Army Commander-in-Chief Augusto Pinochet to power, see Chilean coup of 1973.

Salvador Allende, President of Chile died during the Chilean coup of 1973. Since that time, there has been a controversy between supporters and detractors on just how he died. The evidence seems to point to the fact that he committed suicide. Image File history File links Allende_9_11_73. ... Image File history File links Allende_9_11_73. ... General Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte[1] (born November 25, 1915) was head of the military council that ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990, and which came to power in a violent coup which deposed the Socialist President Salvador Allende. ... Prisoners outside the La Moneda Palace after their surrender during the coup (1973). ... Salvador Isabelino del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús Allende Gossens[1] (July 26, 1908 – September 11, 1973) was President of Chile from November 1970 until his removal from power and death on September 11, 1973. ... Flag of the President of Chile The President of Chile is both the chief of state and the head of government. ... Prisoners outside the La Moneda Palace after their surrender during the coup (1973). ...

Contents

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Historical event

Allende at shooting practice with his AK-47
Enlarge
Allende at shooting practice with his AK-47

On September 11, 1973, just prior to the capture by the military of the La Moneda (the Presidential Palace), while gunfire and explosions were clearly audible in the background, President Salvador Allende made what would become a famous farewell speech to Chileans on live radio, speaking of himself in the past tense, of his love for Chile and of his deep faith in its future. He stated that his commitment to Chile did not allow him to take an easy way out and be used as a propaganda tool by those he called "traitors" (accepting an offer of safe passage), clearly implying he intended to fight to the end. September 11 is the 254th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (255th in leap years). ... 1973 (MCMLXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday. ... Front view of La Moneda Front view of La Moneda The Palacio de La Moneda (Spanish The Mint Palace), is the actual seat of the President of the Republic of Chile. ... Salvador Isabelino del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús Allende Gossens[1] (July 26, 1908 – September 11, 1973) was President of Chile from November 1970 until his removal from power and death on September 11, 1973. ... ...


Shortly afterwards, Allende was dead. An official announcement declared that he had committed suicide with a machine gun[1], and an autopsy labelled his death as suicide. The weapon purportedly used by Allende to commit suicide was an AK-47 assault rifle given to him as a gift by Fidel Castro[2] and which bore a golden plate engraved "To my good friend Salvador from Fidel, whom by different means try to achieve the same goals." Avtomat Kalashnikova model 1947 g. ... -1... Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (born on August 13, 1926) is the current President of Cuba. ...


This explanation is today widely accepted, even by his family and members of his own party, after decades of silence and pointing to the Military. This (now) general acceptance is based on statements given by two doctors from the La Moneda Palace infirmary who witnessed the suicide: Dr. Patricio Guijón, who made a statement at the time, and Dr. José Quiroga[3] who only confirmed it many years later[4]. Front view of La Moneda Front view of La Moneda The Palacio de La Moneda (Spanish The Mint Palace), is the actual seat of the President of the Republic of Chile. ...

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Official version of the death

At aproximately 13.50 PM, President Allende ordered the defenders of the La Moneda to surrender. The defenders then formed a queue from the second floor, down the stairs and onto the Morande street door. The president went along this queue, from the ground floor up the stairs, shaking hands and thanking everyone personally for their support in that difficult moment. After he finished, he directed himself towards the Independence salon, located in the north-east side of the Palace's second floor. Front view of La Moneda Front view of La Moneda The Palacio de La Moneda (Spanish The Mint Palace), is the actual seat of the President of the Republic of Chile. ...


At the same time, Dr. Patricio Guijón (a member of La Moneda's infirmary staff) decided to return upstairs to recuperate his gas-mask as a souvenir. He heard a noise, and opened the door of the Independence salon in time to see the president shoot himself with his AK-47 assault rifle. From the other side of the salon and through an open door Dr. José Quiroga[5], Arsenio Poupin, a member of the cabinet, Enrique Huerta, a palace functionary and two detectives from the Presidential security detail were able to see the moment of death, or arrive a few seconds afterwards, attracted by the noise. Avtomat Kalashnikova model 1947 g. ... -1...

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Witnesses

All sources seem to agree that there were at least the following presential witnesses:

  • Dr. Patricio Guijón - member of the Presidential Medical Staff - Survived
  • Dr. José Quiroga - member of the Presidential Medical Staff - Survived
  • Arsenio Poupin Oissel - Presidential Assesor and member of the cabinet - Executed few days later
  • Enrique Huerta Corvalán - Palace Intendant - Executed a few days later
  • David Garrido - Detective (Presidential Security Detail) - Survived
  • Ricardo Pincheira - Detective (Presidential Security Detail) - Survived

Some sources missatribute these statements to "Allende's personal doctor": Dr. Enrique Paris Roa, who was at La Moneda not on his professional role but as a member of Allende's cabinet. He does not appear to have made any such statement and he was executed shortly afterwards.[6]

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Controversy

At the time and for many years after, his supporters nearly uniformly presumed that he was killed by the forces staging the coup. Another version says that Allende was killed in combat on the steps outside the Presidential Palace. In public addresses after Allende's death, Fidel Castro promoted the story that Allende had died while exchanging gunfire with Chilean troops,[7] but has revealed decades later that he did know, or believed, that Allende had committed suicide.[8] However some supporters still insist that Allende was murdered by Pinochet's military forces while defending the palace.


In recent years, the view he committed suicide has become more accepted, particularly as different testimonies are confirming the details of the suicide in news and documentary interviews.[9] Also, members of Allende's immediate family including his wife, always outspoken, never disputed that it was a suicide.

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Additional information

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See also

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Salvador Allende was president of Chile from 1970 until 1973. ... The United States on several occasions sought to influence the policies or government of Chile. ... General Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte[1] (born November 25, 1915) was head of the military council that ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990, and which came to power in a violent coup which deposed the Socialist President Salvador Allende. ... Prisoners outside the La Moneda Palace after their surrender during the coup (1973). ... Original members of the Junta shortly after taking power. ...

Notes

  1. ^ Salvador Allende Gossens. Presidencia de la República de Chile. Retrieved on 2006-04-08.
  2. ^ James Whelan, Out of the Ashes: The Life, Death and Transfiguration of Democracy in Chile (Washington: Regnery Gateway, 1989), 511-512 and 519-520.[1]
  3. ^ Eric Pape, Five Degrees of Exile, Los Angeles Times Magazine, 11 July 1999. Reproduced online as part of an archive of Pape's articles, accessed 22 September 2006.
  4. ^ Gonzalez 1988
  5. ^ Patricio Zamorano, Muerte de Allende: los testigos que quedaron fuera de la historia (Spanish), La Opinión Digital, 11 September 2003. Accessed online 22 September 2006.
  6. ^ Anne-Marie O'Connor, Out of the Ashes, Los Angeles Times 22 October 2000. Reproduced onlin on the site of Oberlin College professor Steven S. Volk, accessed 22 September 2006.
  7. ^ http://www.gigfoot.net/lol/facts/2178.html http://www.nationalobserver.net/2001_winter_109.htm
  8. ^ In "Fidel Castro: o: biografía a dos voces (a two-voiced biography), pub. Debate Publishing House ISBN: 0307376532, the Cuban president told Ignacio Ramonet that he told Hugo Chávez: "Don't kill yourself, Hugo. Don't do (sic) like Allende, who was a man alone. You have most of the Army on your side. Don't quit, don't resign." [2]
  9. ^ Camus, Ignacio Gonzalez , El dia en que murio Allende ("The day that Allende Died"). Instituto Chileno de Estudios Humanísticos (ICHEH) and Centro de Estudios Sociales (CESOC), 1988. p. 282 and following.
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2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... April 8 is the 98th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (99th in leap years). ... The Los Angeles Times (also known as the LA Times) is a daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California and distributed throughout the Western United States. ... Oberlin College is a small, selective liberal arts college in Oberlin, Ohio, in the United States. ... Ignacio Ramonet is a French journalist, the editor-in-chief of Le Monde diplomatique, a left-wing political magazine. ... Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías (IPA: ) (born July 28, 1954) is the 53rd[1] and current President of Venezuela. ...

External links and references

  • Eric Pape, Five Degrees of Exile, Los Angeles Times Magazine, 11 July 1999. Reproduced online as part of an archive of Pape's articles, accessed 22 September 2006.
  • Anne-Marie O'Connor, Out of the Ashes, Los Angeles Times 22 October 2000. Reproduced online on the site of Oberlin College professor Steven S. Volk, accessed 22 September 2006.
  • Patricio Zamorano, Muerte de Allende: los testigos que quedaron fuera de la historia, La Opinión Digital, 11 September 2003. Accessed online 22 September 2006. (Spanish)
  • La Tercera, Chilean newspaper, September 11, 1973 (Spanish)
  • La Tercera, El Once, includes news of different newspaper of days previous to the coup (Spanish)
  • Las 24 horas que estremecieron a Chile. Detailed minute-by-minute account of the events of September 11, 1973 by historian Ascanio Cavallo, on the site of La Tercera. (Spanish)
  • Ronald Hilton, Chile: The Continuing Historical Conflict, World Association of International Studies, 22 December 1997. Accessed 22 September 2006.
  • Róbinson Rojas, The murder of Allende and the end of the Chilean way to socialism, originally published by Harper and Row, New York, 1975,1976-Fitzhenry&Whiteside Ltd., Toronto, Canada, 1975. Accessed online 22 September 2006.
  • Salvador Allende's "Last Words" (Spanish) (with English translation.) The transcript of the last radio broadcast of Chilean President Salvador Allende, made on 11 September 1973, at 9:10 AM. MP3 audio available here.
  • September 11, 1973: President overthrown in Chile coup, BBC News "On this Day", undated. Accessed 22 September 2006.

 
 

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