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Encyclopedia > Death of Salvador Allende
Allende's last photograph alive

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 currently prevalent view is that he committed suicide, as most evidence seems to suggest. Image File history File links Allende_9_11_73. ... Image File history File links Allende_9_11_73. ... Salvador Allende Gossens[1] (July 26, 1908 – September 11, 1973) was President of Chile from November 1970 until his suicide during the coup détat of 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). ... Rather than surrender to US soldiers, the Mayor (Bürgermeister) of Leipzig Germany, committed suicide along with his wife and daughter on April 20, 1945. ...

Contents

Historical event

Allende at shooting practice with his AK-47

On September 11, 1973, just prior to the capture by the military of the Palacio de 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. Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... September 11 is the 254th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (255th in leap years). ... Year 1973 (MCMLXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display full calendar) of the 1973 Gregorian calendar. ... Front view of La Moneda The Palacio de La Moneda (Spanish The Mint Palace), is the present seat of the President of the Republic of Chile. ... ...


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, who by different means tries to achieve the same goals." Avtomat Kalashnikova model 1947 g. ... The AK-47 is the worlds most common assault rifle. ... Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (born on August 13, 1926) is the current President of Cuba but on indefinite medical hiatus. ...


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 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]. On Tuesday, September 11, 1973, General Augusto Pinochet staged a brutal military coup against Chilean President Salvador Allende. ...


Official version of the death

At approximately 1:50 PM local time, President Allende ordered the defenders of the 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 toward the Independence salon, located in the north-east side of the Palace's second floor.


At the same time, Dr. Patricio Guijón (a member of La Moneda's infirmary staff) decided to return upstairs to recover 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, two detectives from the Presidential security detail, and some GAPs (Presidential Security) were able to see the moment of death, or arrive a few seconds afterwards, attracted by the noise.

"Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Keep in mind that, much sooner than later, the great avenues will again be opened through which will pass free men to construct a better society. Long live Chile! Long live the people! Long live the workers!"
President Salvador Allende's farewell speech, September 11, 1973.[6]

September 11 is the 254th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (255th in leap years). ... Year 1973 (MCMLXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display full calendar) of the 1973 Gregorian calendar. ...

Witnesses

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

  • 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 a 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
  • Pablo Manuel Zepeda Camillieri - GAP (Presidential Security) - Survived

Of these witnesses, only Dr. Guijón spoke about the events immediately after they happened, and was roundly vilified for doing so. Some sources misattribute Guijón's declarations 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 as he was executed shortly afterwards.[7]The other witnesses kept silent until after the restoration of democracy in Chile, as they believed (according to their own statements) that to corroborate the version of a suicide would in some measure downgrade Allende's sacrifice and lend support to the military regime.


Controversy

At the time and for many years after, his supporters nearly uniformly presumed that he was killed by the forces staging the coup. In Havana's Plaza de la Revolucion on September 28, 1973, Fidel Castro told a crowd of 1 million Cubans that Allende had died in La Moneda wrapped in a Chilean flag, firing at the army with Fidel's rifle. 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 continued to promote the story that Allende had died while exchanging gunfire with Chilean troops but spoke of Allende's suicide as a fact in 2002[8]. However some supporters still insist that Allende was murdered by Pinochet's military forces while defending the palace. is the 271st day of the year (272nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


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.


Additional information

See also

Chileans marching in support of Allende Salvador Allende was the president of Chile from 1970 until 1973, and head of the Popular Unity government; he was the first Marxist ever to be elected to the national presidency of a democracy. ... The United States on several occasions sought to influence the policies or government of Chile. ... Captain General Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte[1] (Valparaíso November 25, 1915–Santiago of Chile December 10, 2006) was dictator and President of Chile from 1973 to 1990. ... Prisoners outside the La Moneda Palace after their surrender during the coup (1973). ... Original members of the Junta shortly after taking power. ...

Footnotes and references

  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. ^ http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Salvador_Allende%27s_Last_Speech
  7. ^ 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.
  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.

For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ... April 8 is the 98th day of the year (99th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... This just IN !!!:paris hiltons new dog. ... 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 current President of Venezuela. ...

External links and references

  • Official Site - Contains formal statements of some of the GAP operatives that survived
  • 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.
History of Chile

 
 

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