Honour the fallen, fight for their vision
The 50th anniversary of September 11, 1973 brings somber memories of one of the most infamous acts of imperialist terror and violence. Three years after the historic victory of September 1970, democratically elected president Salvador Allende and his Popular Unity government were overthrown by a traitorous military junta backed by US imperialism.
Thousands of the best fighters for the working class of Chile were murdered, including Nobel prize winning poet Pablo Neruda [who was recently found to have been poisoned by the fascist regime] and folksinger Victor Jara. The junta filled concentration camps with trade unionists, communists, socialists and others; hundreds of thousands fled into exile to escape the regime’s death squads and torture.
The coup was carried out to strangle the heroic struggle by the Chilean working class to build a new, free, socialist society. Decades of hard-won gains towards social justice and equality were ruthlessly dismantled, as the country was turned into a laboratory for neoliberal policies designed by the “Chicago boys” [a group of Chilean economists who were proponents of the Chicago school of neoliberalism espoused by Milton Friedman and others].
Even before the coup began, it was widely known that US imperialism was plotting to drown Chilean democracy in blood. The world will never forgive Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger for their crimes against Chile, which set the stage for similar events in other Latin American countries where democracy and human rights were smashed by fascist and military regimes.
But the dream of a socialist future embodied in the Popular Unity coalition can never be erased by fascist terror. In today’s world, at a time of imperialist wars, unparalleled economic inequality and environmental disasters, the ideals of socialism are flourishing.
As President Allende said in his final speech from La Moneda after the coup was launched, “sooner rather than later, the great avenues will open again, and free people will walk through them to construct a better society.”
Despite many setbacks and contradictions, Allende’s words have been validated in recent years. The time of the fascist dictators and US hegemony over Latin America is ending, and socialist Cuba continues to defy Washington’s threats and blockades, winning new friends every day.
On this occasion, we salute the memory of Allende and his comrades, and we pledge to continue our decades of solidarity with the workers of Chile, who have given the world so much through their contributions to the working class and people’s movements. We join with others to commemorate this date, and we vow to redouble our efforts to win a socialist future.
Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada