The attacks on the WTC in New York and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. on September 11, 2001, are known worldwide. Three commercial airliners were directed against these icons of American power making it one of the most egregious assaults on “our way of life”, according to proponents and apologists of American exceptionalism.
2963 people died and to date there are 24 missing persons.
In “Latin America” we also remember a terrorist attack on 9/11; a longer and bloodier 9/11.
Chile, September 11, 1973. General Augusto Pinochet heads a coup d’état planned and financed by the United States. President Salvador Allende is violently overthrown from power. The repression against the civilian population is equally brutal. According to a report in Santiago by the French magazine Politis, it is estimated that more than 10, 000 people were killed during the coup and in the following months. A selective system of suppression against suspected communists and people suspected of belonging to leftist parties, developed in the coming years. Today the Comité de Ética Contra la Tortura, ( ethics committee against torture) reports of hundreds of thousands tortured, perhaps up to half a million. Without the help of intelligence agencies like the CIA, this operation would have never been possible. The Chilean artist and researcher Anibal Ortiz Pozo, recounts: "The role of the torturers and U.S. advisors was to produce fear. They wouldn’t hide the dead bodies; they’d beat up people in public and display the naked bodies in public. They would throw the corpses into the Mapocho River in Santiago de Chile for people to see what was going to happen to them.”
The motivation behind the U.S. sponsored coup, was the threat Allende’s popular government and its socialist methods being implemented in the country represented; especially the nationalization of companies and natural resource industries such as copper mining, then in the hands of U.S. companies Anaconda and Kennecott.
The military dictatorship of Pinochet took several measures to strengthen the power and make changes in the country; among the most important:
- Annihilation of popular resistance in towns, camps, universities and rural sectors
- Closure of media opposition
- Military control of universities and other educational establishments
- State of siege and permanent night curfew
- Concentration camps of political prisoners in various parts of the country
- Coordination of the intelligence services of the armed forces and police
- Dissolution of Parliament
- Dissolution of leftist political parties and suspension of all others
- Promulgation of laws against the constitutional and legal system of the country
- Cancellation of the right to strike
- Collective layoffs
- Decreased and freezing of workers’ wages
- Imposition of military discipline at work
- Agreement with the United States to finance Chile’s external debt
The U.S. rewarded Pinochet and his junta with generous economic aid during 17 years of ongoing state terrorism. It is reported that then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once told Pinochet, "In the United States, as you know, we are sympathetic with what you are trying to do here."