Chile’s current president Gabriel Boric and former presidents Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, Ricardo Lagos, Michelle Bachelet, and Sebastián Piñera signed a document on September 7 titled “Commitment: For Democracy, Always” as a part of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1973 US-backed coup d’état against the socialist government of President Salvador Allende.
In the document, the leaders committed despite political differences to care for and defend democracy, face the challenges of democracy, defend and promote human rights, and strengthen spaces for collaboration among nations.
This September 11 will mark 50 years since the coup that overthrew the democratically elected socialist government of President Salvador Allende and installed the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. During Pinochet’s autocratic rule between 1973 and 1990, more than 3,000 people were killed, about 1,200 disappeared, over 30,000 were tortured and 200,000 went into exile.
On September 11, leftist leaders from across the region officially paid tribute to Allende as the first progressive president in modern Latin America and the victims of Chile’s last dictatorship at the La Moneda palace. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Colombian President Gustavo Petro, and Argentine President Alberto Fernández attended the event.
Several human rights organizations, social movement groups, trade unions, and left parties also marched in the capital Santiago to demand justice and an end to impunity enjoyed by the military officials involved in human rights violations. Their march on September 10 to the tomb of Salvador Allende was repressed by the Carabineros (national police) with tear gas.