News Release

“The Other 9/11” — This Sept. 11 Marks 30-Year Anniversary of Coup in Chile


On Sept. 11, 1973, a U.S.-backed coup brought down the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende in Chile. The coup began a repressive dictatorship under Gen. Augusto Pinochet that lasted until the end of the 1980s.

The following Chileans, living in Northern California, are available for interviews:

A few days after the military coup 30 years ago, Salgado — then a high school student in Chile — was abducted by the secret police for three months. After that, Salgado spent three years imprisoned in the concentration camp of Isla Quiriquina in the south of Chile. Today, Salgado is a teacher and a musician. He is currently working on a documentary and a book about his experiences as a political prisoner.
“According to a recent survey in 49 cities all over Chile, 67.5 percent of Chileans aren’t interested in remembering or knowing more about the military coup of 1973,” Salgado said today. “This is important because it is representative of a generation with no memory. It is the sad legacy of 17 years of dictatorship and 13 years of a never-ending transition-to-democracy period, negotiated among the political elite. For me it is very important to remember our recent history — so we do not repeat horrible mistakes and because there is still no justice for the abuses against human rights from those dark years.”

Torres was a political prisoner in 1975-76 in the northern Chilean city of Antofagasta. After being abducted by the secret political police, Torres was secretly transferred to the concentration camp of Tres Alamos in Santiago. Torres is currently a freelance journalist and a longtime member of the staff at the La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley, Calif.

“Both Sept. 11s are connected by the many failures of U.S. foreign policy,” Torres said today. “After calling us ‘irresponsible people’ because we elected the socialist Salvador Allende, Henry Kissinger supported and financed the coup that killed thousands of people. He is our own Bin Laden.”

Duran, who is also known as Quique Cruz, was captured by Gen. Pinochet’s secret political police in 1975. After having been “disappeared” for two months in the torture center Villa Grimaldi, Duran was sent to Santiago’s concentration camps Tres Alamos and Puchuncavi. Duran is an author and musician and a Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University.

“Let’s put aside the political amnesia for a while and read the reports from the U.S. Senate’s Church Committee,” Duran said today. “Nixon and Kissinger are responsible for terror in our society. They plotted and gave a lot of U.S. taxpayer money to the Chilean terrorists who air-raided and bombed many buildings in September 1973.”

Fuentes is a Chilean singer who as a student at the Universidad de Chile Conservatory of Music participated in many student public and clandestine events against the military dictatorship during the late 1970s. She left Chile in 1980 and since then has participated as a musician in the U.S.-based Chilean solidarity movement. She is currently finishing her first solo CD recording, “Quien Soy.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167