The role played by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and President Richard Nixon in the Chilean coup d’etat of 1973 and the establishment of the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet is still overlooked by the mainstream media, Pablo Sepulveda, the grandson of ousted President of Chile Salvador Allende told Sputnik.
Last Saturday Henry Kissinger, an American diplomat and former US Secretary of State attended the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway; on the next day the 93-year old delivered a speech at the Nobel-connected forum. However, the Nobel Peace Prize winner of 1973 was “greeted” by demonstrations in Oslo with slogans saying “Kissinger is a war criminal,” the Norwegian daily, Dagbladet, reported.
“For many politicians, especially in the US government, the acquisition of the Nobel Peace Prize has become the way to whitewash their record and rewrite history so that their crimes, genocide and murder would be less visible,” Pablo Sepulveda, the grandson of former President of Chile Salvador Allende, told Sputnik Spanish.
In 1973 Allende, the democratically elected President of Chile, was toppled in a coup d’état sponsored by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and died in shooting. The dictatorship was established in the country headed by a military junta presided by Augusto Pinochet.
At that time Henry Kissinger served as US Secretary of State. Allende’s grandson wrote an open letter for Aftenposten, Norway’s largest printed newspaper, appealing to the Norwegian government to arrest Kissinger. In his letter Sepulveda bemoaned the fact that Kissinger “who coordinated a military coup” against his grandfather, was honored at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum last Sunday, while the voice of “the victims of his war crimes and criminal policies” remained unheard. Sepulveda emphasized that Kissinger played a part not only in the Chilean coup but also in America’s overseas operations in Latin America and Southeast Asia. For Kissinger, Allende’s grandson wrote, human life had no value so that he had no scruples about sacrificing it to his ambitions.
“The decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to Kissinger has always triggered a heated debate, but for me it seems outrageous that he was again invited to attend [the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony] in the 21st century — when we have made a significant progress in understanding the human rights issue. It is the way to rehabilitate his image and whitewash his crimes,” Sepulveda, who currently lives in Venezuela, underscored in his interview with Sputnik.
“It is obvious that [Kissinger] will be neither arrested nor condemned,” Sepulveda remarked, “However, the media hype over this matter will at least shed light on his deeds so that history will remember him not as a Nobel Peace Prize winner or national advisor, but as a criminal and executioner.”
Sepulveda — a physician, like his grandfather — believes that the role of the United States in supporting the Chilean dictatorship before the coup is largely downplayed while the story of the involvement of then President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger in the brutal implementation of the neo-liberal economic model in Chile has yet to be told. He pointed out that a few days after Allende won the 1970 presidential election in Chile American politicians met with Agustin Edwards, the owner of conservative newspaper El Mercurio, seeking to prevent the Chilean president-elect’s inauguration.
At that time the president was approved by the country’s Congress and Washington tried to persuade Chilean lawmakers not to allow Allende to take office. Speaking to Sputnik, Sepulveda also called attention to the murder of Rene Schneider, then the Army Supreme Commander, by an ultra-right group. The military chief said that he would “respect the elected president who received a mandate from the people of Chile.” In the course of a kidnapping attempt, aimed at exerting pressure on Congress and preventing Allende from assuming the presidency, Schneider was killed. According to Sepulveda, the group behind the kidnapping obtained its weapons through the American Embassy in Chile. The physician noted that “the Strike of Entrepreneurs” of 1972 that caused disruption to the distribution of goods in the country was also funded by the US.
“Kissinger was behind Operation Condor,” Sepulveda said, referring to the campaign of political repression and state terror which started in 1968 and was championed by right-wing dictatorships of Latin America. However, he added, the mainstream media remains mute about US involvement in the Chilean coup, shifting the focus to far-right groups and the figure of Augusto Pinochet.
Declassified documents from 2013 reveal:
- Kissinger initiated discussion with the CIA about a preemptive coup in Chile, became the supervisor of covert efforts to keep Allende from being inaugurated.
- Provided rationale for regime change in Chile, told Nixon this would be an historic foreign affairs decision with a billion dollars at stake and no way to deny Allende’s legitimacy. If Allende were to peacefully take Chile in a socialist direction it would spread to other countries.
- Kissinger was instrumental in conveying to Pinochet the US’s desire for a close and constructive relationship, eventually aiding in creating Chile’s infamous secret police agency, DINA.
- Kissinger disregarded human rights, calling it leftist propaganda.