This article was originally crossposted in September 2017.
On September 11, 1973, Salvador Allende’s democratic government in Chile was ousted by United States-backed forces in one of the Cold War’s defining moments. Allende himself was killed during the coup while his presidential palace, La Moneda, was extensively bombed. Many thousands of Chileans were either murdered, “disappeared”, imprisoned, and coerced to emigrate or enter exile. Allende’s widow and family were forced to go into hiding in Mexico for many years.
In replacing Allende the Americans installed General Augusto Pinochet, one of the most notorious of the post-Second World War dictators. During the next 17 years of Pinochet’s dictatorship around 40,000 Chileans were tortured – often under the most sadistic fashion and overseen by doctors in the Josef Mengele style (the Nazi doctor at Auschwitz). The doctors would ensure the victims would remain alive for as long as possible, administer medication to resuscitate them, so the torture could then recommence.
A Chilean who suffered such treatment in these chambers, but survived and later became an international lawyer, was asked where these doctors are today? He replied, “they’re practicing in Santiago”. There have been a number of Mengele-style doctors not only walking free in Chile, but resuming employment unhindered.
There have been no calls from the United States or Israel to bring these Nazi-style physicians to justice. Indeed, the Pinochet regime was already protecting Nazi war criminals such as SS Colonel Walter Rauff, creator of the gas chambers, and Mengele himself.
As the US’s population is approximately 18 times bigger than Chile’s, with an infinitely bigger landmass, the Chilean 9/11 was felt on a far greater scale. Indeed, it was also more destructive. In the US’s 9/11, the White House was not bombed, the President (George W. Bush) was not killed, its people were not imprisoned and tortured en masse after the initial crimes were committed, a brutal dictator and his death squads were not imposed.
Before the Chilean coup in 1973, the country had been a lively, vibrant place where people were welcoming and cheerful. The Pinochet years afflicted upon the population persistent feelings of terror and suspicion.
A few days after the coup was implemented National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger described the situation in Chile as,