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1973 Salvador Allende's Last Stand

1973 Salvador Allede's Last Stand_min.JP

Title: 1973 - Salvador Allende's Last Stand


About: The first democratically elected Marxist head of state Salvador Allende was overthrown by a military coup, ushering in 17 years of dictatorship under General Pinochet.


In nearly three years as Chilean president, Allende worked to restructure Chilean society along socialist lines while retaining democratic government and respecting civil liberties and the due process of law. Meanwhile, President Nixon and the CIA worked to destabilize Allende’s government, as, according to the Domino Theory, they were afraid of another Fidel Castro in Latin America.

By 1973, thanks in no small part to US interference, the Chilean economy was in shambles. Inflation, labor strikes, and food shortages were rampant, and violence between the right and the left became a daily occurrence. President Allende still had the support of many workers and peasants, but the middle class was united in opposition to him, and there was open talk of an impending military coup.

On September 11, 1973, Chile’s armed forces launched a concerted attack against the government. Allende gathered with his loyal presidential guard at La Moneda, the presidential palace, and rifle in hand, refused to surrender, broadcasting a defiant message over the national radio.

Two fighter jets flew over Santiago a fired rockets through the doors and windows of the north side of the palace. Six more attack waves came during the next 20 minutes. The palace was in flames, but Allende survived in a wing of the building. Sometime around 2 p.m., Allende allegedly died by placing his rifle under his chin and firing. 

In the aftermath of the coup, General Pinochet became the dictator of Chile. He rounded up hundreds of Allende’s supporters and had them tortured and executed. The United States immediately offered military and economic aid to the new ruler of Chile – ”the savior of democracy” – and the CIA may have helped him identify and capture dissidents. In his 17 years of repressive authoritarian rule, more than 3,000 political opponents were assassinated or “disappeared.”

Decade: 1970s

Year: 1973

Region: Latin America

Country: Chile

Politics: Revolution

Politics: Leadership

Conflict: Cold War

Type: Historical Event

Impact: 5

Artist: Jarolslaw Marcinek


Group: Genesis

Number: 73/100

Price: 0.5 ETH


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