World leaders mark 50th anniversary of Chilean coup highlighting importance of democracy

Santiago de Chile, Sept 11 (EFE).- Leaders and personalities from around the world arrived on Monday at the presidential palace La Moneda, in Santiago de Chile, to participate in the commemoration of the coup’s 50th anniversary, highlighting the figure of ousted President Salvador Allende and the importance of defending democracy.

“Salvador Allende still rules by example. He is the apostle of Chilean democracy and a symbol of the dignity of public servants worldwide,” said Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador as he entered Chilean government headquarters during his first official visit.

The Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa, affirmed that this anniversary is an opportunity to remember that “democracy is won every day and must be strengthened every day to keep it alive.”

“Dictatorships always have an end. They can be longer or shorter, but they are not the solution. That is why they always end,” said Costa, who added that in April 2024, Portugal will commemorate the Carnation Revolution that ended 48 years of dictatorship.

López Obrador and Costa were the only leaders to make statements at the headquarters of the Chilean government, where President Gabriel Boric offered breakfast and a tour of the sites most affected 50 years ago by the military bombing.

The leaders of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, Bolivia, Luis Arce, and Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou, are also expected to arrive.

After the special event at La Moneda, the international authorities will move to the adjacent Plaza de la Constitución, where the Chilean government will hold a large commemorative event with victims’ associations.

“What happened 50 years ago cannot be repeated, and remembrance is essential to the search for justice,” said Brazil’s Minister of Human Rights and Citizenship, Silvio Almeida, in representation of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who was unable to attend due to his participation in the G20 summit in India

Several former presidents were also invited, including Colombia’s Juan Manuel Santos (2010-2018), who emphasized that this anniversary “is an opportunity for Chileans to unite” and assured that “unity in democracies is necessary to solve people’s problems because democracies do not work when they are divided.”

The commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the coup is generating great polarization and tension in Chile, to the point that the traditional right and the extreme right refused to participate in the celebrations and to sign a pro-democracy declaration promoted by Boric.

“People need hope, and despite all the suffering, I am optimistic. It is worth living life to the fullest. Let the youngest know that to succeed in life is to get up and start again every time you fall,” said former Uruguayan President Jose Mujica (2010-2015).

Among other international personalities to attend were the president of the Asociación Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, Argentinian Estela de Carlotto, and Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, who denounced that “the United States shares responsibility” for the 1973 coup.

“The spirit of Víctor Jara – one of the most symbolic victims of the dictatorship – lives in every note of music I have ever played,” the musician added.

Chile’s coup began a cruel 17-year dictatorship that left over 40,000 victims, including at least 3,200 murdered opponents. EFE


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