On Wednesday (11 September) it will be a year since Chile's armed forces overthrew President Salvador Allende's Marxist Government.
On Wednesday (11 September) it will be a year since Chile's armed forces overthrew President Salvador Allende's Marxist Government. In a speech on Monday (2 September) the head of the military junta, President Augusto Pinochet, dispelled any prospect of a quick return to democratic government. He promised his government of generals will stay in power 20 or 25 years if necessary to complete its "social and economic development plans." And he promised the state of internal war within Chile could end "in a couple of months or even the next few days." But that depended on the extent of opposition activity.
Just how many leftwing symathisers of Dr. Allende's Government have been killed or imprisoned since the army turned on his socialist government is still a matter of debate. But most foreign governments believe several thousand men and women are still under detention.
The Presidential Palace, La Moneda, in Santiago where Dr, allende made hi last stand, machine-gun in hand, as the generals attacked on september 11th, has been partially restored. But the generals have moved their administration to a new modern office block. They rule by decree, still keeping a strong grip on security, helped by a curfew in the cities which has ben in force since their takeover.
For most Chileans, now the chaos of the coup is over, life is again a daily struggle to keep up with inflation rate grotesque even by Latin American standards. an anti-inflationary programme introduced by General Pinochet, has failed to make much impression. Inflation hit 103.3 percent in the first five months of 1974. Into the bargain, the industrialists had have to bear the brunt of the 15 percent reduction in Government spending which is a major plank in the Generals' anti-inflation drive.
But the junta has not been without a friend. After Dr. Allende's demise, many foreign companies eagerly put in bids to develop mining projects in the rich copper belt. Within six months proposals worth about IS $ 1,000 million had been submitted.
Most of the companies legally expropriated by the Allende administration were quickly returned to the private sector. Strikes are still banned, along with all union activities, but the Labour Minister has promised full union rights will be restored by 1976.
In the country's largest copper mine at Chuquicamata, the junta can boast it s greatest success. Production in the huge complex of crushers, smelters and refinery was up 42 percent in June on the comparable period the previous year. The managers attributed the increase in production to the ending of the strikes which had plagued the mine during the Allende era. The mining camp at Chuquicamata nebr gave President Aliunde support at the polls, and in the ??? to work against his government throughout ???
After the coup, the mine unions pledged one day's pay each month for six months as a contribution to the junta. There was 99 percent support in the first month but this had faded to 15 percent by May.
Many of the thousand s fie Chileans forced to filet their country after the coup are reconciled to living out their lives as political exiles. Foreign embassies took them in during the fighting in Santiago and they are now scatterd throughout Europe and South America. For them the anniversary of President Aliunde's death will be a bitter memory. In Chile itself, the Generals are playing down the occasion. There will be no holiday and no parade to mark the end of the fist freely-elected Marxist government in the world.
SYNOPSIS: On Wednesday, it will be a year since President Salvador Allende of Chile was killed, His death, in a military coup, brought about the downfall of the first freely-elected Marxist government in the world.
La Moneda, the President Palace in Sentiago, was the main target of the onslaught, Here President Allende made his last stand.
General Augusto Pinochet, his successor, led the cuop. He quickly restored order and private enterprise.
After the cuop, the military cracked down hard on the supporters of President Allende's government. A curfew in major cities is still in force
The number of political prisoners is generally agreed to be in the thousands. The number killed in the coup and its aftermath is still a matter of controversy.
The first prisoners were packed into a football stadium. Later house arrests continued quietly.
A purge of Communist literature was conducted with enthusiasm by the new regime's supporters.
Here in Paris and in many other cities, leftwing groups protested against President Allende's death and the end of his socialist experiment.
Many thousands of Allende's sympathisers were forced to seek asylum abroad. Chilean political exiles are now scattered throughout Europe, including here in Rumania, and thousands more have found new homes in Latin America. It could be a long exile as the junta has announced it will stay in power for twenty or twenty-five years if necessary.
For their children a new language has to be mastered. Many of the exiles sought political refuge in foreign embassies when the generals attacked the President's Palace. Socialist governments condemned the takeover, but the generals are learning to live with their hostility. with one of the world's richest copper deposits, they can afford to bide their time.
La Moneda, the former Presidential Palace, has been restored but it serves only as a carpark.
President Pinochet's government of generals prefers a modern office block. The "people's democracy" has been replaced with rule by decree, and the battle against inflation has again become a dominant issue.
Santiago has not been without friends in its year of military rule, however. Unlike Allende the junta have encouraged foreign investment and foreign companies have eagerly ??? hundreds of millions of dollars.
At Chuquicamata, the country's largest copper mine. The junta can boast its greatest siccess. Production has risen by almost half since the end of the strikes which plagued it during Allende's administration.
With the generals apparently firmly established, there seems little prospect of a return to democracy for Chile in the immediate future.