Isabel Allende Wants to Know Extension of Brazil Involvement in Her Dad’s Death

Salvador Allende's stamp
Isabel Allende a Chilean member of Parliament says that she will ask the Brazilian government to declassify documents that could shed light on Brazil's possible involvement in the 1973 coup that led to the ouster and death of her father, elected socialist President Salvador Allende.

Interviewed by the Spanish government news agency EFE, Ms. Allende said the request will be presented by the Salvador Allende Foundation and revealed the existence of accounts from Chilean political prisoners "that point to a direct participation, in some cases, by agents from Brazil" in the bloody coup of September 11, 1973.

The National Security Archive, an independent research outfit in Washington, last week published declassified US government documents highlighting the Nixon administration's ties with Brazil's 1964-1985 military regime.

Among the documents is the record of a December 9, 1971, meeting between President Richard Nixon and Brazilian dictator general Emilio Garrastazu Medici.

Asked by Nixon whether the Chilean armed forces had the capacity to remove Allende, Medici said he thought the socialist head of state would be toppled "for very much the same reasons that Goulart had been overthrown in Brazil," and "made it clear that Brazil was working towards this end."

João Goulart, Brazil's elected president, was overthrown by the military in 1964 with Washington's blessing.

Nixon emphasized to Medici "that it was very important that Brazil and the United States work closely" to effect a coup in Chile and offered "discreet aid" and money for Brazilian operations against Allende.

Insisting that the United States and Brazil "must try and prevent new Allendes and Castros and try where possible to reverse these trends" Nixon said he "hoped that we could cooperate closely, as there were many things that Brazil as a South American country could do that the U.S. could not".

Salvador Allende was elected in 1970, winning by a plurality against two other candidates.

The Nixon administration tried to get the Chilean military to stop Allende from taking office, going so far as to back the kidnapping of then-armed forces commander Rene Schneider, who was killed during the abduction attempt.

Once Allende took power, Washington used economic pressure and covert subversion to undermine his government, and ultimately backed the bloody coup led by General Augusto Pinochet.

Allende took his own life as his bodyguards battled soldiers inside the Chilean presidential palace.

Ms Allende said she would also request Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva personally to open the secret documents of the time to have a true idea of foreign involvement in the seventies in several Latin American countries.

However a high ranking Brazilian official said those documents "could probably already have been made public, could be in the archives or even destroyed by the military regime."

A few months ago, Lula re-imposed his secret acts power on unspecified documents from the time of the military dictatorship, (1964/1985) arguing it was time to look ahead to the future, "and not to the past."

Brazilian historians believe the US government could have anticipated the Lula administration of the contents of documents to be declassified, highly sensitive for Brazil, and thus his decision.



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