Eyewitness to a Coup

September 25, 2007

Eyewitness to a Coup

“In September, 1973, I was a 26-year-old doctoral student finishing my dissertation research ... my own political interests soon brought me into contact with a small group of progressive, young North Americans. Together, we published a small news magazine called FIN, Fuente Norteamericano de Información (North American Information Source). FIN was designed to inform interested Chileans of the activities of the U.S. government and corporations around the world, and to demonstrate solidarity with the Chilean left by calling attention to left and progressive movements in the United States....

By September 11, 1973, some eight of us were still in Chile, working on FIN and our other jobs. Of these, two, Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi, were picked up and killed within a week of the coup—the only two U.S. citizens to be killed. Charlie’s case has been made widely known through the 1982 Costa-Gavras film, Missing. Frank’s case has not been as widely circulated. I became involved [in their cases] because I was their friend and colleague. . .”

Steven Volk,NACLA Report, July/August 2002, Vol. XXXVI, No.1

“As individuals and as NACLA staff members, we have experienced the recent coup in Chile as one of the most painful events in our lives. We feel this blow against the Chilean people, and against the estimated 15,000 Latin American exiles living in Chile, directly and personally as a blow against us all. We are saddened by the brutality of the coup, heartened by the resistance, and more committed than ever to continue our work....

The brutality of the Chilean coup shocks us; but it also shows us the desperation of the Latin American right and the U.S. government and corporate policy-makers. For it is clear that this massive brutality is their only response to the mass politicization and mobilization that occurred during the last three years. The mobilization of the Chilean right did not intimidate or divide the Chilean workers, but indeed stimulated their further political organizing....

The setback for those who were attempting to lay the bases for socialism through electoral means in Chile suggests that the ballot alone cannot preserve the gains won by the people; at the same time, other forms of organization must take place among the people, to prepare for the inevitable attack by the right.”

NACLA editorial,October 1973, Vol. VII, No. 8

available online from
NACLA's Latin America and Empire Report Jan 1973


Tags: NACLA, Salvador Allende, Chile, coup, leftist politics

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