Salvador Allende came to power as the first elected socialist president in Latin America in 1970. He was backed by the Unidad Popular (Popular Unity), a civilian front with communists, socialists, Christian Radicals and Left Radicals. The Unidad Popular occupied a minority in the parliament of Chile 'though.

The Allende government was destabilized from the beginning. Not only by conservative powers in Chile, but also by the Nixon administration to revert nationalization of American companies like ITT, Kennecott and Anaconda. Right extremists committed assaults, anti-Allende-movements (mainly recruted from middle class) held protest marches and the CIA infiltrated social life and press in Chile.

The Chilean economy was put to a halt because of strikes and sabotage but also because of maladministration by the Unidad Popular. Salvador Allende - uncle of famous author Isabel Allende - sought to implement an anti-imperialist program of building socialism within a democratic framework. This 'Chilean path to socialism' drowned in the economic chaos and doubtful decisions by Allende and his government, which lead to inflation and shortages. The Chilean unemployment rate however dropped from 8.4 percent to 4.8 percent in 1971.

Allende's efforts to maintain some degree of working consensus with the opposition began to fail. Defense minister and generals submitted their resignations, clearing the way for a putsch.

By the summer of 1973, an important part of the high command of the Armed Forces of Chile had lost respect for the legally constituted government. The thousand days of Allende were soon over, as the overtaking general's telegram showed: "Mission accomplished. La Moneda taken. President dead". The revolutionists claimed it was suicide.

As head of the military junta, general Augusto Pinochet announced himself president.

Last words of Salvador Allende:

These are the last words of Salvador Allende -- democratically elected, socialist president of Chile -- on September 11th of 1973, when a fascist sector of the Army, supported by the CIA and the United States, overthrew the Government elected by the People and set the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. For seventeen years the People of Chile were sentenced to terror, torture and opression. Thirty thousand People were killed. Today, after democracy has returned to the land, Pinochet has been declared "medically incompetent to stand trial", thus avoiding justice. Strangely enough in a 'disabled' man as he is, he keeps playing a significant social role and supporting some important fascist groups in Chile.

These speeches were broadcasted live from two radio stations: Radio Corporación and Radio Magallanes. In them, Allende's words are somewhat repetitive and unconnex. He's obviously improvising the speech, trying to keep the populace calm and informed. He uses a slightly old-fashioned and barroque rethoric, which was and to some degree still is usual on South American leaders. I have tried to translate it from spanish as literally as possible. Thus, it may be partly because of this that some sentences are hard to understand. But, in many cases, it's more Allende's doing than mine. He will often start a sentence and then wander out of subject, carried by a different thread of thinking that crossed his mind.

I can only imagine what it must have been like to be there there, thinking on what to say to your People, knowing that all the victories won by the workers and peasants will be lost, that these may very well be the last hours of their lives=September 11th of 1973.

I hope this writeup will be a witness of that moment, and in this way Allende's will shall be carried on.

Thirty years after his dream ended, it is not forgotten.

September 14, 2003 update: fellow noder eliserh, who writes english way better than I do, has been so kind as to correct my translation (and that was indeed a lot of work). She has also formatted the original text in spanish, and will add it to this node. She deserves at least as much recognition here as I do, if not more. Thanks a lot eliserh.



It's the President of the Republic speaking from the "Palacio de La Moneda". It has been confirmed that some of the Navy would have laid siege to Valparaíso and that the city is under military occupation; that is to say that there has been an uprising against the Government, the Government rightfully constituted, the rightful Government supported by law and the will of the citizens. Under these circumstances, I call on all workers: Stay in your worplaces, go to the factories, stay calm and serene. Until this moment, there has not been any extraordinary movement of troops in Santiago and, according to the reports of the garrison commander, the troops in Santiago are normal and in their quarters.

In any case, I am here, in the Government Palace, and I'll remain here defending the Government I represent by the will of the People.

My wish, essentially, is that the workers be alert, ready and avoid provocations. The first stage will be to await the response -- which I expect to be possitive -- of the soldiers of our Homeland, who swore to defend the present regime, which is the expression of the will of the citizens, and that they will follow the doctrine that gave prestige to Chile: the professionalism of its Armed Forces. Under these circumstances, I'm sure the soldiers will know what their duty is. In any case, the People and the workers, essentially, must be actively mobilized, but in their workplaces, listening to the call and instructions that the comrade President of the Republic may give.

8:15 A.M.

Workers of Chile:
It's the President of the Republic speaking. The information we have received up to now reveals the existance of an insurrection of the Navy in the Province of Valparaíso. I have ordered the Army to march on Valparaíso to end this attempted coup in its conception. You must await the instructions broadcasted from the Office of the President. Be sure that the President will remain in the "Palacio de La Moneda" defending the workers' Government. Be sure that I shall see that the will of the People, who entrusted me with governing the nation until November 4th 1976, is respected.

You must stand alert in your workplaces awaiting my reports. The loyal forces who respect their oath to the autorities, together with the organized workers, will smash the fascist coup that threatens our Homeland.

8:45 A.M.

All you comrades who are listening:
The situation is critical, we are facing a coup de'état in which most of the Armed Forces are involved. In this dark hour I want to remember you some of what I said in 1971. I speak calmly, with absolute serenity, I don't have bear the mantle of an apostle nor of a messiah. I'm not a martyr, I'm a social worker, carrying out the duty the People have given to me. But those that want to turn back the clock of history and ignore the will of the majority of the people of Chile must know: without seeking martyrdom, I won't step back. Let them know it, let them hear it, let them engrave it deep into their souls: I will leave "La Moneda" when the mandate with which the People entrusted me is over. I will defend this Chilean revolution and I will defend the Government because it is the mandate entrusted to me by the People. I have no other choice. Only riddling me with bullets will they prevent me from carrying out my will, that is, to carry on the agenda of the People. If I am murdered, the People will continue in their path, will continue following their way, execpt that things will be perhaps much more difficult, much more violent, because it will be an objective lesson for the masses that these people will stop at nothing.

I had taken this possiblity into account, I'm not offering it as an option nor easing its way.

Social process will not disappear because a leader disappears. It may be delayed, it may be prolonged, but in the end it will not be halted.

Comrades, pay attention to the reports in your workplaces, for the comrade President will not strand his People nor leave his workplace. I will stay here in "La Moneda" even at the cost of my life.


Right now the planes are flying over us. They may bomb us. But let them know that here we stand, at least with our example, that in this country there are men who fulfill their duties. I will follow the orders of the People and the orders of the People and the orders of the consciousness of a President that has the dignity of this post, entrusted to him by his People in free and democratic elections.

In the name of the holiest interests of the People, in the name of the Homeland, I call you and ask you to have faith. History will not be stopped by repression or crime. This is a passing phase. This is a very difficult moment: we may be smashed. But Tomorrow will belong to the People, will belong to the workers. Hummanity strides towards a better life.

I will defend with my life theprinciples this country holds dear. A hammer will fall upon those that have betrayed their duties, broken their word... violated the doctrine of the Armed Forces.

The People must be alert and ready. It must not be provoked, nor slaughtered, but it must also defend its conquests. It must defend the right to build a better life with its effort.

This is the last broadcasting. We can hear in the background voices, gunshots, noises and static. There is a general atmosphere of action and battle, yet through it Allende keeps calm, talking to his People his final words. He knows he's going to die, and his only wish is to sow a seed of hope in the hearts of the workers and peasants, the people that stood loyal to him.

9:10 A.M.

Surely, this will my last opportunity to speak to you. The Air Force has bombed the antennas of Radio Portales and Radio Corporación. My words hold no bitterness, only disappointment. Let them be a moral punishment for those who betrayed their oath: soldiers of Chile, commanders-in-chief, Admiral Merino, who has proclaimed himself commander of the Fleet, and Mr. Mendoza, the despicable general who just yesterday swore his loyalty to the Government, and who has now declared himself General Director of the Military Police. In the face of these events I can only say to the workers: I will not resign!

At this historical crossroads, I'll pay for my loyalty to the People with my life. And I say to you that I'm sure that the seed we have given to the dignified consciousness of thousands and tousands of Chileans, will not be utterly wasted. They have the power, they may crush us, but social processes are not stopped by crime nor with force. History is ours, and it is made by the People.

Workers of my Homeland: I want to thank you for the loyalty that you have always shown, the trust that you placed in a man who was only the interpreter of a great longing for justice, who gave his word that he would respect the Constitution and the law, and so he did. In this final moments, in this last chance I have to address you, I want you to learn the lesson: foreign capital, imperialism, united with reactionary elements, paved the way for the treason by the Armed Forces, who broke the tradition taught by General Schneider and reaffirmed by Commander Araya, victims of the same segment of society which today will be hoping, to retake by foreign hand the power in order to defend their goods and privileges.

I speak to you, specially to the modest woman of our land, the peasant woman that believed in us, the mother that knew our concern for children. I speak to the workers of our Homeland, to the patriotic workers that kept working despite the sedition backed by the professional associations, classist associations who defended as well the benefits of a capitalist society.

I speak to the youth, to those that sang and gave their joy and fighting spirit. I talk to the Chilean man, to the worker, to the peasant, to the intellectual, to those that will be persecuted, because in our land fascism has been present for many hours; in the terrorist attacks, blasting the bridges, blowing up the railroads, destroying the oil and gas pipelines, with the silence of those who had a duty to act. They sold themselves. History shall judge them.

Surely Radio Magallanes will be silenced and the serene brass of my voice will not reach you. It doesn't matter. You'll keep hearing it. I'll always be with you. At least I'll be remembered as a decent man who was loyal to his Homeland.

The People must defend themselves, but not sacrifice themselves. The People must not be crushed or slaughtered, but neither should be hummiliated.

Workers of my Homeland, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this gray, bitter moment in which treason seeks to rule the land. Carry on, in the knowledge that, sooner rather than later, the avenues will once again be opened for the free man to thread, while he builds a better society.

Long live Chile! Long live the People! Long live the workers!
These are my final words and I am sure that my sacrifice will not be in vain, I'm sure that, at least, it will be a moral lesson that will punish felony, cowardice and treason.

Gunshots. A bomb explodes?. End of the emission.

Source: (lit.: 'chilelives')
In this Chilean site, in spanish, you will find the original text, as well as an MP3 recording of the last part as it was broadcasted from Radio Magallanes. There are also other speeches, witnesses, audio files and general resources on September the 11th of 1973, Allende and his idea of a better Chile in general.

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