Allende Dies in Coup

Allende Dies in Coup

Chilean President Dr. Salvador Allende dies during a U.S.-backed military coup on this day. As president of Chile, Allende was the first freely elected Marxist leader in the Americas. He called for a democratic socialism, governed by elections and legislation rather than violent change. He redistributed land and, to the chagrin of the United States, nationalized foreign-owned businesses. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency secretly funded Allende opposition groups, and on September 11, 1973, backed a military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet. Rather than flee, Allende remained in the presidential offices, which were besieged by army troops and artillery. After the siege ended, Allende was found dead of bullet wounds. Official reports stated he committed suicide. General Pinochet ruled Chile with an iron fist for the next 18 years.