kids encyclopedia robot

1973 Chilean coup d'état facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
1973 Chilean coup d'état
Part of the Cold War in South America
Golpe de Estado 1973.jpg
Sylvain Julienne durant le coup d’état au Chili en septembre 1973.jpg
Chile- el pueblo vencera cropped.jpg
From top to bottom: the bombing of La Moneda on September 11, 1973, by the Chilean Armed Forces; a journalist and soldiers during the coup; and detainees being detained at the National Stadium
Date 11 September 1973
Action Armed forces put the country under military control. Little and unorganized civil resistance.

Coup successful


Chile Chilean Government

  • Unidad Popular 1973.png Popular Unity
  • GAP
Revolutionary Left Movement
Other working-class militants

Chilean Armed Forces

Supported by:
United States United States
Commanders and leaders
Salvador Allende
Max Marambio
Miguel Enríquez
Augusto Pinochet
José Merino
Gustavo Leigh
César Mendoza
Political support
Christian Democrats (parts)
Radical Democrats
Brazil Brazil
Australia Australia
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Canada Canada
Casualties and losses
46 GAP
60 in total during the coup

The 1973 Chilean coup d'état was a military overthrow of the Popular Unity government in Chile led by the democratic socialist Salvador Allende as president of Chile. Allende, who has been described as the first Marxist to be democratically elected president in a Latin American liberal democracy, faced significant social unrest, political tension with the opposition-controlled National Congress of Chile, and economic warfare ordered by United States president Richard Nixon. On 11 September 1973, a group of military officers, led by General Augusto Pinochet, seized power in a coup, ending civilian rule. In 2000, the CIA admitted its role in the 1970 kidnapping of René Schneider (then Commander-in-chief of the Chilean Army), who had refused to use the army to stop Allende's inauguration. 2023 declassified documents showed that Nixon, Henry Kissinger, and the United States government, which had branded Allende as a dangerous communist, were aware of the coup and its plans to overthrow Allende's democratically-elected government.

Following the coup, a military junta was established, and suspended all political activities in Chile and suppressed left-wing movements, particularly communist and socialist parties, such as the Communist Party of Chile and the Socialist Party of Chile, as well as the Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR). Pinochet swiftly consolidated power and was officially declared president of Chile in late 1974. The Nixon administration, which had played a role in creating favorable conditions for the coup, promptly recognized the junta government and supported its efforts to consolidate power. During the air raids and ground attacks preceding the coup, Allende delivered his final speech, expressing his determination to remain at Palacio del La Moneda and rejecting offers of safe passage for exile. Although he died in the palace, the exact circumstances of Allende's death are still disputed.

Chile had previously been regarded as a symbol of democracy and political stability in South America, while other countries in the region suffered under military juntas and caudillismo; the Chilean period prior to the coup is known as the Presidential Republic (1925–1973) era. At the time, Chile was a middle-class country, with about 30% or 9 million Chileans being middle class. The collapse of Chilean democracy marked the end of a series of democratic governments that had held elections since 1932. Historian Peter Winn described the 1973 coup as one of the most violent events in Chilean history. It led to a series of human rights abuses in Chile under Pinochet, who initiated a brutal and long-lasting campaign of political suppression, which significantly weakened leftist opposition to the military dictatorship of Chile (1973–1990). The internationally-supported 1989 Chilean constitutional referendum held under the military junta led to the peaceful Chilean transition to democracy. Due to the coup's coincidental occurrence on the same date as the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, it has sometimes been referred to as "the other 9/11".

Political background

Allende contested the 1970 Chilean presidential election with Jorge Alessandri Rodriguez of the National Party and Radomiro Tomic of the Christian Democratic Party. Allende received 36.6% of the vote, while Alessandri was a very close second with 35.3%, and Tomic third with 28.1%, in what was a close three-way election. Although Allende received the highest number of votes, according to the Chilean constitution and since none of the candidates won by an absolute majority, the National Congress had to decide among the candidates.

The Chilean Constitution of 1925 did not allow a person to be president for consecutive terms. The incumbent president, Eduardo Frei Montalva, was therefore ineligible as a candidate. The CIA's "Track I" operation was a plan to influence the Congress to choose Alessandri, who would resign after a short time in office, forcing a second election. Frei would then be eligible to run. Alessandri announced on 9 September that if Congress chose him, he would resign. Allende signed a Statute of Constitutional Guarantees, which stated that he would follow the constitution during his presidency trying to shore up support for his candidacy. Congress then decided on Allende. The U.S. feared the example of a "well-functioning socialist experiment" in the region and exerted diplomatic, economic, and covert pressure upon Chile's elected socialist government. At the end of 1971, the Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro made a four-week state visit to Chile, alarming American observers worried about the "Chilean Way to Socialism".

In 1972, Economics Minister Pedro Vuskovic adopted monetary policies that increased the amount of circulating currency and devalued the escudo, which increased inflation to 140 percent in 1972 and engendered a black market economy. In October 1972, Chile suffered the first of many strikes. Among the participants were small-scale businessmen, some professional unions, and student groups. Its leaders – Vilarín, Jaime Guzmán, Rafael Cumsille, Guillermo Elton, Eduardo Arriagada – expected to depose the elected government. Other than damaging the national economy, the principal effect of the 24-day strike was drawing Army head, General Carlos Prats, into the government as Interior Minister, an appeasement to the right wing. replacing General René Schneider, who had been assassinated (Schneider had been shot on 22 October 1970 by a group led by General Roberto Viaux, whom the Central Intelligence Agency had not attempted to discourage, and died three days later.) General Prats supported the legalist Schneider Doctrine and refused military involvement in a coup d'état against President Allende.

Despite the declining economy, President Allende's Popular Unity coalition increased its vote to 43.2% in the March 1973 parliamentary elections; but, by then, the informal alliance between Popular Unity and the Christian Democrats ended. The Christian Democrats allied with the right-wing National Party, who were opposed to Allende's government; the two right-wing parties formed the Confederation of Democracy (CODE). The internecine parliamentary conflict between the legislature and the executive branch paralyzed the activities of government.

Allende began to fear his opponents, convinced they were plotting his assassination. Using his daughter as a messenger, he explained the situation to Fidel Castro. Castro gave four pieces of advice: convince technicians to stay in Chile, sell only copper for US dollars, do not engage in extreme revolutionary acts which would give opponents an excuse to wreck or seize control of the economy, and maintain a proper relationship with the Chilean military until local militias could be established and consolidated. Allende attempted to follow Castro's advice, but the latter two recommendations proved difficult.

Chilean military prior to the coup

Prior to the coup, the Chilean military had undergone a process of de-politicization since the 1920s, when military officers had held cabinet positions. Subsequently, most military officers remained under-funded, having only subsistence salaries. Because of the low salaries, the military spent much time in military leisure-time facilities (e.g., country clubs) where they met other officers and their families. The military remained apart from society and was to some degree an endogamous group as officers frequently married the sisters of their comrades or the daughters of high-ranked older officers. Many officers also had relatives in the military. In 1969 elements of the military made their first act of rebellion in 40 years when they participated in the Tacnazo insurrection. The Tacnazo was not a proper coup, but a protest against under-funding. In retrospect General Carlos Prats considered that Christian Democrats who were in power in 1969 committed the error of not taking the military's grievances seriously.

Throughout the 1960s, the governments of Brazil (1964), Argentina (1966), Peru (1968), and Bolivia (1969) were overthrown in US-backed coups and replaced by military governments. In June 1973 Uruguay joined the coup d'état wave that swept through the region. The poor conditions of the Chilean military contrasted with the change of fortune the military of neighboring countries experienced as they came to power in coups.

During the decades prior to the coup, the military became influenced by the United States' anti-communist ideology in the context of various cooperation programs, including the U.S. Army School of the Americas.


On 29 June 1973, Colonel Roberto Souper surrounded La Moneda presidential palace with his tank regiment and failed to depose the Allende Government. That failed coup d'état – known as the Tanquetazo tank putsch – had been organized by the nationalist "Fatherland and Liberty" paramilitary group.

In August 1973, a constitutional crisis occurred; the Supreme Court publicly complained about the government's inability to enforce the law of the land. On 22 August, the Christian Democrats united with the National Party of the Chamber of Deputies accused the government of unconstitutional acts and called upon the military to enforce constitutional order.

For months, the government had feared calling upon the Carabineros national police, suspecting them of disloyalty. On 9 August, Allende appointed General Carlos Prats as Minister of Defense. He was forced to resign both as defense minister and as the Army commander-in-chief on 24 August 1973, embarrassed by the Alejandrina Cox incident and a public protest of the wives of his generals at his house. General Augusto Pinochet replaced him as Army commander-in-chief the same day. In late August 1973, 100,000 Chilean women congregated at Plaza de la Constitución to protest against the government for the rising cost and increasing shortages of food and fuels, but they were dispersed with tear gas.

Resolution by the Chamber of Deputies

On 23 August 1973, with the support of the Christian Democrats and National Party members, the Chamber of Deputies passed 81–47 a resolution that asked "the President of the Republic, Ministers of State, and members of the Armed and Police Forces" to "put an immediate end" to "breach[es of] the Constitution . . . with the goal of redirecting government activity toward the path of Law and ensuring the Constitutional order of our Nation, and the essential underpinnings of democratic co-existence among Chileans".

The resolution declared that the Allende government sought "to conquer absolute power with the obvious purpose of subjecting all citizens to the strictest political and economic control by the state ... [with] the goal of establishing a totalitarian system", claiming it had made "violations of the Constitution ... a permanent system of conduct". Essentially, most of the accusations were about the government disregarding the separation of powers, and arrogating legislative and judicial prerogatives to the executive branch of government. Finally, the resolution condemned the "creation and development of government-protected armed groups, which ... are headed towards a confrontation with the armed forces". President Allende's efforts to re-organize the military and the police forces were characterised as "notorious attempts to use the armed and police forces for partisan ends, destroy their institutional hierarchy, and politically infiltrate their ranks".

It can be argued that the resolution called upon the armed forces to overthrow the government if it did not comply, as follows: "To present the President of the Republic, Ministers of State, and members of the Armed and Police Forces with the grave breakdown of the legal and constitutional order ... it is their duty to put an immediate end to all situations herein referred to that breach the Constitution and the laws of the land with the aim of redirecting government activity toward the path of Law". The resolution was later used by Pinochet a way to justify the coup, which occurred two weeks later.


In mid-July, a month before the resolution of the Chamber of Deputies, there was general agreement in the heart of the Army's high command on the desirability of terminating the Unidad Popular "experiment." How to do it was still nebulous. The constitutional generals, gathered around Army Commander-in-Chief General Carlos Prats, were facing pressure from an increasingly hardline anti-Allende faction within the Army. Prats had coined the idea of an Allende–Armed Forces government, including a "political peace treaty" with the Christian Democrats and restricted participation of the Chilean Communist party and a group of Socialists. Prats argued that "only thus will we prevent the extremist workers from rebelling." This idea had the support of Generals Joaquin Lagos Osorio, Herman Brady Roche, Washington Carrasco Fernandez, Hector Bravo Munoz, Mario Sepulveda Squella, Guillermo Pickering, and Orlando Urbina Herrera, but with variations. While Lagos Osorio and Urbina Herrera did not object to the Prats plan, the other five generals thought the Allende–Armed Forces government ought to be "transitional" and of "short duration," to prepare conditions for a "purely military government including the military police." The hardline faction, consisting of Generals Oscar Bonilla, Sergio Arellano Stark, and Javier Palacios formed another group, joined by Augusto Pinochet, which posited that the Allende–Armed Forces phase was not necessary.

After Prats' resignation on 24 August caused by the Alejandrina Cox incident, the hardline anti-Allende, anti-constitutional faction that disregarded the Schneider Doctrine and opted for a full-fledged military coup, gained the upper hand in the Army leadership. The original members of the faction, Arellano (who later headed the infamous Caravan of Death) and Palacios (who on September 11 led the tank regiment that besieged La Moneda), were joined by Pinochet, Generals Mendoza, Leigh, Benavides and Admirals Merino and Carvajal. Constitutionalist General Urbina also joined the coup faction. Orlando Letelier, Allende's last Defense Minister, later wrote: "Urbina also joined Pinochet's double game and acted in terms of a great traitor. He had a reputation as an Allendista military man, but he had been Pinochet's classmate and even his confidant during the Unidad Popular government."

At noon on Sunday, September 9, Pinochet, together with General Orlando Urbina, met with President Allende. The president requested that they draw up an emergency plan in the event of a coup riot. Pinochet promised to have it by the next day."

On the day of the coup, the only high-ranking military officers to remain loyal to Chile's Constitution were Admiral Montero of the Navy and General Sepúlveda of the Carabineros.

Foreign involvement

United States

"Like Caesar peering into the colonies from distant Rome, Nixon said the choice of government by the Chileans was unacceptable to the president of the United States. The attitude in the White House seemed to be, "If in the wake of Vietnam I can no longer send in the Marines, then I will send in the CIA."—Senator Frank Church, 1976

Many people in different parts of the world immediately suspected the U.S. of foul play. In early newspaper reports, the U.S. denied any involvement or previous knowledge of the coup. Prompted by an incriminating New York Times article, the U.S. Senate opened an investigation into U.S. interference in Chile. A report prepared by the United States Intelligence Community in 2000, at the direction of the National Intelligence Council, that echoed the Church committee, states that:

Although CIA did not instigate the coup that ended Allende's government on 11 September 1973, it was aware of coup-plotting by the military, had ongoing intelligence collection relationships with some plotters, and—because CIA did not discourage the takeover and had sought to instigate a coup in 1970—probably appeared to condone it.

The report stated that the CIA "actively supported the military Junta after the overthrow of Allende but did not assist Pinochet to assume the Presidency." After a review of recordings of telephone conversations between Nixon and Henry Kissinger, Robert Dallek concluded that both of them used the CIA to actively destabilize the Allende government. In one particular conversation about the news of Allende's overthrow, Kissinger complained about the lack of recognition of the American role in the overthrow of a "communist" government, upon which Nixon remarked, "Well, we didn't – as you know – our hand doesn't show on this one." A later CIA report contended that US agents maintained close ties with the Chilean military to collect intelligence but no effort was made to assist them and "under no circumstances attempted to influence them."

Since Allende’s inauguration, U.S. policy has been to maintain maximum covert pressure to prevent the Allende regime’s consolidation. — William Colby, September 16, 1973, in a memorandum to Henry Kissinger

Historian Peter Winn found "extensive evidence" of United States complicity in the coup. He states that its covert support was crucial to engineering the coup, as well as for the consolidation of power by the Pinochet regime following the takeover. Winn documents an extensive CIA operation to fabricate reports of a coup against Allende, as justification for the imposition of military rule. Peter Kornbluh asserts that the CIA destabilized Chile and helped create the conditions for the coup, citing documents declassified by the Clinton administration. Other authors point to the involvement of the Defense Intelligence Agency, agents of which allegedly secured the missiles used to bombard the La Moneda Palace.

The U.S. Government's hostility to the election of Allende in 1970 in Chile was substantiated in documents declassified during the Clinton administration, which show that CIA covert operatives were inserted in Chile in order to prevent a Marxist government from arising and for the purpose of spreading anti-Allende propaganda. As described in the Church Committee report, the CIA was involved in multiple plots designed to remove Allende and then let the Chileans vote in a new election where he would not be a candidate. The first, non-military, approach involved attempting a constitutional coup. This was known as the Track I approach, in which the CIA, with the approval of the 40 Committee, attempted to bribe the Chilean legislature, tried to influence public opinion against Allende, and provided funding to strikes designed to coerce him into resigning. It also attempted to get congress to confirm Jorge Alessandri as the winner of the presidential election. Alessandri, who was an accessory to the conspiracy, was ready to then resign and call for fresh elections. This approach completely failed in 1970 and was not attempted again.

The other approach of the CIA in 1970 (but not later), also known as the Track II approach, was an attempt to encourage a military coup by creating a climate of crisis across the country. A CIA telegram sent to the Chile station on October 16, 1970, stated:

It is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup. It would be much preferable to have this transpire prior to 24 October but efforts in this regard will continue vigorously beyond this date. We are to continue to generate maximum pressure toward this end utilizing every appropriate resource. It is imperative that these actions be implemented clandestinely and securely so that the USG and American hand be well hidden."

False flag operatives contacted senior Chilean military officers and informed them that the U.S. would actively support a coup, but would revoke all military aid if such a coup did not happen. In addition, the CIA gave extensive support for black propaganda against Allende, channeled mostly through El Mercurio. Financial assistance was also given to Allende's political opponents, and for organizing strikes and unrest to destabilize the government. By 1970, the U.S. manufacturing company ITT Corporation owned 70% of Chitelco (the Chilean Telephone Company), and also funded El Mercurio. The CIA used ITT as a means of disguising the source of the illegitimate funding Allende's opponents received. On 28 September 1973, the Weather Underground bombed ITT's headquarters in New York City in retaliation.

According to an article written by lifelong CIA operative Jack Devine, although it was widely reported that the CIA was directly involved in orchestrating and carrying out the coup, subsequently released sources suggest a much reduced role of the US government.

United Kingdom

In September 2020, Declassified UK revealed that the UK government had interfered in Chile's democracy as well:

Under the Labour government of Harold Wilson (1964–1970), a secret Foreign Office unit initiated a propaganda offensive in Chile aiming to prevent Allende, Chile's leading socialist figure, winning power in two presidential elections, in 1964 and 1970.

The unit – the Information Research Department (IRD) – gathered information designed to damage Allende and lend legitimacy to his political opponents, and distributed material to influential figures within Chilean society.

The IRD also shared intelligence about left-wing activity in the country with the US government. British officials in Santiago assisted a CIA-funded media organisation which was part of extensive US covert action to overthrow Allende, culminating in the 1973 coup.


An Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) station was established in Chile at the Australian embassy in July 1971 at the request of the CIA and authorised by then Liberal Party Foreign Minister William McMahon. Newly elected Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam was informed of the operation in February 1973 and signed a document ordering the closure of the operation several weeks later. It appears, however, the last ASIS agent did not leave Chile until October 1973, one month after the coup d'état had brought down the Allende Government. There were also two officers of Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), Australia's internal security service, who were based in Santiago working as migration officers during this period. The failure of timely closure of Australia's covert operations was one of the reasons for the sacking of the Director of ASIS on 21 October 1975. This took effect on 7 November, just four days before Prime Minister's Whitlam's own dismissal in the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis with allegations of CIA political interference.

In June 2021, Clinton Fernandes, a former intelligence analyst, announced that he was trying to confirm the rumours of Australia's involvement in the coup by fighting for the declassification of key documents. On 10 September 2021, the day before the 48th anniversary of the coup, declassified documents confirmed that McMahon did indeed approve the CIA's request to conduct covert operations in Chile. According to the files, ASIS set up a surveillance unit in Santiago as part of the wider CIA campaign to discredit the Allende government.

Military action

By 6:00 am on 11 September 1973, a date chosen to match a historical 1924 coup, the Navy captured Valparaíso, strategically stationing ships and marine infantry in the central coast and closed radio and television networks. The Province Prefect informed President Allende of the Navy's actions; immediately, the president went to the presidential palace with his bodyguards, the "Group of Personal Friends" (GAP). By 8:00 am, the Army had closed most radio and television stations in Santiago city; the Air Force bombed the remaining active stations; the President received incomplete information and was convinced that only a sector of the Navy conspired against him and his government.

President Allende and Defense Minister Orlando Letelier were unable to communicate with military leaders. Admiral Montero, the Navy's commander and an Allende loyalist, was rendered incommunicado; his telephone service was cut, and his cars were sabotaged before the coup d'état, to ensure he could not thwart the opposition. Leadership of the Navy was transferred to José Toribio Merino, planner of the coup d'état and executive officer to Adm. Montero. Augusto Pinochet, General of the Army, and Gustavo Leigh, General of the Air Force, did not answer Allende's telephone calls to them. The General Director of the Carabineros (uniformed police), José María Sepúlveda, and the head of the Investigations Police (plain clothes detectives), Alfredo Joignant answered Allende's calls and immediately went to the La Moneda presidential palace. When Defense Minister Letelier arrived at the Ministry of Defense, controlled by Adm. Patricio Carvajal, he was arrested as the first prisoner of the coup d'état.

Despite evidence that all branches of the Chilean armed forces were involved in the coup, Allende hoped that some units remained loyal to the government. Allende was convinced of Pinochet's loyalty, telling a reporter that the coup d'état leaders must have imprisoned the general. Only at 8:30 am, when the armed forces declared their control of Chile and that Allende was deposed, did the president grasp the magnitude of the military's rebellion. Despite the lack of any military support, Allende refused to resign his office.

At approx. 9:00 the carabineros of the La Moneda left the building. By 9:00 am, the armed forces controlled Chile, except for the city centre of the capital, Santiago. Allende refused to surrender, despite the military's declaring they would bomb the La Moneda presidential palace if he resisted being deposed. The Socialist Party along with his Cuban advisors proposed to Allende that he escape to the San Joaquín industrial zone in southern Santiago, to later re-group and lead a counter-coup d'état; the president rejected the proposition. According to Tanya Harmer, Allende's refusal to lead an insurgency against the coup is evidence of his unrelenting desire to bring about change through non-violent methods. The military attempted negotiations with Allende, but the President refused to resign, citing his constitutional duty to remain in office. Finally, at 10:30 am, Allende gave a farewell speech, telling the nation of the coup d'état and his refusal to resign his elected office under threat.

Leigh ordered the presidential palace bombed but was told the Air Force's Hawker Hunter jet aircraft would take forty minutes to arrive from their base at Concepcion. Pinochet ordered an armoured and infantry force under General Sergio Arellano to advance upon the La Moneda presidential palace. When the troops moved forward, they were forced to retreat after coming under fire from GAP snipers perched on rooftops. General Arellano called for helicopter gunship support from the commander of the Chilean Army Puma helicopter squadron and the troops were able to advance again. Chilean Air Force aircraft soon arrived to provide close air support for the assault (by bombing the Palace), but the defenders did not surrender until nearly 2:30 pm. First reports said the 65-year-old president had died fighting troops, but later police sources reported he had killed himself.


Chile- el pueblo vencera cropped
The facilities of the National Stadium were used as a detention center after the coup.

In the first months after the coup d'état, the military killed thousands of Chilean leftists, both real and suspected, or forced their "disappearance".

The government arrested some 130,000 people in a three-year period; the dead and disappeared numbered thousands in the first months of the military government.


Installing a new regime

Chile Junta001
Original members of the Government Junta of Chile (1973)

On 13 September, the Junta dissolved Congress, outlawed the parties that had been part of the Popular Unity coalition, and all political activity was declared "in recess". The military government took control of all media, including the radio broadcasting that Allende attempted to use to give his final speech to the nation. It is not known how many Chileans actually heard the last words of Allende as he spoke them, but a transcript and audio of the speech survived the military government. Chilean scholar Lidia M. Baltra details how the military took control of the media platforms and turned them into their own "propaganda machine". The only two newspapers that were allowed to continue publishing after the military takeover were El Mercurio and La Tercera de la Hora, both of which were anti-Allende under his leadership. The dictatorship's silencing of the leftist point of view extended past the media and into "every discourse that expressed any resistance to the regime".

In the months that followed the coup, the junta, with authoring work by historian Gonzalo Vial and Admiral Patricio Carvajal, published a book titled El Libro Blanco del cambio de gobierno en Chile (commonly known as El Libro Blanco, "The White Book of the Change of Government in Chile"), where they attempted to justify the coup by claiming that they were in fact anticipating a self-coup (the alleged Plan Zeta, or Plan Z) that Allende's government or its associates were purportedly preparing. Historian Peter Winn states that the Central Intelligence Agency had an extensive part to play in fabricating the conspiracy and in selling it to the press, both in Chile and internationally. Although later discredited and officially recognized as the product of political propaganda, Gonzalo Vial has pointed to the similarities between the alleged Plan Z and other existing paramilitary plans of the Popular Unity parties in support of its legitimacy.

A document from September 13 shows that Jaime Guzmán was by then already tasked to study the creation of a new constitution. One of the first measures of the dictatorship was to set up a Secretaría Nacional de la Juventud (SNJ, National Youth Office). This was done on 28 October 1973, even before the Declaration of Principles of the junta made in March 1974. This was a way of mobilizing sympathetic elements of the civil society in support for the dictatorship.

International reaction

President of Argentina Juan Domingo Perón condemned the coup calling it a "fatality for the continent". Before the coup Perón had warned the more radical of his followers to stay calm and "not do as Allende". Argentine students protested the coup at the Chilean embassy in Buenos Aires, where part of them chanted that they were "ready to cross the Andes" (dispuestos a cruzar la cordillera).

Legal impact

A number of cargo shipments involving trade with Cuba were affected by government policy decisions, and subsequently performance of the trade contracts underlying the shipping deliveries was made illegal under Cuban law. The Chilean company Iansa had purchased sugar from the Cuban business entity, Cubazukar, and several shipments were at different stages of the shipping and delivery process. The ships involved included:

  • Playa Larga (delivery in Chile was underway but was not completed before the ship left)
  • The Marble Island (the ship was en route for Chile but was diverted elsewhere)
  • Aegis Fame (hire was cancelled before the cargo had been loaded).

The shipping contracts used c.i.f. trade terms. Iansa sued Cubazukar for non-delivery. The High Court (in England) ruled that IANSA was entitled to damages in respect of the undelivered balance of the Playa Larga cargo and to restitution of the price paid for the Marble Island cargo. Subsequent appeals by both parties were dismissed. In regard to the Aegis Fame shipping, the contract was frustrated and therefore Cubazukar were not in breach.


The commemoration of the coup is associated to competing narratives on its cause and effects. The coup has been commemorated by detractors and supporters in various ways.

On 11 September 1975 Pinochet lit the Llama de la Libertad (lit. Flame of Liberty) to commemorate the coup. This flame was extinguished in 2004. Avenida Nueva Providencia in Providencia, Santiago, was renamed Avenida 11 de Septiembre in 1980. In the 30th anniversary of the coup President Ricardo Lagos inaugurated the Morandé 80 entrance to La Moneda. This entrance to the presidential palace had been erased during the repairs the dictatorship did to the building after the bombing.

Films and documentaries

  • Bear Story
  • Bestia
  • Chicago Boys
  • Colonia
  • Ecos del Desierto
  • Invisible Heroes
  • Machuca
  • Missing (1982 film)
  • ¡Nae pasaran!
  • No
  • ReMastered: Massacre at the Stadium
  • The Battle of Chile
  • The Black Pimpernel
  • The House of the Spirits

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Golpe de Estado en Chile de 1973 para niños

Black History Month on Kiddle
Famous African-American Artists:
Emma Amos
Edward Mitchell Bannister
Larry D. Alexander
Ernie Barnes
kids search engine
1973 Chilean coup d'état Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.