SANTIAGO – Some 3,000 people gathered on Friday to honor late socialist President Salvador Allende, who took his own life on this date 42 years ago as military aircraft bombed La Moneda Palace in a coup led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet.
President Michelle Bachelet, one of more than 27,000 people detained and tortured during the 1973-1980 Pinochet regime, was present for the ceremony along with her Cabinet and former heads of state Ricardo Lagos and Eduardo Frei.
“Coming together is better than separation, dialogue is better than confrontation, and because of that all our actions must strengthen democratic coexistence, because without it will not be possible to tackle the great tasks at hand,” Bachelet said, alluding to the current political polarization in Chile.
“No country can develop without acknowledging its history and having a shared moral sense,” the president said. “Without memory the present makes no sense and the future holds no hope.”
“Never again the power of death, only that of life!” an emotional Bachelet exclaimed before she and Isabel Allende, daughter of the late president and current leader of the Socialist Party, laid a wreath in the area of the palace where Salvador Allende shot himself on Sept. 11, 1973.
Outside La Moneda Palace, family members of the regime’s victims and human rights organizations gathered around the Allende statue to honor the more than 3,000 people killed under Pinochet.