December 12, 2013
Piñera: Allende ‘disturbed the democratic order’
SANTIAGO — The 40th anniversary of the coup led by General Augusto Pinochet against the government of Socialist president Salvador Allende, which takes place today, has forced most key figures in the Chilean political establishment to take sides. Their statements are evidence of the polarization that persists 40 years after the 1973 military coup.
Here are some of the opinions recently expressed by Chilean political figures:
— President Sebastián Piñera:
“The Popular Unity government (of Allende) disturbed the democratic order” but that “doesn’t justify the human rights violations” that the military government committed.
“It is good to remember painful events, not to relive the hatred and divisions that caused so much suffering but to learn from those mistakes. When thousands of fellow countrymen suffer human rights’ violations there are no solutions that can repair the pain and damage caused. We cannot resuscitate the dead or find the disappeared but we have to do what we can to alleviate the suffering and move forward in terms of truth, justice and reconciliation.”
— Former president Michelle Bachelet: “Reconciliation cannot be built on the absence of truth, justice and mourning. It is not fair to talk about the military coup as an unavoidable destiny. To give support to democracy more democracy was needed, not a coup. The crimes committed by state agents and the violation of human rights are not justifiable and are the responsibility of those who committed them.” ç
— Former Socialist Party leader, Senator Camilo Escalona: “Personally, I apologize for contributing to polarization and confrontation”.
— Ruling party presidential candidate Evelyn Matthei: “I was 20 years old when the coup took place. I have nothing to apologize for. I couldn’t have done anything, I wasn’t part of the government”.
After Escalona’s apology, she said: “I never heard Bachelet do the same.”
— Independent Democratic Union (UDI) Senator Hernán Larraín: “If it is true that it helps to ask for forgiveness, it is also true that it helps to forgive. So, why not give a personal step forward without waiting for others to say what one wants to hear? I apologize for not doing enough to help with reconciliation.”.
— Senate President Jorge Pizarro: “The Christian Democracy never supported the coup and did everything in its power to defend freedom. The only thing that the DC did after the coup was fight for human rights and to recover democracy”.
— Judges’ Association of Chile: “We apologize because of the entity’s actions and omissions. (We failed) to protect those who insistently demanded our intervention”.
— Socialist Senator Isabel Allende (daughter of toppled president Salvador Allende): “Let’s forget the word ‘forgiveness’. If somebody wants to, they can forgive on a personal basis. The Socialist Party has acknowledged a while ago that its backing of president Allende was contradictory, that there wasn’t only one strategy behind the president.”.
Herald with Télam