Copied from http://www.rrojasdatabank.org/murder10.htm without permission.

September 11, 1973 revisited in the sovereign nation of Chile.

Allende was murdered by the CIA with full cooperation of the american-trained Chilean military under the command of Pinochet, america's puppet man!

Allende had nationalized Chile's Copper industry, the largest copper mine in whole world. Corporate america got upset about it and demanded payment for this take-over. Allende told them to take a hike, for, he said, "Chile never got paid a cent for all the gold mined out of the pits as a by-product of the extraction process which alone has paid for the mine many times over."

America's corporate elite did not like Allende's plain-truth-logic and began flexing their conspiracy muscle of toppling the people-elected leader from his throne as benefactor of the Chilean people and began to interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign state with a coup de tat contrary to all internationally accepted norms of conduct among nations.

What follows is the detailed account of the President's murder. -Reni Sentana-Ries

For the Record!!

The murder of Allende
And the end of the Chilean way to socialism
Róbinson Rojas
Harper and Row, New York, 1975,1976-Fitzhenry&Whiteside Ltd., Toronto, Canada, 1975

Contents

A necessary explanation

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Notes

Index

1 The Artful Staging
of a "Suicide"

 
          A disciplined, organized, and aware people is, along with an               honest and loyal armed forces and military police, the best               defense of the Popular government and of the future of the               country.
                    SALVADOR ALLENDE, speech May 1, 1971, in Plaza Bulnes,                       Santiago, Chile
          And they have the power, they can smash us, but the social                 processes cannot be held back either by crime or by force.             History is ours, and the People will make it.
                    SALVADOR ALLENDE, speech September 11,1973, at 9:15                       A.M., in the Palacio de La Moneda, Santiago, Chile, taped                       as the attack by the rebel generals was under way and                       broadcast by Radio Magallanes

 
Six or seven minutes past 2 P.M. on September 11, 1973, an infiltration patrol of the San Bemardo Infantry School commanded by Captain Roberto Garrido burst into the second floor of the Chilean Presiden- tial Palace, Santiago's Palacio de La Moneda. Charging up the main staircase and covering themselves with spurts from their FAL ma- chine guns, the patrol advanced to the entrance of the Salon Rojo, the state reception hall. Inside, through dense smoke coming from fires elsewhere in the building and from the explosion of tear gas bombs, grenades, and shells from Sherman tank cannons, the patrol captain saw a band of civilians braced to defend themselves with submachine guns. In a reflex action, Captain Garrido loosed a short burst from his weapon. One of his three bullets struck a civilian in the stomach. A soldier in Garrido's patrol imitated his commander, wounding the same man in the abdomen. As the man writhed on the floor in agony,

2                                                               THE MURDER OF ALLENDE

Garrido suddenly realized who he was: Salvador Allende. "We shit on the President!" he shouted. There was more machine-gun fire from Garrido's patrol. Allende was riddled with bullets. As he slumped back dead, a second group of civilian defenders broke into the Salon Rojo from a side door. Their gunfire drove back Garrido and his patrol, who fled down the main staircase to the safety of the first floor, which the rebel troops had occupied.
   Some of the civilians returned to the Salon Rojo to see what could be done. Among them was Dr. Enrique Paris, a psychiatrist and President Allende's personal doctor. He leaned over the body, which showed the points of impact of at least six shots in the abdomen and lower stomach region. After taking Allende's pulse, he signaled that the President was dead. Someone, out of nowhere, appeared with a Chilean flag, and Enrique Paris covered the body with it.
  The furious battle between the first and second floors continued. Dr. Paris's group left the half-destroyed Salon Rojo, whose roof was now in flames. In groups of four and five people, the defenders con- tinued fighting, most of them unaware that President Allende was dead.
   Less than an hour later, around quarter to three in the afternoon, the civilian defenders were overcome by troops from the Infantry School, the Tacna Regiment, and the 2nd Armored Regiment. Thirty- two people had survived of the original group of forty-two men and women who had been defending La Moneda for five hours. The entire second floor of the building was now occupied by the invading troops.
   The commander of the attack on La Moneda, Brigadier General Javier Palacios Ruhman, followed by Captain Garrido and his patrol, marched into the Salon Rojo, leaned over Allende's body, and pulled away the bloody Chilean flag. Turning to Garrido, General Palacios ordered: "We must seal off this room. Don't let anybody else in. No one is to see the President's body. Put me through to headquarters, to General Pinochet in person."
   " Attention Post One! Attention Post One! Combat Unit Alpha One here. General Palacios requests to speak to General Pinochet."

   The Artful Staging of a "Suicide"                                                  3

   Palacios took the radio microphone and reported in a dry, precise voice: "General Palacios to General Pinochet. Mission accomplished. Moneda taken. President dead."
   "How is the body?" the Army's commander in chief asked. "Destroyed."
   "Don't let anyone see it. Wait for instructions."
   It was then a few minutes before 3 P.M. on September 11, 1973. At 6 A.M. that morning, the high command of the Chilean armed forces had mobilized some 100,000 men and launched an all-out attack against the economic, political, social, and administrative centers in the country. No less than 3,000 leaders of laborers, farmers, office workers, and political parties were murdered on September 11. Be- tween the eleventh and the fifteenth, 5,500 more were to be killed combating the rebel military forces, and some 6,300 persons would be imprisoned and shot or murdered in some other way between the twelfth and the thirtieth of September. In the first eighteen days, there were approximately 15,000 civilian casualties. Of these, slightly less than 6,000 were in Santiago: 800 murdered on the eleventh, 2,900 killed later in combat, and 2,200 shot or murdered after being taken prisoner with or without "summary trial in time of war."
   These tragic statistics are the result of the second part of the coup plan, Operation Beta One, which the rebel generals had intended principally to affect Santiago. It involved the military occupation of the city's two main industrial concentrations: Los Cerrillos, in the southeast, and Vicuna Mackenna, in the central eastern area. In con- junction with these occupations, commando units composed of mili- tary personnel and civilian fascists were to engage in "pincer opera- tions." Between 6 and 8 A.M. on the eleventh, these units would arrest about 6,000 persons throughout the country. Prisoners were to be taken to military headquarters, subjected to brief, pointed interroga- tions, and executed immediately afterward. The military described this as "cleaning up the motors of Marxism"; these people were leaders of towns, unions, farm worker settlements, political parties, and leftist cultural organizations. The list of their names had been in

4                                                                THE MURDER OF ALLENDE

preparation since November 1972. Its compilation was a joint effort of Chilean Army, Navy, and Air Force intelligence. The Chilean military had close affiliations with the intelligence departments of the U.S. Southern Command in the Canal Zone and with members of the Brazilian Embassy in Santiago.
  The rebel generals believed Beta One could be completed during the afternoon of the eleventh, but the people's resistance in Vicuna Mackenna and Los Cerrillos surprised them, continuing through the night of the eleventh. Around noon on the twelfth, the workers' scanty munitions gave out, and mass murders in the Santiago labor housing sectors, including La Legua and Lo Hermida, finally stopped most of the resistance.
   It was only then that the generals felt confident about announcing the achievement of the first part of the coup, Operation Alpha One.1* This was the "suicide" of Salvador Allende Gossens.
   During Alpha One, La Moneda was to be taken in order to capture the President himself. Estimated time for its completion was 120 minutes after the onset of the attack on La Moneda (9 A.M., Septem- her II, 1973). The rebels' intelligence estimates did not envision resis- tance from the handful of civilians inside the palace. They expected Allende to surrender at once when faced with infantry, armored cars, tanks, and the threat of aerial bombardment. After transferring him to 2nd Armored barracks, the rebel generals probably thought that as a result of various humiliations they planned for him Allende would commit suicide if momentarily left without a guard. This would be announced to the country around one o'clock that after- noon.
   Instead, it took five hours to capture La Moneda and subdue forty- two civilians armed with submachine guns and one bazooka. This small group held off a siege of eight Sherman tanks (each equipped with a 75-mm. cannon and a .50-caliber machine gun), two recoilless

 
  *Notes, documenting or elaborating on statements made in the text, begin on page 221.

   The Artful Staging of a "Suicide"                                                       5

75-mm. cannons mounted on Jeeps, and two hundred infantrymen from two Santiago regiments, and the bombardment of a pair of Hawker Hunter fighter jets, equipped with eighteen rockets apiece (of which eighteen were released, striking their target between 11:56 A.M. and 12:15 P.M.). The jets also strafed the rooftops and the second floor of La Moneda.
  It was not until 2:50 P.M. that the rebel high command could announce to the country that "the Palacio de La Moneda has been taken by the armed forces." Owing to the unexpected resistance in La Moneda, the original scenario of Allende's "clean suicide" collapsed. It took the conspiring generals four hours (from 3 to 7 P.M.) to improvise a new script. This entailed "discovering" Allende's "sui- cide" inside La Moneda and finding an "eyewitness." Their drama was so shoddily concocted that superficial inspection would reveal its many contradictions and obvious lies. The members of the rebel high command were painfully aware of this, and for more than twenty hours they stalled, reluctant to inform the Chilean people of the President's death. Finally, the news was leaked abroad and the Chi- leans learned from foreign correspondents that their President had "committed suicide."
          THE REBEL FORCES
The purpose of this bloodbath has been exposed to the world by subsequent events in Chile. By altering the entire political and eco- nomic system of Chile, the rebel generals intended to restore and protect the interests of the North American multinational companies and about twenty Chilean oligopolies in industry, commerce, and finance. To ensure their continuing control, the generals undertook to liquidate the Chilean workers' capacity to fight back and make de- mands, by subjecting them to a regime of brutal dictatorship, in which factories, offices, farms, streets, and private houses were to take on all the characteristics of military barracks.
   These repressive forces had been in the making for more than

6                                                                 THE MURDER OF ALLENDE

twenty years. In 1952, Gabriel Gonzlilez Videla, the President of Chile and head of the Radical party, signed a Mutual Aid Pact with the United States. Since that time, the Chilean military had been trained and financed by the U.S. armed services.2 On September 10, 1973, these Chilean troops and their officers were mobilized to attack the constitutionally elected Chilean government. Their combined strength consisted of:
   Army: Just over 30,000 men, organized in six divisions, one of which is cavalry. There are six cavalry regiments, two armored regi- ments, and two of mobile artillery geared for use in mountainous territory. Ten of the sixteen infantry regiments are motorized. There are five artillery regiments. Out of the total number of regiments, eight are stationed in Santiago, the capital. Training is permanently advised by the U.S. military missions, whose teaching duties range from the Academy of War (for officers in the General Staff) to the Junior Officers' Training School in Santiago. Here all the teaching plans, discussion groups, and courses in "general culture" in the Army regiments (and Air Force, Navy, and military police units) are pre- pared with the advice of U.S. experts.
   Air Force: Just under 9,000 men. It includes bombardier, air attack, antiaircraft, combat helicopter, and ground support units. It depends on the U .S. Air Force to such an extent that its commander in chief prior to the present one (Gustavo Leigh Guzmlin, a member of the military junta), Cesar Ruiz Danyau, was known to his aides as "the Yankee," because he was in constant contact with the U.S. Air Force mission in Chile.
   Navy: Slightly over 15,000 men. In addition to a combat fleet, the Navy has Marines, naval aviation, and naval engineer units. Its offi- cers are the heirs of British Navy tradition, and its commanders consider themselves the military aristocracy of Chile. In planning the military coup against Allende, they proposed the massive Operation Pincers plan to assassinate popular leaders.
  Military Police: Slightly more than 30,000 men. Its organization is militarized, possessing automatic weapons and a company of antiriot

   The Artful Staging of a "Suicide"                                               7

tanks equipped with one .30-caliber machine gun each. Here, too, training is overseen by Americans. A major scandal erupted in 1969 when the complete text of the antiriot training primer employed by the motorized section of the military police was published by a leftist magazine, Causa ML. Classified "secret" for civilians, this primer had been produced by the U.S. Pentagon.
  The entire Chilean armed forces total approximately 85,000 men; these were supplemented on the day of the coup by more than 10,000 civilians (ex-soldiers, reserve officers, and so on), who belonged to armed fascist groups such as Fatherland and Liberty (Patria y Liber- tad), the ex-Cadet Commandos, and the Rolando Matus Commandos, and supplied with arms by the Marines and the Air Force. These 10,000 civilians played a supporting role during the military coup as "independent units," receiving orders directly from the coup's cen- tral Command.
   One would like to believe that not all units of the armed forces participated in the uprising, but the facts show that internal dissent was minimal. For instance, in Santiago, only a very few of the com- manders of the Junior Officers' Training School, the Railwaymen Regiment of  Puente Alto, and the Military Police School opposed the coup. They were murdered by their own unit companions.
          THE BACKGROUND OF THE CONSPIRACY
The conspiracy to overthrow the constitutional government of Chile started in October-November 1972, when American intelligence agencies probably concluded that, despite Allende's devotion to the Constitution, the workers and peasants were now on the verge of going beyond constitutional means to attain their increasingly revolutionary objectives.3
   About a third of the Army generals, the majority of the Air Force generals, almost the whole of the Navy high command, and the majority of the military police's commanders began to make plans. There is convincing authority for the premise that the U.S. Southern

  8                                                           THE MURDER OF ALLENDE

Command in the Canal Zone, as well as various elements within the Department of Defense in Washington, were carefully apprized of these plans. Two stages were envisioned: first, a "softening" of public opinion, through activities of the Christian Democratic and National parties, and of controversial fascist groups such as Fatherland and Liberty, ex-Cadet Commandos and Rolando Matus Commandos, and employers' guilds such as the Society for Industrial Development (Sociedad de Fomento Fabril, grouping the industrial oligarchy), the National Agriculture Society (grouping the agricultural oligarchy), and the National Confederation of Production and Commerce (grouping the industrial, commercial, and financial oligarchy); second, "attacking the prey," when the prey (the Allende government) was already cornered and breathless and without much popular support.
    This scheme included a "wait-and-see" period to evaluate the out- come of the March 4, 1973, elections for the seats of 150 Deputies in the Lower House of the Chilean Parliament and 25 Senate seats (out of a total of 50) in the Upper House. At that time, the fate of  Salvador AIlende, once he had been ousted, had not been determined. Until June 1973, the prevailing idea had been to send Allende into exile. In addition, a minority of the generals, especially those in the Army, believed that they could convince Allende to head a "national unification " civilian-military government, excluding the leftist political parties from official participation. This they referred to as a "soft coup." But in the March 1973 elections, Allende's Unidad Popular ticket carried almost 44 percent4 of the vote. Pressure from laborers', peasants', and office workers' unions began to create the climate for the formation of grass-roots power structures that just might find a way to supplant the economic, political, and social power of the North American multinationals and the national oligopolists. The attitude of the most reactionary generals, as well as that of the Pentagon Latin-American desk, hardened. They began to pressure those generals who still clung to the idea of a "national unification" civilian- military government headed by Allende. On the other hand, Allende

    The Artful Staging of a "Suicide"                                                   9

himself, impelled by the growing revolutionary tide of his grass-roots constituency, made it clear to Generals Frats and Pinochet that he would not lend himself to heading a thinly veiled military dictator- ship.
   In July 1973 the high command of the Chilean Navy upset the balance of military opinion with one daring, macabre stroke. A team of professional assassins, led by a member of Navy intelligence, mur- dered Allende's naval aide, Commodore Arturo Araya Peters, in his own home on the night of July 26, 1973. They accomplished this in concert with the ex-Cadet Commandos.* The assassination had been plotted with the rebel group in the military police, who controlled military police intelligence.
  The members of the Navy high command taking part in the con- spiracy believed two objectives had been accomplished by this assassination:
   1. It prevented Araya Peters, a personal friend of Allende and a member of the "constitutionalist" faction in the armed forces, from being promoted to rear admiral. This would have made him a member of the General Staff of the Chilean armed forces. According to mili- tary regulations, in September 1973, when Araya Peters finished his two-year assignment as naval aide to the President, he would be returned to active duty and, also by regulation, would be promoted to the second-highest rank within his section of the armed forces. This would give President Allende an important man in the heart of the Navy General Staff-that is, in the heart of the conspiracy to over- throw the constitutional government, where he just might discover it prematurely. In July 1973 the rebel generals had not yet set a date for the coup. Their consensus was that around the end of 1973 or the

 
  *In August of 1973, Roberto Thieme, second-in-command of Fatherland and Lib- erty, was detained by the civil police and confessed that his men, as well as those of the ex-Cadet Commandos' organization, were trained by Federico Willoughby Mac- Donald, who is currently the press secretary for the military junta. Prior to the coup, Willoughby worked as a public relations man for the Ford Motor Company. It is believed that Thieme also revealed associations between himself and Willoughby and the CIA.

 10                                                              THE MURDER OF ALLENDE

 beginning of 1974 would be the most propitious time, since by then they expected the economic situation to be intolerable, exacerbated by a national work stoppage that was scheduled to begin in August.
    2. With the complicity of military police intelligence, the rebel
 admirals hoped to hatch a plot to blame the Socialist party for the naval aide's death, thus inducing the rest of the senior officers of the armed forces and military police to react favorably to the idea of the conspiracy. The Socialists were the principal party in the govern- ment's Unidad Popular coalition (Salvador Allende belonged to it), and his bodyguard, the GAP (Grupo de Amigos Personales, or Group of Personal Friends), was drawn from it.
   The commando assassins hired by members of Navy intelligence did a very clean job. Several days after the murder, military police investigators arrested an "alleged assassin." He was an employee of the lowest rank in a branch of the Production Development Corpora- tion (Corporacion de Fomento de la Produccion), who (surprise, surprise), after being beaten in the first basement of the Defense Ministry under the vigilant eyes of naval prosecutor Aldo Montagna, had confessed that he was a "Socialist" and had agreed to be one of the assassins "by contract with one of the GAPs." He now "repented doing it," for which reason "he had surrendered himself," drunk, to the night guard of the Santiago Intendencia, the location of the First Prefecture of Military Police, which was under the direct command of   General Cesar Mendoza Durán, afterward a member of the junta. *
   In the second week of August, the tidy little plot began to fall apart. A group of detectives from the Homicide Squad of the Chilean civilian police, whose director, Alfredo Joignant, was a member of the Chilean Socialist party, began to gather up the threads leading to the identity of the commando assassins. President Allende received a police report on the case, in which two facts were established:
   1. The man arrested as the "alleged assassin" had been forced to

 
  *Puro Chile published an interview with the suspect in which he denounced Aldo Montagna.

     The Artful Staging of a "Suicide"                                                 11

sign a declaration he had not even read. The text of the confession was known to a legislator of the extreme right (Gustavo Alessandri) and had been read by him in part over the National Agriculture Society's radio station (the property of some large landholders) two hours before the "alleged assassin" had been arrested.
  2. The identification of the actual members of the assassination team-seven persons-had revealed at least two with connections to a senior naval officer. A concurrent investigation of the military police intelligence captain who had persuaded the "alleged assassin" to sign the confession revealed that he had met, two weeks prior to July 26, with another senior naval officer.
  With this evidence, part of which he made public (omitting the "senior officers in the armed forces"), the President met on the morn- ing of August 8, 1973, with the commander in chief of the Army, Division General Carlos Prats Gonzlilez; the commander in chief of the Air Force, Air General Cesar Ruiz Danyau; the commander in chief of the Navy, Admiral Raul Montero; and the director general of the military police, General Jose Sepulveda Galindo.5
  The political situation was extremely serious. On July 27 a new nationwide strike of truck owners began: it was directed by Leon Vilarin, a man directly connected to the coup plot through Eduardo Frei and Onofre Jarpa (see Chapter 5). On August 7 discussions had terminated between Allende and the national directorate of the Dem- ocratic Christian party (controlled by the group of Eduardo Frei, whose liaison with the military opponents of Allende was General Oscar Bonilla, the present junta's ex-Minister of Defense). These DCP / Allende discussions had been requested by the Archbishop of Santiago, Raul Cardinal Silva Henriquez, for the general purpose of "reaching a political pact of nonaggression to stop the civil war that would be unleashed by a ~ilitary attempt at a coup d'etat." Naturally, Frei was not interested in having these discussions succeed.
   The same day on which the discussions began, July 30, General Oscar Bonilla met with Eduardo Frei and Senator Juan de Dios Carmona (Defense Minister during the Frei regime) and reportedly

 12                                            T H E  M U R D E R  O F  A L L E N D E

urged them to sabotage attempts at political conciliation and to make their fundamental goal "an agreement from Parliament to declare Allende's government illegal."
   The morning of August 8 was full of political storm clouds. On the one hand, an industrial stoppage intended to wreck the Chilean economy had begun. On the other hand, the workers' organizations were pressuring Allende to let them "solve the industrial stoppage with our own hands."
   Allende's information about the military conspiracy appears to have been fragmentary, most of it contrived by Army and military police counterintelligence. They had painted their own picture of the conspiracy's extent, and accordingly Allende believed that it was restricted to "a small nucleus" in the Navy, headed by the commander in chief of the First Naval District (Valparaiso, Chile's main port, an hour and a half from the capital by freeway) and Vice-Admiral Jose Toribio Merino (later a member of the military junta), plus another isolated "little nucleus" in the Air Force, which had "the sympathy" of General Cesar Ruiz Danyau. Allende believed that he could solve the huge political crisis he was faced with by a sudden turnabout against the civilian as well as the military conspirators. His plan was to incorporate all the branches of the armed forces and military police into his Cabinet of Ministers in order to take the steam out of the workers' organizations' attempts to undermine the oligopolists. He would take a strong public stand backed by the four commanders in chief.
   On the morning of August 8, Allende read the four military leaders the civilian police report on the assassination of his naval aide, com- modore Arturo Araya Peters. He then explained that "if the people discover the truth about this, half a million people will die in Chile," that the workers and peasants "would assault the Navy and military police barracks to crush the conspirators and Araya Peters's murder- ers." He described the police report as a time bomb, and suggested that it would be preferable to solve the problem of the Navy and military police "conspiracy" in a "confidential, institutional way."

     The Artful Staging of a "Suicide"                                                 13

  Allende added that the civilian police report had a second part, which he chose not to reveal for the time being, in which "the connection between Araya Peters's assassins and foreign military forces" was proved.
  Thus, Allende went on, it would be best for "the military institu- tions of Chile to show their loyalty to and support of constitutionality and the law" by joining a Cabinet of "national unity," "to appease the passions," to find a solution to the work stoppage now as it was beginning, not when it became serious "like the one in October 1972." This would give the Executive Office time to promulgate several laws that the Christian Democrats and the National parties were asking for on behalf of the Society for Industrial Development and the National Agriculture Society.
  The commanders in chief accepted. The Navy chief was named Treasury Minister; the Air Force chief became Minister of Public Works; the Army chief, Defense Minister; and the head of military police, Minister of Housing. On the morning of August 13, Salvador Allende dramatically announced to the country the composition of his new Cabinet, characterizing it as one aimed at "national security" and "the last chance to avoid a confrontation between Chileans."
  What Allende had done, in fact, was virtually to write the first part of his own death sentence. The consensus among the conspirators in the high command was that Allende was "dangerously close to the truth" and that given time to pursue the investigation, he might uncover the complete Pentagon-Navy-Air Force-Army-military po- lice connection, of which he could make considerable political use in exile. According to sources within the military hierarchy, it was Vice- Admiral Jose Toribio Merino who first voiced the opinion in the ensuing days that Allende must be killed or made to commit suicide, that there was no other choice.
  Still, the final decision to murder Allende was not reached until Tuesday night, August 21, at a meeting which the subchief of the Army, General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, did not attend. Pinochet probably never knew that Allende was to be assassinated, and most

 14                                                              THE MURDER OF ALLENDE

 likely found out only on the afternoon of September 11, when the President's death was already a  fait accompli and the spectacle of the suicide was being arranged. As of August 20, apparently only Vice-Admiral Jose Toribio Merino, then head of the First Naval District, General Cesar Mendoza Durlin, of the military police, and General Gustavo Leigh Guzmán, commander in chief of the Air Force, were agreed that Allende's suicide was essential to the success of their coup.
   Their final decision must have been made in response to a major blunder committed by General Cesar Ruiz Danyau. Driven by per- sonal ambition and believing that "the situation was ripe," Danyau arranged the air garrisoning of Santiago from two bases, one for ground support and the other for chase and bombardment, in preparation for a planned "military pronouncement" on Monday, August 20, which, he believed, would draw the rest of the armed forces to his side. To trigger the coup, he resigned his new appointment as Minister of Public Works on Friday, August 17. This meant that Allende would have to ask for his resignation as commander in chief of the Air Force. According to Ruiz Danyau's plan, the Air Force would then rise up and cause Allende's downfall. This would be followed by the nomination of himself, Ruiz Danyau, as head of a military junta.
   Allende, partly aware of Ruiz Danyau's ploy, delayed accepting his resignation until the next day. He called a meeting in the Palacio de La Moneda of the Navy chief, Admiral Raul Montero; the Army chief, Carlos Prats; and the second-ranking general of the Air Force, Gustavo Leigh Guzmán (the latter, unknown to Allende, was one of the heads of the conspiracy). Allende played them a tape recording of a conversation between a retired Air Force colonel and two or three other people.6 The colonel could be heard saying that "the group" had already begun to "operate various units" to convince the senior officers of the three branches of the armed forces "to abandon Allende" and "join the crusade against Marxism." The tape continued that "the Americans are aware of our activities and approve of them," and said once, "My general Ruiz Danyau is with us to the death."
  At that point Allende pointed out to Leigh Guzmán that "this plot"

     The Artful Staging of a "Suicide"                                                15

was "treason to our country," since generals "of the republic of Chile" were actively conspiring with a foreign power. Then he ordered Leigh Guzmán to take over command of the Air Force, to approve the forced retirement of Ruiz Danyau, and to persuade those air units that might support Ruiz not to. Leigh Guzmán accepted Allende's orders after the President threatened to "let Chile know about this infamy."
  The next day, Sunday, August 19, without consulting Ruiz Dan- yau, Leigh Guzman informed Vice-Admiral Toribio Merino, Cesar Mendoza of the military police, and Augusto Pinochet of the Army of what had transpired and told them that Ruiz Danyau had to be dumped. They agreed.
  On Monday the officers of the air bases at El Bosque and Los Cerrillos in Santiago mobilized their men and requested support from the Navy Yard in Valparaiso, the Tacna and Buin regiments, the Junior Officers' School, and the 2nd Armored Regiment, quartered in Santiago. At least Ruiz Danyau had chosen the day well: Allende traveled by helicopter to Chillan (some 500 kilometers south of San- tiago) to take part in a ceremony commemorating the birth date of General Bernardo O'Higgins, the Father of the Country. Neverthe- less, the rest of the conspiring generals, heeding Leigh Guzman's advice, had decided to abort the "untimely coup" and let the ax fall on the neck of their erstwhile accomplice.
  From the Defense Ministry, the Joint Chiefs of Staff took steps to persuade the Air Force officers to demobilize. By noon, everyone was agreed that they had to "wait," and that, in the meantime, General Ruiz Danyau would go into retirement. Leigh Guzman would become commander in chief of the Air Force, and another Air Force general, Hector Magliochetti, would be named Minister of Public Works. (Magliochetti is presently assistant to General Pinochet.)
  This series of events appeared to be a resounding political victory for Allende. Joan Garces, a Spanish citizen and Allende's economic adviser, testified to the General Assembly of the U.N. on October 9, 1973: "That night, on his return to Santiago, President Allende was informed that General Pinochet, sub-commander in chief, had been

  16                                                          THE MURDER OF ALLENDE

asked to join the coup, but, in his own words, he answered: I am a general respectful of the Constitution and I will be loyal to the government to the end.' "
    It is worth noting that until the morning of September 11, when General Pinochet was at Peñalolén in the Andean foothills of San- tiago, directing the military invasion of the city and the attack on La Moneda, Salvador Allende considered him a "loyal general" and would call him up to ask, "What's going on, Augusto?"
    But Allende's "political victory" was a Pyrrhic one, achieved at the cost of letting his enemies know that he had solid information about the conspiracy. Allende had written the second and final part of his own death sentence. The leaders of the conspiracy were then aware that he knew far too much. Allende in exile, having documents within reach and arousing the sympathy of most of the governments and peoples of the world, would be a more than formidable enemy.
   From Tuesday, August 21, Leigh, Mendoza, and Merino began to sketch out the final details of their plan. They were advised by a team of men from SIM (Servicio de Inteligencia Militar), the Army, Navy intelligence, and U.S. Army intelligence. To complement the "basic ideas" of the plan, information about Allende's personality waS hast- ily gathered from those military officers who were said to know him best. They depended chiefly on the opinion of Brigadier General Manuel Torres de la Cruz, commander of the 5th Army Division in the extreme south of the country, and fourth-ranking in seniority among the Army's generals. Torres de la Cruz was the leader of the extreme fascist faction in the Army and since October 1972 had been the prime mover behind the conspiracy against the government. Yet he was considered by Salvador Allende and his "military matters adviser," Senator Alberto Jerez, of the Christian Left, to be "the only Allendist general in the Army" and a "loyal friend."7
   General Torres de la Cruz's reports caricatured Allende as an "individual who drinks to excess, who is easily swayed, vain, cow- ardly, the easy prey of discouragement in difficult moments" (this assessment was based on attacks against Allende which appeared in the Santiago right-wing newspapers).

    The Artful Staging of a "Suicide "                                                   17

  Taking into consideration the views of General Torres de la Cruz, as well as those of military police General Jose Sepulveda Galindo and Allende's Army aide, the conspirators, also advised by the U.S. Army intelligence group in the Chilean Defense Ministry, calculated that once Allende was trapped on the day of the coup, either in his private residence on Tomas Moro Street in the eastern part of the capital, or in the Palacio de La Moneda, there were but two probabilities. Some of my informants had access, briefly, to documents which set forth what these probabilities were. According to the transcript they made:
   Probability One: The objective, intimidated by the deployment of armored cars and infantry, and under the threat of aerial bombardment, will commit suicide before the battle begins. This is highly probable, keeping in mind that the objective has on innumerable occasions, even in front of senior Army officers, expressed his admiration for Jose Manuel Balmaceda, a president who committed suicide in 1891 after his troops were defeated by insurgent armed forces.
   Probability Two: The objective, realizing his defenselessness and knowing perfectly well that the civilians are incapable of defending themselves against a joint attack of the country's entire armed forces, will surrender. This may happen before or after an aerial bombardment intended to "soften" but not demolish his residence or the palace.
   If  Probability One takes effect, the military press will assume charge of announcing it immediately and will at the same time begin Press Phase Two involving the disaccreditation of the suicide's character, focusing on an image of a drunkard, libertine, and hedonist (contact will be made with a group encharged to fabricate evidence).
   If  Probability Two occurs, the objective will be segregated at once from accompanying civilian or military personnel. He will be conveyed under guard to the Military School. Once isolated, he will be taken under maximum security to 2nd Armored HQ. There he will be treated in a degrading manner by selected military personnel of low rank. They will subject him to humiliations (disrobed, in ridiculous poses; objective will be forced to commit humiliating acts, which will be openly photographed) based on information we have about him. Their traumatic effect should result in suicide. Preparations should include allowing objective to see material previously gathered to discredit him publicly. If this inducement is successful, the military press should immediately begin Operation Public Knowledge on the terms cited above.
    If objective resists the team's efforts to create a traumatic effect, and if positive results are not achieved  60 to 90 minutes after the surrender, objective

 18                                                              THE MURDER OF ALLENDE

will be immobilized and killed as if by suicide. This will be followed by military press activities as described above.
   In both procedures, it will be announced that objective was treated with respect for his rank by his captors, and for that reason his clothing was not examined before leaving him alone in the regimental officers' quarters, thereby facilitating objective's concealment of a 7.65-caliber pistol in his clothing. Objective committed suicide while alone in the room awaiting the arrival of the commanders in chief to witness the signing of his resignation, which he had agreed to do, as well as to say a few words to the people so that at no time would they resist the military institutions' activities. Objective had also agreed to leave for Cuba in an aircraft put at his disposal by the F ACH [Chilean Air Force].
          STAGING THE "SUICIDE"
General Pinochet, the military leader of the insurrection, had known about Allende's death for less than thirty minutes when, toward  3 P.M. on September 11, General Javier Palacios Ruhman informed him that all resistance from La Moneda had ceased. Earlier, Palacios had dispatched an Army Jeep with a pouch marked "classified" (the American word used by the Chilean Army to mean secret informa- tion) from the La Moneda area to headquarters at Peñalolén to report details of the assassination to Pinochet. Palacios had discreetly not informed Pinochet over their portable radio-telephone transmitter- receiver set (walkie-talkie). Pinochet and his General Staff must have known that the news of Allende's killing would make the workers' opposition much fiercer; his death had to be made to look like suicide at any cost.
  They postponed discussing the suicide details until they actually had possession of the President's body. But, at the same time, they released an "unofficial bulletin" for foreign publication claiming that Allende had committed suicide. To do this, they employed the un- scrambled radio-telephone system they had been using all day, knowing perfectly well that Chilean and Argentine ham operators were tuned in, along with all the U .S. news agencies in Santiago.

       The Artful Staging of a "Suicide"                                                 19

  Around 2:40 P.M. instructions from Pinochet were transmitted in Morse code from Peñalolén to Post 5 inside the Defense Ministry        ( 150 yards away from the besieged Palacio de La Moneda), ordering Post 5 to transmit the news, as if it were secret information, among the various command posts of the military insurrection. Post 5 carried out the order at 2:45 P.M., using the unscrambled radio-telephone system. A leftist ham operator monitoring the military's messages was able to record the transmittal:
   ..Attention! This is Post Five, Patricio's post (Vice-Admiral Pa- tricio Carvajal Prado]. This is to inform you that Infantry School personnel are now inside La Moneda. The following will be transmit- ted in English, in case we are being monitored: They say President Allende committed suicide. Do you read me?"
   To use English to keep a message secret was ridiculous, because English is taught from grade school in Chile. However, as Vice- Admiral Carvajal knew, for the purposes of the North American correspondents listening on their monitors in Santiago and in Men- doza, Argentina, it wasn't at all ridiculous. It facilitated what the rebel generals wanted most: to have the news teletype machines all over the world saturating the foreign public with "Allende's suicide. "
   But this was the easy part of the script. The hard part began barely fifteen minutes later when Pinochet ordered the palace area cordoned off.
   They must have debated for half an hour about a possible means of suicide. Finally it was agreed that the head would be destroyed with bullets from a submachine gun resting under the chin. The body would be dressed again to prevent witnesses from seeing the other wounds. The body had to be moved to another, more appropriate location, since the Salon Rojo was half destroyed. They chose the Salon Independencia, the President's private place to rest and receive visitors. There, SIM men, under the command of General Javier Palacios Ruhman, divested Allende's body of the bloodied turtleneck sweater he had been wearing throughout the siege. They also removed his blue trousers, which were perforated and had blood stains around

20                                                               THE MURDER OF ALLENDE

the abdomen. They dressed him in dark gray pants, scavenged from one of the cadavers inside La Moneda, and Allende's own gray turtle-neck, the stains on which they covered by putting him into his gray tweed jacket and fastening the bottom button (the President had removed the jacket during the battle and left it on his work table). Then the SIM men seated him on the red velvet sofa against the wall that faces Morande Street, propped him against the back of the sofa, placed in his hands the machine gun he had been using almost an hour and a half earlier, and pressed the trigger just once. Allende's head split in two; part of his brain, blood, and pieces of hair flew upward and stuck to a tapestry more than three yards above on the wall behind the sofa. The scene was now set. Because the body was already stiff from rigor mortis, it had not been easy to arrange on the sofa; the SIM men had to use force to straighten the President's legs, leaving them wide apart to stabilize the body. The arms were left hanging slightly apart from the torso.
   It was 3:30 P.M., more than three hours after the fire at La Moneda had been started by the exploding rockets from the Hawker Hunter jets. The 5th Brigade's firemen (whose fire engines had been standing ready since 12:20 P.M., when the aerial bombardment ended and flames appeared over the Government Palace) finally received permis- sion to fight the fire. The fire station is less than 300 yards from the Palacio de La Moneda, on Nataniel Street, on the ground floor of the building occupied by the offices of the American news agency UPI.
   Jaime Egaoa, captain of the fire brigade, said afterward: ..A mo- ment we'll never forget was when the fire engine left the station; the doors opened and the soldiers posted themselves in various places. When we came out, the soldiers shot in different directions all at once to cover our advance."
   When they got to La Moneda, the firemen saw that the conflagra- tion had spread all over the Morande Street area, to the second and third floors and the whole north fa~ade of the Ministry of the Interior (on the right, entering by the main door on Moneda Street), and the Presidential Palace (on the left). It would take them until ten o'clock that night to put out the flames.

   The Artful Staging of a .'Suicide"                                                    21

   The order for the firemen to intervene had come from the Defense Ministry , after General Palacios had given notice that everything was ready in the President's private sitting room. But, pressed by the fire which threatened to reach the room where they were preparing the deception, General Palacios was too hasty in giving the Defense Ministry the all-clear signal. At least two firemen entered the Salon Independencia and were shoved out at machine gun point. But they got in far enough to see one of the soldiers putting a gun on the knees of the corpse seated on the sofa, while another was placing President Allende's combat helmet and gas mask beside him. After this, all the firemen were notified that they couldn't enter that room because "President Allende shot himself and nothing can be moved." As they fought the fire, the 5th Brigade firemen were warned that they were under "military jurisdiction" and were not to "tell anyone what you have seen inside this area."
  When the Infantry School soldiers entered the second floor of La Moneda for the second time, after the civilian opposition had crum- bled, they behaved with uncontrolled brutality, slapping and kicking their captives, striking them with the butts of their guns, forcing them to lie face down on the floor with their hands on the back of their necks, and running on top of them with heavy combat boots in order to pass through the corridors. Among the captives, the SIM men managed to find a witness.
  This man was Dr. Patricio Guijon Klein, who since November 1972 had been a surgeon on the medical team of seven attending the Chief Executive. He was not a member of a Unidad Popular party; he had agreed to be Allende's doctor merely because it was a step up professionally. That afternoon he had been trapped in the palace with the rest of the medical team. His fate was to be the witness of a suicide.
  By 10 P.M. the President's body was already in the Military Hospi- tal to be put in a coffin and to be viewed by a team of doctors from the Army, Air Force, Navy, and military police, who would then copy out on a death certificate what had been established hours earlier by the detectives of the Homicide Squad. The detectives had been sum- moned at 4 P.M. by General Ernesto Baeza Michelsen, commander of

22                                                               THE MURDER OF ALLENDE

the military troops who had invaded the center of  Santiago beginning at 6 A.M. that day. This was one of several serious mistakes made in the confusion of the afternoon.
  From the central command post at Peñalolén, General Pinochet had issued an order through General Oscar Bonilla. According to a tape recording made by a ham radio operator, this was the order:
  "General Bonilla here. General Bonilla to Vice-Admiral Carvajal. Orders from Pinochet. General Bonilla on behalf of the commander in chief: Imperative that as soon as humanly possible the chief physicians of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and military police medical corps, including the Santiago coroner, certify the cause of Mr. Allende's death. ..so that the politicians will not later blame the military for his death. ...I repeat, as soon as humanly possible. ...Do you read me?"
  "I read you. Chief physicians of Army, Navy, Air Force, and also military police, plus Santiago coroner, to certify cause of death of Mr. Allende ...so that. .."
  "Yes. ...Chief physicians of each institution including military police. ...Over and out."
  The military leaders' teamwork was highly uncoordinated that afternoon. Brigadier General Ernesto Baeza Michelsen made contact much earlier with Brigadier General Sergio Arellano Stark, his immediate superior, and leader of the troops occupying the whole of Santiago Province. Baeza seemed to have concluded, logically, that after the military blitzkrieg in which thousands of civilians had been shot and killed throughout the country, the military's word was not going to be worth much in Chilean public opinion. For this reason he must have decided that certification of the suicide ought to come from the civilian police. To that end he called the Homicide Squad to La Moneda, disobeying Pinochet's orders to have the military doctors present. The Homicide Squad team proceeded to:
   I. Draw up and execute a deposition about the "scene of the inci- dent," just as they found it when they entered the Salon Indepen- dencia in La Moneda around 4 P.M.

     The Artful Staging of a "Suicide"                                                 23

  2. Examine the suicide-type wound in Allende's head, and nothing more.
  3. Waive circumstantial investigation at the scene of the incident.
  The Homicide Squad team, led by Inspector Pedro Espinoza Vald6s, whose political ideas were openly unsympathetic to the over- thrown government, began their "job" at 4:20 P.M. and finished it at 6:10 P.M.
  An hour after this, General Pinochet, through General Oscar Bonilla, continued to insist on the presence of the military physicians and, furious, asked why the "certificate of suicide" still had not reached central headquarters of the occupation troops in the capital. A ham radio operator tuned in on and recorded this conversation over the military radio-telephone system, between General Bonilla and Air Force General Nicanor Diaz Estrada, who was in command of Post 3, the coordination unit inside the Ministry of National Defense:
  "Nicanor, listen. We need to know if the chief health officers and the city coroner have identified the body and made the deposition yet. This is very important. They should not take him to the morgue to do an autopsy because it's a nest of extremists and they may try to steal the body. .."
  "Roger. We gave the order for a secret transfer to the Military Hospital. The coroners have been summoned to the Military Hospital. I gave orders for the deposition to be brought here to General Staff, but they haven't brought it yet. ..it's been an hour and a half. ..but we still don't have any news. .."
   "Okay, Nicanor. Tell Herman Brady to vouch for the absolute security of the Military Hospital. This is important. ..over to you, Nicanor ..."                                                                                                     "I took care of that."                                                                                "Thanks, Nicanor."
   It is clear that the leaders of the troops invading Santiago were very concerned to keep the assassinated President's body well out of sight of all personnel outside their institutions. Their concern was so zealous that the next day they would not let his widow, Hortensia Bussi, have a last look at her husband.
   The following account was given to the Mexican journalist Manuel

 24                                                                THE MURDER OF ALLENDE

 Mejido, correspondent of the newspaper Excelsior, by Allende's widow on September 13 in the Mexican Embassy:
    "The next day [Wednesday, September 12] they told me over the telephone that Salvador was in the Military Hospital and that he was wounded. I went there, and although I openly identified myself, the soldiers wouldn't let me in. Afterward I spoke to a general who greeted me with these words: 'Madam, I was the friend of Salvador Allende. Let me offer you my deepest condo- lences.' Only then did I learn that he was dead.
   "This general, whose name I don't know, promised me a Jeep and an officer to escort me to the Group Seven Airfield of the Chilean Air Force, where he said I had to go. But then another general came out, I didn't know him either, and told me to go there in my own car, because there weren't any vehicles or officers available.
   "I decided to make the trip in the small car belonging to my nephew, Eduardo Grove Allende. At the airfield they told me that Salvador's body was on an Air Force plane. Before boarding it I spoke by telephone with my daughter Isabel, but she couldn't come with me because she didn't have a safe-conduct.
   "I boarded the plane. Imagine the scene I saw: a coffin in the center, covered with a military blanket, and on either side my other nephew, Patricio López, and  Salvador's sister, Laura Allende. With me were the Presidential Army aide Roberto Sanchez and Eduardo Grove. We flew toward Viña del Mar. The airplane landed at the Quintero Air Base. The flight was smooth, there were no problems. Then they took Salvador off.
   "I asked to see him, to touch him, but they wouldn't let me. ..they said the box was soldered shut. In two cars following the hearse we went to the Santa Inés Cemetery. The people watched us curiously. They didn't know what it was all about, or whose body was in the hearse. There were many soldiers and military police, as if they expected a crowd. We five who went with Salvador walked in silence to the family crypt, where a month ago we buried Inés Allende, Salvador's sister who died of cancer.
  "Once again I insisted on seeing my husband. They wouldn't let me, but they removed the outer lid, and all I saw was a cloth covering the coffin. I didn't know whether it was the head or feet. I wanted to cry. The officers kept me from seeing him. They repeated that the coffin was soldered shut. Then I said in a loud voice to the officer escorting me: 'Salvador Allende cannot be buried in such an anonymous way. I want you at least to know the name of the man you are burying. ' I grabbed some flowers from nearby and threw them into the grave and said: 'Here lies Salvador Allende, who is the President

    The Artful Staging of a "Suicide"                                                25

of the Republic, and whose family they wouldn't even allow to accompany him to the grave!"
          THE CONTRADICTIONS
The preparations in the Salon Independencia of the Chilean Govern- ment Palace were so hasty that the various participants committed some crass errors -errors that would enable any third-rate detective of the Santiago civilian police to see right through the scenario. But the Santiago civilian police are not interested in discovering who killed President Allende. The present director of investigations of the Chilean civilian police is the same general who gave the order to investigate to Inspector Pedro Espinoza and the Homicide Squad technicians who were summoned to La Moneda to examine the suicide-type wound in Allende's destroyed head. The general, Ernesto Baeza Michelsen, was named director of investigations on the very afternoon of September 11.
   However, under the psychological pressure of the events of September 11, the inspector and his subordinates did not think clearly enough to rectify a mistake made by the SIM agents. It was preserved for posterity in the "police report" prepared at La Moneda and read on September 20 by General Baeza Michelsen to a press conference of those journalists who survived the military invasion of Santiago on the eleventh. It states:
   "The corpse was seated on a garnet-red velvet sofa against the west wall between two windows looking out on Morande Street, with the head and torso slightly inclined toward the right, upper limbs slightly extended, lower limbs stretched out and somewhat separated. "
   And something else important for any investigation is added:
    ". ..The projectiles causing suicide were shot from the weapon placed between the knees and the barrel pressed against the chin. ..."
   What type of weapon was used by Salvador Allende, according to this police report?
   "AK-type machine gun, Serial No.1651, Soviet make, inscribed

  26                                                            THE MURDER OF ALLENDE

 with the following words: 'For Salvador,  from his comrade-in-arms Fidel. ' "
    That is to say, it was a large-caliber firearm with tremendous fire power.
   Any police reporter (and I was one for a long time for La Tercera, a Santiago newspaper) has plenty of experience of suicide deaths by
 firearms as well as of suicides seated on a chair or other piece of furniture without any armrests. This allows us to reconstruct the events beginning with the Homicide Squad's assertion that Allende committed suicide by resting an AK-type machine gun on his knees, sitting on a fairly wide sofa, that is, a sofa without any lateral support.
    Because of the height of the sofa seat (we reporters were well acquainted with the sofa in question), and also to steady the machine gun's stock with his knees when he sat down to commit suicide, Allende would have had to put his weight on the points of his toes. This would have resulted in a tensing of all the muscles in the legs, and his torso leaning forward, arms very flexed, head resting on the machine gun's barrel point. It would have been what one might call an "uncomfortable" position of "unstable equilibrium" frontward.
   By pressing the trigger in this position and shooting off half his head with two bullets, the "suicide" would have experienced a terrific jolt in his body, separating the knees, and the machine gun would have dropped to the floor, while the body would have leaned forward and to the right, falling to the floor next to the sofa.
   None of this happened. Allende's case seemed to have been very "special." His body became rigid immediately after the shots, the spread legs were already rigid, to keep from falling off the sofa, and best of all (so that there would be no doubt): the machine gun re- mained in the alleged suicide's lap.
   (This detail is contained in the actual legal deposition made by the Homicide Squad, and in the statements made by General Javier Palacios Ruhman on September 22 in Bogotá to the Spanish news agency EFE: "I approached the body. The President was sitting in the middle of the red-upholstered sofa with the machine gun in his hands,

     The Artful Staging of a "Suicide"                                                 27

his helmet and gas mask to one side, his glasses on the floor. The face was swollen and the skull was split in two, like a watermelon." Please observe how General Palacios, in his desire to give more details, reveals the inconsistencies: the body was "seated" in the "middle" of the sofa, the head was destroyed "like a watermelon" by a machine gun-and yet death and rigor mortis came instantly, causing him to remain seated with the gun in his hand, after the tremendous impact of two bullets of the caliber of a Soviet AK model!)
  The most serious discrepancy of all was a difference of two hours between the actual death of President Allende and the time of death given in the Homicide Squad's deposition.
   This error is contained in the final lines of the police report, accord- ing to the version published in the Santiago daily El Mercurio on September 21. It says:
   "Time of death, at 18:10 when the examination was completed, was estimated at six hours previous"-12:10, two hours before Allende actually died.
   Of course, the police under Inspector Espinoza's command cannot be blamed. When they arrived at La Moneda, there was fighting all over the city and it was still not clear which side was going to win. So although the police must have realized that there was something highly irregular about Allende's suicide, they acted professionally and merely put in writing, in the deposition, the entire scene, exactly as they found it. The police experts, in acting as they did, thus left "a door open" for their own role should the military be defeated later by the civilian forces.
   But it isn't only the Homicide Squad deposition that reveals incon- sistencies. Let us begin with the most important, the statement of Brigadier General Javier Palacios Ruhman, chief of the armored and infantry troops that attacked the Palacio de La Moneda.
   On September 22, in Bogotá, Colombia, General Palacios was inter- viewed by journalist Arturo Abella on the TV news program "Seven O'Clock." The transcript of his remarks follows:

 28                                                               THE MURDER OF ALLENDE

"When we surrounded the Palacio de La Moneda in pincer formation, aircraft had destroyed a large part of the building. We went in without gas masks and were received by gunfire from the members of Allende's personal guard, who were shouting 'Marxism does not surrender'. We were almost blinded by the smoke, but we overcame the opposition. When I went up to the second floor looking for the President, his working offices were empty and in disorder...I continued walking through the area that was not destroyed. I came to the anteroom before the large dining hall in the palace. I opened the door, and there Allende was, sitting on a sofa."
"You recognized him at first glance?"
"No. It didn't seem to me to be Allende. Beside him, or in a corner, there was a doctor named Yojon or Gijon. He was shaking and could hardly speak. He said, 'It's the President. It's the President.' The President was sitting in the middle of the red-upholstered sofa, with the machine-gun in his hands, his helmet and gas mask to one side, his glasses on the floor. The face was swollen and the skull was split in two, like a watermelon. The hand were black with powder. There was almost no blood. I ordered my men not to touch anything until the coroners arrived to examine the body. Coroners came from all three branches of the Chilean armed forces. They verified that it was suicide. Photographs were taken which are now in the government's possession and will be presented on request."
"They say that there were wounds in various parts of the body?"
"Not one. Not a single one. The coroner's report shows this. There was also a bottle of whiskey in the room. I asked the coroners to determine if there was any evidence of alcohol in the body of the President. Allende had had absolutely nothing to drink."

   Note that these declarations by General Palacios were made on September 22 while he was in Bogotá as head of the Chilean military sports delegation to the Fifth South American Festival of Cadets. Palacios had no knowledge of the "perfecting" going on in Chile with the story of Allende's suicide under the supervision of General Ernesto Baeza Michelsen.
   Palacios, after 4 P.M. of that day, didn't speak again to Baeza or anyone else involved in the "suicide" operation. He simply returned to headquarters, which had been transferred to the Bernardo O'Higgins Military School, and spent the days before he left for Bogotá doing his part in the "cleanup of downtown Santiago".

   The Artful Staging of a "Suicide"                                                     29

   Thus, when he made his very detailed statements in Bogota about the incident, he was unknowingly contradicting General Baeza's "offi- cial version."
   Palacios's version reveals that his troops fought defenders who had no intention of surrendering. If that was so, then why had Allende committed suicide?
   Forty-eight hours earlier, on Thursday, September 20, back in Santiago General Ernesto Baeza Michelsen, now director general of investigations of the civilian police, released the "official report" on the material, which completely contradicted General Palacios's state- ments two days later.
   I. General Baeza said that Palacios's troops entered La Moneda after it surrendered. Why the insistence on a surrender? Only if AIIende surrendered would there be any justification for the suicide.
  As has been established, the defenders in the Palacio de La Moneda never expressed any desire to surrender, but all morning long the rebel officers were repeatedly announcing Allende's "surrender" on the radio stations in their control, and they had even issued an official communique to that effect just after 1 P.M. on the eleventh.
  To lend "seriousness" to the surrender thesis, on September 20 Baeza read to reporters the "deposition" of Dr. Patricio Guijón Klein (who was freed unconditionally in December 1973 by the military authorities):
  The President said "give yourselves up," that "Payita [the President's private secretary, Miriam Rupert] should go out first, I'll go out last." We began to get organized. Somebody provided a broom, and I took off my white doctor's coat, which we were wearing to identify ourselves. As we were going down to the Morande Street door to give ourselves up, I remembered that I had left my gas mask behind and went back to look for it. And just as I went to look for it, I passed in front of the door to the next room. Just in front of me, to the right, sitting on a sofa, I saw President Allende at the precise moment when he shot himself with a gun placed between his legs.
  I could see his body shake and his head explode upward in smithereens. I couldn't determine whether it was one or two shots because the intensive fire going on outside prevented my distinguishing the shots made by his gun.

 30                                                                THE MURDER OF ALLENDE

 At once I ran to him to see if I could be of any assistance, but when  I got close I could see there was nothing to be done. The damage was too extensive, and certainly caused instant death. I was completely disconcerted by this situation and realized there was nothing else to do. Since I had lost contact with our group, there was no one else in the room, and I couldn't think of anything to do but sit down beside him and wait for whatever happened.
    If  Dr. Guijón and the rest were going down the Morande Street stairs, and if  he had taken off  his "identifying" white medical coat (usually a life preserver in such situations), why did  he go back for his gas mask? Wouldn't his life have been better protected by staying with the surrendering group and not by separating himself from it?
   And last, if  he realized that Allende had killed himself in a room a few steps away from the Morande Street stairs, why didn't he cover these few steps at full speed and shout, "The President has killed himself'?
   Dr. Guijón's activities seem strangely unnatural, given the circum- stances in which he found himself.
   2. General Palacios says he found Dr. Guijón "beside him, or in a corner."
   Palacios says that Guijón "was shaking and could hardly speak." But General Baeza said something else. "Dr. Guijón was next to the body of the President, and when General Palacios entered, he iden- tified himself as Mr. Allende's personal physician and gave an account of what had happened." And to give rise to new difficulties, Baeza quotes the following from Dr. Guijon's deposition: "I was sitting right next to the President" when "the general" entered. And as it happens, "the general" (Palacios) on September 22 in Bogota can't remember whether Guijon was "beside him or in a corner."
   3. For the police to assert that a man can commit suicide sitting down in an unstable position with a machine gun held between his knees, and remain seated when dead-wait, with the ma<:hine gun in his lap-is grotesque. This is precisely what the Homicide Squad report says. How could this mistake be rectified? Guijon said that he had pushed the suicide machine gun away from himself to avoid

   The Artful Staging of a "Suicide"                                                    31

having the soldiers think he was a combatant and that afterward General Palacios, in an "excess of zeal" "not to move anything at the scene of the suicide," had ordered him to put it on Allende's lap, and that the civilian police, in "describing" the scene, had done only that, "describe" what they saw. The weapon was resting on the body's lap because General Palacios had ordered Guijón to put it there.
  On Thursday, September 20, Baeza read this part of Dr. Guijón's deposition, and he repeated it to reporters in interviews granted the following December. This is Guijón 's statement: " At a given moment I removed the weapon because I was sitting right next to the Presi- dent, and there wasn't very much space between the body and myself, and the weapon was too close to me. Then I thought that if in a given moment soldiers came in they might think I meant to defend myself. So I decided to remove the weapon and place it at the other end of the sofa. Later I showed this to the general who came in [Palacios], who made me put the weapon back in its place. "
   Now, that is a very good statement, but as it happens, General Palacios forty-eight hours later in Bogota was saying something quite different: "I approached the body. The President was sitting in the middle of the red-upholstered sofa with the machine gun in his hands, his helmet and gas mask to one side, his glasses on the floor. The face was swollen and the skull was split in two, like a watermelon."
   4. To complete this canvas, General Palacios related on September 22 in Bogota: "I ordered my men not to touch anything. ...Coroners came from all three branches of the Chilean armed forces. They verified that it was suicide. Photographs were taken. ..."
   Palacios did in fact order his troops "not to touch anything," but that was in the burning Salon Rojo of La Moneda. The transfer of Allende's cadaver to the Salon Independencia was accomplished after 3 P.M. not by Palacios's men but by members of the SIM team sent by General Baeza. Palacios received instructions from General Pino- chet at Peiialolen headquarters to let the chief health officers of the three service branches and the military police into the room, but these officers did not go to La Moneda. Palacios, of course, did not know

   32                                                             THE MURDER OF ALLENDE

  this, because after about 4 P.M. he was out of touch with the scheme. Thus General Baeza's account contradicts General Palacios:
  "When President AlIende's death became evident, the high command summoned detectives and experts from the Homicide Squad to La Moneda, keeping Dr. Patricio Guijon Klein at the scene of the inci- dent. He appeared to be a suspicious member of the GAP and possibly had assassinated the Chief Executive. " These policemen were the ones who took "seventy photographs" of the scene of the incident.
     In conclusion, Palacios says that "coroners came from all three branches of the Chilean armed forces. " General Baeza says no, that they were "technicians from the Homicide Squad. " Palacios says that the "soldiers" took the photographs at the scene of the incident. General Baeza says no, they were taken by the Homicide Squad technicians, as it actually happened.
    And to add a lyrical appendix to this bundle of contradictions, here are the words of the coroner's report on AlIende's body, produced to eliminate all doubt about the "suicide":
    " Analysis of the skin on the hands and chin showed the presence of gunpowder, caused by the use of a firearm."
    This, in a simple suicide, is often conclusive proof. But what does
 it prove in Salvador AlIende's case? He had been fighting for four and a half hours, using this weapon.
   5. On September 22, General Palacios emphasized that " AlIende had had absolutely nothing to drink." It is to be assumed that Palacios made this assertion after having spoken with some of the doctors who performed the autopsy on AlIende's body.
   However, the final autopsy report says that " AlIende's body showed a 90% level of alcohol poisoning." Why was this done? Was
it necessary to have a "drunken President" for AlIende's suicide to be good? Did it serve the junta's project of smearing AlIende's reputation?
  On his return to Chile, General Palacios was met with the news that his troops had taken a "Government Palace that had surrendered." He modified his Bogota statements and in the first week of  October 1973 read them to Christian Democrat and right-wing journalists (the

    The Artful Staging of a "Suicide"                                                 33

only survivors in the Chilean press after the rebel generals' strikes against the leftist press). This was the general's new version of the taking of  La Moneda:
  At the moment of entering through the Morande Street entrance, a white flag on a stick was seen, which later turned out to be the white coat of a doctor and which was put out by Payita at Allende's orders. At that time, approximately thirty civilians exited from the building, all members of the personal guard (GAP), and several doctors, who surrendered to our forces. When we reached the second floor of  La Moneda, it was already transformed into an inferno by the effects of the fire. At the same time, we were getting surprise shots from snipers hidden in some offices.
  But stubborn details kept plaguing General Palacios in his "amended" statement. In recounting his deployment inside La Moneda, he made it clear that he ran toward the Salon Rojo. That is, he did not bother to first check the rooms that were still in good condition, where there might very well be "snipers hidden" (among these rooms was the Salon Independencia, Allende's "suicide" room), and instead ran to the Salon Rojo, which was in flames, and to the presidential suite, which was also catching fire. Why? Naturally, nobody asked him.
   But the general's "amended" statement does cohere with that of the witness produced by Baeza and avoids the main contradictory ele- ments in Points 2 and 3:
  Continuing our advance inside La Moneda and opening the doors into the Salon Independencia, we came across the spectacle of Mr. Allende sitting on a sofa, dead of gunshots he had fired at himself, placing his machine gun -a present from Fidel Castro- under his chin, which caused death instantly. Inside this room we found a young man who under questioning said he was Dr. Guijón, a member of the President's medical team. He had heard Mr. Allende's shots as he was leaving the room and came back. Guijón was able to attest that after giving them the order to surrender and leave La Moneda, A1Iende stayed behind to commit suicide.
   General Palacios was not very good at memorizing statements about facts that never happened, and his version of what Guijón said is inexact and even contradictory, though to a lesser degree than

  34                                                               THE MURDER OF ALLENDE

before. The main thing is that Guijon, "shaking" and babbling, as described by Palacios in Bogota, disappears and is replaced by a Guijon with aplomb.
    Still, once again, Palacios lets himself  be carried away by true impressions, and he needlessly adds: "I ought to confess that I didn't
recognize Allende, poorly dressed as he was when we found him, and because of the manner of suicide, which practically split his head in two. His hands were full of gunpowder from the guns he himself had been shooting from the windows of  La Moneda against the attacking troops."
    A little clarification is in order: Which body did he not recognize because he was so "poorly dressed"? Is he referring to the body of Allende in the Salon Rojo, assassinated by the Infantry patrol around 2 P.M. ? Or the body of Allende in the Salon Independencia, "suicided" by SIM personnel between 3 and 4 P.M.?
   The body of Allende in the Salon Rojo was wearing only a gray turtleneck jersey and blue pants that were wrinkled, sooty, stained, and filthy after four hours of combat. The jersey was perforated by half a dozen bullet holes in the abdominal region. This body corre- sponded to "I didn't recognize Allende, poorly dressed as he was when we found him."
   But if Palacios meant by this that he didn't recognize Allende's body as later placed by SIM men in the Salon Independencia to simulate suicide, then he is wrong.
   According to the Homicide Squad report, the body of the "suicide" Allende was dressed in a "gray tweed jacket, fastened with the bottom button; gray, high-necked pullover with dark gray geometrical figures, white sport shirt, dark gray slacks, white socks, black shoes, and blue silk handerchief with red polka dots in the upper left pocket. " This is not exactly a "poorly dressed" corpse.
  The discrepancies even at the time were so serious that on Wednes- day afternoon, September 12, General Baeza, in the presence of civil- ian functionaries of the police investigation, offered his resignation to General Pinochet, shouting: "It serves us right for working with such

     The Artful Staging of a .'Suicide"                                                35

dumb sonofabitches!" What had aggravated Baeza was a press release on Allende's suicide written by Federico Willoughby MacDonald [press secretary to the military junta] and handed out to the press at 2:30 P.M. on Wednesday, September 12.
  The press release had infuriated Baeza because it was full of inac- curacies which later could cause problems, above all because it had appeared as an "official communique of the military junta of govern- ment." According to a radio broadcast of it,
the military junta of the government of Chile officially announced that former president Salvador Allende committed suicide and that his body was buried at noon today. Their communique indicates that:
  I. Yesterday, Tuesday, at 13:09, Salvador Allende offered to surrender unconditionally to the military forces.
  2. To this end, a patrol was immediately sent to La Moneda, but its arrival was delayed by the skillful activity of snipers specially posted in the Ministry of Public Works who attempted to intercept it.
  3. Upon entering La Moneda, this patrol found Mr. Allende's body in one of its rooms.
  4. Transferred to the Military Hospital, the body was examined by a medical commission made up of the chief health officers of the armed forces and the military police, as well as a coroner, who determined that the cause of death was suicide.
   General Baeza's fury was justified, because according to that official communique of the military junta, the "battle of La Moneda" had ended shortly after 13:00 hours, in circumstances that were public and well known, and moreover were sanctioned by a communique from the Defense Ministry the day before, September 11, that "the Palacio de La Moneda has fallen into the hands of the military forces at 14:50 hours."
   At the same time, this communique placed Allende's "suicide" shortly after 13:00 hours. Late in the day on the eleventh, the prefect of investigations in Santiago, Rene Carrasco, had told foreign corre- spondents of Agence France Presse, United Press International, and Associated Press that "the personnel of the squad specializing in these services attested to the death of the fallen President, which occurred

 36                                                               THE MURDER OF ALLENDE

approximately between 13:30 and 14:00 today."
    And last, the official communique indicated that Allende's body had been transferred to the Military Hospital to be examined by the armed forces units. This was also false, since that transfer took place around 7 P.M., after the Homicide Squad played the role that the communique had assigned to the chief health officers of the armed forces and the military police.
    General Baeza shouted in front of a dozen or so senior officers of the Joint Command that "this kind of declaration makes us look ridiculous" and "thrusts back on us precisely the suspicions that we want to avert": the suspicions that Salvador Allende had been assas- sinated.
   Furthermore, that afternoon of September 12, General Baeza had another reason to worry. The groups of armed civilians aiding the coup d'etat (classed under the generic name "independent units" by the Joint Operation Military Command at Pefialolen) had, without authorization, set up a short-wave radio transmitter which, at 4 P.M. on September 11, had broadcast the news of President Allende's death with roughly the following text:
   Attention Chile. ...Attention the whole world. ...This is Santiago thirty-three. ...This is Free Chile. ...Allende is a corpse. ...Captain Roberto Garrido has executed the Communist tyrant in his own palace. Captain Garrido has liberated us from Marxism. ...This is the Association of Free Chileans speaking. ...This is Free Chile. ...Allende has been executed by our glorious soldiers. ...
   General Baeza, learning about this broadcast on the night of  Sep- tember 11, ordered an investigation to find out where the secret radio was located. To his surprise the broadcast had come from the Defense Ministry, and furthermore his immediate superiors suggested that he discontinue investigating it.
  In the end, General Baeza had only one cause of satisfaction: having been able to postpone for twenty-four hours the news about Allende's suicide, so that details could be finalized, statements made, and civil-

    The Artful Staging of a "Suicide"                                                 37

ian groups prevented from stealing the President's body and discovering its many bullet wounds. He had even been able to allow time for a reporter to view the scene. By 6:30 P.M. on the eleventh Juan Enrique Lira, the head photographer of the most important paper in Chile, El Mercurio, arrived. He later wrote: "Lighted by the firemen's spotlights, President Allende was leaning back on a plush sofa, with his head completely destroyed. He had a machine gun to one side. At that time I thought that he must have fired a burst of more than two shots, from the condition of his head, but later only two empty cartridges were found."
  The military chiefs also allowed Lira and other reporters from the Catholic University TV station to remain in the area for nearly a quarter of an hour, filming and taking notes.
          WHAT REALLY HAPPENED
Chronologically, the events of Tuesday, September 11, actually took place in this order:
   9:20 A.M. President Allende's three military aides left La Moneda, after he had told them that "the generals betraying Chile have an- nounced that they will attack this presidential palace five minutes from now. You are free to act according to the dictates of your conscience. I will be staying here inside La Moneda, and I will oppose them to the last bullet." This conversation was witnessed by Drs. Enrique Paris (a Communist) and Eduardo Paredes (a Socialist), various journalists of the Unidad Popular, and some of the ministers who stayed with Allende. When the military aides left the palace and entered the Defense Ministry a block away, the National Agriculture Society radio station made its first spurious announcement of Allen- de's surrender.
   11 A.M. When the Air Force bombing promised for that hour did not materialize, the radio stations in rebel hands again announced Allende's surrender. But the truth was that Allende had asked the generals to hold off the bombing for ten minutes, so that "the women

  38                                                            THE MURDER OF ALLENDE

and whoever else wants to can leave this place before the last battle." Allende gathered together everybody, civilians and soldiers, in the Winter Courtyard. There, addressing himself to the members of the palace guard of military police -fifty men- and to military police Director General Jose Maria Sepulveda Galindo, Allende told them that whoever wanted to could leave La Moneda. He added that the only thing "I ask is that you give up your arms when you leave the palace. ...Those of us who are going to oppose the military rebellion will need them." All the officers and soldiers left La Moneda as soon as they were disarmed by the civilians, who had to keep them at gunpoint to avoid any kind of betrayal. (Sepulveda Galindo defected from President Allende that morning. He was later given a diplomatic post by the military junta.)
    11:10 A.M. The first women left La Moneda, among them reporters Frida Modak and Veronica Ahumada. The President had been trying since 9:30 A.M., when the rebel troops surrounding La Moneda had fired the first shots at the palace, to make the women and "the men who don't bear arms" leave the building. At 9:25 A.M. Allende, in the Salon Toesca, called everyone in the building together to warn them that the "traitor General Baeza Michelsen has announced to me that they are going to begin the attack on La Moneda in two minutes." Allende made a short speech, the gist of which was: "Just as no revolution can triumph if its leaders do not know how to assume their responsibilities at all times and to the bitter end, it is also true that useless deaths contribute in no way to the cause of the revolution. Hence, I fervently beg all the men to help me convince the women to leave the palace, because those of us who stay are going to fight to the bitter end."
   Minutes after 11 A.M., Allende had spoken with General Baeza Michelsen by telephone to ask for "a cease-fire of ten or fifteen min- utes" to allow the women to be evacuated. Beatriz Allende, the Presi- dent's daughter, witnessed this telephone conversation, and she remembers that Allende said: "General Baeza, you who have betrayed your country, I hope that at least you haven't betrayed what a man must be to a woman: at least respect them enough for this."

     The Artful Staging of a "Suicide"                                                39

   At that moment, the anxiety at rebel headquarters was tremendous. Allende's plea for a cease-fire had been misunderstood by General Pinochet as an offer of surrender. And when the first women came out of La Moneda, General Pinochet, from his command post in Peña- lolén, was desperately calling Post 5, the coordinating post, in the Defense Ministry, headed by Vice-Admiral Patricio Carvajal. Their conversation, recorded by a leftist ham operator, follows:
  "Give me Admiral Carvajal ...Augusto to Patricio."
  "One moment, please, General. Post 5 here."
  "Patricio, the sooner the President leaves, the better, with all the chickens he wants. ..all the chickens he wants. .."
  "Not all, not the GAP. ..not all. Just now they said five women were giving themselves up."
  "From La Moneda to the plane. ..from La Moneda to the plane, old man ...don't play with him any more. ..keep the leash good and tight. ..let's not have any problems. ..no GAPs with him. ..all GAPs are to be tried ...keep him closely guarded because they can get him away. ..."
  At this moment, fighting was going on in the industrial sectors of Los Cerrillos and Vicuña Mackenna and downtown, between Plaza Italia on the east, the State Technical University on the west, the Mapocho River on the north, and Matta Avenue on the south (a rectangle of thirty by twenty blocks, more or less). General Augusto Pinochet, who had not been apprised of Plan Alpha One to assassinate Allende, was convinced that the ultimate object in attacking La Moneda was to put Allende on a plane at the Los Cerrillos air base and send him out of Chile.8
  Shortly after 11: 15, General Pinochet found out that there was no surrender, that the "five women" had not given themselves up, as Vice-Admiral Carvajal had told him, but instead those women and some male civilians had simply evacuated  La Moneda and that the fighting was still going on. Pinochet ordered a new cease-fire and asked to speak with President Allende. Only Allende's half of the conversation remains: "I do not make deals with traitors, and you, General Pinochet, are a traitor."
  At this point, General Pinochet requested assistance from Vice-

  40                                                            THE MURDER OF ALLENDE

  Admiral Jose Toribio Merino, head of the insurrection in the Navy and one of the four members of the self-proclaimed "government junta." Over the telephone Merino demanded that Allende resign, to which Allende answered: "Surrender is for cowards, and I am not a coward. The real cowards are the lot of you, conspiring like gangsters in the dark of night."
    Despite persistent attempts on the part of Generals Pinochet and Baeza and Vice-Admiral Merino, Allende refused to give himself up, and at the same time declined to make any deal with them, "because I am your superior and I cannot make deals with rebel subordinates." This led Allende to imagine that it might be useful to conduct a "second-level" negotiation, and he charged Fernando Flores, ex- Treasury Minister, Daniel Vergara, Undersecretary of the Interior, and Osvaldo Puccio, his private secretary, to undertake an "embassy" to the Defense Ministry to discuss with the generals the terms of a "political settlement" of the situation.
   At 11 :30, these three left La Moneda and were conducted under military escort to the Defense Ministry a block away. There, they asked to see Generals Pinochet, Leigh, and Mendoza and Vice- Admiral Merino. Merino and Leigh were opposed to the parley, while Pinochet and Mendoza wanted to negotiate. To force events, block the parley, and go ahead with Plan Alpha One, General Leigh gave the green light for bombing La Moneda. Without ever having spoken even to the commander of that post, that is, while they were still sitting in the waiting room, Allende's three envoys were the terrified witnesses of the bombardment of La Moneda by the Hawker Hunter fighter planes.
   The air attack began at 11:56 A.M., going from north to south, from the Mapocho River toward Bernardo O'Higgins Avenue. For the tens of thousands of   Santiago citizens living near  Constitution Square, where the Chilean Presidential Palace is located, 11:56 A.M. on Sep- tember 11, 1973, marked the beginning of a nightmare.
  What did the two pilots feel as they flew their planes toward the palace? The Santiago daily El Mercurio published an interview with them on Saturday, November 24. El Mercurio asked:

     The Artful Staging of a "Suicide"                                                  41

  "What did you feel when you found out you had to bomb La Moneda?"                                                                                                         "I was very concerned. It was a shock. After all, I had to attack my own country, but there were no moments of hesitation or fear. We are always ready to obey any order. The precision? That's thanks to constant training over targets smaller than the Government Palace, 200-liter barrels or parts of tank chassis. In this case, the rockets have a greater degree of precision than the bombs and were launched from the Mapocho River, some 800 yards or so from the target, at a height of 500 yards and a speed of 250 yards per second."
  "Why were only two pilots and two planes used?"
  "Because that was enough."
  "How did you feel psychologically after the air attack?"
  "Good. Satisfied at having carried out the mission. Impressed by what we had done. But in no way did we feel sorry about it, not at all. We were all glad."
   The El Mercurio story says that, summoned by their code names, two pilots of the Chilean Air Force were selected for the bombing. "The order of the high command was crystal clear: Target: La Moneda." The newspaper adds: "From 8 A.M. the Hawker Hunters had begun to land at Los Cerrillos airport [which is next to a Chilean Air Force base] from various bases around the country."
   The two fighter craft made nine strikes between 11:56 and 12:15. Eighteen rockets struck the two-hundred-year-old building. The up- per floor was badly damaged on the north side (where the President's and the Minister of the Interior's offices are) and on the entire west wing. The smoke and the flames from a raging fire set off in the northeast part could be seen from several kilometers away.
   Between 12:15 and 12:20, from the Alameda corner of the Defense Ministry, General Javier Palacios waited tensely for the "surrender" signal. But it never came. He ordered a "demolition" attack by the Sherman tank cannons through Morande and Moneda streets. At the same time, he deployed the Infantry School's and the Tacna Regi- ment's infantry in pincers, behind the tanks and through Teatinos Street. Intensive machine gun fire and two shots from bazookas from inside La Moneda demonstrated to the attackers that the defenders had no intention of abandoning the struggle. The advance of the 2nd Armored Regiment tanks was halted by General Palacios, because

  42                                                             THE MURDER OF ALLENDE

they could not move forward with the infantry under the intense fire coming from the palace. At 1 P.M. General Palacios asked General
 Pinochet what to do, since it was impossible to advance with his troops and take La Moneda without another air attack. General Pinochet ordered him to cease firing for the time being.
    13:05. General Pinochet consulted with Vice-Admiral Patricio Car- vajal at Post 5 in the Defense Ministry and ordered him to send Osvaldo Puccio, President Allende's private secretary, back to La Moneda with a note containing the conditions of unconditional sur- render. Pinochet asked Carvajal to explain in the note that "the President will have safe-conduct to leave the country with his family and whatever other personnel he may want." But Carvajal did not write that in the note. He sent Puccio to La Moneda with the terms of an "unconditional" surrender and with instructions that "the presi- dent should give himself up to the commander of   the armored troops" (it must be remembered that the final phase of Plan Alpha One, which Carvajal knew about, but not Pinochet, envisioned the rapid transfer of Allende to the 2nd Armored Regiment's headquarters, to carry out the presidential "suicide"). At the same time, Vice-Admiral Carvajal ordered the other two envoys sent by Allende, Fernando Flores, and Daniel Vergara, to be sent as prisoners to the Bernardo O'Higgins Military School in the upper district (east) of the capital.
   Osvaldo Puccio was taken toward La Moneda in a military jeep. But the intensive fire from La Moneda and the Ministry of Public Works (near the palace, on its east side) forced the jeep to stop.
   13:10. General Palacios ordered the Sherman tanks to resume their advance, firing their cannons, and gave his infantry the order for a "final attack" on La Moneda. A curtain of machine gun bullets cov- ered the walls of the palace, along with the explosions of the tanks' cannon fire. This allowed the infantry to go forward and at last reach shelter from the defenders' gunfire beneath the walls of the building.
   13:15. As a result of the intensive machine gun and cannon fire, the journalist Augusto Olivares Becerra, the director of National Televi- sion and a personal friend of Allende's, fell defending the palace.

     The Artful Staging of a "Suicide"                                                 43

  Thanks to eyewitnesses who survived the holocaust, Genaro Car- nero Checa, president of the Peruvian Journalists' Association, was able to publish in the Lima daily Expreso, December 11, 1973, a reconstruction of the last day of Augusto Olivares's life. An extract from his story follows:
  "The last time I saw Augusto Olivares was in the President's office in La Moneda, before Allende told me to leave," I was told in Havana by Joan Garces, one of the President's closest collaborators [Garces left La Moneda around 11:15 A.M. on the morning of September II, along with the women and other civilian functionaries of the government whom Ailende had person- ally asked to leave "to avoid useless sacrifices").
  "He had a machine gun in his hands and was saying to the President: 'We're going to turn La Moneda into another Alcazar de Toledo, but in reverse -antifascist. ,
  "Other people, now in Lima, have told me about Augusto Olivares's last hours of fighting, as well as the ordeal of his wife Mireya [Mireya Latorre, a television and theater actress, radio announcer, the daughter of the Chilean genre writer Mariano Latorre) in rescuing her husband's body from the authorities. They are unimpeachable sources, extraordinary witnesses, who have asked me to withhold their names for obvious reasons.
   "Olivares phoned his wife at 6:45 A.M. on the eleventh. 'Things are going very badly,' he told her. 'In a few minutes we're heading for La Moneda. A kiss and lots of luck.'
   "It was around 2 P.M. and Mireya hadn't heard anything but rumors about her husband's fate. Meanwhile, President Allende, machine gun in hand, was fighting inside the palace, which was being bombarded on all four sides. A gigantic cloud of smoke could be seen from the farthest neighborhoods in the capital. 'I'm certain Augusto is there,' Mireya told one of our witnesses. 'I know him well enough. He won't abandon Salvador for anything, and if he dies, my husband will die with him.'
   "The Palace phones by now weren't working and Mireya waited in vain for another call. I was the first person to tell her: 'Journalist friends told me. Augusto died in the Gallery of the Presidents on the second floor of La Moneda, in the heat of battle, with his gun in his hands. Allende had the courage and dignity to ask for a moment of silence for his friend's death.'
   "But we couldn't confirm his death or locate his body. Night fell as we continued our dreadful search. At the Central Post for Public Assistance, and at the Military Hospital and the Legal Medical Institute, they denied his body

 44                                                                 THE MURDER OF ALLENDE

was there. The vast quantity of corpses hindered attempts at identification. "At dawn, a telephone call confirmed the awful news. It was from an Army  colonel, who intimated to Mireya that although there was to be a total curfew the next day, she would be allowed to bury her husband. But she could have no more than two hours and the burial had to be entirely private-this last stipulation, in the middle of that strict curfew, was almost funny. A military vehicle would be sent before II A.M. that day, Wednesday the twelfth, to 'permit the operation.'
    "The promised vehicle never arrived. In the afternoon we decided to rely on the good will of a driver who worked for Channel 7 TV, of which Olivares had been director. At the risk ofhis life, the driver got us as far as the building. He didn't have the necessary pass to be out on the streets like this, so on the route to Public Assistance, where Augusto's body lay, our vehicle was stopped many times. Our only credential was Mireya's famous face, known from her many theater and TV appearances. She got us through the patrols. The streets of Santiago were completely deserted, shrouded in an ominous silence broken only by sniper fire and the occasional chatter of machine guns.
   "Once we got to Public Assistance, Mireya approached the director and some other doctors. They were in quite a state-unnerved and dismayed by the incredible number of casualties. 'We've already lost count of the corpses.' At the funeral homes there was a great deal of turmoil, and it was a tremen- dous battle to get one of them (the Santa Lucia) to agree to sell us a coffin (at 78,000 escudos!). But it was impossible to find a hearse. We finally per- suaded a driver at Public Assistance to let us use an ambulance to transfer Augusto's remains to the Legal Medical Institute. He was the same driver who had rescued Olivares's body at La Moneda and brought it to Public Assistance. Mireya bravely went in alone to find her husband in the room full of corpses. The coffin, inside the ambulance, was taken to the Legal Medical Institute. Because the gravediggers and crematory workers were not on the job, we stayed there until the next day, when we had Augusto cremated."
   13:40. Shortly after Augusto Olivares was killed, Infantry School soldiers broke into the first floor of the palace, through the main entrance on Moneda Street. A successful skirmish with the defenders enabled them to maintain this bridgehead.
   13:52. The telephones were still working when Jorge Timossi, head of the Cuban news agency Prensa Latina, got through from his offices in the capital to talk to Jaime Barrios, director of the Central Bank and President Allende's economic adviser, who was with the group

     The Artful Staging of a .'Suicide"                                               45

fighting off the rebel assault. Barrios said to Timossi: "We will fight until the end. Allende is right nearby, firing his machine gun. It's just hell-the smoke is smothering us. Augusto Olivares is dead. The President sent Flores, Vergara, and Puccio to parley a couple of hours ago-it seems that the President wants written guarantees of the workers' social victories-1 don't think he'll resign. ..."
  Jorge Timossi couldn't get any more details because just then tele- phone communications were cut off. The phones in La Moneda were dead.
   14:00. Eight minutes after this telephone call, Infantry School sol- diers were taking the main staircase leading to the President's offices.
  Six or seven minutes later, President Allende was dead.
  Around 14:45, some forty minutes later, the soldiers completely overcame the civilian resisters. General Palacios drew back the bloody flag covering Allende's body and communicated to his commander in chief: "Mission accomplished. Moneda taken. President dead."
  Sixty seconds later, the radio stations, all controlled by the rebel generals, announced the fall of  La Moneda.
  Inside the palace, ten civilians were dead. Of the thirty-two survi- vors, fourteen were wounded.9 General Palacios ordered the wounded to be taken in military custody to the Central Post of Public Assistance. Miriam Rupert, President Allende's private secretary and the only woman among the defenders, pretended to faint. She was put with the group of "prisoners for the Central Post." At the Post,9 where confusion reigned owing to the huge number of dead and wounded, she managed to steal down a corridor, dress herself as a "doctor" in a white coat, climb aboard an ambulance going out to collect the wounded, and escape.
  Inside La Moneda, Dr. Enrique Paris made a fatal mistake: he allowed himself to lose his temper. From the floor, where like the other prisoners he was lying face down, his legs open and his hands on the back of his neck, he shouted: " Assassins! You killed the President!" The soldiers took him to General Palacios. There he was recognized. Paris, in a rage, shouted that he saw how they killed the

46                                                       THE MURDER OF ALLENDE

President. Palacios ordered Paris to be taken to the Defense Ministry, a building less than 200 yards away.
  Four days later, on September 15, Dr. Paris reappeared, a babbling wreck, in the National Stadium, which had been converted into a concentration camp. His eyes did not focus. He was confined to a section of roofed boxes in the National Stadium, with only twenty other people. He was heard repeating, "I am Quiñones the bull ...the bull," and his companions heard him sobbing. In the middle of the afternoon, Dr. Paris, or what remained of him, leaped over the railing of the presidential box. He dislocated a leg. The soldiers ran toward him and struck his head with the butts of their guns. Dozens of blows. His companions watched the brains of Enrique Paris scatter on the floor of the National Stadium.
  But let us return to September 11, in the Palacio de La Moneda, or at least in the ruins of the Palacio de La Moneda.
   Forty minutes after the radio stations announced the fall of the palace, and while the SIM team was preparing the "suicide" scene, the generals broadcast the following communique over the radio net- work:
   "The occupation of La Moneda has made secure the authority that has been imposed by the armed forces and the military police of Chile for the good of the country. It brings forth new hope for the country this springtime, and we ask citizens to show their loyalty to Chile by flying the flag in front of their houses. This liberation and reordering of  Chile is nothing but a cause for joy in this month in which we commemorate the men and women who sacrificed themselves to give us our freedom."
   The situation deserves the remarks made by the Chilean writer Fernando Alegria, professor at  Stanford University in California, in the December 1973 issue of Ramparts magazine:
" The junta released a communique that appeared in the newspapers. They said that Allende committed suicide and added that there were heavy traces

   The Artful Staging of a "Suicide"                                                    47

of gunpowder on his hands which suggested, according to the same communique, that the President had been firing for a long time. Knowing Allende as I did, however, I am convinced he died fighting, with a machine gun in his hands. He was determined to fight on in La Moneda. If  the junta is using the word "suicide" metaphorically to describe the fact that Allende stood alone facing an entire army, then I can accept the official communique, although I find their use of metaphors deplorable."

        Notes

        1. The Artful Staging of a "Suicide"

1. This reconstruction of Operation Alpha One is made possible by information from various sources, including tape recordings of radio transmissions between the rebels and accounts passed on to me when some senior officers, who had been part of Alpha One and were overwhelmed by the magnitude of the atrocity they had participated in, took junior officers and even civilians into their confidence. Many of the details about what happened inside the palace were related to me by eyewitnesses.

2. From the signing of the Mutual Aid Pact with the United States armed services, their influence over the Chilean military institutions began to grow. In the early 1960s, journalists and political parties of the left were already denouncing this trend. In one of the best-known exposes, a campaign against U .S. military influence, beginning in 1968, such magazines as Causa ML (vols. 2 and 3, 1968; vols. 7 and 10, 1969) published photostatic copies of the textbooks used in Chile's military schools, which were mere translations of those used by the U.S. Army. During 1970 and 1971 the magazine Punto Final exposed "anti-Communist" programs in the Bernardo O'Higgins Military School and the Playa Ancha Naval Academy in Valparaiso. In 1972 the Santiago newspapers El Pueblo and El Rebelde divulged the presence of members of the U .S. military mission in those military academies as "guest professors" with a year's appointment. But this is hardly inconsistent with the philosophy of the Military Aid Pact (PAM). The same sources added the following details:
"In 1963, the U.S. Department of Defense, in a document sent to Congress explaining the philosophy of the Military Aid Pact with re-

222                                           N O T E S : page 7

     spect to Latin-American armies, stated that the pact contributed to the political aims of the United States through its training programs, which brought many foreign military leaders to the U.S., not only to improve the technical ability of the military, but also to expose them to the requirements of reliable military leadership in contemporary society.
        "On June 3, 1969, Melvin R. Laird, U.S. Secretary of Defense, said to Congress: '. ..I am certain that the Military Aid Pact will do everything in its power to guarantee that every dollar invested in aid granted will be most effectively employed in helping the foreign policy and security of the United States.'
        "In 1963, Robert McNamara, the then Secretary of Defense, said to Congress: 'Military and economic aid are frequently bound together in support of U.S. objectives, providing the native armed forces with able instructors through the military aid program, with the Agency for International Development contributing the material elements. ..to reduce the vulnerability of the native people to the flattery and threats of Communist agents involved in manufacturing revolutions.'
        "In 1964, in the House of Representatives, General Robert J. Wood, at the time director of military aid in the Defense Department, stated: , A Security Program for the Alliance for Progress is being carried out ...whose principal objective is a Latin-American military leadership.' "
        For further information on this subject, see James Petras, "Estados Unidos y el nuevo equilibrio en America Latina," Revista de Estudios Internacionales, Jan.-March 1969, Santiago, Chile, pp. 490-518.

 3. These words are an approximate reconstruction of what was said by the American adviser to the conspiracy in September 1973; this is based on what was said in speeches and meetings on Navy ships and in military centers by the conspiring officers from May 1973 on. As was reported during the first ten days of September 1973 in Puro Chile, Ultima Bora, and the magazine Chile Hoy, the conspiring officers haranguing mainly sailors and pilots asserted that "the Americans are backing us up," adding further details. These officers included: Colonel Juan Soler Manfredini, director of the Air Forces Technical School; Colonel Carlos Ottone Mestre, director of the Captain Avalos Aviation School; Second Lieutenant Jaime Olavarrieta, from the Sailors (Grumetes) School at Quiriquina Island; Lieutenant Julio Meneses from the Valparaiso Naval Hospital; Commodore Alberto Vazquez, commander of the aeronaval base at El Bolloto; Commodore Martiniano Parra, from the naval base at Talcahuano; Commander Cesar Guevara Fuentes, from the El Bosque Group 7, Air Force, Santiago, and his second-in-command Ivan

                                        N O T E s : page 8                                 223

    Doren as well as his assistants Lieutenant Ernesto Gonzalez and Corporal Florencio Galvez. One of the most outspoken officers was Air Force Colonel Ramon Gallegos Alonso, who pointed out that "the Americans give us technical advice and backing in everything." He related details of meetings from November 1972 on with representives of the U.S. Army to plan Allende's overthrow. Gallegos Alonso was the public relations chief of the Chilean armed forces until August 1973 and former Commander in Chief Cesar Ruiz Danyau's right-hand man in the conspiracy of the second half of that month -along with officers Juan Pablo Rojas, Guillermo Navarro Vicencio, Raul Vargas, and Antonio Quiros- in Santiago itself. In Antofagasta, in the north of Chile, the squadron commander Juan Cvitanic, public relations chief at the Cerro Moreno base, was another who touted the coup to his friends by describing its " American backing." Another commander in the Antofagasta group was Patricio Araya Ugalde, who was referred to as "Ruiz Danyau's alter ego." In Los Cerrillos Group 10, there were German Fuchslocher and Carlos Alvarez; and in Quintero Group 2 (near Santiago), Group Commander Pablo Saldias Maripangue.
       Most of the information about the meetings between the Chilean and the American officers from November 1972 on came from this type of source, when, it seems, the conspirators were absolutely certain that nothing would stop the coup. There were, of course, numerous other sources well informed about what was happening in the core of the conspirators' group, but I cannot name these sources because it would jeopardize the life of many Chileans, both civilian and military, who are still in Chile now.

4. In this parliamentary election, the 44 percent received by the Unidad Popular is really a victory, given the political system of Chile. Never before had any elected Chilean government increased its percentage of the votes after the presidential elections. A case in point is that of Eduardo Frei: elected in 1964 with 56.09 percent of the vote, his party dropped to 42.3 percent in the 1965 parliamentary elections; three years later, in the municipal elections of 1967, his government received 35.58 percent of the vote; this decline culminated in the parliamentary elections of 1969, when the percentage was 21.8 percent. In the pluralistic system of democracy that existed in Chile until September 11, 1973, this relative minority was not a sign of illegitimacy but rather a measure of backing or rejection of a constitutional action. By the same token, in the 1958 presidential elections the winning candidate, Jorge Alessandri Rodriguez, received only 31.2 percent of the vote, but he defeated

224                                           NOTES: pages 11-16

     Allende, the runner-up, whose total was 28.5 percent, Frei, with 20.5 percent, and the Radical, Luis Bossay, with 15.4 percent. Nobody questioned the legitimacy of Jorge Alessandri's presidency.
        With the Unidad Popular government, the opposite was the case. Winning 36 percent of the vote in 1970, it raised this percentage to 44 percent in 1973, a significant expansion of its plurality. However, the conspirators "proved" the illegitimacy of Allende's government using the fact that he "represented only a minority of 36 percent," a false argument given the context of Chile's political system.

 5. What happened in this meeting was related by President Allende himself to a small group of Unidad Popular journalists in La Moneda on the night of the same day, August 8. Some of these journalists are in prison in Chile, and others have gone underground; one of them, Augusto Olivares Becerra, was killed.

 6. The existence of this tape, a summary of its contents, and this version of the meeting were revealed by Allende to a small group of Unidad Popular journalists in order to explain his request that they not report any of these events, as the situation was "extremely critical." The events of the following day were more or less public, including harangues in the courtyards of the air bases involved and the comings and goings of easily identifiable military couriers. However, the agreement with Allende was respected, and the leftist newspapers did not inform the public of the event in detail, but rather in a general and indirect way. Of course the newspapers of the right were also silent.

 7. During the 1970 presidential campaign, many journalists accompanied Allende day and night as he traveled all around Chile, and at day's end the question of what the armed forces would do if Allende won was often discussed. From that time on, it was known from Allende's own mouth that he thought he had "at least one friend, General Torres de la Cruz."  Allende was later to define Torres as an " Allendista."   He even said that it was enough guarantee that Torres was fifth in seniority at that time, preceded only by Schneider, Prats, Pinochet, and Urbina, and followed by Bonilla.  After the events of October 1970, Torres was again mentioned by Allende's military advisers as "loyal."  During March-April 1973, when the arms searches of the factories began, Unidad Popular officials went to Punta Arenas to talk to Torres (Allende had sent him there to "reinforce" the struggle against the fascists' arms smuggling from Argentina) to find out what was going on inside the Army.   Naturally, Torres said that the brutalization and punishment of the workers of both sexes were excesses proper to that type of action.

                                 N O T E S : pages 39-56                             225

8. The case of Augusto Pinochet in the drama that Chile is living through today is very special. Today, he seems to be an extremely cruel head of a fascist military junta. But until June 1973, the conspiring generals were not at all sure of Pinochet, particularly because he always seemed to agree with his superior, Army Commander in Chief Carlos Prats, in his political line, and because many of the courses of action taken by the General Staff under his direction were carried out under Prats's slogan of "defending the Constitution in case of military insurrection." General Pinochet was the last important link in the coup to close. The principal reason for Generals Leigh, Bonilla, Brady, and Arellano and Admiral Toribio Merino to "invite" him to be chief of the junta was to avoid a rupture in the Army. Perhaps the fact that he was excluded for such a long time from the conspirators' group also kept him outside the plan to assassinate Allende.

9. According to unofficial testimony, there were eight dead and forty-three wounded among the soldiers, in addition to a damaged but not inoperable Sherman tank. The official report, however, announced "two dead and seventeen wounded" and made no mention of damaged materiel.

         2. Why Was the General Assassinated?

1. The fifth coup attempt was covered in Chapter 1. The first and second military insurrections are treated in Chapter 3; the fourth, fifth, and sixth in Chapter 5. The coup of September 11, the seventh and successful attempt, is discussed in detail in Chapters 1, 4, 5, and 6.

2. The remaining 4 percent of the work force is taken up by the so-called domestic employees, mainly peasant women who work in the houses of the middle and the upper bourgeoisie. Their salaries are so low that they are not included in the national accounts. (Facts taken from   " Antecedentes sobre el desarrollo chileno 1960-1970," ODEPLAN, 1971, 30-32, pp. 43, 45.)
3. The greater part of the papers that indicated payments had been received by Gabriel González Videla from the American consortia were published in the Chilean magazine Vistazo in November and December 1962 and July 1964; in my articles "La penetración imperialista en
Chile" in Causa ML. Nos. 1-9, and in the series "La historia sucia de los politicos dem6cratas" in Puro Chile, March 15-April 7, 1973.  A similar case was that of Rodolfo Michels, which was so scandalous that he was expelled from the Radical party in 1964, when the leftists gained control of this political group; they were later to support Allende's candidacy in 1970. Michels was thrown out for "carrying on illegal

 

This html version of "The Murder of Allende" was prepared by Stéphanie Saumon and Róbinson Rojas. 2001

Easyspace - your perfect partner for the web