Missing (1982) Poster



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  • In 1970 socialist President Salvador Allende was democratically elected in Chile. He introduced sweeping economic reforms designed to aid the Chilean poor and forged close links with the communist regimes of Cuba and the USSR. Both the Chilean Supreme Court and Parliament accused him of attempting to establish a totalitarian state and in 1973 Chilean Army General Augusto Pinochet staged a coup, killing Allende and establishing a right-wing dictatorship. Under Pinochet's leadership thousands of left-wingers, sympathizers and anti-military citizens were arrested, tortured and executed or simply disappeared. Edit

  • The US resolutely opposed Allende fearing he was another Castro who would create a Soviet satellite state in Chile and use it to export revolution throughout South and Central America. US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger referred to Chile as 'A long thin dagger pointed at the heart of America'. The CIA backed and economically supported the coup and the US, Britain, France and other western powers recognized the Chilean dictatorship and aided it. Edit

  • With the end of the Cold War Chile held a plebecite in 1988, to decide if Pinochet should remain in power. The Chilean people voted 56% to 44% to restore democracy. Pinochet bowed to pressure from foreign governments and within his own military and ceded power in return for a blanket amnesty for the junta's actions during the coup and afterwards. Various attempts were made afterwards by the victim's of the regime and their families to bring former members of the dictatorship to trial for their actions but for the most part these have been ineffectual, Pinochet himself dying of natural causes in retirement in 2006. Edit

  • Still hugely controversial both within Chile and internationally. Opinion is divided, some considering the junta a fascist criminal regime others believing it saved Chile from communist dictatorship. It is estimated that over 3000 people were killed during the 17 years of the right-wing military dictatorship with tens of thousands more tortured or exiled overseas. Edit



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