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12 September, 2017

44th anniversary of the US-backed military coup in Chile

Forty-four years after the U.S. supported military coup, the Santiago Museum of Memory and Human Rights has inaugurated a special exhibit of declassified CIA, FBI, Defense Department and White house records on the U.S. role in Chile and the Pinochet dictatorship. The unusual exhibit, which officially opened to the public on September 5, is titled Secretos de Estado: La Historia Desclasificada de la Dictadura Chilena—Secrets of State: the Declassified History of the Chilean Dictatorship.

Curated by National Security Archive senior analyst Peter Kornbluh, the exhibit consists of 45 formerly classified documents dated between 1970 when Richard Nixon ordered to the CIA to instigate a coup in Chile, and October 1988 when General Augusto Pinochet sought to orchestrate a second coup after losing a plebiscite to stay in power.

Using creative presentations and lighting, the exhibit examines:

  • the CIA’s covert operations between 1970 and 1973 to undermine the socialist government of Salvador Allende,
  • the secret CIA payments to, and meetings with, Chilean media mogul Agustin Edwards and his newspaper, El Mercurio;
  • intelligence reports on the military repression
  • Operation Condor, the Southern Cone secret police collaboration led by the Pinochet regime to track down and eliminate opponents.
  • Pinochet’s Machiavellian plot to foment violence and a second coup the night he lost the plebiscite in October 1988.

These documents belong in a museum,” noted Kornbluh who directs the Chile Documentation Project at the National Security Archive and is the author of The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability. “They have generated news headlines; they have been used as evidence in human rights crimes; and now they can provide the powerful verdict of history.

The exhibit, mounted in the museum’s “Galeria de la Memoria,” will run until March, 2018.

Among the documents in the exhibit are several CIA and White House records specific to the September 11, 1973, military coup. On the 44th anniversary of the coup, the Archive posted 25 declassified records dated on, or related to, Chile’s 9/11.

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