50 Years After the Coup NATIONAL POLITICS

Reading of 1973 congressional declaration met with protest from the left

A recent reading of a 1973 congressional declaration calling President Salvador Allende’s administration unconstitutional was met with strong opposition. Many leftist politicians protested the act by booing and showing pictures of the dictatorship’s victims. The reading was seen as an attempt to justify the Sep. 11 coup just weeks before its 50th anniversary.

On Aug. 22, Chile’s lower house of Congress approved a motion to read the 1973 congressional declaration calling President Salvador Allende’s government unconstitutional. The reading inspired a tense stand-off between supporters of the motion and members of the ruling coalition, who protested the historic decision because it was used to justify the Sept. 11, 1973 coup d’état.

Condemnation from the left

The motion was put forward by the Republican Party and supported by the Chile Vamos coalition. It was approved with 50 votes in favor and 42 against. However, the reading was immediately met with criticism from members of the Socialist and Communist parties and the Frente Amplio coalition, who booed and yelled out during the reading of the declaration, calling the members of the right cowards and murderers.

Led by Daniel Manouchehri of the Socialist Party, and Lorena Pizarro of the Communist Party, many leftist representatives held images of the detainees who are still missing from the dictatorship while chanting “Justice and truth, no to impunity.” During the protest, representative Pizarro said, “If you are attempting to quiet us, I will let you know that not even the dictatorship managed to do it.”

The altercation was recorded by Republican Party representative Gonzalo de la Carrera, who shared it on X.

The event was met with further condemnation by Senator Jose Miguel Insulza of the Socialist Party. “I understand that there were some who thought it was part of being the opposition and did not foresee what happened three weeks later. But those who today know what came later, that La Moneda was bombed, that there was a dictatorship … I call that a fascist, a fascist attitude,” he said.

Protesters who disrupted the congressional session will be sanctioned with fines.

1973 declaration, an important lead-up to the coup

Aug. 22, 2023 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1973 congressional declaration.

Back in 1973, the motion in favor of the declaration passed after an arduous debate on the floor with 81 votes in favor and 47 against, with the Cristian Democratic Party joining with the National Party, a right-wing party created in the 1960s to counteract the influence of the Communist and Socialist parties.

The declaration stated that Allende’s coalition was acting in a totalitarian way and against the democratic system established by the 1925 constitution. It also called the president out for irregular justice practices as well as breaking the constitutional order of the republic, with the intent of establishing a totalitarian government.

Today, this statement is considered an important part of the lead-up to the Sep. 11 coup and a barely-veiled call to the armed forces to intervene in the government.

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