Interview with Vera Polycarpou, Head of International Relations and European Policy of AKEL and member of the Central Committee of AKEL

11 September 2023, Astra radio station

ASTRA- Fifty years have elapsed since the coup in Chile where once again the Americans, the CIA and the Pentagon were involved, right?

VERA POLYCARPOU: Yes, there are now relevant references/documents substantiating that. They have publicly admitted themselves that they have done the coup, that they have worked for and executed it, together with of course the country’s puppets using the military which was closely tied to the United States, as they ascertained that one by one they were losing – starting with the army chief Schneider – the influence and the commitment of the Chilean military to the United States for the protection of their interests and monopolies in Chile. They first assassinated Schneider in 1970, the day in effect that Allende would take over as President-elect after the great victory of “Popular Unity” in 1970.

This was followed by other assassinations of army Generals who didn’t yield and follow the line. Others were forced to resign, until it came to the point where the army was headed by a callous general who was exactly the one who would take the army to execute the coup.

We cannot forget this fact that after so many years of struggle in Chile, all those forces that wanted change, that wanted progress and sought to lift the people out of poverty were able to rally their forces and come together. They were able to unite their forces within the ranks of “Popular Unity” and win the elections on 4 September 1970 with the Presidency assumed by the Salvador Allende, a socialist doctor who had long before been Minister of Health in some previous governments.

Salvador Allende was a man devoted to his people and his country as a fighter. The Americans could never understand and accept this fact that they were losing their “backyard” which, according to them, had to obey the Monroe doctrine, that is to say that everything should be controlled by Washington and the CIA and that supposedly there wasn’t anything one could do.

The biggest component force in “Popular Unity” was the Communist Party of Chile. The Americans had a serious problem with that. The other parties were the Socialist and a number of other parties that saw this necessity and created “Popular Unity”.

What followed, as the nationalization of copper took place for example which was and is an enormous wealth for the country as it continues to be today, was that the overthrow of the “Popular Unity” government had to be carried out in the most brutal way. On the 11th September 1973 the Presidential Palace “La Moneda” was bombed and the photos of President Allende with his helmet and gun in his hand defending democracy are well known to us all…

ASTRA – …The coup was preceded by months of preparation, with acts of terror, assassinations and more, culminating in the bombing of the Presidential Palace….

VP – A boycott [of the economy] was also imposed, for example, with the support of big businessmen, the truckers and others. Artificial shortages, amongst other things, were created in the market and many other actions that sought to create an atmosphere and a situation that would facilitate a coup d’état to become acceptable. Pinochet was in charge of the coup and an extremely brutal dictatorship ensued, one of the worst ever…

The torture that took place and is on display in the Museum of Memory in the capital Santiago together with actual torture tools that were used which is the worst thing the human mind can imagine. Thousands of people were disappeared. To this day there are still missing persons. Their families and loved ones continue searching for their bones in the desert where the concentration camps were situated. Thousands of people were executed. Many were thrown from helicopters into the oceans so they could never be found. Many others were exiled.

Despite all this, the Chilean people found the strength to struggle against this brutal dictatorship, to stand up and resist, to take to the streets during the dictatorship. It is therefore no coincidence that the end of the dictatorship came.

The Chilean people are still struggling because, unfortunately, the Constitution imposed by Pinochet in 1980 enshrined neoliberalism in law. It is there, in Chile, that neoliberalism was first applied as an experiment. We of course do not forget that Pinochet was a very close friend of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. After all, it was there in Britain that Pinochet was hosted after he fled Chile in 1990. This very oppressive constitution was imposed, which is still in force today. And there are still forces that do not want the constitution to change.

Let me conclude by saying that 10 months after the coup in Chile the coup d’état was executed in Cyprus. And this was not by chance… It was the same masterminds that organized and guided it. The US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was in charge, the American CIA and others.

And we must never forget that, given that next year will mark 50 years here in Cyprus since the coup d’état of 15 July 1974.

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