The moment that Salvador Allende was violently deposed on September 11, 1973, democratic socialists in the US knew it was a crime. They joined others around the world organizing solidarity efforts and supporting political refugees.
In August, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and several congressional leaders visited Brazil, Colombia, and Chile to meet with leftist activists and elected officials — a goodwill trip that the Wall Street Journal dubbed “AOC’s Socialist Sympathy Tour.” In Chile, Ocasio-Cortez and her colleagues insisted that the US government declassify more documents related to Washington’s support for the coup that overthrew socialist president Salvador Allende in 1973.
Bowing to pressure, the State Department released several of President Richard Nixon’s daily briefings concerning the Chilean military’s movement against the democratically elected government. As the memos show, Nixon knew at the time of the coup that Allende was open to a “political solution” (likely holding a plebiscite) and hoped to “fend off a showdown,” which he never got the chance to do. The revelations confirmed that the United States went into the putsch with its eyes wide open and still backed a coup that wiped out Chilean democracy.
AOC and the delegation’s successful push for declassification is the latest action in nearly five decades of US democratic socialist solidarity with Chileans, stretching back to the Democratic Socialists of America’s two predecessor organizations: the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC) and the New American Movement (NAM). While not the primary US movers of what became known as Chile Solidarity — the global social movement supporting democratic rights in the Southern Cone country — DSOC and NAM, in their publications and organizing, played a real role in opposing Chile’s military dictatorship.
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