CARACAS, Wednesday April 01, 2009 | Update
The first month of 1973 marked the end of the bloody Vietnam War. it was the first defeat in battle of such a world power as the United States. On January 24, US President Richard Nixon announced the agreement that ended the armed conflict in Vietnam. His words were televised from the White House in Washington. In Chile, Augusto Pinochet headed a coup d'état against President Salvador Allende, who died in the clash. It was the beginning of a long, ferocious dictatorship
"Where is Augusto?" shouted Salvador Allende a few moments after the violent attacks started in a coup d'état that removed him office and put an end to his own life File Photo: Andrés Mata Foundation / AFP
Salvador Allende's last promise was emphatic: "I shall not
resign." Following that statement he asked his supporters
to give him strength.
Allende, president of Chile since 1970 and the first ever Marxist democratically elected in Latin America, was overthrown and died on September 11, 1973.
His body was found, with a gun shot in his mouth, in the presidential palace of Santiago, Chile twenty minutes after a military attack involving bombs and heavy artillery had taken place. With the president's office vacant, a military board of four men took over the government, declared martial law, mass-media censorship and a curfew.
Several theories surround the death of Salvador Allende. The official version issued by the new government later headed by Augusto Pinochet was suicide. Based, however, on the Marxist leader's last speech and the turbulent and violent nature of the military strike, his followers believe he was murdered.
Earlier that day, before media broadcasts were taken off the air, Allende addressed Chileans. His final words were "I shall not resign. I will not do it. I denounce before the country the incredible attitude of soldiers who betray their oaths and commitments. I inform the country of my irrevocable willingness to continue to defend Chile. I shall resist however possible, at the expense of my own life, so that a lesson can remain which exposes to History those who have power, but no reason. I ask workers to avoid being intimidated. Once again, we are aware that there are airplanes…" At that point, the broadcast came to an end.
The first month of 1973 marked the end of the bloody Vietnam War. It was not simply the end of another war; it was the first defeat in battle of a world power such as the United States.
On January 24, US President Richard Nixon announced the agreement that ended the armed conflict in Vietnam. His words were televised from the White House in Washington.
The terms of the agreement prepared by Nixon's advisor Henry Kissinger and North Vietnam's negotiator Le Duc Tho, established that US soldiers would withdraw from the Asian country within a 60-day term. The United States also promised to free all prisoners of war.
Finally on January 27, the peace treaty was signed by the ministers of North Vietnam, South Vietnam, the United States and the Provisional Revolutionary Government of Vietcong. The irony behind this historic event was that they signed the treaty on the same table where four years earlier tri-party conversations have futilely taken place.
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