Santiago de Chile, 11 September 1973. With the active support of the US, a military coup under the leadership of General Augusto Pinochet overthrows the Salvador Allende's “Popular Unity” government. President Allende dies heroicly while defending the presidential palace. In the following years, more than 40,000 people are tortured and imprisoned. More than 3,000 people are officially dead, either executed or “vanished”. Thousands of citizens arrested. In October 1973, the popular songwriter Víctor Jara, and 70 other political killings were perpetrated by the death squad, Caravana de la Muerte. The Pinochet regime was ruthless and brutal.
Forty-three years later, the chilean coup d'etat gives us the opportunity to draw some important conslusions. We will not refer to the criminal role of the US and the CIA intervention in overthrowing Allende's democratically elected government; this is well-documented and known. The most significant issue is what Chile's 1973 coup teaches us about the so-called “peaceful transition” to Socialism or, in other words, the “democratic, parliamentary” road to Socialism.