Bengal: Seminar Marks 50th Anniversary of Chilean Prez Salvador Allende's Assassination
Kolkata: The 50th anniversary of the brutal assassination of Chilean President Salvador Allende was commemorated in Kolkata on September 11 through a seminar organised by the All India Peace and Solidarity Organisation (AIPSO).
Titled "50th Year of Allende's Assassination and In Search of an Alternative in Latin America," the seminar featured speeches from prominent leftist figures, including West Bengal Left Front chairman Biman Basu, Goutam Ghosh, and Anjan Bera of AIPSO, among others.
Allende was a Chilean physician and socialist politician, who served as the 28th president of Chile from November 3, 1970 until his assassination on September 11, 1973. He has been described as the first Leftist and pro-socialist and anti-imperialist leader to be elected as president in a liberal democracy in Latin America.
On September 11, 1973, the military moved to oust Allende in a coup d'état supported by the CIA, which initially denied the allegations. Several declassified documents showed that US President Richard Nixon, his National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger, and the US government, which had branded Allende as a “dangerous communist”, were aware of the 1973 coup d'état and its plans to overthrow Allende's democratically-elected government.
As troops surrounded La Moneda Palace in Chile, Allende gave his last speech vowing not to resign. His murder was termed as a conspiracy against nationalisation of copper mines, land reforms and other socialist policy measures .
Addressing the seminar, Anjan Bera, state general secretary of AIPSO, highlighted the history of constant attacks on carriers of leftist ideology throughout the world. He praised the resilience of such individuals and movements that continually give rise to opportunities for struggle and imbue bravery. Bera noted that Salvador Allende's life exemplified this trajectory, as he boldly opposed the Washington Consensus and the imperialists' global hegemony. “Allende stands as a beacon for freedom-loving people in Latin America and worldwide,” he added.
Goutam Ghosh traced Allende's work and how he garnered support from various sections of Chilean society. Allende had ambitious plans to provide all in Chile with housing, clothing, and food. He had even gained the support of renowned poet and Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda. However, his efforts were tragically cut short by his untimely demise at the hands of oppressive imperialist interests, he added.
During the event, Biman Basu emphasised the need to protect the country from imperial interests by uniting more people under the progressive flag and resisting hegemonic and exploitative rule worldwide. He drew inspiration from the common people's struggle in Chile and pledged to extend the fight to the grassroots level, stressing the importance of saving the country and state from the exploitative rule of the ruling class. Basu pointed out that in Chile or Latin America and globally, hegemonists and capitalists seek to increase their dominance, aggression, looting, and exploitation.
The LF chairman highlighted Allende's resistance to imperialist interests in Chile, which led to the establishment of a socialist structure before his assassination. Basu called for following Allende's footsteps and raising awareness among the new generation about the “misdeeds of capitalists worldwide”.
AIPSO leader Rabin Deb noted that imperialists worldwide consistently attempt to suppress the struggles of freedom-loving people wherever resistance emerges. He pointed out that Leftist philosophy had faced attacks worldwide, and Allende paid the ultimate price for his dedication to this cause.
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