Chile Pays Tribute To Fallen President
SANTIAGO, Chile, Sept. 10 -- In a ceremony one day before the 30th anniversary
of the military coup in Chile, President Ricardo Lagos paid tribute today
President Salvador Allende, who killed himself on Sept. 11, 1973.
Allende, a democratically elected socialist, whose policies angered
the United States during the Cold War, is viewed by many Chileans as a
hero. Others, however,
condemn him for provoking the coup.
Lagos unveiled a plaque dedicated to Allende on the spot where he shot himself after air force jets bombed the presidential palace, La Moneda, during the coup.
"This was making historic amends for a president who gave his life for his ideals and for his dignity," said Defense Minister Michelle Bachelet.
As Allende's widow, Hortensia Bussi, 89, his two daughters and 30 others
watched, Lagos hung an unusual pair of official photographs. The first
Allende at his inauguration, standing on a palace balcony and wearing the presidential sash. The second shows the balcony, empty and destroyed by the bombing of
the palace during the coup, which ushered in Gen. Augusto Pinochet's 17-year dictatorship.
Interior Minister Jose Miguel Insulza said the broken balcony signified
the destruction of democracy. More than 3,000 people were killed in the
early years of the
military regime and tens of thousands went into exile.