Thursday, September 23, 2010

Another September 11

September 11 is a date consecrated for Americans as the date of the Twin Towers' destruction in New York in 2001. But there was another crucial event on September 11, in Chile in 1973. It is the date when Salvador Allende, the first Marxist president ever elected in a popular election in the Americas, was assassinated* in a coup carried out by the Chilean military and police, who were backed to the hilt by Henry Kissinger and the CIA. Augusto Pinochet, leader of the coup, was publicly tried for various crimes against the people when he was 90 years old, but died without serving a minute in jail.

Pablo Neruda had been a communist all his life, which posed a problem for him when communism was outlawed in Chile in 1948. After living in exile for several years, in recognition of his genius and his country's debt to him, he was coaxed back to Chile. He was heartened that Allende, a true champion of the common people, had been elected president in 1970. And he followed the reforms that took place, which outraged the ruling elite and the nabobs in Washington, who were then preoccupied with visions of communist dominoes tumbling everywhere.

When the coup took place, Neruda was in hospital with cancer. Twelve days after it was over, on 23 September, he suffered sudden heart failure. He had time, however, to write one last, embittered poem.

Las satrapías

Nixon, Frei, Pinochet
hasta hoy, hasta este amargo
mes de setiembre
de 1973,
con Bordaberry, Garrastazú y Banzer
hienas voraces
de nuestra historia, roedores
de las banderas conquistadas
con tanta sangre y tanto fuego,
encharcados en sus haciendas,
depredadores infernales,
sátrapas mil veces vendidos
y vendedores, azuzados
por los lobos de Nueva York.
Máquinas hambrientas de dólares,
manchadas en el sacrificio
de sus pueblos martirizados,
prostituidos mercaderes
del pan y el aire americanos,
cenagales verdugos, piara
de prostibularios caciques,
sin otra ley que la tortura
y el hambre azotada del pueblo.

15 de Septiembre de 1973.

Nixon, Frei and Pinochet
Until today, until this bitter
Month of September
Of the year 1973.
With Boardoberry, Garrastazu and Banzer
Voracious hyenas
Of our history, rodents gnawing the banners conquered
With so much blood and so much fire,
Muddied on the estates,
Infernal depredators,
Satraps a thousand times sold
And sellers, incited
By the wolves of New York.
Machines hungry for dollars,
Stained in the sacrifice
Of their martyred peoples,
Prostituted merchants
Of the American bread and air,
Murdering quagmires, herd
Of whore mongering chiefs,
With no other law but torture
And hunger whipping the people.

*The official cause of Allende's death was suicide, in which case he was suicided.

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