GUESTS: Hortencia Bussi De Allende (from the Pacifica Radio Archives), widow of President Salvador Allende, Nathan Crooks, editor of the Santiago Times, Francisco Letelier, an artist based in Venice, son of Orlando Letelier
A week after suffering a heart attack, former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet died on Sunday at the age of 91. The funeral for the ex-dictator, complete with military honors, was held today in the capital city of Santiago. Current Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, herself a survivor of the dictatorship, denied Pinochet a state funeral on the grounds that he seized power by force and was under investigation for murder, torture and fraud at the time of his death. Bachelet\'s government did, however, authorize the lowering of the Chilean flag to half mast at military barracks across the nation. Augusto Pinochet repressively ruled Chile for 17 years after rising to power in a 1973 U.S. backed military coup against the democratically elected Socialist government of Salvador Allende. Pinochet, whose crimes include the death and disappearance of more than three-thousand victims and the torture of tens of thousands more, never spent a day in jail. The news of his death was bittersweet for human rights activists who were working on bringing the ex-dictator to justice. Isabel Allende, daughter of the late Salvador Allende reacted to Pinochet\'s death by saying that she would have liked to see the General stand trial and be convicted for his crimes. Speaking in Spain, Allende described Pinochet as, \"a horrendous ruler, the principal culprit for the most atrocious actions committed in the history of Chile.\" Upon hearing the news of Pinochet\'s passing, thousands of Chileans celebrated on the streets of Santiago in jubilation, drinking champagne and throwing confetti. Supporters of the ex-dictator gathered outside Santiago Military Hospital where he had spent his last moments. News of the ex-dictator\'s passing provoked reactions worldwide. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and longtime Pinochet ally said she was greatly saddened, by the news of his death.
We turn to an archival interview of Salvador Allende\'s widow, Hortencia Bussi De Allende, conducted by Victor Vasquez of the program La Raza Nueva in December 1973, only two months after the coup that brought Pinochet to power. This interview was preserved in the Pacifica Radio Archives.
English voice-over by Montezuma Esparza and Audrey Kaslow. Special thanks to the Pacifica Radio Archives for use of this interview.
Francisco Letelier is the son of the late Orlando Letelier, Chileâ€™s former defense minister who was assassinated in Washington, D.C. by a car bomb on September 21, 1976 by Chilean agents working for Augusto Pinochet, whose regime Letelier had opposed. His murder prompted the United States to discontinue its support for Operation Condor, though not all support for the Pinochet government.