Salvador Allende reader


Last Words Transmitted by Radio Magallanes

September 11, 1973

It is Chile's darkest hour, one that Allende prophetically says will bring down "infamy" on the heads of "those who have violated their commitments." Inside La Moneda, the presidential palace, Allende and a handful of followers defend themselves with bazookas and machine-guns, repeatedly refusing to surrender. The 65-year-old Chilean President uses a palace hookup with a radio station to address the Chilean people one last time before bombers force the station off the air. In what he calls "this gray and bitter moment," Allende persists in his "faith in Chile and its destiny." The "calm metal" of his voice intones to Chile's workers: "much sooner than later the great avenues through which free men walk to build a better society will open." Allende's press secretary Frida Modak later recalls: "I shall never forget the last time I saw Allende, his head covered by a helmet, his hand holding the machine-gun."

I will pay with my life defending the principles so dear to this homeland. Infamy will descend upon those who have violated their commitments, have failed to live up to their word, have broken the doctrine of the armed forces.

The people must be alert and vigilant. You must not let yourselves be provoked, not let yourselves be massacred, but you must also defend your conquests. You must defend the right to construct through your own effort a dignified and better life.

A word for those who, calling themselves democrats, have been instigating this uprising; for those who, saying they are representatives of the people, have been confused and acting stupidly to make possible this step that flings Chile down a precipice.

In the name of the most sacred interests of the people, in the name of the homeland, I call to you to tell you to keep the faith. Neither criminality nor repression can hold back history. This stage will be surpassed; it is a hard and difficult moment.

It is possible they will smash us, but tomorrow will be the people's, the workers'. Humanity advances toward the conquest of a better life.

Compatriots: It is possible that they will silence the radios, and I will take my leave of you. In these moments the planes are flying overhead. They may riddle us with bullets. But know that we are here, at least with this example, to show that in this country there are men who know how to meet their obligations. I will do it as commanded by the people and by my own conscientious will of a president who bears the dignity of his charge... [interruption]

...Perhaps this is my last opportunity to address myself to you. The air force has bombed the towers of Radio Portales and Radio Corporación. My words are not tainted by bitterness, but rather by deception. I hope they may be a moral punishment for those who have betrayed the oath they took as soldiers of Chile... Admiral Merino, who has designated himself commander of the navy, Mr. Mendoza, the callous general who only yesterday declared his loyalty to the government, and has been named director general of the Carabineros police.

In the face of these facts, the only thing left for me to say to the workers is: I will not resign! I say to you that I am sure that the seed that we now plant in the dignified conscience of thousands and thousands of Chileans cannot be definitively buried.

They have the power, they can smash us, but social processes are not detained, not through crimes nor power. History is ours, and peoples make it.

Workers of my country. I want to thank you for the loyalty which you have always shown, the trust which you placed in a man who was only the interpreter of the great desires for justice, who gave his word that he would respect the constitution and the law, and I did just so.

In this moment of definition, the last thing I can say to you is that I hope you will learn this lesson: foreign capital and imperialism united with reactionary elements, created the climate for the armed forces to break with their tradition, that belonging to General Schneider, and which Commander Araya reaffirmed, a victim of the same social sectors which right now are in their homes, waiting to take power with another's hand to continue defending their huge estates and privileges.

I address myself above all to the modest women of our country, to the peasant woman who believed in us, to the working woman who worked more, to the mother who knew of our concern for her children. I address myself to the professionals of our land, to the patriotic professionals, to those who were working against the sedition carried out by the professional schools, class ridden schools which defend the advantages which capitalist society gives them.

I address myself to the youth, to those who sang, who gave their joy and spirit to the struggle. I address myself to the Chilean man: to the worker, the peasant, the intellectual, to those who will be persecuted because fascism has already been present in our country for many hours: those terrorists who have been blowing up bridges, cutting railway lines, destroying oil and gas pipelines, in the face of the silence of those who have had the obligation of raising their voices. History will judge them.

Radio Magallanes will surely soon be silenced, and the calm metal of my voice will no longer reach you. It does not matter. You shall continue to hear it. I shall always be at your side, and you will remember me at least as a dignified man who was loyal to his country.

The people must defend themselves, but not sacrifice themselves. The people must not let themselves be leveled or mowed down, but neither can they let themselves be humiliated.

Workers of my homeland! I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this gray and bitter moment where treason tries to impose itself. May you continue to know that much sooner than later the great avenues through which free men walk to build a better society will open.

Long live Chile! Long live the people! Long live the workers!

These are my last words. I am sure that my sacrifice will not be in vain; I am sure that it will at least be a moral lesson which will punish felony, cowardice and treason.

Edición digital del Centro Documental Blest el 07feb02
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