September 15, 1970, was a dramatic day in the life of Chilean media mogul, Agustin Edwards Eastman. His day began at 8am, with breakfast in the office of Henry Kissinger, then national security advisor to President Richard Nixon. At 9:15am, Kissinger had arranged for Edwards to secretly see Nixon in the Oval Office. Although there is no documentary record that the meeting with the president took place, later that day at the Madison Hotel in downtown Washington D.C., Edwards became the only Chilean—civilian or military—known to meet face-to-face with CIA Director Richard Helms. At 3:25pm that afternoon, President Nixon called Kissinger and Helms into the Oval Office and instructed them to covertly try to “save Chile” by orchestrating a military takeover. “I have this impression that the president called this meeting,” Helms later testified before the U.S. Senate, “because of Edwards’ presence in Washington and what … Edwards was saying about conditions in Chile.”
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Richard Nixon’s directive to Helm’s 50 years ago set in motion a series one of the more infamous acts in the annals of U.S. foreign policy. To instigate a coup CIA soon focused on providing guns, funds, and even life insurance policies for Chilean military operatives to remove the commander-in-chief of the Chilean armed forces, General Rene Schneider, who opposed a golpe. On October 22, 1970, Schneider was intercepted and shot on his way to work; he died the next day. His CIA-supported murder became one of the most legendary cases of U.S. involvement in the assassination of foreign leaders.
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“Eye mutilation continues in Chile. Military officers shoot people in the face in Santiago,” Chilean correspondent Paola Dragnic tweeted.
Chile’s social leaders and activists condemned President Sebastian Piñera’s omission of human rights violations and mishandling of the pandemic in his administration’s public account presentation to Congress on Friday.
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ANGEL GUERRA—The combative and diverse Chilean social movement that began with the outbreak of October 18, 2019 is grouped in the Social Unity, a large front of popular organizations that before the pandemic flooded avenues and public spaces, but has been able to find at this stage other ways to demand the satisfaction of their demands, including digital networks, symbolic presence in the streets and also strikes of essential sectors. For example, a national strike of waterfront workers was decreed, as a form of pressure, at the same time that the chambers of deputies and senators were debating the right to withdraw 10 percent of pensions.
Manalich departure, a defender of the “flexible quarantine,” comes amid a controversy that cost him the credibility of public opinion, when the Ministry of Health had reported 3,101 deaths by COVID-19 to the country while reporting to the WHO on more than 5,000 deaths.