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Nancy Pelosi, on the 1973 Coup in Chile – NYTimes

+ The former House speaker writes to add some history about the U.S. role.

President Salvador Allende, center, with bodyguards. (Reuters)
President Salvador Allende, center, with bodyguards. (Reuters)

By Nanci Pelosi

To the Editor:

Re “The Coup That Shattered Democracy in Chile 50 Years Ago” (news article, Sept. 15):

Thank you for telling the story of the Sept. 11, 1973, coup in Chile. It is important that the American people understand what happened 50 years ago. I write to note the role of the House of Representatives in shining a light on the United States’ activities surrounding the coup.

Representative Maurice Hinchey, Democrat of New York, a champion for truth and justice, introduced legislation in 1999 to declassify C.I.A. documents regarding the death of President Salvador Allende during the coup; the ascension of Gen. Augusto Pinochet; and human rights violations by General Pinochet’s henchmen.

As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I was able to amend the Intelligence Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2000 with language mirroring Representative Hinchey’s bill. With President Bill Clinton’s signature, it became law.

By 2001, the C.I.A. had prepared 16,000 documents for declassification. Since then, thousands more have been declassified. In May 2016, I led a bipartisan congressional delegation to Chile, where we visited the Museum of Memory and Human Rights. It was emotional and gratifying to see on display some of the documents that we had declassified, which have helped bring the truth to light.

At an event last week marking 50 years since the coup, President Gabriel Boric spoke eloquently about the importance of reconciliation and democracy. He has also authorized an accounting of the nearly 1,500 people still missing.

The leadership of Representative Hinchey in the fight for truth and justice continues to be an inspiration to us all.

Nancy Pelosi
The writer is the former speaker of the House.

A version of this article appears in print on Sept. 19, 2023, Section A, Page 27 of the New York edition with the headline: Nancy Pelosi, on the 1973 Coup in Chile.

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