The Two and a Half Burials of Salvador Allende

The second grave at Santiago's General Cemetery

His widow was never allowed to see the body, which was removed from the presidential palace by Chilean firefighters and flown in a military aircraft to the coastal city of Vina del Mar, where it was quickly buried with little ceremony.  A full state funeral was held 17 years later, when an elected civilian took over the presidency from General Augusto Pinochet and the coffin was moved to Santiago’s Cementerio General. And now the body will be moved again.

In February a Chilean judge opened an official inquiry into the death of Salvador Allende, who died on September 11, 1973 as air force jets strafed the presidential palace.  This past week he accepted the petition of Allende’s family to exhume the body and establish once and for all how the former president died.  His daughter Isabel, a member of the Chilean senate, says that while she believes Allende committed suicide it is important to have “the most rigorous and definitive proof” to put an end to the suicide-or-murder speculation that has lingered for nearly four decades. The exhumation and autopsy will take place during the second half of May.

In other news from Chile:  This week’s Economist has an interesting story on maternity leave in Chile and how the Pinera government’s effort to extend this provision might not have the desired effect:

Extra maternity leave would probably not bring many more women into the workforce. Most local economists say that the biggest obstacle to female employment in Chile is the country’s restrictive labour laws. One requires companies that employ 20 or more women to pay for child care. Little wonder that so many Chilean firms have precisely 19 female workers. Another rule prevents businesses from firing women for two years after they become pregnant—creating an incentive to fire them earlier, or not to hire women of childbearing age at all.

One comment on “The Two and a Half Burials of Salvador Allende

  1. LisaPie says:

    Nice article. I wonder if it is possible to find out anything from an exhumed body that is that old?

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