U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Thursday said her country’s government should declassify documents related to its role in the violent 1973 overthrow of Chile’s democratically elected president, Salvador Allende, nearly five decades ago.
“It’s very important to frame the history of what happened here in Chile with Pinochet’s dictatorship. And also to acknowledge and reflect on the role of the United States in those events,” Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said in a video conversation with Camila Vallejo, a spokesperson for the Chilean government.
“The transparency of the United States could present an opportunity for a new phase in our relationship between the United States and Chile,” said Ocasio-Cortez, who led a congressional delegation to Chile and other Latin American nations — an effort sponsored by the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
The Nixon administration was closely involved in efforts to prevent Allende, a democratic socialist, from assuming power in 1970 and in the subsequent overthrow of the Chilean government on September 11, 1973. The CIA has acknowledged that it “actively supported” the viciously repressive military junta led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet, who was later arrested and indicted for human rights violations.
While some U.S. documents related to the Chile coup have been declassified, Ocasio-Cortez has called for the declassification of “all information” at the State Department, the CIA, and the Pentagon detailing U.S. involvement in the coup.
In July, Ocasio-Cortez introduced an amendment to the annual U.S. military policy bill that would have aimed to declassify the documents, but the Republican-controlled House Rules Committee blocked the amendment from receiving a vote.
“It’s time for the U.S. to acknowledge its history of contributing to regime change and destabilization in Latin America,” the New York Democrat said at the time. “To reset this relationship, we must take full, public responsibility for our historical role — and demonstrate with our present actions that we will not support human rights abuses.”
Ocasio-Cortez and fellow lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Greg Casar (D-Texas), are now set to travel to Colombia.
In a statement earlier this week, Casar noted that “U.S. foreign policy has too often contributed to instability in Latin America: we should be protecting democracy rather than supporting coups, and we should be creating peace and prosperity across the Western Hemisphere rather than replaying the Cold War.”
“Now is the time to talk about our history, jointly fight the climate crisis, and invest in lasting peace,” said Casar.
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