Gonzalo Meza Allende, the grandson of Salvador Allende, spoke in Caracas, Venezuela yesterday, during a commemorative ceremony on the 34th anniversary of Pinochet’s coup d’etat, which overthrew and assassinated the democratically elected Chilean President, Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973.
I want to thank you for the invitation to commemorate this significant day in history, not just for Chile but for the entire world.
I want to take the opportunity to reflect with you—Venezuelans, Chileans, and Latin American friends—on the similarities and differences with the process that my grandfather led when he took power in 1970. But the history should leave us lessons to learn from.
Just as with the Venezuelan Process, in Chile we needed a leader of international status. You have President Hugo Chavez, elected democratically like Salvador Allende. They both came to power through the electoral route.
But the first difference, which Venezuela has overcome well, is that in Chile the Popular Unity did not obtain the absolute majority of 50%. It never had an absolute majority, and how important it is to have the support of much more than half the people. Value this, my friends; Venezuela has more than 50% that support Chavez.
Allende is the figure that symbolizes the project on the road to Socialism of the 20th Century, through the democratic means. President Chavez is the Socialism of the 21st Century. It is true, they are different global contexts. Allende lived in the era of the Cold War; the pressure so that he would ally with the Soviet Communists, or that which he also staunchly opposed- state capitalism, the capitalism of the North America.
Therefore, he always spoke of the Chilean way. In Venezuela, you have proclaimed the Venezuelan road to Socialism. Now there is no Cold War, but be careful, the country acting as the world super-power is the same and attempts to control the global economy and ideology. This has not changed. And there you have another great similarity and difference with the Chilean process. The United States openly intervened in both countries, attempting to overthrow, through the treason of the Armed Forces and with the support of large business interests, both governments, Chilean and Venezuelan, democratically elected, for not being aligned to their interests. What they unfortunately achieved in Chile in 1973 and what they couldn’t achieve in Venezuela—another important lesson from this century.
From here, the birthplace of Latin American unity, with the force of the ideas of Simon Bolivar still alive, to work for the great homeland of integration from Patagonia to Rio Grande to the North of Mexico- Allende also always pushed for Latin American unity, the unity of our region. And it is not just a coincidence that he traveled with the Chilean delegation in 1967 to the conference of the Organization of Latin American Solidarity (OLAS). We are once again inspired to work for Latin American unity. It is paradoxical. We have the same language, the same cultures, values. We have a region that unites many and nevertheless, it has cost us so much to unite this region.
Nevertheless, we have examples like the European Union, where despite two World Wars, they have been capable of today working together. Let us learn the lessons from other parts of the world to apply here. We need Latin American unity and we are working and advancing for it.
In relation to Latin American unity, I cite the following, spoken by my grandfather. He said, citing Bolivar:
“The United States wants to subject us to misery in the name of freedom, and Marti has made ever harsher statements, and I don’t care to repeat them, because in reality I distinguish between the North American people and its freethinkers, and the sometimes transitory attitude of some of their leaders and the politics of the State Department and the private interests that have counted on North American support.”
That’s what my grandfather said more than thirty-five years ago, and I continue saying it. We know well the South America scenario: That although a potentially rich continent, it is a poor continent fundamentally from the exploitation, because it is the victim of private North American capital. This has not changed and we need to struggle against it.
“We struggle fundamentally for the integration of Latin American countries. We believe that it is a just road indicated by the founding fathers of the homeland, who dreamed of Latin American unity, to be able to build a continental voice before the world.”
My grandfather spoke these words more than thirty years ago and they are still true today, exactly as they sound. That is why the similarities are inevitable. If we remember: The destiny- of the revolutionary process of change that the Venezuelan society is looking for - is in your hands.
Once more, I thank you for the homage of Salvador Allende, who was always an exceptional man before his time. At 34 years since his death, we should better understand his words, and let us listen carefully to what he said:
“It is clear that we believe that dialogue is fundamental. People like us fight for peace and not for war, for economic cooperation and not exploitation, for social coexistence and not for injustice.”
Many—millions and millions of people across the world—follow closely the significance of the Socialism of the 21st Century that President Chavez is putting forth, as the Socialist process was put forth in Chile, last century. And I end remembering once more the force of my grandfather’s words. Once more, even more than the exceptional coherence, as if he was—and he is—here with us. And I cite his version of the 21st Century, expressed in 1972. He said:
“And that’s why I believe that the man of the 21st Century should be a man with a different conception; with another scale of values; a man that is not essentially and fundamentally moved by money; a man that believes that there exists a different measure of fortune, in which intelligence is the great creative force”
Many thanks again, Venezuelan friends. Good luck, in great solidarity and support from Chile.
Translated by Michael Fox