DAILY CATHOLIC     TUESDAY     September 1, 1998     vol. 9, no. 171

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO

CHILEAN CARDINAL TRIED TO AVOID MILITARY COUP, BOOK REVEALS

          SANTIAGO (CWNews.com) - Chilean Cardinal Raul Silva Enriquez, Archbishop of Santiago de Chile during the 1970s, tried to avoid the military coup of September 11, 1973 that brought General Augusto Pinochet to power, a new book by a former Socialist leader said.

          The book, "September 11: Testimonies, Remembrances and a Reflection" was written by Jose Antonio Viera Gallo, a former president of the Socialist Party who escaped political persecution and a possible murder by requesting asylum at the Apostolic Nunciature after Pinochet's coup. Viera Gallo -- now a Senator -- said in his book that Cardinal Silva Enriquez saw the decomposition of Chilean society moving so fast under the Socialist regime of President Salvador Allende, that he believed that a military coup was impossible to avoid.

          "Cardinal Silva talked to me several times and urged me to tell the president (Allende) to call the military leaders and negotiate a peaceful change with them," Viera Gallo said. The book also revealed that Cardinal Silva talked to almost all key political leaders and found that "all of them, including former president Eduardo Frei (the father of the current president of Chile), were convinced that there was no choice but a military coup, since we were facing either a military or a Communist dictatorship."

          The book added that Cardinal Silva, who during the military rule became a harsh critic of Pinochet's violation of human rights, insisted that Allende should negotiate with the military for the end of his own regime. "Do not risk the whole country in just one bet," the cardinal reportedly said. Viera Gallo said that he conveyed the message to Allende, "but he was confident that a large part of the military was loyal to him and that with them and grassroots organizations, the sedition would be defeated."


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September 1, 1998       volume 9, no. 171
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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