Marking the 40th anniversary of the Chilean coup

Soldiers carry the body of President Salvador Allende, wrapped in a poncho. (AP Photo/El Mercurio, File)

Soldiers carry the body of President Salvador Allende, wrapped in a poncho. (AP Photo/El Mercurio, File)

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Forty years ago, on September 11, 1973, a military coup toppled the democratic socialist government of Chile. President Salvador Allende killed himself as troops attacked the presidential palace. General Augusto Pinochet - with the backing of the CIA - rounded up students, trade unionists and intellectuals. In the aftermath of the coup, a quarter of a million people were detained for their political beliefs. 3000 were killed or disappeared. Many more were tortured. Thousands were desperately clamouring to get out of the country to safety. But at first, Canada turned a cold shoulder to the would-be refugees. That seeming indifference galvanized a group of people into action; among them students, church leaders, a handful of courageous civil servants and a whistle-blower, whose defiant act may have finally forced the door open.
 
In a documentary which was first broadcast 30 years after the coup, former Sunday Edition producer Bob Carty recounts the story of what became known as Special Movement Chile - a dramatic moment in Canadian diplomacy, foreign policy and citizen action.
   
Bob's documentary is called The Long Flight.
   
 On our program of September 8, 2013, Michael Enright will talk to Juan Guzman, the humble Chilean judge who shot to international fame when he investigated and indicted Pinochet. Guzman's story is told in the feature-length documentary, The Judge and the General, which aired on PBS in 2008.

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