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President Higgins marks 50th anniversary of Chilean coup d’état

Date: Sun 10th Sep, 2023 | 10:30

The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, has participated, at the invitation of Chile’s President, in events taking place in Santiago to mark the 50th anniversary of the coup d’état which overthrew the government of the democratically elected Chilean President Salvador Allende on 11 September 1973.

President Higgins, at the request of President Gabriel Boric, has contributed a video message – which the President has delivered in both the Spanish and English languages – which will be played at an event attended by invited Heads of State in Santiago on Monday to mark the 50th anniversary of the coup.

President Higgins has also added his support to the ‘Santiago Commitment’, which will be signed by those participating in the event. On the 50th anniversary of the overturning of democracy in Chile, the document commits those signing it to caring for and defending democracy, condemning violence and promoting peaceful resolution of differences, defending and promoting human rights, and strengthening the spaces for collaboration between states through a mature multilateralism.

President Higgins’ message has been welcomed by President Boric, who released the President’s message over the weekend in Chile.

In his message, President Higgins says,

“In times that are dark in so many parts of our existence, it is a shaft of light, hope and mutual commitment to democracy that President Boric’s invitation and the Santiago Commitment represents.

It is a great honour, on a date as significant as this, to pay homage to the courage and resilience of the people of Chile and to offer support to the inspiring commitment to democracy and human rights represented by the Manifesto we are asked to share.

May I pay tribute to President Gabriel Boric for taking this initiative, asking us all to ensure that democracy is never again threatened by violence.

In 1988, I visited Chile in my role as an Observer to the Plebiscite of that year, which mandated the end of the dictatorship and ushered in the return of democracy. Those I met in 1988 in Chile I will never forget, be it their agony or their courage. 

Chile will always be a place very close to my heart. How wonderful it is to see the lead being given by your President in addressing the issues of inclusion, justice, responsible ecological values, respect for culture, indigeneity, and the deepening of democracy.

It is my hope that it will be the beginning of a conversation which will spread throughout the continents.

My sincere thanks for the great honour it is of addressing you today.

Míle Buíochas.

Thank you.”