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Bridget Kendall on the violent coup that brought down Salvador Allende's government in Chile and installed Augusto Pinochet's regime.

Bridget Kendall explores the major turning points in the later decades of the Cold War.

Throughout the Cold War, one of the key concerns of the United States was to keep countries in Latin America and the Caribbean from moving into the Soviet camp.

Whether a government declared itself to be Communist, like Castro's Cuba, or was merely a left-wing administration, the assumption was that it represented a potential threat.

So when, in 1970, Salvador Allende was elected President of Chile, representing a left-wing coalition, the US was not slow to react. After sponsoring a coup attempt in 1970, the US would - throughout the years of Allende's presidency - attempt to undermine his socialist government from within.

Although the violent military coup that would eventually take place on September 11th 1973, which installed the leadership of Augusto Pinochet, was not directly orchestrated by the CIA, it arguably could not have come about without its destabilising influence over the preceding years.

The coup involved the bombing of the Chilean presidential palace, known as the Moneda. Bridget Kendall hears from three people who were close to the Moneda that day.

With Jack Devine, Osvaldo Puccio and Steven Volk.

Readings by John Norton.

Producer: Martin Williams.

15 minutes

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