Allende’s body to be exhumed

April 16, 2011

Allende exiting the Presidential Palace, moments before his death. Photo AP

Via the New York Times, Agence France-Presse reports:

Decades after President Salvador Allende died in a 1973 coup, Chile is preparing to exhume his body to determine once and for all whether he took his own life or was murdered by Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s forces. Judge Mario Carroza on Friday ordered the disinterment after receiving a request from Mr. Allende’s relatives, and the action should take place in the second half of May, according to a spokesman for the judiciary. Mr. Allende’s death during the bloody military coup that brought General Pinochet to power in September 1973 had been ruled a suicide, although that has long been questioned by some politicians and human rights groups. Mr. Allende’s family has been leaning toward the theory that he killed himself. “It’s not that the family has changed their minds, or that we have doubts that we didn’t have before, but we support a criminal investigation that has never happened,” Isabel Allende, the late president’s daughter and a Socialist member of Parliament, told CNN-Chile. “We think it is extremely important for the country and the world that we legally establish the causes and circumstances of his death, which occurred under extreme violence.”

More here. See also coverage by the BBC.