To the Editors:
The military putsch of September 11th in Chile and the massive repression of her citizenry have a special relevance for us. For Chile was one of the few remaining parliamentary democracies in the world, and its destruction reveals, once again, how precarious are the freedoms we take for granted, when their exercise threatens vested interests. Under the military junta, as your readers know, thousands have been incarcerated and countless persons summarily executed; the universities have been put under the control of military officials and faculties purged of “dissidents,” parties have been indefinitely “recessed,” parliament has been dissolved; senators, deputies, mayors, aldermen, civil servants, trade unionists, students, teachers, cabinet ministers, and vast numbers of workers have been subjected to interrogation, torture, imprisonment, death, and, if fortunate, forced exile. Hundreds crowd the few embassies which have been willing to grant “shelter” or asylum (ours is not one of them) to individuals requesting it. Few such persons have received the regime’s pledge of safe-conduct out of the country, and some who do, are, in fact, arrested or shot, on emerging from their places of refuge.
The US Committee for a Democratic Chile has been established with the following purposes:
- To provide assistance to individuals whose lives, liberties, incomes, or property have been endangered by the September 11 putsch and related events. Financial assistance will be provided for legal defense, transportation, relocation, sustenance, rehabilitation, medical care, and aid in obtaining employment.
- To gather and publicly disseminate reliable and valid information concerning the personal, civil, and political liberties of residents of Chile, and to activate public opinion in order to eliminate any restrictions on such liberties imposed by the military regime.
- To provide assistance to other organizations and individuals engaged in similar and related humanitarian efforts.
Funds have already been disbursed by the Committee and debts assumed well in excess of the actual resources available, guaranteed from the personal income of Committee officers and associates. The Committee hopes to obtain tax-exempt status and IRS approval making contributions to it tax-deductible, but such approval is still pending.
Your check, in the largest amount you can afford, should be made out to the US Committee for a Democratic Chile, at PO Box 5341, Madison, Wisconsin 53705.
US Committee for a Democratic Chile
April 4, 1974