DISCLAIMER: last year when I decided to commemorate this, I received quite some flame because I wasn't commemorating the two towers, and instead something else. I'm not american, so although I feel sorrow for the death and loss that marked that day for the USA, I don't feel the urge to commemorate it. There are many September 11. I choose to commemorate the death of whom I see as a personal hero. Please be a civilized person and respect that.
Exactly fourty years ago today Salvador Allende died in mysterious circumstances after the military coup sponsored by the United States of America had put an end to democracy and freedom in Chile, thus starting a dark age of dictatorship, repression, and the well known phenomenon of the desaparecidos, the people who were made disappear by the dictatorship. An approximate estimation suggests that some 40'000 people were made disappear by the military dictatorial government, and over 600'000 were imprisoned and tortured.
Before that, Chile had been benefiting from one of the brightest periods of its history.
During his government, Salvador Allende worked mainly to diminish the poverty of his people, and promote alphabetization, culture and art. Under his lead, social spending was dramatically increased, particularly for housing, education, and health, while a major effort was made to redistribute wealth to poorer Chileans and several industries were nationalized. To improve social and economic conditions for women, the Women's Secretariat was established in 1971, which took on issues such as public laundry facilities, public food programs, day-care centers, and women's health care (especially prenatal care). Under his presidency, Chile was a country where women did not have to choose between having children or having a career, thanks to the maternal leave extended to 12 months.
Allende started an agrarian reform and promoted alphabetization, putting a huge budget on schools and universities. He also promoted democratic rights fighting the traditional hierarchical structures that were present in Chile in the name of socialist egalitarianism. He promoted arts, because he dreamed of a cultural renaissance of his country.
But it was the time of the Cold War, and even if he had been democratically elected and he was successfully creating a socialist democracy through democratic means and not through a dictatorship (unlike Cuba), USA could not permit a country to become what they could label as communist. Helped by Nixon and Kissinger, Augusto Pinochet took over and established a fascist dictatorship that oppressed Chile for 17 years, until 1990.
To those who love freedom, democracy, culture, Salvador Allende will always be a beacon of light and will not be forgotten.