Illustration, Visual arts and Graphic Narrative

The Last Day – Narration Two


Salvador Allende Farrewell Speech

At 09:20, the president is now aware of the critical situation and for the last time he speaks to the country. On Magallanes Radio, he delivers his farewell speech, while the Hawker Hunters fly over the presidential palace.

Once again, the military ask for the rendition of the president. General Ernest Baeza and Admiral Patricio Carvajal speak with Allende who gives the same categorical reply. They realise that it is not going to be easy to break the president’s resistance or the defence of the palace.

Now all the preparations for the defence of La Moneda have to be follow through, but the instructions of the president are clear: nobody, not even by mistake, is to open fire on the military, unless they open fire first.

It is almost 10:00 when the armoured forces arrive, some pieces of artillery are installed pointing to the palace and the first shots can be heard in the capital. The defining shoot-out is about to start. The president is now wearing a military helmet, a present given to him by his Navy aide Commander Araya, killed by nationalist terrorist group months earlier. Also, he is carrying a personal present from Fidel Castro, an AK-47, to defend the constitution at all costs.

Although the Carabineros were in La Moneda early in the morning and they received reinforcements in the building at 08:20, at around 10:30 the new director of the Police Institution gives the order to pull out from La Moneda. Nevertheless, the police agents and detectives that were in palace from the other police institution of the country, the PDI, remain in the building fighting next to the president, even when their new authority gives the order to not open fire against the military.

When all radio transmissions from the UP´s stations have been silenced, through the radio stations supporting the coup, the order is given to all citizens and civilians across the country to remain in their work locations, leaving the streets. As soon as the firing starts, hundreds of workers are trapped inside their offices while others run in crowds to their homes.

The machine guns on the top of the tanks open fire unleashing the response from the GAP. Their preliminary plan is to defend the palace holding the pressure of the combat as long as possible, waiting for external reinforcements. The left wing, the communist and socialist party have given the order to fight against the military in all the cities and industrial areas linked between the towns.

The tanks fire over 70 rounds with their cannons. All the defenders including the president return fire, but they don´t have any capability to counter the military attack. The GAP´s snipers installed on the MOP building, repel further attacks on the building for the time being.

Friends and members of the GAP evaluate their options to take the president out of the building through the MOP building, even against his will, but he refuses arguing that the place of the president is in La Moneda.

At around 10:30 the ultimatum was given that if La Moneda doesn’t give up by 11:00 it will be bombed by the air force.