To: The Premier of New South Wales, the Honourable Barry O’Farrell
Dear Dr. Peter Phelps MP,
We thank you for your prompt reply even though, we have every reason to suspect that your answer to our “Open letter to the Premier of New South Wales’ was nothing but generic, having heard of similar responses to letters from friends in New South Wales.
For the purpose of clarity and fairness allow us to quote you on your statements supporting the Pinochet regime in your initial speech of the 11th September, “Tonight I make the case for Augusto Pinochet”.
Furthermore, we find no evidence in your speech, and we have examined it closely, indicating that you described Pinochet’s use of extra-judicial killings as “terrible”. On the contrary your statements and the tone of your letter leave us in no doubt as to your moral stance on this matter.” We have to accept that sometimes it is necessary to do bad things to prevent terrible things from happening.”
You defend the decision to remove a government that you seem to believe was acting in an “unconstitutional manner”. We absolutely refute your assertions that Salvador Allende’s government was unconstitutional or that in fact as per your letter this belief had overwhelming support by the Chilean people.
For your information, the Chamber of Deputies Resolution 81-47 was defeated in the Senate as it failed to obtain the two thirds majority required by the constitution at the time. We are sure you are well able to understand the difference between a Resolution that is passed and one that is defeated. Perhaps if you had kept on reading beyond your Wikipedia reference you may have avoided this incredibly embarrassing blunder.
We are dismayed to discover that most, if not all, of your information regarding the Government of Salvador Allende, as presented in your speech and subsequently in your reply, was copied and pasted directly from Wikipedia. We think you should be ashamed of yourself for addressing the Parliament so recklessly and also for your blatant plagiarism. As you have a doctorate in history you ought to be aware that plagiarism is unacceptable.
The view you espoused in your speech, that Chile was in the verge of becoming a Stalinist dictatorship appears to be based on’ Libro Blanco el cambio de gobierno en Chile ‘ (The White Book- change of government in Chile) which has long been confirmed to be fabrication, invented propaganda, and not based on fact.
You have done no more than reiterate the same pro fascist rhetoric of the right wing sector of Chile of yesteryear. You have chosen to ignore that the great majority of Chileans supported the government. You have chosen to ignore that he was elected on a 50% majority in an election that offered three presidential candidates. You have sought to discredit our president and have offended the memory of our fallen victims of the dictatorship and we will hold you to account on that Dr Phelps.
We, Chileans are well versed in political matters and those that have not lived in Chile should tread carefully when analysing our political situation particularly if not entirely familiar with it in terms of their own experience.
We understand that no government is free from oversights in the delivery of its agenda, including the government of Salvador Allende; but nothing will ever justify the level of violence that the right wing sector with its paramilitary faction ’ Patria Y Libertad’ provoked in the streets of Santiago. From 1970-1973, Patria y Libertad members were the authors of many successful terrorist attacks including the assassination of two pro government Generals, General Rene Schneider and General Carlos Prats.
It would suffice for you to randomly examine some of the information available from the CIA files where you will find actual evidence of the right wing sector of Chilean politics’ attempts to destabilise the government. You will also find historical evidence of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger’s support and participation in the coup. You will find evidence of the millions of dollars invested in the overthrow of the government by the United States administration. We encourage you to watch John Pilger’s documentary ’War on Democracy ‘.
You may be interested to know that the current president of Chile Mr Sebastian Pineira, has himself stated that the excesses of the Pinochet dictatorship were unjustified and should not have occurred.
You have sadly fallen victim to parroting outdated and erroneous information from less than reputable sources. You really should be ashamed of yourself for your lack of rigor, discipline and incredible ignorance not to mention arrogance to believe you could espouse views that justify torture, death and imprisonment as part and parcel of the duties of government.
We find you wanting in so many ways, that we will first invite you to resign your post and save face in front of the Australian Parliament. We remain open to a public retraction and apology to our community.
Dr. Phelps, if nothing else, you may rest assured that the Chilean community in Australia is united in its endeavours to bring you to account on this matter and we will not desist in our efforts until a total retraction and public apology are forthcoming.
Maria T. Mardones, on behalf of Melbourne Chile Solidarity
“We do not forgive …We do not forget”
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