SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Thursday in Chile that it was imperative for the United States to declassify documents that could shed light on Washington’s involvement in the South American country’s 1973 coup.
“The transparency of the United States could present an opportunity for a new phase in our relationship between the United States and Chile,” Ocasio-Cortez said in Spanish in a video posted on Instagram alongside Camila Vallejo, the spokesperson for the left-leaning government of President Gabriel Boric.
The Democratic congresswoman from New York is part of a delegation of lawmakers who traveled to the capital of Santiago ahead of the 50th anniversary of the coup against President Salvador Allende on Sept. 11, 1973.
The delegation had first traveled to Brazil and will now go to Colombia, both of which are also ruled by left-leaning governments.
The goal of the trip was to “start to change … the relationships between the United States and Chile and the region, Latin America as a whole,” Ocasio-Cortez told outside the Museum of Memory and Human Rights that remembers the victims of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, who ruled from 1973 to 1990.
“It’s very important to frame the history of what happened here in Chile with Pinochet’s dictatorship. And also to acknowledge and reflect on the role of the United States in those events,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Ocasio-Cortez said she has introduced legislation to declassify documents related to Chile’s coup and Vallejo said a similar request had been made by the Chilean government.
“In Chile as well, a similar request was made … that aims to declassify documents from the Nixon administration, particularly certain testimonies from the CIA director. This is to attain a clearer understanding of what transpired and how the United States was involved in the planning of the civil and military coup, and the subsequent years that followed,” Vallejo said. “This is very important for our history.”
U.S. Rep. Greg Casar, a Democrat from Texas, said after the delegation’s approximately hourlong visit to the museum in Santiago that it was important to recognize the “truth” that “the United States was involved with the dictatorship and the coup.”
“So that’s why we’re here,” Casar said in Spanish to journalists, “to acknowledge the truth, to begin a new future.”
U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro from Texas said the visit to the museum was a reminder that it was important “to make sure that a tragedy and a horror like this never, ever happens again in Chile or in Latin America or anywhere else around the world.”
Earlier in the day, the delegation also met with Santiago Mayor Irací Hassler.
Reps. Nydia Velázquez of New York and Maxwell Frost of Florida also traveled to South America as part of the delegation sponsored by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a Washington-based think tank.
Politi reported from Buenos Aires, Argentina.