Ocasio-Cortez Champions Transparency: Time to Unveil US’s Dark Past in Chile

When history is written, shouldn’t all pages be shown? U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez thinks so. In a recent video chat with Camila Vallejo, spokesperson for the Chilean government, AOC turned the spotlight on an event that many might have glossed over in their history textbooks: the 1973 coup in Chile that witnessed the violent overthrow of its democratically elected president, Salvador Allende.

Ocasio-Cortez is pushing for a clear window into the past by urging the U.S. government to declassify records of its involvement in this dark chapter. “The transparency of the United States could present an opportunity for a new phase in our relationship between the United States and Chile,” AOC shared. If you’re scratching your head thinking, “What’s this got to do with the U.S.?”, let’s journey back in time.

In the early ’70s, Allende, a staunch democratic socialist, faced fierce resistance from the Nixon administration. Following his rise to power, the atmosphere rapidly soured, culminating in the tragic coup on September 11, 1973. The resulting regime, led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet, wasn’t just another administration shift—it was a brutally repressive military junta. The CIA even admitted its hand in “actively supporting” Pinochet’s reign, a regime notorious for human rights abuses.

While some snippets of the U.S.’s shadowy involvement have come to light, AOC isn’t settling for just the tip of the iceberg. She’s advocating for a full reveal of “all information” from the corridors of the State Department, the CIA, and even the Pentagon. In essence, if there’s a hidden file or a sealed envelope, she wants it out in the open.

Earlier this year, AOC tried to rally the troops by introducing an amendment to declassify these critical documents. But alas, the amendment never saw the light of the day, courtesy of the Republican-dominated House Rules Committee.

Her reasons? “To reset this relationship, we must take full, public responsibility for our historical role — and demonstrate with our present actions that we will not support human rights abuses.” A sentiment echoed by her peers, including U.S. Rep. Greg Casar (D-Texas), who recently emphasized that U.S. foreign policy has, more often than not, shaken the stability of Latin America.

As Ocasio-Cortez and her brigade gear up for their trip to Colombia, it’s a poignant reminder that true democracy isn’t just about making choices for the present; it’s about acknowledging the choices of the past. The message is clear: hiding history is never an option. So, as young progressives, it’s time we amplify this demand for transparency and ensure that the pages of history aren’t just selectively shown but displayed in full view for all to learn, understand, and reflect upon.