Letter to Editor: Renaming of Allende Avenue dishonours those murdered in Chile

News / Sat 27th May 2023 at 06:23am

Dear Editor

THE renaming of Allende Avenue at the behest of Harlow Conservatives dishonours the memory of the thousands of people forced into exile, the thousands of people tortured, and the thousands of people murdered by the military dictatorship that replaced Salvador Allende’s democratic government in Chile.

If the aim was simply to honour Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the people of Ukraine, then Harlow Conservatives could have chosen to rename Second Avenue, Third Avenue, or Fourth Avenue. However, Harlow Conservatives wanted an excuse to remove the name of Salvador Allende, a democratically elected President of Chile overthrown in a military coup.

Chile was once known as the “England of South America” on account of its tradition of democratic government. Salvador Allende was elected as its first socialist president in 1970. In 1973 the Chilean armed forces, with the assistance, encouragement, and support of the USA, overthrew his government and installed a junta that ruled for seventeen years.

Harlow Conservatives are practising a form of denialism. Augusto Pinochet, the tyrannical military dictator of Chile, was a friend of Margaret Thatcher. Harlow Conservatives seem intent on erasing his crimes from the historical record.

Pinochet’s regime “disappeared” thousands of people, and in attempting to “disappear” the memory of a democratic politician overthrown in a military coup, Harlow Conservatives have taken the side of dictatorship against democracy.

Yours sincerely

John Wake

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28 Comments for Letter to Editor: Renaming of Allende Avenue dishonours those murdered in Chile:

Dan Swords
2023-05-27 07:21:35

Hi John You may be aware that this was a cross party agreement between the Conservatives and Labour at the 2022 May Annual Council meeting.

Cynical mum
2023-05-27 07:45:56

I would be more inclined to say that the reason this road was renamed rather than any other road in Harlow is because it’s the major road towards the town centre and makes the Council look good as people come into Harlow.

Kim Oconnor
2023-05-27 08:29:04

Dan swords, you are very good at passing the buck.

2023-05-27 08:47:12

Doesn't make it sensible Dan. Typical "we know best" from our minority politicians from all parties. Who asked and consulted the residents? Didn't bother did you. Changing long established names causes confusion, it doesn't show up on Google maps, just checked. As pointed out by the Council's peer review once elected Councillors aren't committed to those they are meant to represent enough to consult and take direction and are firmly tied to a party line. Obviously "stay tied to your desk and never think at all, and you could the ruler of the Queens Navy" There's plenty of other landmarks here that could named to show support for Ukraine.

James Leppard
2023-05-27 09:56:28

Nostradamus, nice to have a small recital from Gilbert & Sullivan, HMS Pinafore, I believe. Would be good to have more of that at The Playhouse.

James Leppard
2023-05-27 10:21:29

John Wake, why would we wish to hack an Avenue named after a President elected with just 36.6% of the votes in 1970 and whose disastrous Marxist economic policies had destroyed Chile’s economy by 1973, with mass shortages, hyperinflation of over 500%, widespread strikes and civil unrest? This name change is long overdue and in no way signifies any endorsement of Pinochet, notwithstanding his valuable support during the Falklands conflict against the far more brutal Argentine military junta.

Bruce Downey
2023-05-27 10:33:16

Nostradamus = Edward ✅

Adam Taylor
2023-05-27 10:49:25

This is just bonkers of roads are going to be named in honour of people name them after great brits (just not politicians please) Go after great scientists, engineers, industry leaders etc This council and its politicians are just useless. At next years all up election I suggest we the residents of Harlow try to get them all out

Alderman Durcan
2023-05-27 12:17:57

It’s a real shame the Tories didn’t accept the Labour idea of either planting a tree or naming one of the wild flower beds. As this should be about growth and renewal. They wanted a photo opportunity and an excuse to change the name of the road. Nothing more than a PR stunt ,pure and simple.

2023-05-27 14:21:56

Shocking re-writing of history to remove Allende's name. A democratically elected politician assassinated in an American backed coup.

2023-05-27 14:40:01

I've never understood why our town has to have roads or other objects named after people from other countries especially already established roads. If ANY party wants to honour someone then do it on a newly built road and choose a well known Brit either present or past. This all smacks of playground groups, we'll name you if you name us. It's all bloody ridiculous. We're a British country so use British names! We are fast losing our identity as it is!

gary roberts
2023-05-27 14:54:11

Cllr. Leppard, I would be careful quoting figures because Boris Johnson was elected by only 44% of the vote and now of course after he left office in disgrace this country has high inflation, high interest rates, food banks and warm banks, low wage economy, NHS almost destroyed, education system in a mess, low house building, police numbers distorted, crime rising. Is that a record to be proud of? And of course two un-elected prime ministers within a year or is that months.

John Wake
2023-05-27 17:49:10

The commitment of the Conservative Party to democracy and human rights is called in to doubt when one of its Councillors in Harlow attempts to justify the overthrow of democracy and the installation of a dictatorship that engaged in mass violations of human rights, including child abduction, sexual abuse, torture, and murder. The Pinochet regime in Chile, which came to power in 1973, murdered 3,000 political opponents, tortured 40,000, and forced 200,000 people (2 per cent of the population) into exile, but a Conservative member of Harlow Council apparently thinks that that was all right because inflation had been high under democracy, and fewer people were killed in Chile then died at the hands of the junta in Argentina. (Incidentally, the economy of Chile contracted by an unprecedented 12.9% in one year and the annual rate of inflation topped 500% under the Pinochet regime, which pauperized the working class of that country. It is estimated that by the end of 1975, the real income of the poorest urban workers had declined to one-third of what it was in 1972. One of the aims of the “Chicago Boys”, who implemented extreme monetarist policies in Chile, was to make businesses more profitable by driving down wages). The Councilor’s comments remind me of those who justified fascism in Italy on the grounds that the trains ran on time.

2023-05-27 20:11:36

It's crazy and confusing having two names for the same road - not the single instance in Harlow either.

James Leppard
2023-05-27 22:22:51

John Wake, you clearly did not read my comments in context and I very much doubt if you have been to Chile or worked there. I am no defender of Pinochet, even though Chile has evolved into the most stable and prosperous nation in Latin America with a vibrant economy based on free trade. Allende impoverished his country and acted in breach of the Constitution in the expropriation of private property. I am certainly not defending Pinochet or the coup. On the contrary. Nevertheless, Allende is not the wonderful Messiah painted by many on the Left. I suggest you acquaint yourself with the opinions of many average Chileans before pronouncing. Zelenskyy represents the Free Workd and is defending his beleaguered country from a brutal and barbaric invader who threatens world peace. Harlow should continue to stand in solidarity with Ukraine and its people.

James Leppard
2023-05-27 22:36:04

Gary Roberts your comparison is flawed. At the time Chile has compulsory voting (from 1925 until 2012), whereas in the UK voting is a right and not an obligation. Secondly, you need to familiarise yourself with the nature of our constitutional system. We do not elect our Prime Ministers as such. Ours is a parliamentary system and not presidential. We elect MPs to represent our constituencies. The Leader of the party winning the most seats or able to command a majority of seats is traditionally invited by the monarch (the Head of State) to form a government. The leader of each party is elected in accordance with the rules and procedures of each party. The general public does not ‘elect’ the PM.

gary roberts
2023-05-28 07:00:13

Cllr. Leppard, I am floored and indeed flawed: But I am correct. If your argument is correct why did the Conservative party continuously demean, lie, and defame Mr. Corbyn while making Mr. Boris Johnson a person of integrity, values and principles? And even then he only achieved 44% of the vote. As for the constitution well that should be a written document in the 21st Century not some mystical principles that the majority do not know or understand. I would and could write it but I suspect you and your party wouldn't like my version. Indeed Boris Johnson would I suspect move back to New York based on my version because he would be serving time at the monarch's pleasure!

James Leppard
2023-05-28 12:17:43

Mr Roberts if your version of a written Constitution is more than 5 pages handwritten, which is the size of the US Constitution, including 1 page for the first 10 Amendments known is the Bill of Rights, then I wouldn’t bother. It is one of the finest drafted legal documents ever written, drawing on Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights 1689 and Enlightenment philosophers such as Paine, Locke and Rosseau. That it has only had 17 amendments (other than the Bill of Rights) since its adoption in 1787 is testimony to its vision and ensuring relevance.

Adam Taylor
2023-05-28 13:07:13

James L you seem quite a libertarian which is great, why are you in with the con-socialist's ?

Gary Roberts
2023-05-28 13:28:43

Cllr. Leppard your manifesto said you would remove the Human Rights Act and replace it with a UK bill of rights so the natural progression is to have a written constitution, isn't it? My version would be radical and progressive with fundamental rights and duties but with an ability to change as society changes over decades and centuries. Would you vote for me rather than Boris Johnson?

James Leppard
2023-05-28 13:56:16

I do not agree with your premise. We had a Bill of Rights in 1689 that didn’t require a written constitution. The Human Rights Act also did not require a written constitution. So I fail to follow your argument. If it is followed by a British Bill of Rights, that makes no difference constitutionally. The essential factor is the Rule of Law. As the 1789 US Constitution shows, it has stood the test of time bearing in mind all the changes that have taken place. However, I so feel we are wandering off topic here.

James Leppard
2023-05-28 14:00:31

I do not agree with your premise. We had a Bill of Rights in 1689 that didn’t require a written constitution. The Human Rights Act also did not require a written constitution. So I fail to follow your argument. If it is followed by a British Bill of Rights, that makes no difference constitutionally. The essential factor is the Rule of Law. As the 1789 US Constitution shows, it has stood the test of time bearing in mind all the changes that have taken place. However, interesting as this is, I do feel that we are wandering off topic here.

Mark Gough
2023-05-28 23:58:17

How about Brunel Avenue? After our Greatest ever engineer? I admire the Ukrainian President but not sure this was needed or wanted. Mark Gough Reform UK

Norman Smiley
2023-05-29 13:45:36

This is a ridiculous joke. Many UK military personnel and Police officers have been killed in action. Could have been named after them or even filled in some of the pot holes which damage peoples cars who cannot afford to repair then during a cost of living crisis.

David Forman
2023-05-30 00:56:00

Allende Avenue should not have been renamed. German Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted that the Minsk 1 and Minsk 2 peace protocols that sought to solve the problem of the Donbas region in Ukraine was not really meant for peace, but was actually designed to buy time to rearm Ukraine. Likewise, Zelensky never took the Minsk Accords seriously. Retired chairman of the NATO military committee, the highest military officer in NATO, Harald Kujat revealed this year about Minsk Accords: "There are now doubts as to whether the US and NATO were prepared to seriously negotiate these issues before the Russian attack on Ukraine." See links: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2023/01/04/merkel-admits-minsk-meant-to-buy-ukraine-time/ https://zeitgeschehen-im-fokus.ch/de/newspaper-ausgabe/nr-1-vom-18-januar-2023.html#article_1460

Mark Gobell
2023-05-30 21:05:47

Beyond a joke.

Bruce Downey
2023-05-31 03:45:44

The future cometh: AKA:- Edward Vine.

2023-06-07 21:42:16

More virtue signalling, pointless and costly

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