Washington, D.C. – This year marks the 50th anniversary of the September 11, 1973 Chilean coup that overthrew democratically elected President Salvador Allende and installed the brutal dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.

It also marks the 47th anniversary of the assassination of Orlando Letelier, who had served as Chile’s ambassador to the United States and as a cabinet minister for Allende prior to the coup, and his Institute for Policy Studies colleague Ronni Karpen Moffitt.

On September 21, 1976, agents of dictator Augusto Pinochet detonated a car bomb, killing Letelier and Moffitt as they traveled to work in Washington, D.C. Until 9/11, this assassination was considered the most infamous act of international terrorism on U.S. soil.

Join us on September 23 at Sheridan Circle, the site of the assassination, as we honor the memory of Letelier, Moffitt, and other victims of the Pinochet regime and mark the 50th anniversary of the 1973 Chilean coup. 

The Washington Office On Latin America (WOLA), Latin America Working Group (LAWG), Pax Christi International, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), and the Inter-American Dialogue (IAD) are additional sponsors of the event. 

The Institute for Policy Studies has spent decades working to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice. Together with lawyers, researchers, journalists, and others, IPS worked tirelessly to hold agents of Pinochet and the dictator himself accountable for the assassination. A detailed timeline of milestones in the Letelier-Moffitt case is available on the IPS web site.

This year, further developments have brought some critical additional attention to ongoing efforts in Chile, the U.S., and beyond. The Government of Chile has renewed calls for U.S. declassification of key documents related to the Chilean coup, and he has also launched the Plan Nacional de Búsqueda de víctimas de desaparición forzada en dictadura to find and identify the remains of thousands of Chileans disappeared during the 1973 coup and its aftermath during the dictatorship.

Commemoration speakers will include:

President Gabriel Boric of Chile: As Chile’s youngest-ever president, Boric is working to address both current poverty and inequality. Boric has recently announced new efforts to bring justice to the families of the disappeared in Chile, including uncovering documents both in Chile and the U.S. that can help shed light on atrocities and their perpetrators. Boric played an instrumental role in helping lead the student movement in Chile, which was honored with IPS’s 2012 international Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award for their efforts to bring justice to all Chileans.

Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD): The son of IPS co-founder Marcus Raskin, Rep. Raskin has been a longtime champion of democracy and democratic values at home and abroad. In Congress, Rep. Raskin has worked to uphold the U.S. Constitution as the leader of the 2021 Trump impeachment trial and as a member of the House committee investigating the January 6 U.S. Capitol attack. He described the 2022 effort to reform the Chilean constitution as part of what he calls the “global project” of democracy.

Juan Pablo Letelier: Son of Orlando Letelier and former Chilean senator and president of the Andean Parliament (to be confirmed.)

Sarah Anderson: Global Economy Project director and Inequality.org co-editor at the Institute for Policy Studies. Over the past three decades, she has helped coordinate many efforts in the pursuit of justice for Letelier and Moffitt and other victims of the Chilean dictatorship.

Other speakers to be announced. 


WHAT: Sheridan Circle Commemoration Ceremony on the Anniversary of the Assassination of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Karpen Moffitt and the 50th Anniversary of the 1973 Chilean Coup

WHO: Chilean President Gabriel Boric, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), and other special guest speakers to be announced.

WHEN: September 23, 2023 at 11 am

WHERE: Sheridan Circle, Washington, D.C. (23rd and Massachusetts Ave. NW)

Read details and information about the event.

The event is open to the media. To RSVP as press, please contact IPS Deputy Communications Director Olivia Alperstein at (202) 704-9011 or olivia@ips-dc.org.

Please also join us on September 22, from 3-5 pm for Public Art, Activism, and Historic Memory, a panel discussion on the 50th anniversary of the military coup in Chile that will examine the importance of culture as a tool for building solidarity and advancing justice. Registration and details. 


“Every year since 1976, the Institute for Policy Studies has gathered people at Sheridan Circle to remember our fallen colleagues Orlando Letelier and Ronni Karpen Moffitt and to renew our commitment to the pursuit of justice and human rights,” said Institute for Policy Studies Global Economy Director Sarah Anderson. “This year we are deeply honored to have President Boric join us as we continue to work to protect democracy and human rights against the forces of authoritarianism.”


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