Autopsy: Chilean Leader Allende Died of Suicide

New findings put to rest 37-year debate
By Tim Karan,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2011 2:20 PM CDT
TO GO WITH AFP STORY (FILE) In the picture taken circa 1971 in Santiago, Chilean President Salvador Allende tests a Kalashnikov machine gun given to him as a gift by Cuban President Fidel Castro. June...   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – After 37 years, a new autopsy has confirmed that former Chilean president Salvador Allende killed himself with an assault rifle, and was not murdered by troops storming the presidential palace as leftists like Fidel Castro claimed. Forensic analysis showed that his head injuries were inflicted by a single AK-47 and there was no evidence of third-party involvement, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

''We are in a position to assure that this was a violent death that was suicidal in nature,'' says a forensic examiner. ''Of that we have absolutely no doubt.'' Independent researchers have claimed in recent years that there was evidence of a second bullet wound from a possible second weapon. The new autopsy says there were only one entry and exit wounds, although a second bullet might have discharged. Allende's family, who have taken pride in his suicide in the face of capture, are relieved at the findings. His daughter, Sen. Isabel Allende, says, ''[He] made the decision to end his life before being humiliated or having to go through some other situation."

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