September 11, 1973: At 4am, an intelligence source warned Cuban Intelligence Officer Fernandez de Ona that the Chilean military had scheduled a coup for 7:45am. By 10:15am, pro-Castro supporters had blocked military forces from entering the street leading to the Cuban Embassy. Later that day, junta forces overcame the blockade and made their way to the Cuban Embassy. At about midnight, a brief gunfight erupted between soldiers and Cuban Embassy personnel during which Havana’s Ambassador was wounded in the hand.
The loss of Chilean President Salvador Allende was a serious reversal for Castro. Over 20,000 Latin Americans had flocked to Chile after Allende’s rise to power. A wide range of leftist groups “plotted and planned under the benign, if not cooperative, eye of the Chilean secret police that had been effectively taken over by Cuban intelligence.”
Within two days of the coup, General Pinochet headed the four-man junta and was President of Chile. During this same period, Admiral Ismael Huerte, the new Foreign Minister, told Cuban Ambassador Mario Garcia Inchaustegui that one of the junta’s first acts was to end all ties with Cuba. The Ambassador, along with his 160-member mission, left Chile on 13 September.