8:30 a.m. Tuesday, September 11, 1973
The rising Santiago sun and the blossoming jacaranda made the Chilean morning glorious. As I stood in the yard of my friend Melvin’s suburban countryish house those twenty-five years ago, as I sucked the fragrant misty air into my lungs, I resolved I would, from that moment forward, make a change in my life. Quit smoking, cut back on drinking, get to bed before 3 a.m., and start rising earlier to be able to more frequently partake of these morning wonders. I had gotten up early because my Chilean residency visa expired that day and I needed to renew it—a process that could take hours.
For the past year I had been working as a translator for Chile’s socialist president, Salvador Allende. Three years before, in September 1970, Allende had won a 36 percent plurality in a three-way presidential race; promising a “Chilean way to Socialism,” Allende vowed profound but peaceful change. After all, Chile had a long tradition of parliamentary democracy and large, well-established left-wing political parties.
Allende kept to his pacifist promises, but his adversaries didn’t. Even before he was inaugurated, a CIA-backed plot resulted in the kidnap and murder of army chief Rene Schneider. I arrived in Chile a few months later, expelled from the California university system by a certain Governor Reagan for my antiwar activism. Before long, I signed on as a translator for a large publishing company that Allende had nationalized. A year later I was asked if I would work as the president’s translator. I was twenty-one. I was in awe.
Allende would sit across a table from me and painstakingly correct and amend my work.
It wasn’t only the romance of revolution that lured me, but my reverence for Allende himself, a politician of absolute principle and the deepest sincerity. He was a gentleman revolutionary; I was fascinated by his formidable political skills, talents that even his most bitter enemies will acknowledge. But more striking still was the social process that took hold after his election. While the sixties were dying out in America and Europe, in Chile they seemed to be reaching a stirring crescendo. Workers got organized, and students, shantytown dwellers, farm workers, women, and pensioners all followed suit. Politics were in command. One’s party membership became the defining factor of one’s personal identity. An entire society was reinventing itself.
Meanwhile, I was to help put together the English language version of ChileInforma, the government’s monthly diplomatic newsletter. And from my office in the National Palace I was to translate Allende’s speeches and writings into English for publication. The most attractive part of the job was those dozen or so meetings, usually late in the evening, when Allende would sit across a table from me and painstakingly correct and amend my work. We were not friends, of course: He was forty years older than me. But his manner was, as they say in Chilean Spanish, “correct”—a gracious, Old World patience.
But on the morning of September 11, 1973 my official status would give me little advantage in navigating Chile’s Napoleonic bureaucracy. An early start was imperative.
But this was going to be difficult. The taxi companies, like many of the businesses owned by the Chilean ruling class, had joined a work stoppage led by the truck owners’ association—a group floated with CIA dollars, we later discovered in congressional hearings. In daily entreaties, the country’s owners pleaded openly with the armed forces to do away with the popularly elected Allende. Indeed, the entire country teetered on the brink of chaos and blood. As Allende carried out his reform program—nationalizing the copper mines and the telephone company, redistributing rural estates to sharecroppers, raising wages and giving unions a voice in national affairs, lowering rents and raising taxes on the rich—the right wing and eventually the center simply gave up on the idea of the rule of law. Chain-swinging thugs disrupted pro-government marches. Oil pipelines were dynamited. Industrial production was sabotaged. The wealthy hoarded food and other consumer goods and then loudly protested the resulting shortages.
Open military mutiny had broken out once already. Six weeks earlier, an army tank regiment allied with a neo-Nazi group had rolled out of its headquarters and shot up the Moneda Presidential Palace before loyal troops could smother the rebellion. The tension in Santiago had been crackling ever since. For many of us, it was no longer a question of whether a violent confrontation was coming: We only wondered if the army rank and file would follow their officers or remain loyal to the government—that is, provided the government even put up a fight.
Just a week previous to this morning, on September 4, the Chilean left held an enormous public gathering to commemorate the third anniversary of Allende’s election. While Allende stood granite-faced on a balcony from the early afternoon till late into the night, more than a half-million Chilean workers and their families marched before him, voicing the nearly unanimous chant: “We want guns! We want guns!” It was a horrible, wrenching moment, one permanently seared into my memory. Yes, guns. But what guns? From where?
In the seven days that followed, the right only drew the noose tighter. Commerce and transportation ground to a halt. On the night of the tenth, my girlfriend and I had visited Melvin’s house; stranded by the transportation stoppage, we had spent the night there. On the morning of the eleventh I phoned my friends at RadioTaxi 33, the revolutionary cab company, for a ride downtown.
After a forty-five minute wait on the corner I became concerned. I went back in the house to call the taxi again. But now the phone lines seemed permanently busy. I walked back to the corner and when the first freelance cab sped by I flagged it down. The driver, pale and harried, rolled down the window.
“Can you take me downtown?” I asked.
“Yeah. To the immigration office,” I answered.
With classic Chilean diplomacy the cabby said, “But, sir, there are problems downtown.”
“Yes, problems.” He refused to be more specific. These were highly polarized times and you never knew who you were talking to. But a sinking in my gut told me the worst was upon us.
Mustering my own diplomatic skills, I asked: “Problems, you say? Problems with men in uniform you mean?”
“Yes, sir, problems with men in uniform,” the cabby said. Then he took what he knew would be his last foray into freedom for some time and added: “Yes, the fucking fascists are overthrowing the government.”
Over the sound of crackling gun fire, a secretary told me in tears that she and the others were about to flee the building.
Everyone else in the house was still asleep. I switched on the massive Grundig radio and waited skittishly for the vacuum tubes to warm up. When the audio came alive I whooshed across the dial—virtually every station was playing the same military march. A stem-sounding announcer suddenly materialized: A military junta led by General Augusto Pinochet was seizing power. By order of the new authorities, he said, all radio stations were to immediately link up to the armed forces network or “they will be bombarded.” Some more Prussian marches. And then another announcement. An ultimatum to President Allende. Either resign immediately or the Moneda Palace will also be bombarded. Another announcement told of a curfew “until further notice.” Anyone found on the streets “will be shot on sight.”
By 9:30 I had roused the others in the house. We sat dumbfounded in that chilled living room listening to the Communist Party station resist the order, urge workers to report to their work sites, and organize defense committees. But it was a futile gesture. Those of us who worked in the government knew the sad truth: that in spite of the right-wing chorus that Allende had formed a “parallel army,” nothing of the kind existed. Allende had been scrupulous in his commitment to a constitutional, legal, and peaceful vision of socialism. The only guns in the country, he vowed, would remain in the hands of the armed forces. Those who had profited from the constitutional system for 150 years were now smashing it beyond repair because it no longer served their immediate interests. The last man left standing in defense of the “bourgeois” constitution would be the socialist president, AK-47 in hand.
Miraculously, my first attempt to phone the office where I worked in the Moneda Palace went through. Over the sound of crackling gun fire, a secretary, Ximena, told me in tears that she and the others were about to flee the building. My next call was to the U.S. Embassy, on the fourteenth floor of an office building kitty-corner to the Moneda. Why I called I don’t remember very clearly. I had virtually no contact with them before. But I probably hoped that some provision was being made to provide safety for resident Americans. I figured it was only a matter of hours before I would be swept up into the military dragnet.
The embassy phone answered on the first ring. The accent on the line told me I was speaking with a Chilean employee, usually more American than the Americans. When I asked if the embassy had issued any special instructions, my respondent only laughed. “No special orders. Just stay off the streets.” And then with another chuckle she added: “I’m looking out the window now with binoculars. Looks like Mr. Allende is finally going to get it.” She hung up on me.
Within two hours, the Air Force had bombed the Socialist Radio Corporación and Radio Portales off the air. But Salvador Allende’s metallic voice came live over Radio Magallanes. Via telephone, from inside the Moneda, with troops and tanks poised outside, with Hawker-Hunter jets arming their rockets in ready, Allende said:
With my life I will pay for defending the principles dear to our nation…. History cannot be stopped by repression or violence…. Workers of my country: I will always be by your side, at least you will remember me as a man of dignity that was loyal to his country. You must know that, sooner rather than later, the grand avenues on which a free people walk will open and a better society will be at hand…. These are my last words.
It was a moment of devastating realization. The four of us sat in that living room listening and sobbing for I don’t know how long. We had no access to any information except what the military broadcast over the radio. The phone lines were dead. We couldn’t set foot out on the street. But everything I had learned over the previous two years told me the Chilean revolution had come to a dead end.
By two o’clock a cascade of military communiqués had come over the radio: That the Moneda had been bombed. That Allende was dead. That all political activity was banned. That the Allende government political parties were banned, the others “recessed.” That the new junta was led by General Augusto Pinochet. That the citizenry should denounce all “suspicious foreigners.”
As that first evening under military rule enveloped us I felt as if I were already in prison. I knew I would be a prime target: Allende’s translator, an activist in the radical wing of the Socialist Party, and a foreigner at a moment when all foreigners were suspects. I cringed when I thought of my own apartment: a downtown high-rise located directly across the street from the new junta headquarters. Régis Debray, the French writer and radical who had spent time with Che Guevara in Bolivia, had lived in my building when Allende first came to power. Other units were rented to exiled guerrillas from Argentina and Uruguay. The building literally teemed with the international New Left. On my desk were all the copies of the work I had translated for Allende. In my top drawer was my passport and a visa to Cuba, where I was scheduled to accompany Allende. And to top it off, a popgun .22 revolver with two boxes of rounds. In short, once the troops broke into my apartment, there would be an APB out for a twenty-two-year-old American named Marc Cooper.
I remember that first night and the next day, Wednesday, as a blur. I know I didn’t sleep well. I imagined Allende riddled and bloodied. I thought of the Moneda reduced to rubble by rockets and fire. I thought of the poor neighborhoods now surrounded and occupied by vengeful troops. I wondered about my friends; about the journalists, my co-workers. How many were already dead? How many would I ever see again? How long would it be before the troops came crashing through Melvin’s door? I thought of the celebrations no doubt taking place that night in the creamy suburbs of Providencia and Las Condes. I winced at what I knew would be the wave of murder and torture that was about to wash over all of Chile. I wondered how the hell I was going to get out alive.
I remember getting up at four in the morning and shaving off my beard. I opened my wallet, took out my union card, my Socialist Party membership, my ID from the Moneda, and set them ablaze.
The next two days were marked by the sort of incipient madness that accompanies solitary confinement. We had little food in the house. Melvin, a thirty-year-old Bronx-born American, never told me why he was in Chile. I suspect he was ducking a drug possession charge. A fervent Allende supporter—and a fervent street-level trader—he made his living buying and selling on the black market. So we had on hand only a freezer full of Eskimo pies, several hundred pounds of onions, and a case of Pisco brandy. This odd diet, peppered with fear, drove me into a feverish, swirling retreat. I could barely talk to my Chilean girlfriend—now my wife—Patricia. I slept, paced, cried, ate ice cream, read Jim Thompson novels, and waited for either the curfew to lift or the door to come crashing down. But mostly we sat and listened to the radio. List after list of the wanted: Allende’s cabinet ministers, party activists, union leaders, prominent and not-so-prominent exiles had their names read over the air and were ordered to surrender at the Ministry of Defense. How they were supposed to even step out on the curfew-swept streets and not get shot was never explained. As every reading began, I was sure my name would be next.
10 a.m. Friday, September 14
Melvin and his girlfriend had drunk themselves into a stupor. So when the radio announced that the curfew would for the first time be lifted for five hours, Patricia and I decided we would have to leave Melvin’s. She had to check on her family. I had to get my passport out of my apartment and figure a way to safety. Two weeks before the coup my former roommate, Carlos Luna, an exiled Argentine guerrilla, showed up at my apartment with a 9mm automatic. “The shit is coming,” he said, pulling the pistol from his jacket. “When it does, I am getting into the Swedish Embassy even if I have to shoot my way in.” But I had no such formidable weapon nor so much courage. The military had already announced that rings of troops were blocking off the European embassies. I wondered what had become of Carlos. Perhaps he, too, was dead by now.
During the break in the curfew, a deli owner who was a client of Melvin’s came to the house in his three-cylinder Citroneta. Well-connected to the military, I took his word at face value. “Cooper, you’re fucked,” he said matter-of-factly. “Your apartment has been raided and they’re out looking for you.” I asked him to drive me somewhere safe. He refused.
I began to panic. For the next four hours, during the window in the curfew, I would be able to move—but I had nowhere to go. My apartment had been trashed, I believed, my passport seized, my name on a wanted list, and the streets full of soldiers and checkpoints.
I was deluded enough to think that the U.S. government would do something to protect us. I was very wrong.
The phone was working again. And in what must have been the final moment of gross naiveté in my adult life, I thought again of the U.S. Embassy. I had an image in my head from Rossellini’s Open City, of embassy staff cars rushing around the battle-littered streets, their white flags flapping. I am embarrassed now, twenty-five years later, to confess I thought that, given the mounting bloodshed in Chile, the American Embassy on that day would be sending cars out to pick up beleaguered stragglers like myself.
I was under absolutely no illusions, however, as to where the embassy stood politically. The Nixon-Kissinger regime had made clear its intention to do away with Allende and it was now three days deep into realizing that goal. But I was deluded enough to think that the U.S. government—perhaps out of humanitarian concern, perhaps merely to avoid the uncomfortable spectacle of American citizens murdered by its new client dictator—would do something to protect us. I was very wrong.
At any rate, I called the U.S. Consulate. Explaining merely that I was an “American student,” that I had done nothing wrong, but that the Chilean police had raided my apartment and seized my passport, I told Vice-Consul Tipton I needed help.
“Do you have a U.S. driver’s license?” she asked me.
“Good,” Ms. Tipton said. “Don’t bother to come in today because we’re about to close. But come in on Monday. Bring your license and ten dollars and we’ll expedite you a new passport. Should take about a week, maybe ten days.”
Stupefied, I argued with her. But to no avail. No special instructions to U.S. citizens were being offered. “Just stay away from shooting and obey the new authorities,” Vice-Consul Tipton said. As far as the embassy was concerned my predicament was a simple case of a lost passport. Not that they didn’t know the dangers posed by the coup, by the soldiers rounding up political rivals, by the indiscriminate executions that had already started. They had made a political calculation, and they were sticking by it, even if an occasional American had to die.
The embassy’s stiff-arm made me desperate. I rummaged through my mental Rolodex and focused on a long shot. An American friend of mine, an Allendista, had told me some months before that a guy named Dennis Allred, who served as the U.S. Embassy’s student affairs counselor, was actually a fine fellow. Allred, my friend told me, was some sort of closet Allende sympathizer and was taking secret delight in handing out U.S. scholarships to the most radical of Chilean students. True or not, it was good enough for me.
I phoned the embassy. No, I was told, Mr. Allred wasn’t in. But, yes, being a fellow American, I could have his home phone number.
“Dennis, you don’t know me,” I told him after he answered his phone. “But I’m an American and I’m in trouble. I need….”
“Okay,” he said, cutting me short. “I don’t care about the details. If you need a place to stay you’re welcome here. Come now. I’m at 280 Merced.” I thanked him and hung up. 280 Merced? That would put him right next door to the heavily guarded U.S. Consulate. Could I get past the troops?
Patricia and I hurriedly made a plan. She would catch a bus to her parents’ home but first she would swing by the apartment and check its condition. She would call me later at Allred’s. Meanwhile, I would have to walk the seven miles to Allred’s house as I had no ID and buses were being boarded and checked by soldiers.
Melvin, who is six-foot-two, gave me a pair of clean pants. I am five-foot-three. I tucked the bottom of my pants up and inside and pinned them with safety pins. He gave me a fresh shirt and I rolled the sleeves up over my wrists. On top I had my black leather jacket.
For three hours I trudged toward Allred’s house, protected only by sunglasses, taking side streets and looking far ahead for any checkpoints. By four o’clock I was on the perimeter of the U.S. Consulate. Neighboring Forestal Park was an armed camp. Armored troop carriers bristled with machine guns. Troops had bivouacked in the park. In front of the consulate, a few steps from Dennis Allred’s apartment, a company of soldiers lounged around on a tank.
I could hear my heart beating in my ears. I had no idea what I would tell the soldiers if they challenged me. I walked straight ahead, my eyes fixed on the door of Allred’s building, my pace steady. Like passing through a time warp, I floated into the building uninterrupted. A big red-headed Bostonian, Allred greeted me alone in his luxury apartment. I was so pent-up I could hardly talk at first. And then I began to talk too much.
“I don’t need to hear the details of your story. You can stay here as long as you have to,” he said. He offered me a tumbler full of Old Grand-Dad, which I gulped down like water. The booze took the edge off, and I slumped back in the broad, padded mahogany chair. I called Patricia. I was relieved to hear that my apartment had not been raided. She got in, got my passport and a couple hundred dollars out, and tossed my .22 with its two boxes of ammo down the chute to the incinerator. She would come and visit me the next day when the curfew was again to be lifted for a short time.
Over a real meal that evening—salad and Kraft macaroni and cheese—Dennis Allred told me the good and the bad. “This apartment theoretically has diplomatic immunity, theoretically Chilean security cannot enter,” he said. “On the other hand, the morning of the coup, the U.S. Embassy took my passport, locked it in a safe, sent me home, and told me they’d call me when I should come back into work. So I don’t know how much protection we really have.”
That night, as the saddest of Portuguese fadas played on Allred’s stereo, drowning out the sporadic gunfire and the rumble of tanks, I slept soundly for the first time in almost one hundred hours.
6 p.m. Sunday, September 16
The word was apparently out on Allred’s generosity. Over the weekend the apartment had filled up with other hunted prey. A few had been beaten by troops who had broken down their doors. Others, like me, had nowhere to go. Others were there because I had contacted them. Allred had taken the courageous step of abandoning his direct-dial diplomatic phone to us—a luxury in a country where long distance calls were difficult to make in the best of times, and where the so-called “press calls” we were making now had to be cleared by a military censor. With Allred’s diplomatic phone we skipped over all the obstacles. We set up a mini-information clearinghouse in his study, calling around the city to check on the safety of friends and co-workers. We painstakingly cobbled together lists of those who were safe, those who had been arrested, and those who were simply missing. Having compiled the information from a mix of sources—friends, reporters, diplomats, health workers, UN functionaries—we were able to skirt Chilean censorship and pass it along directly to family, media, and human rights groups in the United States.
We wanted the U.S. Embassy to do what every other diplomatic delegation was doing—protecting its citizens from a rampaging military.
A few friends that came by Allred’s house told tales of serious resistance, of a rallying of Allende forces, of guns that were on their way, of former General Carlos Prats, who had been forced from office a few weeks before the coup by the right, who was now said to be pulling together a people’s army. These rumors all sounded wonderful. And we knew they were all false. The Chilean army, the business elite, and the CIA had won their victory early that first morning when the soldiers obeyed their officers and when Allende perished inside the Moneda. Now they were just mopping up the rest of us.
And there was still no way out of Chile. The airports were closed. The embassies sealed. Any foreigner on the street was a suspect automatically. Who knew whose names were on the myriad arrest and shoot-on-sight lists.
A friend of mine, a Mexican reporter, called me from his country’s embassy. Would I be interested in getting on a list that the Mexican Embassy was putting together to be evacuated? Absolutely. I gave him the names of three or four other desperate friends. He told me to sit tight and wait, that word of the flight out could come at any time. I had no choice but to comply.
Noon, Monday, September 17
Word came that some Americans were missing, our friend Charlie Harmon among them. We would see Harmon next a decade later as a celluloid ghost conjured up in the Costa-Gavras film Missing—an innocent who had been seized, shot, and dumped by Chilean troops. But that morning we only knew Charlie was missing. We were worried about him, worried about all of us. One young American professor rallied us in Allred’s living room and we went as a group next door to speak to the U.S. consul.
Enough was enough, we shouted. We wanted the U.S. Embassy to do what every other diplomatic delegation was doing in Chile—protecting its own citizens from a rampaging, barbarous military. The consul stood in the hall, blocking access to his office. Again he ran through the party line: He would look into Harmon’s case, but there was nothing else to be done. The State Department had still issued no special instructions for Americans in Chile. “I recommend you just be careful,” the consul said. And then he had the nerve to look us in the eye and come up with a straight-out lie: “The armed forces are restoring order, but there’s still a danger of scattered left-wing snipers. Be careful.” And with that he shooed us out of the consulate.
What we should have done, of course, was just sit down on the bastard’s floor. But instead we slumped back to Allred’s apartment, which soon shook with an enormous thud. Then another. From the second-floor balcony we could see two tanks squatting comfortably in the park, lobbing artillery rounds across the river into the fine arts campus of the University of Chile. That’s how the armed forces were restoring order.
8 p.m. Tuesday, September 18
One week since the coup and the call finally came through from the Mexicans. Thanks to the Mexican government I was to be on a flight the next morning organized by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Apart from a special military plane that carried Allende’s widow to Mexico, this would be the first flight allowed out of Chile. There was a catch, of course. I had to be at the distant Sheraton Hotel the next morning at 7:30 sharp. But curfew didn’t lift till 7. It was going to be tight. Nor could I get word to Patricia to meet me to say goodbye. She used a neighbor’s phone and if I called her now, at night, she would have to defy the curfew.
Emotionally, this was the worst it got. I was ecstatic at the thought I might get out the next day, but terrified that something might go wrong. And deeply depressed at the same time, with a bad case of survivor’s guilt. My only prospect for happiness was to flee the slaughterhouse of my friends.
7 a.m. Wednesday, September 19
The moment the curfew lifted I called Patricia and asked her to do what she could to meet me at the Sheraton. I hugged Allred goodbye. With only my passport, two hundred dollars in cash, and the borrowed clothes on my back I walked past the encampment of soldiers outside Allred’s door. On the corner, a daring taxi driver stood ready for the post-curfew fares. When we arrived at the Sheraton, I reached into my pocket to pay. The cabby turned around and commenced one more of those skillfully coded dialogues.
“Are you a foreigner?” he asked.
“Yes, an American.”
“Have you been living in Chile?” he asked, probably noting my accent.
“Yes, for nearly three years.”
“Are you leaving today?”
“Yes. I am leaving.”
“Then there will be no charge,” the cabby said. “I want your thoughts about your last moments in Chile to be positive ones.”
Operating on an emotional hair-trigger, I couldn’t answer through my tears. I only nodded.
Inside the Sheraton lobby I was met by UN and Mexican officials. There was to be a motley mix of about fifty of us on the flight. Few of us knew each other. There were some Spanish clergy, some Mexican teachers, an American researcher black and blue from a beating, and a Texas high school swim team that had the bad luck of passing through Santiago on the wrong day. Because Americans were on the flight manifest, American consular officials had showed up as well, with clipboards in hand. We refused to talk to them.
Just before we boarded the bus to the airport, Patricia arrived for a short goodbye. Under heavy military escort we were taken to the Cerrillos military air base. After the junta’s new immigration officers raised a perfunctory challenge or two to the validity of our UN-secured safe-conduct passes we were herded onto a corporate 737 owned by LADECO, one of the copper companies nationalized by Allende.
There was an eerie silence through takeoff. No one was sure of anyone else on the plane. Then, a half-hour into the flight, a crackling voice came over the intercom.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” the captain said crisply. “We have just entered Argentine air space.”
The plane erupted in yelps of joy and applause. In seconds we were all on our feet embracing each other, even the Texas swim team. The Kool-Aid and baloney sandwiches served aboard remains the best airplane meal I’ve ever had.
We were greeted in Buenos Aires as heroes. That night we marched with 100,000 Argentines to protest the Chilean military dictatorship.
Patricia called me the next week to tell me that on September 22, she went by my apartment to find the front door blown off its hinges, the entire place sacked by soldiers.
She came to the States two months later and we have been married ever since.
Dennis Allred resigned from the U.S. Foreign Service.
Ten years later, passing through Sweden, I found my old guerrilla roommate Carlos Luna running an import-export business with Cuba.
During the ensuing seventeen years of Pinochet’s dictatorship, more than three thousand civilians were murdered by the government while more than a thousand were “disappeared.” One hundred thousand Chileans passed through jails where torture was routine, and more than twice that number sought asylum abroad. Allende’s foreign minister, Orlando Letelier, was killed in Washington, D.C., by a car bomb planted by Chilean secret police. Pinochet’s predecessor, General Prats, was blown apart by a similar bomb in Buenos Aires. American economists invited to Chile by Pinochet imposed a radical free-market model on the country, eventually submerging a third of its population into abject poverty. As late as 1997 the New York Times was still celebrating Pinochet’s takeover as a “coup that began Chile’s transformation from a backwater banana republic to the economic star of South America.” The weak civilian government that took over in 1990 has not prosecuted Pinochet’s torturers or murderers. Today retired General Pinochet sits as senator-for-life in the Chilean Congress.
During his final speech on Radio Magallanes Salvador Allende promised us that one day there would be a “moral punishment” for the crime and treason that killed him and his Chile. We are still waiting.