Allende`s Leftist Regime

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Allende`s Leftist Regime
"(...) Que lo sepan, que lo oigan, que
se lo graben profundamente: dejaré
La Moneda cuando cumpla el
mandato que el pueblo me diera,
defenderé esta revolución chilena y
defenderé el Gobierno porque es el
mandato que el pueblo me ha
entregado. No tengo otra
alternativa. Sólo acribillándome a
balazos podrán impedir la voluntad
que es hacer cumplir el programa
del pueblo (...)"
Salvador Allende, 11
de septiembre de
1973, del mensaje a
los ciudadanos
transmitido por
Radio Corporación
a las 8,45 de la
mañana.
DOCUMENTO RADIOFÓNICO COMPLETO
"(...) Trabajadores de mi Patria,
tengo fe en Chile y su destino.
Superarán otros hombres este
momento gris y amargo en el que la
traición pretende imponerse. Sigan
ustedes sabiendo que, mucho más
temprano que tarde, de nuevo se
abrirán las grandes alamedas por
donde pase el hombre libre, para
construir una sociedad mejor. ¡Viva
Chile! ¡Viva el pueblo! ¡Vivan los
trabajadores! Estas son mis últimas
palabras y tengo la certeza de que
mi sacrificio no será en vano, tengo
la certeza de que, por lo menos,
será una lección moral que
castigará la felonía, la cobardía y la
traición."
Salvador Allende, 11
de septiembre de
1973, del mensaje a
los ciudadanos
transmitido por
Radio Magallanes a
las 9,03 de la
mañana.
DOCUMENTO RADIOFÓNICO COMPLETO
ALLENDE: LA BIOGRAFIA DE
UN POLITICO EJEMPLAR
1908: El 26 de Junio nace en Valparaiso. Sus padres fueron
el abogado y notario, militante del Partido Radical,
Salvador Allende Castro y doña Laura Gossens Uribe.
1920 - 1925: Instalados en Valparaiso, luego de recorrer
Tacna (entonces chilena), Iquique, Santiago y Valdivia,
ingresa al Liceo Eduardo de la Barra, donde realiza sus
estudios con excelentes calificaciones. Destaca en la
practica de diferentes deportes. Por esos años conoce a
Juan Demarchi, viejo anarquista italiano, que influye en su
formacion ideologica prestandole los primeros textos de
marxismo.
1925: Cumple como voluntario el Servicio Militar en el
Regimiento Coraceros de Viña del Mar. En el transcurso
del mismo pide su traslado al Regimiento Lanceros de
Tacna. Egresa como oficial de reserva del ejercito.
1926: En Santiago, entra a la Universidad de Chile a
estudiar Medicina.
1927: Presidente del Centro de Alumnos de Medicina, ha
organizado a un grupo de sus compañeros, que se reunen
periodicamente para leer y discutir de marxismo.
1929: Pide su incorporacion a la Masoneria, siguiendo una
tradicion familiar. Funda junto a sus compañeros de
universidad el Grupo Avance.
1930: Vicepresidente de la Federacion de Estudiantes de
Chile. Participa activamente en la lucha contra la
dictadura de Carlos Ibañez.
1931: Miembro del Consejo Universitario en
representacion de los estudiantes. Temporalmente
expulsado de la Universidad, es pronto reincorporado por
sus excelentes calificaciones y porque le faltan escasos
meses para terminar sus estudios. En el mes de Julio es
derrocado Ibañez.
1932: Termina sus estudios y se traslada a Valparaiso,
para estar cerca de su padre enfermo. Mientras redacta su
memoria sobre Higiene Mental y Delincuencia, hace su
practica profesional.
En Junio se proclama la Republica Socialista que encabeza
Marmaduke Grove. Tras la fugaz experiencia socialista, el
nuevo gobierno desata la persecusion contra los
elementos progresistas. Allende es encarcelado. Mientras
permanece en prision, muere su padre. El joven medico
jura sobre su tumba dedicar su vida a la lucha por la
libertad de Chile.
1933: Recibe su titulo de Medico, despues de muchos
intentos, obtiene un puesto de anatomo-patologo.
Participa el 19 de Abril en el nacimiento del Partido
Ssocialista de Chile, junto a Eugenio matte Hurtado,
Marmaduke Grove, Eugenio Gonzalez, Oscar Schnake y
otros.
Escribe en colaboracion con Jose Vizcarra un libro sobre la
Estructura de la Salubridad Nacional.
1935: Dirigente de la Asociacion Medica Chilena.
Funda en Valparaiso el Boletin Medico de Chile.
En Julio es detenido y relegado hasta Diciembre en el
puerto de Caldera.
1936: En Marzo participa en la creacion del Frente Popular,
y asume como presidente provincial en Valparaiso.
Sus camaradas del P.S. lo eligen Subsecretario General.
1938: El Frente Popular proclama la candidatura de Pedro
Aguirre Cerda. Allende es el generalisimo de campaña en
Valparaiso.
1939: En la noche del terremoto de Chillan (25 de Enero)
conoce casualmente en Santiago a la maestra de historia
Hortencia Bussy Soto.
En Septiembre renuncia al Congreso y asume la cartera de
Salubridad del gobierno del Frente Popular.
Escribe su libro La realidad Medico Social de Chile.
1940: Organiza la Primera Exposicion de la Vivienda, y la
instala en plena Aalameda Bernardo O'higgins, frente al
Club de la Union.
1941: Viaja a Peru invitado por el APRA.
Participa en la reunion anual de la Asociacion Medica
Americana de los Estados Unidos.
1942: Secretario General del Partido Socialista de Chile.
1945: Senador por Valdivia, Llanquihue, Chiloe, Aysen y
Magallanes.
1947: Se divide el Partido Socialista. Allende se integra al
Partido Socialista Popular.
En el Senado vota contra la Ley de Defensa Permanente de
la Democracia, conocida como "Ley Maldita".
1948: Visita a los recluidos por Gonzalez Videla en el
campo de concentracion de Pisagua.
1949: Presidente del Colegio Medico de Chile.
1951: Al repaldar el P.S.P. la candidatura de Carlos Ibañez,
Allende rompe con el y vuelve a las filas del Partido
Socialista de Chile.
Impulsa la creacion del Frente del Pueblo, junto con el
Partido Comunista.
1952: El Frente del Pueblo lo presenta como candidato a
Presidente, obtiene 52.000 votos.
Presenta en el Senado, junto a Elias Lafferte, un proyecto
de ley de nacionalización del cobre.
1953: Senador por Tarapaca y Antofagasta.
1954: Viaja a Francia, Italia, la Union Sovietica y la
Republica de China Popular.
Vicepresidente del Senado.
1957: El Partido Socialista Popular y el Partido Socialista de
Chile se unifican, y constituyen junto con el Partido
Comunista el Frante de Accion Popular.
El FRAP proclama su candidatura presidencial.
1958: Pierde la eleccion contra Jorge Alesandri.
1959: Asiste a la toma del mando de Romulo Betancourt, en
Venezuela. Visita La Habana, para conocer el proceso
revolucionario cubano. Sostiene largas conversaciones
con el Che Guevara y Fidel Castro.
1960: Respalda la dramatica huelga de los mineros del
carbon, que paralizan sus faenas durante mas de tres
meses.
Recorre todo el sur del pais, afectado por los terremotos
de Mayo. Presenta varios proyectos de ley a favor de los
damnificados.
1961: Senador por Valparaiso y Aconcagua.
Viaja a Punta del Este (Uruguay) y denuncia, junto al Che
Guevara, el carácter propagandistico de la Alianza para el
Progreso.
1963: La Convencion del FRAP lo designa nuevamente
candidato a la Presidencia de la Republica.
1964: Su postulacion es derrotada por Eduardo Frei
Montalba. Allende consigue, sin embargo, casi un millon
de sufragios.
1965: Realiza diversos viajes por Europa y America Latina.
Designado como el mejor parlamentario por los
redactores politicos.
1966: Presidente del Senado.
1967: Encabeza la delegacion que asiste a la Conferencia
Tricontinental de La Habana. Presidente de la Organización
Latinoamericana de Solidaridad (OLAS).
Visita la Union Sovietica por las celebraciones del
quincuagesimo aniversario de la Revolucion de Octubre.
1968: Visita la Republica Democratica de Corea, la
Republica Democratica de Vietnam (donde se entrevista
con Ho Chi Minh), Camboya y Laos.
Tras la muerte del Che Guevara, Salvador Allende lleva
personalmente a Tahiti a cuatro cubanos de la guerrilla.
1969: Senador por Chiloe, Aysen y Magallanes.
Se crea la Unidad Popular, integrada por comunistas,
socialistas, radicales, MAPU, Padena y Accion Popular
Independiente.
1970: El 22 de Enero la UP lo proclama candidato a la
Presidencia de la Republica.
El 4 de Septiembre triunfa en los comicios por mayoria
relativa.
El 22 de Octubre es victima de un atentado el Comandante
en Jefe del Ejercito, General Rene Schneider , quien fallece
tres dias despues.
El 24 de Octubre el Congreso Pleno proclama a Salvador
Allende como Presidente electo.
El 3 de Noviembre asume el cargo de Presidente.
El 31 de Diciembre se dirige al pais desde la mina de Lota.
1971: En las elecciones municipales de Marzo la Unidad
Popular obtiene mayoria absoluta de los votos (50.86 por
ciento).
El 11 de Julio, Dia de la Dignidad, promulga la ley de
nacionalizacion del cobre, aprobada por la unanimidad del
Congreso.
1972: Denuncia en la Asamblea general de Naciones
Unidas, la agresion internacional de que es victima su
pais. Es ovacionado de pie durante largos minutos.
Visita la Union Sovietica, Mexico, Colombia y Cuba.
1973: En las elecciones de Marzo, la UP obtiene un 45 por
ciento de los votos, y aumenta su representacion
parlamentaria. Aun sin conseguir la mayoria en las dos
Camaras, se hace imposible la acusacion constitucional
ideada por la oposicion.
El imperialismo y la derecha agudizan una lucha sin
cuartel contra el Gobierno Popular, y desatan el terrorismo
en el pais.
El 11 de Septiembre, Salvador Allende muere heroicamente
defendiendo su cargo en el palacio de La Moneda.
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Allende's Leftist Regime
"I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the
irresponsibility of its people."
Henry Kissinger
By the end of the 1960s, the polarization of Chilean politics had overwhelmed the
traditional civility of Chile's vaunted democratic institutions. The centrist agreements of
the past, which had enabled presidents to navigate a difficult course of compromise and
conciliation, became more difficult to attain. The American Central Intelligence Agency
had influenced elections in Chile dating back to 1958, but in 1970 the socialist candidate,
a physician named Salvador Allende, was elected president. In a reflection of Chile's
increased ideological polarization, Allende was elected president with 36.2 percent of the
vote in 1970. Unable or unwilling to form coalitions, the left, center, and right had all
nominated their own candidates in the mistaken hope of obtaining a majority.
President Nixon directed CIA to prevent Allende's inauguration through a military coup.
One of the opponents of a coup, Army Chief of Staff General Rene Schneider was
assassinated, but Allende took office as scheduled.
The Allende experiment enjoyed a triumphant first year, followed by two disastrous final
years. According to the Popular Unity [ Unidad Popular - UP] coalition , Chile was being
exploited by parasitic foreign and domestic capitalists. The government therefore moved
quickly to socialize the economy, taking over the copper mines, other foreign firms,
oligopolistic industries, banks, and large estates. By a unanimous vote of Congress in
1971, the government totally nationalized the foreign copper firms, which were mainly
owned by two United States companies, Kennecott and Anaconda. The nationalization
measure was one of the few bills Allende ever got through the opposition- controlled
legislature, where the Christian Democrats constituted the largest single party.
Socialization of the means of production spread rapidly and widely. The government took
over virtually all the great estates. It turned the lands over to the resident workers, who
benefited far more than the owners of tiny plots or the numerous migrant laborers. By
1972 food production had fallen and food imports had risen. Also during 1971-72, the
government dusted off emergency legislation from the 1932 Socialist Republic to allow it
to expropriate industries without congressional approval. It turned many factories over to
management by the workers and the state.
In his first year, Allende also employed Keynesian measures to hike salaries and wages,
thus pumping up the purchasing power of the middle and working classes. This
"consumer revolution" benefited 95 percent of the population in the short run because
prices were held down and employment went up. Producers responded to rising demand
by employing previously underused capacity.
Politically, Allende faced problems holding his Popular Unity coalition together,
pacifying the more leftist elements inside and outside Popular Unity and, above all,
coping with the increasingly implacable opposition. Within Popular Unity, the largest
party was the Socialist Party. Although composed of multiple factions, the Socialist Party
mainly pressed Allende to accelerate the transition toward socialism. The second most
important element was the PCCh, which favored a more gradual, legalistic approach.
Outside the Popular Unity, the most significant left-wing organization was the MIR, a
tiny but provocative group that admired the Cuban Revolution and encouraged peasants
and workers to take property and the revolutionary process into their own hands, much
faster than Allende preferred.
The most important opposition party was the PDC. As it and the middle sectors gradually
shifted to the right, they came to form an anti-Allende bloc in combination with the
Natinal Party and the propertied class. Even farther to the right were minuscule,
paramilitary, quasi-fascist groups like Fatherland and Liberty (Patria y Libertad),
determined to sabotage Popular Unity.
The Popular Unity government tried to maintain cordial relations with the United States,
even while staking out an independent position as a champion of developing nations and
socialist causes. It opened diplomatic relations with Cuba, China, the Democratic
People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North
Vietnam), and Albania. It befriended the Soviet Union, which sent aid to the Allende
administration, although far less than Cuba received or than Popular Unity had hoped for.
Meanwhile, the United States pursued a two-track policy toward Allende's Chile. At the
overt level, Washington was frosty, especially after the nationalization of the copper
mines; official relations were unfriendly but not openly hostile. The government of
President Richard M. Nixon launched an economic blockade conjunction with U.S.
multinationals (ITT, Kennecott, Anaconda) and banks (Inter-American Development
Bank, World Bank). The US squeezed the Chilean economy by terminating financial
assistance and blocking loans from multilateral organizations. But during 1972 and 1973
the US increased aid to the military, a sector unenthusiastic toward the Allende
government. The United States also increased training Chilean military personnel in the
United States and Panama.
According to notes taken by CIA director Richard Helms at a 1970 meeting in the Oval
Office, his orders were to "make the economy scream." It was widely reported that at the
covert level the United States worked to destabilize Allende's Chile by funding opposition
political groups and media and by encouraging a military coup d'état. The agency
trained members of the fascist organization Patria y Libertad (PyL) in guerrilla warfare
and bombing, and they were soon waging a campaign of arson. CIA also sponsored
demonstrations and strikes, funded by ITT and other US corporations with Chilean
holdings. CIA-linked media, including the country's largest newspaper, fanned the flames
of crisis. While these United States actions contributed to the downfall of Allende, no one
has established direct United States participation in the coup d'état and few would assign
the United States the primary role in the destruction of that government.
During the second and third years of the UP, demand outstripped supply, the economy
shrank, deficit spending snowballed, new investments and foreign exchange became
scarce, the value of copper sales dropped, shortages appeared, and inflation skyrocketed,
eroding the previous gains for the working class. A thriving black market sprang up. The
government responded with direct distribution systems in working-class neighborhoods.
Worker participation in the management of enterprises reached unprecedented
proportions. The strapped government could not keep the economy from going into free
fall because it could not impose austerity measures on its supporters in the working class,
get new taxes approved by Congress, or borrow enough money abroad to cover the
deficit.
Although the right was on the defensive in Allende's first year, it moved on the offensive
and forged an alliance with the center in the next two years. In Congress this center-right
coalition erected a blockade against all Popular Unity initiatives, harassed Popular Unity
cabinet ministers, and denounced the administration as illegitimate and unconstitutional,
thus setting the stage for a military takeover. The most acrimonious battle raged over the
boundaries of Popular Unity's "social property area" (área de propriedad social), which
would incorporate private holdings through government intervention, requisition, or
expropriation. The Supreme Court and the comptroller general of the republic joined
Congress in criticizing the executive branch for overstepping its constitutional bounds.
Allende tried to stabilize the situation by organizing a succession of cabinets, but none of
them guaranteed order. His appointment of military officers to cabinet posts in 1972 and
1973 also failed to stifle the opposition. Instead, it helped politicize the armed services.
Outside the government, Allende's supporters continued direct takeovers of land and
businesses, further disrupting the economy and frightening the propertied class.
The two sides reached a showdown in the March 1973 congressional elections. The
opposition expected the Allende coalition to suffer the typical losses of Chilean
governments in midterm elections, especially with the economy in a tailspin. The
National Party and PDC hoped to win two-thirds of the seats, enough to impeach
Allende. They netted 55 percent of the votes, not enough of a majority to end the
stalemate. Moreover, the Popular Unity's 43 percent share represented an increase over
the presidential tally of 36.2 percent and gave Allende's coalition six additional
congressional seats; therefore, many of his adherents were encouraged to forge ahead.
In the aftermath of the indecisive 1973 congressional elections, both sides escalated the
confrontation and hurled threats of insurgency. Street demonstrations became almost
daily events and increasingly violent. Right-wing groups, such as Fatherland and Liberty,
and left-wing groups, such as the MIR, brandished arms and called for a cataclysmic
solution. The most militant workers formed committees in their neighborhoods and
workplaces to press for accelerated social change and to defend their gains. The
opposition began openly knocking on the doors of the barracks in hopes that the military
would provide a solution.
The regular armed forces halted an attempted coup by tank commanders in June 1973,
but that incident warned the nation that the military was getting restless. Thereafter, the
armed forces prepared for a massive coup by stepping up raids to search for arms among
Popular Unity's supporters. Conditions worsened in June, July, and August, as middleand upper-class business proprietors and professionals launched another wave of
workplace shutdowns and lockouts, as they had in late 1972. Their 1973 protests against
the government coincided with strikes by the trucking industry and by the left's erstwhile
allies among the copper workers. The Nationalists, the Christian Democrats, and
conservative students backed the increasingly subversive strikers. They called for
Allende's resignation or military intervention. Attempts by the Catholic Church to get the
PDC and Popular Unity to negotiate a compromise came to naught. Meanwhile, inflation
reached an annual rate of more than 500 percent. By mid-1973 the economy and the
government were paralyzed.
In August 1973, the rightist and centrist representatives in the Chamber of Deputies
undermined the president's legitimacy by accusing him of systematically violating the
constitution and by urging the armed forces to intervene. In early September, Allende
was preparing to call for a rare national plebiscite to resolve the impasse between Popular
Unity and the opposition. The military obviated that strategy by launching its attack on
civilian authority on the morning of September 11. Just prior to the assault, the
commanders in chief, headed by the newly appointed army commander, General Augusto
Pinochet Ugarte, had purged officers sympathetic to the president or the constitution.
Allende either was assassinated or committed suicide while defending (with an assault
rifle) his socialist government against the coup d'état. Several cabinet ministers were also
assassinated, the universities were put under military control, opposition parties were
banned and thousands of Chileans were tortured and killed, many fingered as "radicals"
by lists provided by the CIA. Although sporadic resistance to the coup erupted, the
military consolidated control much more quickly than it had believed possible. Many
Chileans had predicted that a coup would unleash a civil war, but instead it ushered in a
long period of repression.
Debate continues over the reasons for Allende's downfall. Right-wing critics in particular
accused the left of plotting an armed takeover, a charge that was never proved. Critics
also assailed the UP for being unclear about the limits of its reforms and thus frightening
the middle class into the arms of the opposition. Critics of the right accused Popular
Unity, in conjunction with the United States, of ruining the economy and of calling out
the armed forces to protect its property and privileges. Critics of the Christian Democrats
chastised them for refusing to compromise, locking arms with the rightist opposition, and
failing to defend democracy. Observers in general scolded the far left for its adventurous
excesses. Critics of the left blamed Allende for going to extremes, destroying the
economy, violating the constitution, and undermining the spirit if not the letter of
democracy. The far left retorted that Popular Unity failed because it was too timid to arm
the masses.
There was ample blame to go around. Groups at all points on the political spectrum
helped destroy the democratic order by being too ideological and too intransigent. A
minority president facing adamant domestic and foreign opposition was extremely
unlikely to be able to uphold democracy and create socialism at the same time.
The major media in the United States ignored the issue of CIA involvement until 1974,
when Michael J. Harrington (D-MA) leaked details of secret Congressional testimony by
William Colby. And in late 1975, the Senate Committee headed by Frank Church
released the report on "Covert Action in Chile, 1963-1973." In 1982 the movie
"Missing," directed by Costa-Gavras and starring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek,
provided a dramatized account of Charles Horman, a 30-year-old American free-lance
journalist secretly arrested and executed during the coup.
Sources and Resources



Covert Action in Chile, 1963-1973, a Staff report of The Select Committee to
Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities (US
Senate), 18 December 1975.
William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions since World
War II, (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, s1995).
Thomas Hauser, Missing. New York: Avon Books, 1982 [first published in 1978
as The Execution of Charles Horman: An American Sacrifice] 255 pages.
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http://www.fas.org/irp/world/chile/allende.htm
Maintained by Steven Aftergood
Created by John Pike
Updated Friday, September 11, 1998 6:07:55 AM

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