Salvador Allende reader


Victory Speech to the People of Santiago

September 5, 1970

In this victory speech to a happy throng of hundreds of thousands in Santiago the day after his election to the presidency, Allende says that the election was won cleanly and that the transition should be kept clean, peaceful and joyous. "This is your government," he says, and "I am your compañero presidente." Together all will make a "revolutionary government." Revolution "does not mean to destroy but to build." Describing the occasion as "the second triumph of the Chilean Revolution" (the first was independence from Spain, won in 1817), Allende calls for a serene attitude of peace in implementing the full program of the UP (Unidad Popular, or Popular Unity).

People of Santiago, people of Chile: I speak to you with deep emotion from this improvised speaker's platform and from these deficient amplifiers. More significant than my words here is the presence of the people of Santiago, representing the people of Chile, who are gathered here to reaffirm the victory which we honestly achieved today and which opens a new path for the country and whose most important actor is the Chilean people.

It is especially significant that I am able to address the people of Chile and Santiago from the Federation of Students building [on Alameda Bernardo O'Higgins not far from La Moneda]. This is meaningful and of deep significance. Never before has a candidate victorious as a result of the will and sacrifice of the people, used a speaker's platform with greater significance, for the youth of this country was the vanguard of this struggle. This was not the struggle of one man but the struggle of the people and it is Chile's victory that is honestly achieved this afternoon.

I beg you to understand that I am only a man with all of man's weaknesses, and I was able today to endure the failures of the past because I was fulfilling a task. I accept this victory without arrogance or a spirit of vengeance. It is not a personal victory, I owe it to the Popular Unity, to the social forces with us. I owe it to the Radicals, Socialists, Communists, Social Democrats, people from the Unitary Popular Action Movement and from the Independent Popular Alliance, and to thousands of independents. I owe it to the country's anonymous and sacrificed men. I owe it to the humble women of our country. I owe it to the Chilean people who will be with me when I enter La Moneda National Palace on November 4.

The victory you have achieved has great national significance. From here I solemnly state that I will respect the rights of all Chileans, but I also state, and I want you definitely to know this, that when I enter La Moneda — since the people are the government — I will carry out the historic commitment to make a reality of the Popular Unity program.

I have said that we do not have nor could we have any vengeful purpose; it would belittle our victory. But if we do not have any purpose of vengeance, we are not under any circumstances going to back down in our dealing with the Popular Unity program that was the people's combat flag. I will not be just another president; I will be the first president of the first truly democratic, popular and revolutionary government in Chilean history.

I have said it and I must say it again: If victory was not easy, it will be more difficult to consolidate our victory and to build a new society, the new social life together, the new morality, and the new homeland. But I know that all of you who made it possible for the people to become the government tomorrow will have the historic responsibility of doing what Chile is hoping for — to make the country a beacon in progress, in social justice, in the rights of each man, each woman, and each young person in our land.

We have won in order to overthrow once and for all imperialist exploitation, to put an end to monopolies, to carry out a serious and profound agrarian reform, to control the import and export trade, and to nationalize credit. These things will make Chile's progress possible and will create the social capital which will promote our development. That is why I would like tonight to express my deep appreciation to the men and women, to the militants of the popular parties and members of the social forces who made this victory possible — this victory which has repercussions that reach beyond the borders of our country.

For those in the plains and in the mountains, for those who are listening to me in the coastal areas, for those working in the sierras, for the simple housewife or for the university professor, for the young student, for the small businessman or for the industrialist, for Chile's men and women, for our youth, for all of them I am committed with my conscience and with the people to be completely loyal to the great common and collective task. I say this: My only wish is to be your president.

Chile's anonymous men and forgotten women are the ones who made possible this important social event. Thousands and thousands of Chileans staked their sorrow and their hopes on this hour which belongs to the people. The victory is viewed with satisfaction from other borders, from other countries.

Chile opens a way that other American countries and the world may follow. The vital force of unity will break the dikes of dictatorship and will open the floodgates so that people may be free and build their own destiny.

We are sufficiently aware that each country and each nation has its particular problems, its own history, and its particular reality, and that in the face of this reality it is up to the political leaders of each country to decide what tactics to follow. We can only maintain the best political, cultural and economic relations with all the countries of the world. We only ask that they respect — and they will have to respect — Chile's right to a Popular Unity government.

We are and we will continue to be respectful of the thesis of nonintervention and of self-determination, but this does not mean that we will be silent about our support for those peoples who struggle for their economic independence and to dignify mankind in all continents.

I do not want to receive credit in history for what you have achieved — defeating the arrogance of money, pressure, threat, twisted information, the campaign of terror, of plotting and of evil. People who are capable of this will also be capable of understanding that only by working more and producing more will we be able to make Chile progress and make it possible for the men and women of our land, the human couple, to have an authentic right to work, housing, health, education, rest, culture and recreation.

We will put all the country's creative force to work to make possible the fulfillment of all the human goals included in the Popular Unity platform. Together with the efforts of all of you we are going to have a revolutionary government. Revolution does not mean to destroy but to build, not to raze but to construct. And the people of Chile are ready for this great task in this important hour of our history.

Comrades, friends: How I wish communications were such that I could speak longer and be heard by every one of you, that each person could hear my words, full of emotion yet firm in the conviction of the great responsibility that we now have and which I fully assume. I ask that this unprecedented demonstration be converted into a manifestation of the awareness of a people.

You will all retire to your homes without provoking anyone and without being provoked. The people know that their duty is not to break windows or to stone automobiles, and those who have said that disturbances would characterize our victory will encounter your awareness and sense of responsibility. You will all go to work Monday happy and singing of the legitimate victory won, singing to the future that with the callous hands of the people, the tender hands of the women, and the smiles of the children we shall make possible in a struggle that only aware, disciplined people can accomplish.

Latin America and countries beyond the borders of our country, beyond our continent, are looking to our future. And I am fully confident that we shall be sufficiently strong, sufficiently calm, to open the fortunate road to a different and better way of life and to begin the march along the hopeful avenues of socialism that the people of Chile are about to construct with their own hands.

I repeat my expressed gratefulness to the militants of the Popular Unity and to those of the Radical, Communist, Socialist, Social Democratic, Unitary Popular Action Movement, and the Independent Popular Action Parties, and to the thousands of independent voters of the left who have supported us. I also express my affection and public gratitude to the leaders of those parties who went beyond the limits of their own parties to strengthen this unity, which the people made their own. The victory has been possible because of the people's unity. This is the people's victory.

The fact that we are happy and content does not mean that we will become careless in our vigilance. This weekend the people will take over the country, from Arica to Magallanes, from the mountains to the sea. We will dance a grand cueca [Chilean national dance] to show the joy of our victory. But at the same time our Popular Action committees will be on the alert, ready to answer the call of Popular Unity if necessary so that the committees in commerce, factories, hospitals, the Neighbors Councils, the neighborhoods and the working class districts may begin to study the problems and their solutions, because we will have to put the country on the move immediately.

I have faith, deep faith, in the honesty and the heroic attitude of every man and woman who made this victory possible. We are going to work more and produce more, but we will work more for the Chilean family, for the people, and for Chile with the pride of Chileans and with the conviction that we are undertaking a great and wonderful historic task.

I can feel within me as a man, deep down within me as a human being, as a struggler, that which you have given to me. This effort ends a long struggle. I simply took in my hands the torch that was lighted by others who struggled with the people and for the people. This victory should be a monument to those who fell in this social struggle, who sprinkled with their blood the fertile seed of the Chilean revolution that we are going to bring about.

Before closing — and it is only honest to do this — I want to acknowledge that the government has published the correct figures on the results of the election. I want to make it known that General Valenzuela, the military commander, authorized this mass rally. He was convinced that I was telling the truth when I said that the people would behave themselves responsibly, knowing that they have achieved the right to be respected, to be respected in their victory. These people know that they will enter La Moneda Palace with me on the fourth of November.

I want to emphasize that our Christian Democratic adversaries have issued a statement acknowledging our victory. We are not going to ask the right to do likewise. We do not need to do this. We hold no grudge against the right, but they will never be able to recognize the greatness of the people in their struggles, the greatness that is the fruit of their pain and hopes.

Never before have I felt so much human warmth and never before has the national anthem had so deep a meaning to you and to me as now. In our speech we said that we are the legitimate heirs of our country's fathers and that together we will bring about the second independence: the economic independence of Chile. Citizens of Santiago, workers of the homeland, you and only you are the victors. The popular parties and the social forces have provided a great lesson which projects, I repeat, beyond our borders.

I urge you to return home with the joy of a clean victory achieved. And tonight when you caress your children and prepare for bed think of the difficult days ahead when we will have to have more passion and more affection to make Chile even greater and life in our homeland even more just.

Thank you comrades. I have said once before that the best that I have was given to me by my party, the unity of the workers and Popular Unity. Your loyalty will be equaled by my loyalty. I shall show the loyalty of the ruler of the people; the loyalty of your compañero presidente.

Edición digital del Centro Documental Blest el 07feb02
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