SALVADOR ALLENDE READER
Chile's voice of democracy
James D. Cockcroft, Editor
Table of contents
About the Editors
Note on Translations
List of Sources
Introduction: Allende's Words Then and Now by James D. Cockcroft
1. Chile's Medical-Social Reality 1939
2. Election Day Interview with Canada's CBC Radio September 4,1970
3. Victory Speech to the People of Santiago September 5,1970
4. Inaugural Address in the National Stadium, Santiago November 5,1970
5. Letter About Pablo Neruda on the Occasion of his Nobel Literature Prize, 1970
6. Missions and Tasks of Youth and Agrarian Reform Speech in Santiago Plaza, December 21,1970
7. Address to International Workers' Day Rally Santiago's Bulnes Plaza, May 1,1971
8. The Role of the Armed Forces From press conference with foreign journalists Santiago, May 5,1971
9. First Annual Message to the National Congress May 21,1971
10. My View of Marxism From press conference, May 25,1971
11. First Anniversary of the Popular Government National Stadium, Santiago, November 4,1971
12. Interview with Salvador Allende and Fidel Castro by journalist Augusto Olivares Becerra, November, 1971
13. Farewell Address to Fidel Castro Santiago's National Stadium, December 4,1971
14. Here are Assembled the People of Chile Speech to citizens' rally in the streets of Santiago, March 18,1972
15. Address to the Third UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Santiago, April 13,1972
16. Interview with Chilean Journalists On the radio show "The Great Inquiry," September 10,1972
17. Address to the United Nations General Assembly December 4,1972
18. For Democracy and Revolution, Against Civil War Third Annual Message to the National Congress, May 21,1973
19. Report to the Nation on the Military Uprising of June 29,1973
20. Last Words Transmitted by Radio Magallanes September 11,1973
Chronology: Chile 1962-1975
Chronology: Salvador Allende's Life
Appendix — Popular Unity Program
About the editors
Dr. James D. Cockcroft is the author of 25 books on Latin America, human rights, international affairs, and multiculturalism. His most recent books are: Latin America: History, Politics, and U.S. Policy (2nd ed., Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing/Thomson Learning, 1997); Mexico's Hope: An Encounter with Politics and History (NY: Monthly Review Press, 1998, Mexico City: Siglo XXI, 2000); and the forthcoming Outlaws in the Promised Land: The Politics of Immigration (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2001).
Dr. Jane Carolina Canning is a sociologist and free-lance journalist who has written extensively on issues of human rights and social policy in Latin America.
To Doyle Canning, Eli Smith,
and the next generation in their struggle for peace and justice
Locating the essential materials for this book proved to be a daunting task. Although the holdings of many elite U.S. university libraries contain copies of Allende's speeches in English through the CIA's FBIS (Foreign Broadcast Information Service), they are not accessible to the public. Nor are they available through public agencies. For example, incredibly, the U.S. State Department Library does not count in its holdings the FBIS. The agency in charge of distributing FBIS documents has no records on where or how they obtained any of those documents and informed us that they "only distribute but cannot obtain" said documents (a well known form of "spook-speak").
Therefore, we wish to extend our profound gratitude to the willing, if understandably alienated, workers at the Microform Reading Room of the "Peoples Library," the U.S. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Their patient assistance in handling fragile materials with dilapidated and defective equipment is remarkable. It is outrageous that the use and preservation of historical archival collections constitutes such a low priority in a nation that spends billions of dollars on weapons of mass destruction.
We also wish to thank the following people whose assistance at key moments proved pivotal:
• Jose Del Pozo, Managing Editor of the Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies and professor of history at Universite du Quebec a Montreal, for providing essential materials and information
• Marjorie Agosín, poet and recipient of United Nations Human Rights Award (1998), for encouragement and helpful suggestions and information
• Judith Place, Bibliographer for Inter-American Studies, Head of Reference Services, State University of New York-Albany Library, for her usual prompt and efficient cooperation
• Patrick Barnard and Susan Caldwell in Canada for their cooperation in obtaining heretofore unpublished audio materials
• Steve Kahl of Librarie Abya-Yala in Montreal, Quebec, for his prompt book acquisition assistance
• Rebecca Crumlish in Washington, D.C., and Manoek Ilos in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, for their timely additional research
• Ross Gandy in Mexico for his self-sacrificing efforts during a 1999 national student strike to unearth buried Allende-related manuscripts
• Amy B. Syrell, Interlibrary Loan Supervisor, Skidmore College; and Documents Librarian Alan Carter of the New York State Library in Albany for their many efforts, however often they were in vain.
Note on Translations
The sources for translations into English appear with each chapter. I have edited the translations where appropriate to bring them into stricter convergence with the original Spanish. Necessary explanations of names or events appear either in chapter introductory paragraphs or in chapter footnotes.
1. Chile's Medical-Social Reality,1939: Obras escogidas 1933-48
2. Election Day CBC Radio interview, September 4,1970: Tape recording from live broadcast obtained by James. D. Cockcroft
3. Victory Speech, September 5,1970: Foreign Broadcasting Information Service (FBIS) Daily Report, Prensa Latina, September 5,1970; Salvador Allende: Su pensamiento político; Seleccidn de discursos de Salvador Allende; La revolución chilena
4. Inaugural Address in the National Stadium, November 5,1970
The Chilean Road to Socialism; La revolución chilena; Salvador Allende: Su pensamiento político; Selección de discursos de Salvador Allende
5. Letter About Pablo Neruda, 1970: Internet: "La página de Salvador Allende," <http://members.tripod.com/-Mictlantecuhtli/Allende/aneruda.html>
6. Tasks of Youth and Agrarian Reform, December 21,1970:
FBIS Daily Report, Prensa Latina, December 22,1970; La revolucidn chilena
7. Address to International Workers' Day Rally, May 1,1971: Salvador Allende: Su pensamiento político; La revolución chilena; Selección de discursos de Salvador Allende
8. The Role of the Armed Forces, press conference, May 5,1971: Chile: historia de una ilusión; Chile's Road to Socialism: Salvador Allende
9. First Annual Message to the National Congress, May 21,1971: The Chilean Revolution: Conversations with Allende; Salvador Allende: Su pensamiento político; Selección de discursos de Salvador Allende
10. My View of Marxism, press conference, May 25,1971: Chile: historia de una ilusión
11. First Anniversary of the Popular Government, November 4,1971: FBIS Daily Report, November 8,1971; Salvador Allende: Su pensamiento político; La revolución chilena; Selección de discursos de Salvador Allende
12. Interview with Salvador Allende and Fidel Castro, November 1971: Chile: historia de una ilusión
13. Farewell Address to Fidel Castro, December 4,1971: FBIS Daily Report, December 4,1971; Salvador Allende: Su pensamiento político; Selección de discursos de Salvador Allende
14. Speech to citizens' rally, Santiago, March 18,1972: Salvador Allende: Su pensamiento político
15. Address to UNCTAD, April 13,1972: Salvador Allende: Su pensamiento político; Selección de discursos de Salvador Allende; Chile's Road to Socialism: Salvador Allende
16. Interview on "The Great Inquiry," September 10,1972: FBIS Daily Report, September 11,1972; Seleccidn de discursos de Salvador Allende
17. Address to the UN General Assembly December 4,1972: United Nations 27th Session Official Records; Selección de discursos de Salvador Allende
18. Third Annual Message to the National Congress, May 21,1973: La revolución chilena
19. Report to the Nation on the Military Uprising of June 29,1973: FBIS Daily Report, June 29,1973; La revolución chilena
20. Last Words Transmitted by Radio Magallanes, September 11,1973: "Allende's Last Speech," <http://www.derechoschile.com/english/resour.html>; "La página de Salvador Allende," <http://members.tripod.com/-Mictlantecuhtli/ Allende/ultdis.html>
Allende's Words Then and Now
by James D. Cockcroft
Radio Magallanes will surely soon be silenced, and the calm metal of my voice will no longer reach you. It does not matter. You shall continue to hear it. I shall always be at your side, and you will remember me at least as a dignified man who was loyal to his country.
President Salvador Allende's last words to the Chilean people, September 11,1973
On the morning of September 11, 1973, as the jet fighters completed their bombing runs, a column of thick black smoke rose from "La Moneda," Chile's presidential palace. Tanks and infantry closed in on the rubble-strewn building in preparation for the final assault.
The attackers were Chilean military personnel led by right-wing officers bent on destroying Chilean democracy in the name of "saving the country from economic chaos and communism." Their aim was to capture or kill the nation's 65-year-old president, Salvador Allende, Chile's greatest voice of democracy in history. Allende was a socialist, not a communist, and the world's first Marxist ever elected to govern a country in a free, open and democratic election.
Inside the palace ruins, on the second floor in a large room known as Independence Hall, President Allende waited, holding a submachine gun. After troops secured the first floor, they dispatched a captured defender to tell the president again that he must surrender. Once more, Allende refused. He then told his friends and bodyguards, "There is no point in useless deaths. I order you to leave." These were his last reported words.
Most of those present obeyed their president, but five refused. As the invading soldiers climbed the stairs, they were met by a hail of machine-gun fire. The firefight raged on. Finally, at 2:20 p.m., the soldiers reached La Moneda's Independence Hall. Gunshots echoed in the great hall.
After some time, Allende's bullet-riddled body was carried out on a stretcher by firefighters and later dumped in an unmarked grave. He presumably died from bullet wounds to the head. Military officials claimed he had committed suicide.
For most Chileans and the Allende family, however, it was clear who was responsible for Salvador Allende's death and the thousands of others who died in the military takeover of September 11,1973. As far as they were concerned, General Augusto Pinochet and his allies had murdered countless Chilean citizens — and, with them, the Chilean political system long considered one of the world's most vibrant democracies.
Today, when visitors to Chile ask for directions to Allende's gravesite, some officials claim not to know its location. But when the visitors approach workers at graveyards, they are readily told where they can find the burial site of "el compahero presidente" ("the Comrade President").1
In his final words to Chile's people, Allende was right. He is remembered. The calm resolve of his voice is still alive. So are the words he spoke that fateful day, September 11,1973, a day he predicted would bring "infamy" down upon the heads of the coup makers — words of his "faith in Chile and its destiny" and how "much sooner than later the great avenues through which free men walk to build a better society will open."
Today, Chile's avenues are by no means fully open, but at least they are no longer closed and sealed as during the 1973-90 Pinochet dictatorship. As I write these words, General Pinochet himself is a figure of infamy. He is a prisoner, not in Chile, where he still has many followers and disciples in the upper and upper-middle classes and the military, but in England, where he awaits extradition to Spain, although a last-minute backroom deal may yet prevent that (see below). In Spain, he is charged with genocide, routine use of torture and other crimes against humanity. His arrest has galvanized hope for finally bringing to justice former dictators all over the world. As New York Times reporter Barbara Crossette has observed: "A new malady is stalking the presidential palaces and bunkers of the world. Call it the Pinochet Syndrome.... former dictators will have almost nowhere to go, in sickness or in health."2
In Chile, the legal proceedings against Pinochet have reawakened an entire nation from its slumber of amnesia and stimulated a dialogue about the horrors and crimes Pinochet once brought down on Chilean citizens, thousands of whom were "disappeared" after experiencing the most unspeakable forms of torture. Television shows now refer to Pinochet more often as "the former dictator" than as "senator for life," and some victims of human rights abuses have dared to go before the television cameras and express their opinions. Little wonder that Pinochet is on record as saying he does not recognize the existence of the concept "human rights." Yet, as Salvador Allende's niece and famed novelist Isabel Allende has noted, "the old dictator still holds the democratic government hostage.... fear still reigns in Chile.... the heritage of this doleful patriarch: a nation in fear. Although we still have a long way to go, it is refreshing to see the beginning of the end of the reign of fear."3
The Pinochet case has brought back from the shadows of obscurity the most prominent victim of his campaign of terror: Salvador Allende. Not only Chileans seeking to expand their present limited democracy but people all over the world can learn from the words of Allende, truly Chile's — and indeed Latin America's — "voice of democracy." This book, in both its English- and Spanish-language editions, means that for years to come people will continue hearing the voice of Salvador Allende and his vision of a better, more democratic, peaceful and just world.
In Chile, during the Pinochet dictatorship and even since the incomplete transition to democracy,4 school children rarely, if ever, have had the chance to hear about Salvador Allende or his ideas. School curricula were rewritten after the 1973 coup to glorify Pinochet and the free-market economy and to vilify Allende and socialism. Today, as yesterday, insofar as Allende's name publicly comes up at all in Chile, it is usually in a negative context of someone who once caused "economic chaos" or was "a communist" — as if "a communist" were evil and not a human being! Even though a few books discussing the Allende years open-mindedly are finally beginning to appear in Chile, the country largely remains under the shadow of years of repressive rule. In more than one case, books critical of Chile's justice system have been silenced.5 The Cold War, institutionalized by Pinochet's Chile, continues to be fought, pitting the forces of "civilization" against "evil communism." During the height of his power, Pinochet's proudest boast was that he was the only leader in the world who "got rid of the communists." Truly, the blood is on his hands for generations of citizens who lost their loved ones in the vicious campaign against opponents of his military dictatorship.
Countless older citizens of Chile, including those who contribute to the nation's large Socialist Party vote and the smaller (3.2 percent) Communist Party vote, still remember Salvador Allende with affection. He was their "compañero presidente." However, recognizing that the 83-year-old ex-dictator Pinochet still holds substantial power in the country, they are hesitant to speak out. Younger Chileans, kept in the dark for so many years, would like to know more about Salvador Allende, especially given the international attention surrounding efforts to bring Pinochet to trial for his crimes. True, some younger people know from family stories, or from their own experiences in the 1980s during the street battles for democracy, that Pinochet and his goons committed terrible atrocities. But their schooling painted a far different picture — of Pinochet as a national savior who "rescued" Chile from "godless Communism."6
In this book, Allende's voice rings out with a message of hope to all Chileans — as it did when he was president — and to those of us in other lands who, like the Chilean people, wrestle with the issue of peaceful democratic change for social and economic justice.
Just who was Salvador Allende? What did he have to say about "democracy"? How did he expand it? And, above all, why are Allende's life and words still important today?
Early Years, 1908-32:
Family Influences, Student Activism
Salvador Allende Gossens was born in 1908 in the port city of Valparaiso, Chile, where he was raised by a prosperous middle-class family. His mother, Laura Gossens Uribe, was a devout Catholic, the daughter of French immigrant professionals. His father, Salvador Allende Castro, was a lawyer serving as a government-funded public defender for those who could not afford lawyers. His father educated him about the need to introduce social reforms and to keep church and state separate (a step later inscribed in Chile's 1925 to 1973 constitution). From his mother, young Salvador, known as "Chicho," learned the positive values associated with Christianity. Chicho had a famous paternal grandfather — a medical doctor who had founded Chile's first public school and Santiago's first maternity clinic.
In 1916, at age eight, Chicho visited Santiago, Chile's capital, where his uncle, Ramón Allende Castro, was mayor. Allende later recalled his uncle's outrage at government-ordered massacres of workers: "With bullets and bayonets," his uncle had told him, "the workers aren't fed, nor are social problems resolved. Our stupid government can't comprehend this simple truth."7
After graduating from high school with excellent grades and winning the decathlon and swimming events at Chile's Youth Games, Chicho completed his required military service, becoming a skilled marksman. While in the service, he made friends with progressive, socially conscious soldiers and officers, including Colonel Marmaduke Grove Vallejos, whose brother had married his sister In£s. The friendship with Grove and young Chicho's military experience, along with Chile's 160 consecutive years of governance with a parliament, may have influenced Allende's later faith in the institution of Chile's military, a military that ultimately destroyed him and parliament.
In 1926, Allende entered the medical school of the University of Chile in Santiago. His studies were often slowed by his economic need for part-time jobs and by the political turmoil of the times. All of Latin America's university students were caught up in the new university autonomy movement, which passed down a tradition of student political activism in each nation's political and economic life.8
Allende, like so many other activist students in Chile, was arrested during peaceful demonstrations that eventually helped topple the constitutional but dictatorial regime of Colonel Carlos Ibáñez del Campo (1927-31). Having read the works of Vladimir Lenin, Karl Marx and Leon Trotsky, the young medical student soon found himself in the leadership of both the university's student federation and a more extreme leftist group he helped organize, Grupo Avance. It was the height of the Great Depression of the early 1930s and Chile's poor and disenfranchised workers and peasants, known as "los rotos" or "broken ones," were desperate. At a night school for workers, Allende gave classes on preventative health care. He also found some time to write poetry, a common and highly valued practice in Latin America. (Fellow Chilean Pablo Neruda, later a close friend of Allende, became known as "Latin America's poet" and in 1970 won the Nobel Prize in Literature — see Chapter 5, "Letter About Neruda.")
On June 4,1932, the old family friend Marmaduke Grove, backed by sections of the army and air force, overthrew a right-wing caretaker government and proclaimed "the Socialist Republic of Chile." Grove's program was almost indistinguishable from the Popular Unity program of 1969 that helped get Allende elected president (for the text of the Popular Unity program, see Appendix). Grove's government lasted only 12 days. It was toppled by a military coup led by some of the Grove government's own dissident right-wing members backed by Chile's upper classes and U.S. and British industrialists. Grove remained popular and later was elected to the Senate.
Allende had the courage and honesty to speak out against the 1932 coup. For this he was arrested and imprisoned. His father was dying at the time, and later, at the funeral, Allende made "the promise that I would dedicate my life to the social struggle and the freedom of Chile."9
Middle Years, 1932-51:
Defending Chile's Workers and Democracy
After going through five trials, Allende was finally absolved of all charges and released from jail during a general amnesty preceding the 1932 presidential election campaign. He promptly completed his medical studies. But when he applied for jobs at Santiago hospitals, Dr. Salvador Allende learned that no one would hire a self-avowed Marxist socialist. He had to take a job performing autopsies in a morgue. Allende continued researching and writing on health problems in Chile, becoming more certain with each passing day that revolutionary democratic socialism within Chilean constitutional traditions was the only realistic and practical solution to the nation's problems.
But what did Allende mean by "revolutionary democratic socialism"? Judging from all his speeches, interviews and writings, Allende viewed revolution and socialism as a highly democratic and participatory process for all people. Upon the first anniversary of his presidency Allende would tell a mass rally at Santiago's National Stadium (Chapter 11) that his government would maintain its running "dialogue with the people" because the people "are the fundamental factor in the Chilean revolutionary process." In other words, democracy was actually the key to revolution and socialism.
For Allende, democracy meant not just political participation but also economic justice — which was why revolution and socialism were necessary in the first place. "Democracy and freedom," Allende would point out on the first anniversary of his presidency, "are incompatible with unemployment and lack of housing, the lack of culture, illiteracy and sickness. How is democracy strengthened? By creating more jobs, giving better wages, building more homes, providing the people with more culture, education and better health." As he told the United Nations General Assembly in his famous speech of December 4, 1972 (Chapter 17):
The Chilean people... [are] engaged in the task of establishing economic democracy so that the country's productive activities will meet its social requirements and expectations and not be exploited for private gain.... [They are] laying the foundations for a pattern of growth which spells genuine development, which involves all the inhabitants of the country and which does not relegate vast sections of the people to poverty and social banishment.... while strengthening civic freedoms, both collective and individual, and respecting cultural and ideological pluralism. Ours is a continuing struggle for the institution of social freedoms and economic democracy through the full exercise of political freedom.
Socialism meant for Allende a broad-based, well-organized people's movement to elect officials who would introduce state regulation of principle sectors of the economy and workers' control of major industries, banks, mines and farms, along with related measures to favor small and medium-sized businesses and improve the living conditions and quality of life for all. As is clear in the writings, speeches and interviews reproduced here, including one on health Allende presented at age 31 in 1939 (Chapter 1) and another he presented at age 63 as his First Annual Message to the National Congress, May 21, 1971 (Chapter 9), Allende believed socialism should use both the market and state planning as "regulators of the economic process." This is an important point that, as we shall see, is gaining favor around the world today as the "free market" celebration by the defenders of modern capitalism runs up against capitalism's predictable limits of ever greater poverty, financial market turbulence and economic collapses.
Committed to the ideas of a democratic and participatory socialism, in April 1933 Allende helped found Chile's Socialist Party. His comrades appointed him to lead its organization in his birthplace, Valparaiso. In 1935, Chile's government cracked down on striking workers, labor leaders and leftists. Allende himself was arrested in July and exiled to Caldera, a small fishing village in northern Chile, where he attended to the sick and became exceedingly popular.
At workers' meetings throughout the country, Marmaduke Grove, now a senator, called for Allende's freedom. Soon, Allende's name was known everywhere. Therefore, in late 1935, he was permitted to return to Valparaiso.
But Chile's fascist groups, like those in Hitler's Germany and Mussolini's Italy at the time, were on the rise, attacking workers' meetings everywhere. Only in unity could people opposed to fascism and in favor of social and economic democracy triumph. So Allende promptly set about bringing leftists and centrists together — unskilled workers, professionals, small and medium business people; Communists and Socialists with their historical record in leading major worker struggles; members of the pro-separation of church and state, largely middle-class Radical Party — and other centrist groups too.10
By 1937, a "Popular Front" of Communists, Socialists and Radicals was able to elect its best organizer, Allende, to the lower house of Congress. People liked the 29-year-old doctor's sincerity and honesty. The following year Chileans elected to the presidency the Popular Front's candidate, Radical Party member Pedro Aguirre Cerda, a wealthy winegrower.
Allende joined President Aguirre Cerda's staff and in September 1939 became Minister of Health, a position he held for two-and-a-half years. He spearheaded many reforms, including — true to his grandfather's example — the creation of maternity care programs. He introduced larger pensions for widows, free lunch programs for children, and safety laws to protect workers in the factories. Finally, he drafted the legislation that eventually, in 1952, became Chile's National Health Service, which brought medical attention to nearly three million Chileans.
During the earthquake of January 25,1939, Allende was in a Santiago street with others fleeing the shaking buildings, when he met Hortensia Bussi Soto, a school teacher of history who also advocated socialism. The couple soon married and went on to have a family of three daughters, Carmen, Beatriz and Isabel.
In November 1941, President Aguirre Cerda died of a heart attack. Another Radical Party member won the special presidential election but moved to the right, causing Allende to resign from the Cabinet. When some people in the Popular Front called for eliminating the Communists from the coalition, Allende opposed them. He was elected secretary general of the Socialist Party in 1943. Anticommunist Socialists quit in disgust.
After the defeat of the fascists in World War II, Allende was elected to the Senate. The anticommunist campaign in Chile heated up again, now fueled by a worldwide U.S.-orchestrated Cold War propaganda campaign and by U.S. copper companies anxious to end strikes at the mines. In 1947, Chile's government passed the "Law of Permanent Defense of Democracy," a witch-hunting "Red-baiting" device. In the Senate, Allende voted against what became known as "the Cursed Law" ("Ley Maldita").
Communist leaders were rounded up and sent to detention camps in the northern desert regions. One of the world's greatest poets, Pablo Neruda, a communist, was deprived of the seat he won in the Senate. The names of 50,000 people were removed from Chile's voter registration books. U.S. copper executives were delighted by Chile's "Red scare." It helped defang the labor movement.
Allende, a true democrat and friend of Chile's workers, objected to this Chilean brand of McCarthyism, saying that Socialists would suffer the same fate as communists if they allowed such undemocratic measures to go unchallenged. When the Socialist Party fell apart on the issue, Allende and his supporters launched the Popular Socialist Party.
Final Years, 1951-73:
"A Dignified Man Loyal to His Country"
In 1951-52, Allende was still trying to cobble together a grand political coalition. However, most members of the Popular Socialist Party began to back the former dictator Ibáñez in the 1952 presidential race, since Ibáñez was running on a populist platform of social reforms and appeared likely to win. Allende returned to the Socialist Party, whose members now shared his conviction that Chile's Communist Party must be included in any progressive alliance. The party chose him to be its candidate in the 1952 presidential contest. Those Communists not in prison campaigned for Allende semi-clandestinely (the Communist Party was still illegal).
Ibáñez swept the 1952 presidential election but moved to the right, as Allende had warned he would. After a stint in the Chilean Senate, Allende ran again for president in 1958 — and almost won! He lost by only 30,000 votes to the right-wing coalition candidate, banker-industrialist Jorge Alessandri, nephew of an earlier popular president. The Communist Party had been legalized earlier in 1958 and had enthusiastically backed Allende's candidacy. It was growing rapidly and by 1970 was the world's third largest Communist Party after those of France and Italy.
Allende's near winning of the presidency in 1958 reflected the fact that much of Latin America was moving toward the left in the late 1950s. Pro-democracy forces were toppling or challenging military dictators, even though in 1954 the United States had intervened violently in Guatemala to crush a democratically elected government and restore a dictatorship in order to protect the banana interests of the United Fruit Company.
The Cuban Revolution of 1959 inspired many Latin Americans. Again the United States intervened. It set up an economic blockade against Cuba (still largely in effect 40 years later, though crumbling because of worldwide refusal to comply). In 1961, CIA-trained Cuban mercenaries loyal to the prior dictatorship and backed by U.S. ships and planes, invaded Cuba at the Bay of Pigs (Playa Girón). They were quickly defeated by Cuban patriots led by Fidel Castro. In Chile's local elections that year, Allende's Popular Action Front (FRAP) received more votes than any other party or coalition. The U.S. State Department was stunned.
From that point forward, as this book's "Chronology: Chile 1962-1975" spells out, the U.S. government and the CIA, acting on behalf of large U.S. copper corporations, powerful U.S. banking interests, and ITT,11 all of which held huge chunks of Chile's economy, sought ways to "buy" Chilean elections and prevent Allende from winning the presidency. U.S. foreign policy succeeded in 1964 by financing more than half the costs of the victorious presidential campaign of Eduardo Frei, candidate of Chile's reformist PDC (Christian Democratic Party).12 Frei promised a "revolution in liberty." First National City Bank's John M. Hennessy helped funnel the CIA moneys. Later, Hennessy joined the Nixon administration to assist it in destabilizing Allende's government of the early 1970s.
During Frei's presidency (1964-70), Allende's Senate colleagues elected him to preside over the upper house as its president. Allende was a highly respected parliamentary socialist and confirmed believer and practitioner of playing within the constitutional rules of the game. He, like poet Neruda, was widely respected throughout Chile — except among the wealthiest elite families, although even they, in public, showed him respect (as he comments in his interview with Chilean journalists on the radio show "The Great Inquiry," September 10, 1972, Chapter 16). Allende's surprising trip to northern Chile to greet fleeing guerrilla comrades of the assassinated international revolutionist Ernesto "Che" Guevara, killed in Bolivia in late 1967, earned him additional respect among those Chileans and Latin Americans who admired the principled revolutionary conduct of Che. Allende helped obtain safe passage for the few guerrillas who escaped the encirclement of the U.S.-trained and supervised unit of the Bolivian Army that captured Che.
U.S. "Alliance for Progress" aid poured into President Frei's Chile. So did U.S. corporate investments, which multiplied many-fold.13 The AD7LD (American Institute for Free Labor Development), partly funded by the CIA and U.S. organized labor's AFL-CIO, trained 10,000 Chileans to subvert Chile's powerful left-wing labor movement and create alternative labor unions. AIFLD executive board veteran William Thayer became Frei's labor minister (and later became a mouthpiece for the Pinochet dictatorship). U.S. military aid helped to double the ranks of Chile's armed forces to 90,000 men and to train them in "domestic counterinsurgency," including more sophisticated ways to break strikes. Pinochet and other leaders of the violent military coup of September 11, 1973, had all gone to the United States at least once. The bountiful U.S. "aid" (actually, loans) saddled Chile with one of the world's highest per-capita foreign debts — a debt that Allende had to manage after he was elected to Chile's presidency in 1970.
Despite receiving so much U.S. support, the Christian Democrats failed to deliver on many of their revolutionary promises, even as Allende had predicted would happen.
Unemployment rates jumped to 20 and 25 percent. Frei's program of purchasing a 51 percent share in foreign copper enterprises ("Chileanization") backfired among the electorate, so much so that in the presidential campaign of 1970 the PDC's own candidate, Radomiro Tomic, agreed with Allende that the foreign copper companies should be nationalized as soon as possible. By 1971 not a single member of Chile's Congress dared vote against Allende's nationalization law.14
In brief, when Chileans elected Allende to the presidency on September 4, 1970, they were looking for a true revolution and not the fraudulent kind introduced by the PDC's Frei. Voter turnout was high — 83 percent of the electorate. Allende garnered more than a million votes (36.3 percent), a plurality in a three-way race against the runners-up, the right-wing National Party's Jorge Alessandri (34.9 percent) and Tomic (27.8 percent) of the increasingly discredited PDC.
Chile's electorate knew Allende to be a principled and honest person. Therefore, it fully expected his government to start transforming Chile in the direction of a socialist society, based on Allende's promises and the 40-point program of the multi-party leftist/centrist coalition running him, the UP (Unidad Popular or Popular Unity). The UP was spearheaded by Communists, Socialists, Radicals, and disenchanted former Christian Democrats organized into the MAPU (United Popular Action Movement) bent on practicing the revolutionary tenets of the "theology of liberation" then spreading like a prairie fire throughout Latin America.
At last, Allende had succeeded in bringing together the grand majority coalition he had so long encouraged! As he proudly told a press conference the day after his election:
A humanistic, secular and rational way of thinking — such as that of the Radical Party — was merged into Popular Unity, even the Marxist thoughts of Communists and Socialists and the clear Christian thoughts of the friends of MAPU. No other country in the capitalist world, developed or being developed, has been able to build such a broad and profound movement.
Allende elaborated further in his victory speech of September 5 (Chapter 3):
upon arriving at La Moneda, with the people being the government, we will fulfill the historic commitment we have made, to convert into reality the UP Program.... in no way will we... trade away the UP Program that was the [electoral] banner of the first authentically democratic, popular, national and revolutionary government in Chilean history.
According to Chilean law, however, when no candidate won a majority, Congress had to decide the winner. In the past, Congress had always ratified the leading vote-getter. For many months prior to the election this tradition had been disturbing powerful U.S. corporate executives and their representatives in Washington, D.C. As later reported by the U.S. Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations in Respect to Intelligence Activities (the so-called "Church Committee," named after its chairman Senator Frank Church),15 President Richard Nixon "instructed the CIA to play a direct role in organizing a military coup d'etat in Chile to prevent Allende's accession to the presidency." As early as the previous March, the White House "Committee of 40," headed by NSC (National Security Council) chief Henry Kissinger, had begun drawing up plans to prevent Allende's election or, failing that, to destabilize his regime until a military coup could overthrow him — secretly providing $125,000 for a "spoiling operation" against Allende's UP coalition. In June 1970, Kissinger told the "Committee of 40" that should Allende win Chile's elections, "I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people." Among CIA Director Richard Helm's scribbled notes about a September 15 meeting with Nixon and Kissinger (now also Secretary of State) were the steps subsequently enacted to destabilize Chile's economy during the Allende presidency, summed up in the phrase "make the economy scream."16
One important individual stood in the way, however, of a military coup prior to the Chilean Congress's vote on who should be president. He was the Army Chief of Staff, Rene Schneider, a man loyal to the constitution. The CIA decided to remove Schneider. After two muffed CIA attempts at kidnapping him, right-wing extremists associated with the National Party succeeded. They assassinated Schneider on October 22, 1970, and blamed it on the far left. When the true plotters were uncovered, Chileans reacted with outrage. On October 24, 1970, Chile's Congress confirmed Salvador Allende Gossens as president by a vote of 153 to 35.
In an unprecedented move, however, Allende's opponents had legislated conditions on his ratification. They had passed a constitutional reform guaranteeing noninterference by the new government in freedom of expression, education and worship. More importantly, they barred Allende from tampering with the country's security forces and placed limits on the traditional presidential authority to appoint commanding officers. Moreover, Allende was obligated to preserve the jobs of the previous administration's state functionaries, making it difficult for him to overcome wasteful bureaucratism. Finally, when Allende assumed office on November 3, 1970, he controlled only the executive branch of government — and even that power had these unprecedented limits set upon it. For the next thousand days, then, Allende was somewhat hamstrung in his efforts to "take the path toward socialism through democracy, pluralism and freedom" (Inaugural Address, November 5, 1970, Chapter 4). He had to carry out his promised "revolution" in the face of not having a majority in Congress; the Supreme Court disallowing many of his reforms; and the military increasingly intervening in state affairs.
Despite the obstacles, Allende managed to introduce an expanded democracy and new economic opportunities for Chile's working people. The way he conducted the presidency set the tone. Believing that La Moneda should be a public building, Allende invited an almost constant flow of worker and peasant delegations, as well as intellectuals, to visit the presidential palace. He refused to live in the second-floor residence provided for the President and his family. Telling his friends that the place felt like "a giant mousetrap," he lived instead in a house on nearby Tomas Moro Street, where he could relax with his family, surrounded by his paintings, books and poetry.
In his first year as president, Allende began implementing the Popular Unity's "anti-imperialist" platform of building socialism within a democratic framework — the so-called "Chilean revolution," also known as the "Chilean road [or path] to socialism." He nationalized (with compensation) public utilities, non-foreign banks, and several basic industries, starting with the U.S. copper firms. He raised workers' wages, froze prices and rents, provided free milk for children, ordered hospitals to stop turning away those who could not pay for medical care, and provided tax and credit breaks for small and medium-sized businesses. In his speeches, Allende asked workers to support the revolution by producing more. They responded by increasing industrial output 14 percent in 12 months. Allende asked workers and employers to join "the People's Government" in its programs to help those without work — and unemployment plummeted to less than 4 percent. Allende's agrarian reform greatly accelerated the rate at which fundos (huge estates) were broken up and land was distributed to the landless. Food production and consumption rose. Unfortunately, prices also rose, as a U.S. economic blockade of Chile took hold and a CIA-funded right-wing offensive against Allende moved into high gear. Threats on Allende's life became a regular occurrence, and his bodyguard had to be beefed up.
Internationally, Allende's government inspired people everywhere. Messages of solidarity poured in from every major European country, where parliamentary socialists like him had a long tradition of governing. Other Third World countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America which, like Chile, were struggling with choices about economic development to overcome the legacy of centuries of political and economic submission to colonialism and neocolonialism, looked at the Chilean experiment with hope and encouragement. Those nations undergoing their own revolutions and the attempts of U.S. imperialism to crush them by means of overwhelming military force, such as Vietnam, welcomed the solidarity Allende expressed for them. A new generation of political activists in the United States, committed to ending the Vietnam War and "bringing the troops home," as well as to various liberating causes in the fields of minority rights, viewed Chile with total fascination and hope — democracy could work, it seemed to them, to improve people's lives and thereby avoid the need for outright revolution.
Throughout the world, there was a growing disillusionment with capitalism because of its imbalances and injustices. When some concluded that only a revolution could replace capitalism with a more humane system — called by various names, ranging from socialism, to economic democracy, to humanism, to democratic socialism — others sought to avoid the violence associated with revolution. Allende was one of these. He sought a peaceful road to social change.
On April 4, 1971, in a four-way field for elections in 280 municipalities, Allende's UP coalition garnered half the vote. For the first time in Chilean history, people 18-21 years old could vote. Young people's support contributed to the UP's huge margin of victory. It appeared that the UP was on its way to forging an absolute electoral majority for the 1973 congressional elections, which would enable it to institute a full-scale socialist program without needing the support of the other parties. Consequently, the Christian Democrats' PDC moved closer to the right-wing parties to block Allende's new legislation, although the nationalization of copper, iron ore, steel, and nitrate industries went ahead unopposed on July 11, known as the Day of National Dignity.
On November 10, 1971, Cuba's Premier Fidel Castro arrived for a whirlwind tour of Chile. The right-wing offensive accelerated. Businessmen held back basic foods, clothing and other necessities, creating artificial shortages. A black market sprang up, where the supposedly scarce items appeared in great numbers and at much higher prices. Thousands of upper-middle-class and wealthy women from Santiago's plush suburban residential area conducted a "march of empty pots and pans" in downtown Santiago. The march was organized and given its catchy name by the major CIA-funded newspaper El Mercurio, among others.
Alarmed, Fidel Castro quietly let Allende know that the Chilean president's trust in democracy could be his undoing, a sentiment shared by members of the small but vigorous Chilean MIR (Movement of the Revolutionary Left, some of whose members belonged to Allende's bodyguard). The MIR had repeatedly asked Allende, in vain, to arm the peasants and workers for what they felt was an inevitable clash with the right, or, failing that, to form a "worker-soldier alliance" to defend the constitution. Apparently, Allende never wavered from his faith in the armed forces' staying within the bounds of the constitution, the way he himself was doing. He felt he could pull the working-class soldiery into the social processes of the revolution (see Chapter 8). Allende gave Castro a ringing sendoff, in which he denounced the forces of "sedition" in Chile and once more explained the peaceful and democratic "Chilean road to socialism" (see his December 4,1971, "Farewell Address to Fidel Castro," Chapter 13).
By the end of 1971, an "invisible" U.S. economic blockade, a CIA-funded campaign of sabotage against industrial plants, and CIA financial support for Allende's opponents, especially the fascist Patria y Libertad (Fatherland and Liberty), were blocking the Chilean revolution's advance. A "coup team" was already operating out of the U.S. embassy in Santiago.17
In March 1972, syndicated columnist Jack Anderson reported in the U.S. press that secret ITT documents (soon made public) proved that ITT had dealt regularly with the CIA in efforts to bring Allende down (for details, see "Chronology: Chile 1962-1975"). Therefore, few Chileans objected to Allende's nationalizing ITT. The wealth that poured back into the Chilean treasury from ITT's lucrative subsidiaries in communications, electricity and hotels gave a modest boost to the sagging economy. But the right kept up its counterattack.
During the October 1972 CIA-funded truck owners' strike, Allende suffered a heart attack — kept secret lest the right seize the opportunity to stage a coup. Yet even as he was bedridden Allende directed negotiations on the strike. He recovered quickly and was back at his desk within six weeks to resume his 16-hour workdays.
On December 4, Allende went to New York to address the General Assembly of the United Nations (Chapter 17). Delegates from around the world listened intently as the man frequently referred to in the U.S. press as "the world's only freely elected Marxist leader" calmly informed them about the transnational corporations' mode of operation against a democratic government's introduction of profound social reforms:
We find ourselves faced with forces that operate in shadows, without a flag, with powerful weapons, posted in various places of influence.... From the very day of our electoral triumph on the fourth of September 1970, we have felt the effects of a large-scale external pressure against us which tried to prevent the inauguration of a government freely elected by the people, and has attempted to bring it down ever since, an action that has tried to cut us off from the world, to strangle our economy and paralyze trade in our principal export, copper, and to deprive us of access to sources of international financing.
At the end of his speech, the UN delegates gave Allende a prolonged standing ovation.
As can be readily appreciated from Allende's speeches and interviews reproduced here, Chile's masses responded to the Popular Unity government's progressive steps with great hope. A "revolution of rising expectations" had already begun during Frei's "revolution in liberty" and now, with Allende as president, it looked as if it had a chance at last to win. Citizens, including hundreds of thousands of Christian Democrats and independents, poured into the streets to back "the People's Government." In addition, in 1972 and 1973, workers began responding militantly to the right-wing counterattack by seizing hundreds of factories, sometimes at gunpoint, and operating them with workers' councils. Peasants seized farms, some of them owned by middle-class Chileans.
Amid the rising tensions of left-right conflict, 93 percent of the electorate voted in the March 1973 congressional elections. They gave Allende and the UP a strong vote of confidence, increasing an incumbent political power's vote for the first time in history in a mid-term election — by a substantial 7 percent! The opposition parties' congressional majority still stood, but it seemed more likely than ever that the UP might gain an outright congressional majority in the 1976 elections.
Therefore, military conspirators and the right sped up their target date for a coup. On June 29,1973, an armored regiment seized the plaza in front of La Moneda and tanks began rolling toward the palace entrance. Troops loyal to constitutionalist army Chief of Staff General Carlos Prats overpowered them, but few other officers actively helped. Some, like General Pinochet, claimed they were not involved in the coup — but they carefully noted which officers and soldiers refused to join the golpistas (coup makers).
The MIR and other leftists once more urged Allende to form a worker-soldier alliance, or at least purge the military of right-wing generals. Allende refused, more than likely believing that the entire military would unite to overthrow his government if he antagonized the officer corps by forming a worker-soldier alliance or by removing any military officers (which the 1970 Constitutional Reform forbade him from doing in any case). Knowing that many rank-and-file soldiers held Socialist or Communist Party membership cards, Allende apparently feared a bloody civil war might erupt if he encouraged a worker-soldier alliance or challenged the caste-like officer corps.
Military purges did occur, but they were directed by right-wing officers against constitutionalists. Several navy units were purged of "leftist" elements. Some navy recruits said they were tortured until they named "pro-Allende" officers. On July 27, an Allende naval aide, Captain Arturo Araya, was found murdered.
Then an event occurred that many Chileans thought ominous. On August 23, General Prats resigned, stating that he was forced to do so by a "sector of army officers." General Pinochet became the new commander-in-chief of the army. A rash of other resignations followed.
Also in August, efforts at further dialogue with the Christian Democrats' PDC failed. The PDC newspaper ran an article claiming that the Allende government had been taken over by a "Jewish-communist cell." In his Third Annual Message to the National Congress three months earlier (Chapter 18), Allende had insisted on genuine dialogue "because the alternative to dialogue is violence which, with the exception of those who are stubborn, no one in Chile wants.... the vast majority of Chileans are against political and economic chaos."
In the aftermath of the June 29 coup attempt, the MIR and left-wing elements in Allende's Socialist Party gained fresh support as workers and peasants loyal to the UP took control of still more factories and lands. Meanwhile, hoping to avoid more chaos and violence, Allende made major concessions to the right. He appointed the commanders of the three armed forces and the Carabineros (national police) to his cabinet and approved the eviction of workers from illegally occupied workplaces.
On September 4,1973, more than 750,000 Chileans marched through downtown Santiago chanting "Allende, Allende, the people will defend you!" Three days later, Allende met with military officers he believed to be constitutionalists and informed them that on September 11, acting in line with provisions in Chile's Constitution, he would call for a plebiscite in which Chile's voters would declare whether or not they supported his presidency. General Pinochet attended the meeting. He realized that Allende would likely win such a referendum.
During the months leading up to the September 11 coup d'etat, an estimated 100 U.S. military personnel were working with the Chilean officer corps. On September 10, Chilean Navy ships conducted joint naval maneuvers with U.S. warships off the coast. That night, those same Chilean naval ships returned to the Valparaiso port. Early on the morning of September 11, naval officers seized control of Valparaiso. Hearing of this revolt, Allende tried phoning Pinochet and other top military brass but could not reach them.18
It was too late! In the preceding days and hours, constitutionalist soldiers and sailors had been held in their barracks. Then, the night before the September 11 coup, the disloyal admirals and generals had ordered several hundred of them shot. Pinochet had said in 1971, "I hope the army won't have to come out, because if it does, it will be to kill." The killing had begun.
By daybreak, the swift, well-coordinated, bloody coup was in full swing. Allende rushed to La Moneda to take charge of what he realized would be an unwinnable resistance. Nonetheless, he was determined to remain loyal to his principles and to Chile. His final hours of life, like his last address to the Chilean people delivered that morning on one of the few radio stations still not seized or bombed by the military, proved how honest, loyal and dignified Salvador Allende remained to the end (Chapter 20).
Instantly, soldiers, sailors and Carabineros began rounding up UP officials and suspected "communists." Several officials of the different UP parties were shot on sight. "Suspects" killed or arrested included women in slacks and long-haired men, as well as supporters of the Popular Unity.19 Bodies and several legs and arms floated down the capital's Mapocho Pdver, where the waters turned reddish-brown. Cadavers piled up in morgues. Allende's wife Hortensia Allende Bussi fled her home on Tomas Moro Street just minutes before an air force jet bombed it. Wild-eyed militants of the CIA-backed fascistic, anti-Semitic Patria y Libertad torched piles of "subversive" books at street intersections. When Santiago's jails overflowed, detainees were herded into sports stadiums and military camps. More than 200,000 Chileans fled for their lives, going into exile — one out of every 55 Chileans.
Billows of smoke rose from Santiago's cordones, the name given to factory and residential areas having their own comandos comunales, or popularly elected councils. Also devastated were countless campamentos, self-governing slum settlements where one political party often had a majority. Even PDC camvamentos were attacked. Peasant co-ops and "collectives" were likewise bombed, burned, searched, destroyed. All these grass-roots organizations had been viewed by Chile's wealthy elites as even more threatening than Allende's constitutional "parliamentary socialism."
During the next month, the dead bodies of priests, students, workers and others deemed subversive by the military dictatorship were left in the road and on high school and college campuses. Uncounted numbers of people "disappeared." In most cases, the "disappeared" individuals were tortured and murdered, often by being dumped from helicopters over the Pacific Ocean. Some were tossed into secret mass graves, which were later found as evidence of mass executions.20
Former President Frei congratulated the coup leaders for "saving Chile from a Marxist dictatorship." It was subsequently revealed that Frei had received money from the CIA to support the coup. Frei and other Christian Democrats later turned against the Pinochet dictatorship, as its frightening human rights record of routine torture, disappearances and murder became known outside of Chile.21
Chile fell under martial law. Congress was suspended indefinitely, as were all local elected councils. Elections, organized labor's CUT (Unitary Workers Central), strikes, political parties, an independent judiciary, a free press — all were outlawed. Chile's proud tradition of democracy was, far from being "saved from Marxism," snuffed out at the moment of its fullest expression. Chile's elites, faced with the failure of their own democratic institutions to guarantee their privileged positions, had opted for their destruction. It was a case of what a U.S. general in Vietnam had once called "destroying a village in order to save it" — destroying democracy in the name of saving it.
The coup leaders stated that their fundamental goal was nothing less than "to change the mentality of the people." General Pinochet stated in 1974 that, "Democracy is the best pot for growing Marxism.... [all government opponents] will be crushed and made to disappear."
While most of the world's governments refused to recognize the military dictatorship or broke off diplomatic relations in protest, the U.S. government immediately recognized General Pinochet as Chile's legitimate president and rushed in economic aid to his regime. Like the U.S. government, South America's dictatorships strongly backed the coup. At Santa Cruz, Bolivia, half a year earlier, Brazilian and Bolivian soldiers who had been trained at U.S. Army schools in the Panama Canal Zone instructed 250 Chileans in the techniques of terrorism. Recently released CIA and other U.S. government documents confirm extensive U.S. government foreknowledge of the military coup and its bloody aftermath.22
Allende's Words Today:
Democracy and Imperialism Again!
Since 1991, the word "democracy" has been bandied about propagandistically as an all encompassing slogan to celebrate capitalism's triumph over the Soviet Union in the Cold War and to drown any remaining communist countries attempting to swim against the current in the capitalist tidal wave of global "free trade." Similarly, anything smacking of socialism has been propagandistically smeared as "undemocratic" and counter to government deregulation, privatization of state enterprises, and the "free market" of "free trade."23
The concept "democracy" continues to embrace ideas that have profound emotional and everyday impact among working people all over the world. For example, the increase in economic democracy introduced by past communist governments like the Soviet Union's, or socialist ones like Allende's, looks attractive when compared with the massive poverty characterizing so many capitalist "democracies" of today. Worldwide there is developing a deepening discussion as to the meaning, practicality and necessity of introducing true popular democracy, both economically and politically. People are worried about the seemingly uncheckable ability of giant corporations and powerful capitalist nation states to impose their will outside the realms of democratic consultation or domestic and international law, as in the recent rash of free trade agreements and murderous "hi-tech bombings" against multiple civilian targets.
As already noted, Allende's vision itself was one of a full and true democracy for all people, not a narrow democracy for a wealthy few. Democracy for Allende had to be economic, social and political, where working people, instead of a handful of captains of enterprise or government, would have the main say. Economic democracy included the provisions of the Popular Unity Program (see Appendix) for ending "wage and salary discrimination between men and women or for reasons of age," as well as daycare centers in the poorest neighborhoods and other reforms favoring women, children or other neglected groups. Allende's policies benefited women, especially poor and working class women, with maternity leaves, daycare assistance, nutritional food programs for their children, free medicines for low-income people and improved life chances. Actually, as the speeches reproduced here make clear, no area of daily life was left untouched by the reforms introduced by Allende. Even the arts were favored, but on a basis again of encouraging the expansion of working people's culture — with such success that some of the art forms and styles introduced by Chileans in their wall and street murals of the early 1970s spread to other parts of the world, including the United States.24
In all his speeches, interviews and writings, Allende explained his vision of democracy, being careful to note the dangers in masking undemocratic behavior with the slogan "democracy." His words truly echoed or expanded upon the Popular Unity Program's detailed steps for extending democracy by "granting to social organizations real means of exercising their rights and creating the mechanisms which will allow them to participate in the different levels of the state's administrative apparatus.... the very opposite of that [notion of strong government] held by the oligarchy and imperialists who identify authority with the use of coercion against the people." Eventually, according to this democratic vision, a new political constitution would "validate the massive incorporation of the people into governmental power" by providing for a unicameral democratic parliament to be known as the "People's Assembly," with the people's representatives to be subject to recall.25 A new concept of the judicial process would "replace the existing individualistic and bourgeois one."
In a short essay Allende wrote at the request of "the North American publishers" to introduce a postscript for a book containing the English translations of his February 1971 conversations with French journalist Regis Debray, Allende informed the North American public:
Ever since my youth I have fought to bury prejudice and obsolete political frameworks for all time. Destiny has willed that I should head this democratic revolution in Chile, this struggle in which the word democracy has a much broader significance than when it is indiscriminately used to conceal essentially anti-democratic and reactionary political attitudes.... our government's action against the monopolies which have plundered the Chilean economy and our attempts to recover the basic natural resources of the country for the Chilean people will affect certain North American private interests. However, we are sure that these interests cannot be identified with the great historical purposes of the North American people.... whose progressive tradition I respect.26
Indeed, Allende was so preoccupied with the true meaning of democracy that he included along with the postscript for the same book a transcript of his First Annual Message to the National Congress, May 21, 1971, which lays out the five guiding principles of Chile's democratic revolution: legality, development of institutions, political freedom, nonviolence and the creation of an "area of social ownership" (see Chapter 9).
Allende was particularly sensitive to the abuses of workers' rights that regularly occur in too many so-called "democracies." As he told Chileans rallying in the streets of Santiago, March 18,1972 (Chapter 14): "with this workers' government, the freedom to get rich by exploiting another has ended, the freedom to enrich oneself at the cost of alienated labor is over."
Finally, Allende understood the importance of resisting imperialism — a foreign power's expansion into other nations on behalf of economically powerful corporations and banks. As he told the Chilean people in mid-1972:
I have promised to make the structural changes that Chile requires; to open the road to socialism in pluralism, democracy and freedom.... The dilemma of Chile clearly is not between Democracy and Totalitarianism. The dilemma of Chile is between Chilean interests and those of foreign capital; between patriots and anti-patriots; between the hegemony of the bosses or of the workers."27
Moreover, Allende, unlike Chile's supporters of the thoughts of Chinese Premier Mao Zedong, rejected Mao's notion that imperialism was "a paper tiger." In a speech critical of Chile's bureaucrats on September 30, 1971, he prophetically noted:
Imperialism is not a paper tiger, comrades. It is a very vigorous and aggressive tiger, that moreover has native mountain cats that help it out and back it up perfectly well. So have no illusions. The struggle will be very hard.28
On the other hand, Allende had some grounds to hope he might eventually outflank the U.S. tiger and its Chilean mountain cats. Besides the mass mobilizations taking part in support of his government, he could take heart in the fact that, as he told a packed National Stadium on November 4,1971:
Today's world is changing. China has joined the United Nations. The American empire is showing signs of crisis: it is imposing a 10 percent tax on imports and stopping foreign aid. The dollar has become nonconvertible. Apparently, the definitive victory of the Vietnamese people is drawing near. The countries of Latin America are speaking the same language and using the same words to defend their rights. Nixon is taking a trip to Peking. Fidel Castro is coming to Chile. [Applause]29
Indeed, the Vietnamese people did achieve victory a few years later. However, the same could not be said for the Chilean people, defenseless in the face of Chile's U.S.-supplied armed forces and Carabineros called out by the oligarchic mountain cats.
Allende and the Socialist Challenge to Neoliberalism Today
As already explained, Allende's vision was one of a democratic socialism.
Since 1991, socialism has been on the defensive. In some parts of the world, socialism has even been relegated to the trash bin of history as being supposedly no longer relevant. Actually, socialism is more relevant than ever, which is one reason why Allende's vision has so much meaning today.
Indeed, by the end of the 1990s most of Europe's democratically elected governments were run by "socialists" (or "social democrats" as they are known) and their allies. Several of these leaders belonged to the same Socialist International that Allende belonged to — the one founded in the late 19th century which, however, during the Cold War was far more concerned with combating communism than with introducing a genuine economic democracy the way Allende attempted. The European social democrats' electoral campaign platforms of the 1990s, like those of their counterparts in Latin America and elsewhere, promised giving a "human face" to "neoliberalism" and its mean-spirited measures introduced as part of the "new economic world order" that the dominant capitalist power, the United States, was seeking to enforce globally.30
"Neoliberalism" is the word commonly used to describe the world's dominant economic ideology and practice that ever since the Reagan and Thatcher governments of the United States and Great Britain in the 1980s has maintained that the only viable road to successful development is the road of free enterprise capitalism, that is, the privatization of all state enterprises (including social security as in post-Allende Chile), reduced social spending and "free market" solutions to social problems. The 1980s' era of neoliberalism in Latin America earned the description of "lost decade of development" (widespread economic depression), although in Pinochet's Chile there did occur an economic mini-boom, based largely on workers' wages being kept low, the prohibition of strikes, and the restriction of labor union activities. Indeed, Pinochet's Chile became the "economic model" publicized worldwide by neoliberalism's advocates, who described it as "an economic miracle." Neoliberal guru University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman applauded the bloody coup against Allende because it removed any threat to big business's domination of society. A group of Friedman's disciples known as "the Chicago boys" helped funnel moneys to the anti-Allende forces behind the coup and then designed the economic programs of the Pinochet dictatorship that significantly de-industrialized Chile and left the economy at the mercy of foreign bankers and 12 domestic "financial groups." A 1994 World Bank report characterized Chile's "miracle" as one that redistributed income upward, allowed social service infrastructure to deteriorate, and left 40 percent of Chile's 15 million citizens able to consume only three-fourths of the calories they needed daily. Chile's unemployment rate nearly doubled in 1998-99.
In the 1990s, under the neoliberal policies of Eastern Europe's post-communist governments, East Europeans' living standards took a devastating nose-dive. During neoliberalism's heyday, unemployment plagued much of Western Europe as well, and today unemployment remains a major problem throughout almost all of Europe. In Latin America and less industrialized countries in general, unemployment and underemployment have grown during the era of neoliberalism to account for up to two-thirds of the working population.
Consequently, like socialism, neoliberalism today finds itself on the defensive. However, unlike socialism, which became discredited with the fall of the communist regimes of Eastern Europe, in some countries neoliberalism is still seen as "the only alternative." Despite this, neoliberalism's growing record of failures, including economic collapses in Mexico (1982, 1994-95), East Asia (1997-98), Russia and Brazil (1998-99), and the deepening recessions in most of Latin America, including Chile, have revealed neoliberalism's gross and ominous inadequacies, making it appear as if it, like the fabled emperor, "has no clothes." People increasingly recognize that there has to be an alternative to "the only alternative" of neoliberalism.31
This brings us back to the problems faced by Allende: how to correct the imbalances and injustices of capitalism. Allende's socialist development visions are more in tune with the needs of working people today than ever before. If in Allende's time societies seeking to emerge from poverty were constrained by "international forces" defending the "democratic system" against "communism," then how much does this differ from today's "market forces" and all the prattle about "globalization"? As development economist Dr. Robinson Rojas has astutely observed, in the speeches of Salvador Allende "there is no difference between the 'international' forces in 1972 and now, in the 1990s."32
Enter "free trade" and its ancillary organizations: NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), APEC (Asia-Pacific Cooperation forum), GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) and the WTO (the World Trade Organization, created to oversee burgeoning free-trade agreements worldwide). All these free-trade agreements and organizations are part and parcel of neoliberalism and corporate-finance capital's effort to restructure the world's economies to fit into the profit needs of the largest TNCs (transnational corporations, including banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions).
Ironically, Allende's Popular Unity Program called for removing "the obstacles in the way of free trade which, over time, have made it impossible to establish collective trade relations with all countries of the world." The Popular Unity Program saw as a major part of the problem the IMF (International Monetary Fund). As is well known today, the IMF traditionally props up nations' failing currencies with loans and economic bailout funds in exchange for the implementation of draconian neoliberal economic policies. The Popular Unity made Point 31 of its program's "First 40 Measures of the People's Government" an end to "links with the International Monetary Fund," a policy now being seriously considered by some hard pressed governments around the world. Not surprisingly, the IMF has found it necessary to search for a new public relations firm.
Once again, Allende's words become important for today. In his address to the third United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), April 13, 1972 (Chapter 15), as well as in his better known United Nations General Assembly speech later that year
(Chapter 17), Allende dealt with trade, currency, debt and economic development issues. He singled out U.S.-based TNCs and GATT (the WTO did not yet exist) as perpetrators of an "unfair international division of labor, based on a dehumanized concept of mankind." Prophetically, he warned of the intentions of Japan, the United States and the European Economic Community to use GATT as a tool for the expansion through "free trade" of their own corporations' economic interests, wiping out "at a stroke of the pen the advantages of the general system of [tariff] preferences for the developing countries" — steps which the great powers are now trying to enforce through the WTO. Allende criticized GATT for having "always been essentially concerned with the interests of the powerful countries." GATT, he noted, "has no reliable linkage with the United Nations and is not obliged to adhere to its principles" and is "at odds with the concept of universal participation" (just like today's WTO).
Foreign debts, Allende observed, "constitute one of the chief obstacles to the progress of the Third World [and]... are largely contracted in order to offset damage done by an unfair trade system, to defray the costs of the establishment of foreign enterprises in our territory, to cope with the speculative exploitation of our reserves." These debts are now so high that even the creditors, knowing full well that the debts can never be paid and are an obstacle to economic growth, have accepted the need to "forgive" them to some degree with the only conflict being to what degree and on what kind of sliding scale for nations more able to pay than others.33
In his speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Allende urged a new technology development policy that would not be one for the profit of foreigners but rather would relate "to our own needs" and would be "prompted by a humanistic philosophy which sets up the human being as it major objective." Noting that moneys gained from disarmament "would be more than enough to start shaping a solidarity world economy," Allende concluded: "Progress and the liberation of the vast underdeveloped world depend on the urgently needed transformation of the world economic structure, on the conscience of countries, on choosing the path of cooperation based on solidarity, justice, and respect for human rights. Otherwise, on the contrary, people will be forced to take the road of conflict, violence, and suffering — precisely in order to impose the principles of the Charter of the United Nations."
Allende's frequent arguments for using both the market and state planning as "regulators of the economic process" for achieving human betterment are now finding favor throughout Europe and much of the rest of the world, including Latin America (in Asia, a strong state role in economic development pre-dates the rise of socialist alternatives and continues today).34 In several major Latin American states and cities new socialist-oriented governors and mayors have been elected to office. In 1997, presidential hopeful Cuauhtemoc Cardenas of the left-of-center Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) was elected mayor of Mexico City, the world's largest metropolis, while a year later in Brazil's economically pivotal state of Rio Grande do Sul, a UP-like popular front headed by the Workers Party (PT) won the governorship. In 1999, Tabare Vazquez, a leftist medical doctor in Uruguay resembling Allende in many ways, barely missed winning Uruguay's presidential electoral contest. Earlier, he had won the mayoralty of Uruguay's capital Montevideo. Echoing Allende, Vazquez has stated: "we will transform the country... quietly, gradually, calmly and within the constitution."35 These and other elected officials of the left are also attempting, however erratically at times, to implement the participatory democracy that Allende so greatly emphasized. For example, in Brazil's southern industrial metropolis of Porto Alegre, the often reelected PT mayor oversees a remarkable grass-roots "participatory budget" where every citizens' group has direct input.36
Ironically, only in Chile does there exist such a powerful time warp that Allende's example and words are still difficult to invoke. Indeed, as part of the compromise made by Pinochet's Socialist and Christian Democrat opponents to introduce partial democracy, there has occurred a conscious political decision to forget the past, to erase it, and never to return to it. Chile's Foreign Minister Juan Gabriel Valdes, a Socialist, joins the current outgoing president, Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, son of the 1960s' president, in calling for the return of Pinochet to Chile where there is little likelihood he will face his accusers. And Ricardo Lagos, the Socialist candidate of the Socialist-Christian Democrat alliance "Concertacion" running for president in the December 1999 election, endorses this position while promising not to return to Allende's policies but to continue the current economic regimen. Meanwhile, in the face of an unfair electoral system favoring the right, Chile's voters often yawn — 40 percent of those eligible to vote in the December 1997 parliamentary elections either did not register, abstained, or defaced their ballots or left them blank.37 In the December 1999 presidential elections nearly one million of an estimated eight million registered voters failed to cast ballots.
Fortunately, national memory can never be permanently erased. The past is history, yes, but history shapes the present... and the present shapes the future. The past, like memory itself, cannot be erased, and that is what the attempt to bring Pinochet to the courts of justice reflects. That too is what is reflected by the 1999 protest marches by Mapuche and other indigenous groups, university and high school students, doctors, port workers, miners and organized labor's CUT (Unitary Workers Central), as Chile's people slowly awaken and once more seek control over their own destiny. And that is one reason why the Socialist, Lagos, won the Concertacion coalition's May 30 primary election with an overwhelming 71.34 percent of the vote against his Christian Democrat rival who supported a policy of drawing closer to Pinochet in order to woo right-wing votes and who tried to associate Lagos negatively with Allende.38
In the December 1999 presidential elections, the Concertación's Lagos edged by only 0.4 percent the conservative coalition's candidate Joaquin Lavin, who ran as a populist supporting "change." The Communist Party candidate garnered 3.2 percent of the vote, forcing a runoff between Lagos and Lavin. On January 16, 2000, by a margin of under 2.7 percent, Lagos won the runoff election against Lavin, despite being out-spent by more than three to one. Both candidates avoided speaking of the past, yet the past lingered in people's minds. In his concession speech, Lavin, an engineer trained in economics at the University of Chicago and a former Pinochet official, said he would place himself at Lagos's disposal "to help unify Chile." Some observers speculated that members of the Communist Party and two smaller parties may have swung their votes to Lagos in January. However, in both presidential contests a very large number of blank or null ballots were cast by leftists in protest against Lagos's and Lavin's coziness with Wall Street and therefore the likelihood that neither would deliver on their promises to provide more jobs. Also, many voters were critical of the softness displayed by both Lagos and Lavin on the issue of bringing Pinochet to justice should the dictator be returned to Chile.
A few days before the runoff election, in what was widely viewed as a political deal involving the governments of Chile, Britain, Spain and the United States, Britain announced it would likely release Pinochet on the basis of still private medical tests allegedly showing that the tyrant's health had degenerated to a point where he was supposedly unfit to stand trial. It is possible that Lagos's final margin of victory derived from Chileans' fear of a Lavin presidency leading to Pinochet's resurgence in the nation's politics, even though Lavin desperately tried to distance himself from Pinochet. At Lagos's victory rally on the evening of January 16, tens of thousands chanted "Trial for Pinochet!" Answered President-elect Lagos: "In my government, the courts will decide what cases to try." Many of Chile's courts remained under the control of pro-Pinochet judges. The shrewd, even if "ill," Senator-for-Life still had immunity. Most of Chile's military, some of whose officers had recently been detained to face possible trials in Chile for human rights violations, still supported Pinochet.
Human rights activists in Chile and around the world continued to contest the flaunting of international law that a release of Pinochet augured. In calling for a second medical opinion, Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón criticized Britain's "negative precedent" of skirting a criminal proceeding "for unknown medical reasons." Other physically impaired old men, such as Klaus Barbie, the Nazis' Gestapo chief in occupied France who had fled to Bolivia after World War II, had been extradited to face trials and convictions for their crimes against humanity — so why not Pinochet?"
Salvador Allende has been omitted from the basic school books of Chile's younger generations for 27 years. Yet the rest of the world remembers his visions, his example, his martyrdom. His words still echo even 27 years later, because, rightly or wrongly, they at least focus on the burning issues of social justice which plague the capitalist system today more than ever.
A specter haunts Chile and the world.... Truly it is time to say:
Compañero Allende, presente! Venceremos! 39
James D. Cockcroft, Editor
Friends Lake, New York
January 17, 2000
1 Actually, in the 1980s, during the long, difficult course of popular uprisings known as "National Days of Protest" that eventually led to the restoration of some of Chilean democracy and a new elected president in 1990 (even if not breaking the power of Pinochet and the other generals), the remains of Salvador Allende were moved to a mausoleum in Santiago's main cemetery. There, they were given the honors worthy of a respected head of state. For an account of the popular uprisings and Chile's still incomplete transition to democracy, see my chapter on Chile in James D. Cockcroft, Latin America: History, Politics, and U.S. Policy, 2nd ed. (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing/Thomson Learning, 1997), 531-66, and Cathy Lisa Schneider, Shantytown Protest in Pinochet's Chile (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1995). Salvador Allende's niece, the now famous novelist Isabel Allende, expressed one family member's view of Allende's death by saying that Allende had taken his own life but that had he accepted the generals' offer to fly him into exile: "Pinochet would have killed him during the flight. 'Kill the bitch and you eliminate the litter,' he [Pinochet] said." See Isabel Allende, "Pinochet Without Hatred," The New York Times Magazine, January 17,1999.
2 Barbara Crossette, "Dictators Face the Pinochet Syndrome," New York Times, August 22,1999, citing the opinion of Human Rights Watch's Reed Brody. As Brody points out in "The Pinochet Precedent," NACLA Report on the Americas, May-June 1999,18-20, the House of Lords final decision to give the go-ahead to Pinochet's extradition ruled that "he could not be extradited to Spain for acts committed before Britain enacted the Torture Convention in late 1988.... The ruling means that most of Pinochet's worst crimes are excluded from the case, although the retention of a key conspiracy charge could allow a full investigation into Pinochet's role in creating a secret police apparatus and implementing plans to torture and murder political opponents in Chile and abroad." It remains to be seen if other parties involved in Pinochet's crimes, including those governments that encouraged or supported them, are ever brought to a public accounting. The remainder of this Introduction and the "Chronology: Chile 1962-1975" specify some of the governments and individuals involved. Recently released State Department documents further illustrate the U.S. Government's foreknowledge of the September 11, 1973, coup and aid to the Pinochet forces after wards (see Lucy Komisar, "Documented Complicity," www.progressive.org/kom999. html). The sudden international publicity given Pinochet's crimes has triggered a series of renewed calls for justice from the relatives of victims of torture, disappearances and murders at the hands of not only Pinochet but of other dictators around the world, including those who ruled most of Latin America during what I have called "Latin America's long dark night of state-sponsored terror" (see Cockcroft, op.cit.). Unfortunately, during the "transition to democracy" out of Latin America's long dark night in the 1980s, politicians agreed to grant the departing generals, police, and goons a "general amnesty." An exception occurred briefly in Argentina after the Malvinas War but was later effectively reversed. Several organizations in different countries, including Argentina's famed Mothers and Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, continue to demonstrate year after year for the bringing to justice of these criminals.
3 Allende, op. cit.
4 See sources cited in footnote 1.
5 In April 1999, Chilean police confiscated one day after its publication a book by investigative reporter Alejandra Matus, The Black Book of the Chilean Justice System. The author fled to Argentina and then Miami. Later, police arrested the general manager and the editor of the book's publisher, the Planeta publishing company. An example of a book discussing Allende open-mindedly is Tomas Moulian, Conversación interrumpida con Allende (Santiago: Editorial LOM, 1998).
6 For interviews with some typical Chilean youth, see Patricio Guzman's powerful 1997 film Chile, Obstinate Memory (Chile, la memoria obstinada).
7 Quoted in Hedda Garza, Salvador Allende (New York and Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 1989), 32. Garza's is the only biography of Allende in English.
8 Latin America's pro-working class university autonomy movement dated back to the 1918 Córdoba University Reform in Chile's neighbor nation of Argentina. Students there won easier university entrance requirements and significant input into university governance, known as "co-gobierno" (joint government).
9 Quoted in Garza, 43; and "Allende: la biograffa de un politico ejemplar," <http:// members.xoom.com/chilerebelde/compa2.htm>.
10 Chile's oldest political party, the Radical Party was founded in 1861. It was often led by members of Chile's bourgeoisie who were fairly nationalistic and favored less dependence on foreign capital. Chile's presidents from 1938 to 1952 came from the Radical Party.
11 The diversified holdings of ITT made it second to Anaconda Copper in dollar total of U.S. firms' investments in Chile.
12 The PDC espoused a populism that rejected both socialism and capitalism. Its corporatist approach sought to reorganize Chile's economy and politics by channeling social unrest through "interest groups," preserving powerful economic interests and yet modernizing Chile. The PDC brought together old-timers from the 1930s' split-off factions of the Conservative Party and younger recruits championing agrarian and other reforms in the name of "Christian humanism" and the then Vatican-approved "theology of liberation."
13 According to Rutgers University's Chile Research Group, by 1970 all but two of Chile's 18 largest nonbanking corporations heavily involved foreign capital. Twenty- four of the top 30 U.S.-based transnational corporations (TNCs) operated in Chile. An example was the Rockefellers' IBEC (International Basic Economy Corporation), which penetrated 13 of Chile's largest 25 corporations. IBEC relied on business associates like banker Agustín Edwards, whose family owned the prestigious conservative newspaper El Mercurio (circulation 300,000). The Edwards, together with other denationalized elites and the top echelons of the middle classes, subscribed to the ideology of anticommunism and in general voted for the conservative National Party (a 1966 merger of Liberals and Conservatives) or the PDC. They later became the main civilian supporters of the 1973 anti-Allende military coup d'etat. During the Allende presidency, Edwards' El Mercurio was subsidized by the CIA to the tune of $1.5 billion and played the same kind of counterrevolutionary role as the CIA-subsidized La Prensa did against the democratically elected government of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua a decade later. For more of this background, see the research published in Dale L. Johnson (ed.), The Chilean Road to Socialism (New York: Anchor, 1973), e.g., James Cockcroft, Henry Frundt, and Dale Johnson, "Multinational Corporations and Chile," 3-24, and various chapters in Cockcroft, op. cit.
14 Chile has a quarter of the world's known reserves of copper. Traditionally, copper accounted for a substantial part of government revenues and between 75 and 80 percent of Chile's export earnings (today 40 percent because of increased fruit exports by the large rural estates). Anticipating nationalization, the U.S. copper companies left Chile's mines in general disrepair and their debts unpaid, thereby handicapping the Allende government. In addition, Anaconda and Kennecott later were found to have pocketed $774 million in excess profits during the 1955-70 period. Allende clearly explained all this in his address to the United Nations General Assembly, December 4, 1972 (Chapter 17). See also Chile Research Group, Rutgers University, "Chile's Nationalization of Copper," in Johnson, 25-41.
15 After the investigation ended, Senator Church concluded: "Covert action is a semantic disguise for murder, coercion, blackmail, bribery, the spreading of lies, whatever is deemed useful in Washington in manipulating the internal politics of other countries."
16 On the day after Helms took these notes, September 16,1970, Kissinger told a group of editors that Allende's Chile could become a "contagious example" that "would infect" NATO allies in southern Europe. Allende commented on a press report about this in an address he gave to a Socialist Party convention in La Serena, Chile, on January 28, 1971, when he said that the Popular Unity would not be exported but that each nation would choose its own path to revolution — a constant theme in all Allende's speeches. An ex-aide of Kissinger's later observed: "Henry thought Allende might lead an anti-U.S. movement in Latin America more effectively than Castro, just because it was the democratic path to power." For more on the Nixon-Kissinger-Helms strategizing, see Cockcroft, op. tit.; New York Times, September 12, 1998; National Security Archive website <www.seas.gwu. edu/nsarchive>; and Robinson Rojas Databank <http://www.rrojasdatabank. free-online.co.uk/chile0.htm#Crimes> On CIA's action for a military coup to prevent Allende's assumption of the presidency, see: United States Central Intelligence Agency. Report on CIA Chilean Task Force Activities, September 15 to November 3, 1970. November 18, 1970, 1-17. IP00633 National Security Archive, Washington, DC.
17 The "invisible blockade" consisted of U.S.-sponsored attempts to limit loans and credits to Allende's Chile; to block Chile's efforts to renegotiate its burdensome foreign debt; and to curtail all of Chile's foreign trade, especially in copper. For examples, see this work's "Chronology: Chile 1962-1975."
18 Foreign observers, including a young American journalist named Charles Horman, said they were puzzled by the heightened presence of U.S. military and civilian personnel. Chile's military seized Horman about a week after the coup, not long after he had visited the U.S. Embassy in Santiago to ask for protection. The embassy had refused to assist him and, through its contacts in Chile's military, had found out in just a few days that Horman's body lay in the city morgue. The embassy tried to cover up Horman's death and that of his friend, Frank Teruggi, Jr., of Chicago. The 1982 Costa Gavras film Missing provides an account of the Horman and Teruggi family tragedies and the U.S. Embassy's unsavory role. A U.S. State Department document released in October 1999 suggests that the CIA "may have played an unfortunate part in Horman's death." A now public "SitRep" (situation report) from the U.S. military group in Valparaíso characterized Chile's September 11 coup as "close to perfect," Chile's "day of destiny," and "Our D-Day" (NACLA Report on the Americas, May-June 1999,40).
19 The Church Committee later reported that the CIA had prepared arrest lists of Allende supporters in the event of a military takeover.
20 An October 12, 1973 CIA report released June 30, 1999, in connection with the ongoing Pinochet investigations, noted, "The line between people killed during attacks on security forces and those captured and executed immediately has become increasingly blurred." In fact, from the very start of the coup there were few attacks against security forces, since it was obvious armed resistance was futile.
21 The Catholic Church's Cardinal Silva Henríquez, one of those who initially supported the coup, was also one of the first to speak out against Pinochet. "The military tricked us all," he later explained, "because we believed that [the coup].... was for freedom and democracy... and that turned out to be false" (quoted in Patricio Guzman's award-winning 1997 film Chile, Obstinate Memory).
22 Pinochet (or officials under him) even ordered the murders of his opponents in foreign lands. General Carlos Prats, the constitutionalist Commander-in-Chief of the Army whom Pinochet replaced in August of 1973, and his wife were assassinated in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1974. The following year, in Rome, Italy, PDC leader Bernardo Leighton and his wife were wounded in a failed assassination attempt. Then, in 1976, Allende's former Ambassador to the United States and Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier, a socialist, and his
25-year-old assistant Ronni Moffitt were blown up in Letelier's car in Washington, D.C. (Moffitt's husband Michael survived the explosion). The CIA, as well as U.S. NSC director and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, had advance knowledge of these types of murder operations, including "Operation Condor," a notorious international state-terrorist network of planned and executed assassinations of other countries' nationals undertaken in 1975 by the dictatorships of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay with the assistance of U.S. military aid and the cooperation of the CIA and the FBI. The targets were the opponents of these tyrannical and terrorist regimes, since overthrown or modified by their own citizens. For further information and documentation, including parts of several thousands of pages of documents released by the U.S. government in connection with Spanish Judge Baltazar Garzon's requests for additional information about Pinochet's crimes against humanity, consult: Cockcroft, op. cit.; NACLA Report on the Americas, May-June 1999; New York Times, June 30 and August 11, 1999; and National Security Archive website <www.seas.gwu.edu/nsarchive>.
23 Allende understood well why "privatization" of state enterprises might find favor. He explained in his First Annual Message to the National Congress (Chapter 9) the background necessary for understanding the issue today: "The state apparatus has been used by monopolies for the purpose of relieving their financial difficulties, for obtaining economic help and for strengthening the system. Up to now the public sector has been characterized by its subsidiary role in relation to die private sector. For this reason some public enterprises show large total deficits, while others are unable to produce profits comparable in size to those of some private enterprises." How convenient that the same private enterprises that have benefited for so many years from the indirect and direct subsidies of state enterprises are now able to justify their takeover in the name of "efficiency."
24 See Eva Cockcroft, John Pitman Weber, and James Cockcroft, Toward a People's Art The Contemporary Mural Movement (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1998, 2nd ed., originally published in 1977 by Dutton).
25 All quotations in this paragraph are from the Popular Unity Program in this book's Appendix. The "recall" approach is a way of guaranteeing an end to corruption and has been adopted in Cuba.
26 Salvador Allende, "Postscript," in Regis Debray, The Chilean Revolution: Conversations with Allende (New York: Pantheon, 1971), 165-167.
27 Salvador Allende, radio and TV speech of July 10, 1972, "Capitalism Wants to End Chile's Democratic Regime," in Salvador Allende: Su pensamiento político. (Santiago: Empresa Editora Nacional Quimantu Limitada, 1972), 416. The original Spanish is: "Me he comprometido a hacer los cambios estructurales que Chile exige; a abrir el camino al socialismo en libertad, democracia y pluralismo.,.. El dilema de Chile está ya claro que no es entre Democracia y Totalitarismo. El dilema de Chile es entre los intereses chilenos y los del capital extranjero; es entre patriotas y antipatriotas; entre hegemonía de los patrones o de los trabajadores."
28 Salvador Allende, "Critica a la Administration Publica," in Salvador Allende: Su pensamiento político. (Santiago: Empresa Editora Nacional Quimantu Limitada, 1972), 220-1. The original Spanish is: "El imperialismo no es un tigre de papel. Es un tigre muy vigoroso y muy agresivo, que ademas tiene gatos montañeses nativos, que lo ayudan y secundan perfectamente bien. Asi es que nada de ilusiones. La lucha será muy dura."
29 Salvador Allende, "Discurso en el Estadio Nacional en la celebración del primer aniversario del Gobierno Popular," in Salvador Allende, Selección de discursos de Salvador Allende (La Habana: Ed. de Ciencias Sociales, Instituto Cubano del Libro, 1975), 223-4. Translation by Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) in its Daily Report (November 8,1971).
30 In Latin America, there is a long tradition of populism that gives rise to presidential candidates and demagogic leaders who champion the poor while serving the rich. This further undermines the credibility of neoliberalism and helps explain why so many candidates, even the most conservative ones, typically lambaste neoliberalism. For Mexico's presidential elections in 2000, for example, more than a year before election day the most conservative candidates started criticizing neoliberalism with a vengeance. Vicente Fox of the conservative National Action Party (PAN) called for "economic growth with a human face," while the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate, Francisco Labastida, incredibly claimed "I have never been considered neoliberal" (quoted in La Jornada <http://serpiente.dgsca.unam.mx/ jornada/primera.html>, June 24, August 17,1999).
31 For more analysis of neoliberalism and its failures, see articles in Monthly Review (New York), June 1999,38-61. For a recent case study, see James D. Cockcroft, Mexico's Hope: An Encounter with Politics and History (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1998; Spanish-language edition, Mexico City: Siglo XXI, 2000).
32 Róbinson Rojas Research Unit Consultancy <http://www.soft.net.uk /rrojasdatabank/index.htm>
33 By 1999, the foreign debt of Latin America stood at $706 billion, requiring $123 billion in interest and related service payments. Between 1982 and 1996, just these payments alone came to $739 billion, that is, a sum greater than the region's total accumulated debt. For more on this, see Desde los cuatro puntos (Mexico City), Nº. 15, 1999.
34 Ironically, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, several members of Allende's Socialist Party did not share his views on the market. They were more enamored of the Cuban Revolution's approach to a planned economy, an approach that in recent years has been modified as Cuba increasingly attempts to utilize market forces.
35 Quoted in New York Times, July 18,1999.
36 This experiment in popular democracy, which operates independently of the PT or organized labor, has drawn world attention. See, for example, Bernard Cassen, "Democratic participative a Porto Alegre," Le Monde Diplomatique, August 1998, 3, and Mark Johnson, "Democratic and Popular Government," International Viewpoint, June 1999,18-24.
37 In his article "Voting for Nobody in Chile's New Democracy," NACLA Report on the Americas, May-June 1999, 31-33, Alfredo Riquelme, a teacher of history at Chile's Catholic University, observes about Chile's partial democracy, "The network of authoritarian enclaves includes a non-elected set of institutional or designated senators; a binomial-majority electoral system which guarantees the over-representation of the largest minority — the right — and the underrepresentation of the second largest minority, the non-Concertación, i.e. Communist, left; the arbitrary structure of electoral districts; and the need to find overwhelming majorities for constitutional reforms."
38 Unfortunately, it is also why the anti-Concertación right-wing coalition decided to run its candidate the extreme rightist Joaquin Lavin, who none too subtly denounces Lagos by saying, "We already had a socialist president. We don't want another." Chile's right once again waves its fake banner of nationalism, claiming that Pinochet is being detained by "foreigners" (true) and that this is an affront to Chile (false, since the affront is Pinochet himself!). Two reliable sources in English for political news from Chile and the rest of Latin America are NACLA Report on the Americas <http://www.nacla.org> and Weekly News Update on the Americas <home.earthlink. net/ -dbwilson.wnuhome.html>.
39 This untranslatable idiomatic Spanish of contemporary Latin America means roughly "Comrade Allende, you are present! We shall win!"
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Copyright © 2000 Introduction by James Cockcroft
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