Statements Made Abroad
Interview with the foreign press
Santiago, 17 March 1971
Questioner (Village Voice, New York): What effect could the Chilean experiment have on the governments and the militant youth of other Latin American countries?
Allende: We have stated that we respect self-determination and that we support non-intervention. Now, if there are conditions in other countries which allow the people to unite, then that must be the concern of those countries. And, if they are going to apply the same strategy as ours, then it has to be done with the agreement of the political leaders of those countries. But, of course, for this to happen there must exist certain conditions which are by no means everyday. There must be political parties, there must be trade-union organizations, there must be currents of public opinion that may be expressed freely. There has to exist even the broad play of the forces of bourgeois democracy. Now, it is possible that in certain European countries, such as France or Italy, there are currents of political opinion which consider that the path of unity will one day lead to electoral victory. That will be their concern and not ours. If this happens and victory is theirs, all well and good. But what we are doing is mapping out a Chilean road in view of the realities Chile has to face. And if this experiment is repeated, because the leaders of other countries want to profit from our experiences, and if they have suitable conditions to convert experiment into political reality, then excellent, but all in good time.
Young people will see that a road is opening up which up to now has been trodden by no one. And they have a great responsibility, for without question the energy, the dynamism, the revolutionary awareness of youth is what we need; because it is the most healthy form of strength, the most committed strength. They are the present, but more than anything else they represent the future. They are socialism. And that is why we are so pleased that young people have understood the significance of the phase that Chile is working through. And I mean young people not only in Unidad Popular, but young people without political commitment and even some sections of the Christian Democrats: this pleases us very much.
Questioner: I wanted to follow up the question of my colleague from Peru. "What are the necessary preconditions for there to be in Chile a republic of workers and peasants?
Allende : We have never spoken of a republic of workers and peasants. We have always spoken of a government of workers, and we do not make it the exclusive duty of workers and peasants to manage or intervene in the processes of government. We believe that clerks, technicians, professional people, small- and medium-scale businessmen and industrialists constitute social forces which ought to be and are with us facing the great national task which lies before us. The position of these groups is very different from that of sectors of the upper bourgeoisie, the oligarchy allied to foreign capital or the great landowners.
We have never, comrades, said that there would be a republic of workers and peasants. We have said that there would be workers in the government, and it is well to understand the difference.
I have already defined what we mean by workers: all those who live by their own work, by their own efforts, and not, directly or indirectly, from the exploitation of man by man.
(Television News Service, New York)