Chilean presidential election, 1970
A presidential election was held in Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

 on 4 September 1970. A narrow plurality (36.6 percent of the total vote) was secured by Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende Gossens was a Chilean physician and politician who is generally considered the first democratically elected Marxist to become president of a country in Latin America....

, the candidate of the Popular Unity
Popular Unity
Unidad Popular was a coalition of left wing, socialist and communist political parties in Chile that stood behind the successful candidacy of Salvador Allende for the 1970 Chilean presidential election....

 coalition of leftist
Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

 parties. Because he did not obtain an absolute majority, his election required a further vote by the National Congress of Chile
National Congress of Chile
The National Congress is the legislative branch of the government of the Republic of Chile.The National Congress of Chile was founded on July 4, 1811...

 which resulted in Allende assuming the presidency in accordance with the Chilean Constitution
Constitution of Chile
In its temporary dispositions, the document ordered the transition from the former military government, with Augusto Pinochet as President of the Republic, and the Legislative Power of the Military Junta , to a civil one, with a time frame of eight...

 of 1925.


Both the Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 (CIA) and the KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

 spent significant amount of money to influence the outcome of the election.

The CIA did not provide direct assistance to any candidate, as they had in 1964
Chilean presidential election, 1964
A presidential election was held in Chile on September 4, 1964. Christian Democratic candidate Eduardo Frei Montalva won the election by an absolute majority....

, but rather focused on anti-Allende propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

, ultimately spending $425,000. The money was used in a "scare campaign" of posters and pamphlets linking an Allende victory with the violence and repression associated with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. Editorials and news stories reinforcing this message were also written with CIA guidance, especially in the newspaper El Mercurio
El Mercurio
El Mercurio is a conservative Chilean newspaper with editions in Valparaíso and Santiago. Its Santiago edition is considered the country's paper-of-record and its Valparaíso edition is the oldest daily in the Spanish language currently in circulation. El Mercurio is owned by El Mercurio S.A.P...

, and disseminated throughout the national media. The goal was to contribute to and exploit the political polarization and financial panic of the period. Besides propaganda, the CIA also funded an attempt to splinter the Radical Party
Radical Party (Chile)
The Radical Party of Chile was a Chilean political party. It was formed in 1863 by a split in the Liberal Party. Not coincidently, it was formed shortly after the organization of the Grand Lodge of Chile, and it has maintained a close relationship with Chilean Freemasonry throughout its life...

 away from the Popular Unity coalition.
This CIA campaign was very inefficient. CIA director Richard Helms
Richard Helms
Richard McGarrah Helms was the Director of Central Intelligence from 1966 to 1973. He was the only director to have been convicted of lying to the United States Congress over Central Intelligence Agency undercover activities. In 1977, he was sentenced to the maximum fine and received a suspended...

 complained that he was ordered by the White House to "beat somebody with nothing".

KGB money was more precisely targeted. Allende made a personal request for Soviet money through his personal contact, KGB officer Svyatoslav Kuznetsov, who urgently came to Chile from Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

 to help Allende. The original allocation of money for these elections through the KGB was $400,000, and additional personal subsidy of $50,000 directly to Allende. It is believed that help from KGB was a decisive factor, because Allende won by a narrow margin of 39,000 votes of a total of the 3 million cast. After the elections, the KGB director Yuri Andropov
Yuri Andropov
Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov was a Soviet politician and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 12 November 1982 until his death fifteen months later.-Early life:...

 obtained a permission for additional money and other resources from the Central Committee
Central Committee
Central Committee was the common designation of a standing administrative body of communist parties, analogous to a board of directors, whether ruling or non-ruling in the twentieth century and of the surviving, mostly Trotskyist, states in the early twenty first. In such party organizations the...

 of the CPSU
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the only legal, ruling political party in the Soviet Union and one of the largest communist organizations in the world...

 to ensure Allende victory in Congress. In his request on 24 October, he stated that KGB "will carry out measures designed to promote the consolidation of Allende's victory and his election to the post of President of the country".

US president Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 was enraged by the victory of Allende and by the failure of CIA covert actions.


Election results.
Candidate Party/Coalition Votes % Result
Salvador Allende Gossens
Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende Gossens was a Chilean physician and politician who is generally considered the first democratically elected Marxist to become president of a country in Latin America....

Popular Unity
Popular Unity
Unidad Popular was a coalition of left wing, socialist and communist political parties in Chile that stood behind the successful candidacy of Salvador Allende for the 1970 Chilean presidential election....

1,075,616 36.63 Congressional confirmation
Jorge Alessandri Rodríguez  National Party
National Party (Chile) (1966-1973)
See also National Party .The National Party of Chile was a Chilean political party formed by the union of the United Conservative Party, the United Liberal Party and the Partido Acción Nacional .It represented...

1,036,278 35.29 Congressional confirmation
Radomiro Tomic
Radomiro Tomic
Radomiro Tomic Romero was a Chilean politician of Croatian origin. He was one of the most prominent leaders of that country's Christian Democrat Party....

Christian Democratic Party  824,849 28.09
Total valid votes 2,936,743 100.00
Blank votes 7,861 0.27
Null votes 18,139 0.61
Total votes 2,962,743 100.00
Registered voters 3,539,747 83.70% turnout

Congressional confirmation

None of the candidates received an absolute majority of votes; according to the 1925 Constitution, the National Congress had to decide between the two candidates who had received the most votes, Allende and Alessandri. The precedent set on the three previous occasions this situation had arisen since 1932 was for Congress simply to choose the candidate with the highest number of votes; indeed, former president Alessandri had been elected in 1958 with 31.6% of the popular vote, defeating the same Allende.

In this case, however, there was an active campaign against Allende's confirmation by Congress, including an intensification of the CIA propaganda campaign to create concerns about Chile's future. During this period the CIA generated over 726 articles, broadcasts and similar items. The CIA also encouraged international economic pressure against Chile during this period. The United States also began to lay the groundwork for a military coup in this stage, authorizing the Ambassador to Chile to encourage this outcome with his contacts in the Chilean military.

Allende's presidency was eventually ratified, after he agreed to sign a "Statute of Constitutional Guarantees", promising not to undermine the Chilean Constitution.

Two days before the confirmation, Army Commander-in-Chief General René Schneider
René Schneider
General René Schneider Chereau was the commander-in-chief of the Chilean Army at the time of the 1970 Chilean presidential election, when he was assassinated during a botched kidnapping attempt. His murder virtually assured Salvador Allende's eventual overthrow and death in a coup three years later...

, was shot resisting a kidnap attempt by a group led by General Roberto Viaux
Roberto Viaux
Roberto Urbano Viaux Marambio was a Chilean Army General and the primary planner in two failed coup d'état attempts in Chile in 1969 and 1970...

. Hospitalized, he died of his wounds three days later. Viaux's kidnapping plan had been supported by the CIA, although it seems that then-US National Security Advisor
National Security Advisor (United States)
The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, commonly referred to as the National Security Advisor , serves as the chief advisor to the President of the United States on national security issues...

 Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

 had ordered the plans turned off. Schneider was a known defender of the "constitutionalist" doctrine
Schneider Doctrine
Schneider Doctrine was a political doctrine originally espoused by Chilean General René Schneider, which allowed the election of Salvador Allende as President of Chile, and was the main ideological obstacle to a military coup d'état against him.-Background:...

 that the army's role is exclusively professional, its mission being to protect the country's sovereignty and not to interfere in politics, and had expressed his deep opposition to organizing a coup d'état
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

 in case Salvador Allende's was finally chosen by Parliament as president.

René Schneider's death was disapproved by a lot of people, and helped citizens and military support Allende, whom the Parliament finally chose on 24 October. On 26 October, President Eduardo Frei
Eduardo Frei
Eduardo Frei may refer to either of two presidents of Chile:*Eduardo Frei Montalva , Chilean political figure and president of Chile from 1964 to 1970...

 named General Carlos Prats
Carlos Prats
General Carlos Prats González was a Chilean Army officer, a political figure, minister and Vice President of Chile during President Salvador Allende's government, and General Augusto Pinochet's predecessor as commander-in-chief of the Chilean Army...

 as commander in chief of the army in replacement of René Schneider.
Election results.
Candidate Party/Coalition Votes % Result
Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende Gossens was a Chilean physician and politician who is generally considered the first democratically elected Marxist to become president of a country in Latin America....

Popular Unity (UP) 153 78.46 President
Jorge Alessandri Rodríguez Independent conservative 35 17.95
Blank votes 7 3.59
Total votes 195 100.00
Absent 5 2.50
Eligible voters 200 97.50% turnout

External links

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