Salvador Allende
Overview
 
Salvador Allende Gossens (salβaˈðoɾ aˈʝende ˈɣosens; 26 July 1908 – 11 September 1973) was a Chilean
Chilean people
Chilean people, or simply Chileans, are the native citizens and long-term immigrants of Chile. Chileans are mainly of Spanish and Amerindian descent, with small but significant traces of 19th and 20th century European immigrant origin...

 physician and politician who is generally considered the first democratically elected Marxist to become president of a country in Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

.

Allende's involvement in Chilean political life spanned a period of nearly forty years. As a member of the Socialist Party
Socialist Party of Chile
The Socialist Party of Chile is a political party, that is part of the center-left Coalition of Parties for Democracy coalition. Its historical leader was the late President of Chile Salvador Allende Gossens, who was deposed by General Pinochet in 1973...

, he was a senator
Senate of Chile
The Senate of the Republic of Chile is the upper house of Chile's bicameral National Congress, as established in the current Constitution of Chile.-Composition:...

, deputy
Chamber of Deputies of Chile
The Chamber of Deputies of the Republic of Chile is the lower house of Chile's bicameral Congress. Its organisation and its powers and duties are defined in articles 42 to 59 of Chile's current constitution....

 and cabinet minister.
Quotations

"The answer is the proletariat. If it wasn't so I wouldn't be here [...] As for the bourgeois state, at the present moment, we are seeking to overcome it. To overthrow it. [...] Our objective is total, scientific, Marxist socialism" — In an interview with French journalist Regis Debray in 1970.

"We already had success in creating a democratic, national government that is revolutionary and popular. That is how socialism begins, not with decrees." — Regis Debray interview.

(Attributed) "I am not the president of all the Chileans. I am not a hypocrite that says so." — At a public rally, quoted by all Chilean newspapers, January 17, 1971. President Allende sent a public letter to El Mercurio newspaper to deny this alleged statement.

"¡Viva Chile! ¡Viva el pueblo! ¡Vivan los trabajadores!" ("Long live Chile! Long live the people! Long live the workers!") — last known words (in a radio broadcast on the morning of September 11, 1973)

"We start from different ideological positions. For you to be a Communist or a Socialist is to be totalitarian; for me no...On the contrary, I think Socialism frees man." — Quoted by the New York Times in 1970.

Encyclopedia
Salvador Allende Gossens (salβaˈðoɾ aˈʝende ˈɣosens; 26 July 1908 – 11 September 1973) was a Chilean
Chilean people
Chilean people, or simply Chileans, are the native citizens and long-term immigrants of Chile. Chileans are mainly of Spanish and Amerindian descent, with small but significant traces of 19th and 20th century European immigrant origin...

 physician and politician who is generally considered the first democratically elected Marxist to become president of a country in Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

.

Allende's involvement in Chilean political life spanned a period of nearly forty years. As a member of the Socialist Party
Socialist Party of Chile
The Socialist Party of Chile is a political party, that is part of the center-left Coalition of Parties for Democracy coalition. Its historical leader was the late President of Chile Salvador Allende Gossens, who was deposed by General Pinochet in 1973...

, he was a senator
Senate of Chile
The Senate of the Republic of Chile is the upper house of Chile's bicameral National Congress, as established in the current Constitution of Chile.-Composition:...

, deputy
Chamber of Deputies of Chile
The Chamber of Deputies of the Republic of Chile is the lower house of Chile's bicameral Congress. Its organisation and its powers and duties are defined in articles 42 to 59 of Chile's current constitution....

 and cabinet minister. He unsuccessfully ran for the presidency in the 1952
Chilean presidential election, 1952
A presidential election was held in Chile on September 4, 1952. It was the first presidential election where women were allowed to vote, after gaining the right in 1949...

, 1958
Chilean presidential election, 1958
A presidential election was held in Chile on September 4, 1958. Because none of the candidates obtained an absolute majority needed to win outright, a confirmation by Congress was carried out on October 24, 1958 to declare the winner.-Election:...

, and 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....

 elections. In 1970
Chilean presidential election, 1970
A presidential election was held in Chile on 4 September 1970. A narrow plurality was secured by Salvador Allende, the candidate of the Popular Unity coalition of leftist parties...

, he won the presidency in a close three-way race, formally elected by Congress as no candidate had gained a majority.

Allende adopted the policy of nationalization
Nationalization
Nationalisation, also spelled nationalization, is the process of taking an industry or assets into government ownership by a national government or state. Nationalization usually refers to private assets, but may also mean assets owned by lower levels of government, such as municipalities, being...

 of industries and collectivization. Amidst strikes by the far-right Patria y Libertad and CIA opposition under the Nixon administration, as well as by militant leftist opposition, demonstrations were held for and against Allende's presidency. On 11 September 1973 the military, citing a call by the Chilean Congress to end his presidency, illegally staged a coup against Allende. As the armed forces surrounded La Moneda Palace, Allende gave his last speech vowing not to resign, and allegedly committed suicide thereafter. After Allende's ouster Chile
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...

 was led by a military junta
Junta
Junta may refer to:Governance:* Military-led government:** By military junta or committee**Military dictatorship regardless of structure* Other governance:** Junta ** Specific to Spain:*** Junta , 1808–1810...

, and then as a dictatorship
Dictatorship
A dictatorship is defined as an autocratic form of government in which the government is ruled by an individual, the dictator. It has three possible meanings:...

 by General Augusto Pinochet
Augusto Pinochet
Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte, more commonly known as Augusto Pinochet , was a Chilean army general and dictator who assumed power in a coup d'état on 11 September 1973...

.

Early life

Allende was born on 26 July 1908 in Valparaíso
Valparaíso
Valparaíso is a city and commune of Chile, center of its third largest conurbation and one of the country's most important seaports and an increasing cultural center in the Southwest Pacific hemisphere. The city is the capital of the Valparaíso Province and the Valparaíso Region...

. He was the son of Salvador Allende Castro and Laura Gossens Uribe. Allende's family
Allende family
The Allende family is a Chilean family of Basque descent. They became well known during the 19th century and are based in Valparaíso. They have played a very significant role in Chilean politics.-Prominent members:...

 belonged to the Chilean upper class
Upper class
In social science, the "upper class" is the group of people at the top of a social hierarchy. Members of an upper class may have great power over the allocation of resources and governmental policy in their area.- Historical meaning :...

 and had a long tradition of political involvement in progressive and liberal
Liberalism
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

 causes. His grandfather was a prominent physician and a social reformist who founded one of the first secular
Secularity
Secularity is the state of being separate from religion.For instance, eating and bathing may be regarded as examples of secular activities, because there may not be anything inherently religious about them...

 schools in Chile. Salvador Allende was of Belgian and Basque
Basque people
The Basques as an ethnic group, primarily inhabit an area traditionally known as the Basque Country , a region that is located around the western end of the Pyrenees on the coast of the Bay of Biscay and straddles parts of north-central Spain and south-western France.The Basques are known in the...

 descent.

Allende attended high school at the Liceo Eduardo de la Barra in Valparaíso. As a teenager, his main intellectual and political influence came from the shoe-maker Juan De Marchi
Juan De Marchi
Juan De Marchi – exact name Giovanni De Marchi, also spelled as Demarchi – was an Italian-born anarchist, best known for his friendship and influential role in the development of Salvador Allende's political identity.In 1893, when he aged twenty-seven, De Marchi moved from Italy to...

, an Italian-born anarchist. Allende was a talented athlete in his youth, being a member of the Everton de Viña del Mar sports club (named after the more famous English football club of the same name
Everton F.C.
Everton Football Club are an English professional association football club from the city of Liverpool. The club competes in the Premier League, the highest level of English football...

 and which regularly competes at the highest level in Chilean football), where he is said to have excelled at the long jump
Long jump
The long jump is a track and field event in which athletes combine speed, strength, and agility in an attempt to leap as far as possible from a take off point...

. Allende then graduated with a medical degree
Doctor of Medicine
Doctor of Medicine is a doctoral degree for physicians. The degree is granted by medical schools...

 in 1926 from the University of Chile.

He co-founded section Socialist Party of Chile
Socialist Party of Chile
The Socialist Party of Chile is a political party, that is part of the center-left Coalition of Parties for Democracy coalition. Its historical leader was the late President of Chile Salvador Allende Gossens, who was deposed by General Pinochet in 1973...

 (founded in 1933 with Marmaduque Grove
Marmaduque Grove
Marmaduque Grove Vallejo was a Chilean Air Force officer, political figure and member of the Government Junta of the Socialist Republic of Chile in 1932.-Early life:...

 and others) in Valparaíso
Valparaíso
Valparaíso is a city and commune of Chile, center of its third largest conurbation and one of the country's most important seaports and an increasing cultural center in the Southwest Pacific hemisphere. The city is the capital of the Valparaíso Province and the Valparaíso Region...

 and became its chairman. He married Hortensia Bussi with whom he had three daughters. In 1933, he published his doctoral thesis Higiene Mental y Delincuencia (Crime and Mental Hygiene) in which he criticized Cesare Lombroso
Cesare Lombroso
Cesare Lombroso, born Ezechia Marco Lombroso was an Italian criminologist and founder of the Italian School of Positivist Criminology. Lombroso rejected the established Classical School, which held that crime was a characteristic trait of human nature...

's proposals.

In 1938, Allende was in charge of the electoral campaign of the Popular Front
Popular Front (Chile)
The Popular Front in Chile was an electoral and political left-wing coalition from 1937 to February 1941, during the Presidential Republic Era...

 headed by Pedro Aguirre Cerda
Pedro Aguirre Cerda
Pedro Aguirre Cerda was a Chilean political figure. A member of the Radical Party, he was chosen as the Popular Front's candidate for the 1938 presidential election, and was triumphally elected. He governed Chile until his death in 1941...

. The Popular Front's slogan was "Bread, a Roof and Work!" After its electoral victory, he became Minister of Health in the Reformist Popular Front government which was dominated by the Radicals
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...

. While serving in this position, Allende was responsible for the passage of a wide range of progressive social reforms, including safety laws protecting workers in the factories, higher pensions for widows, maternity care, and free lunch programmes for schoolchildren.

Upon entering the government, Allende relinquished his parliamentary seat for Valparaíso, which he had won in 1937. Around that time, he wrote La Realidad Médico Social de Chile (The social and medical reality of Chile). After the Kristallnacht
Kristallnacht
Kristallnacht, also referred to as the Night of Broken Glass, and also Reichskristallnacht, Pogromnacht, and Novemberpogrome, was a pogrom or series of attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria on 9–10 November 1938.Jewish homes were ransacked, as were shops, towns and...

 in Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

, Allende and other members of the Parliament sent a telegram to Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 denouncing the persecution of Jews. Following Aguirre's death in 1941, he was again elected deputy while the Popular Front was re-named Democratic Alliance
Democratic Alliance (Chile)
The Democratic Alliance of Chile was a coalition of left-wing parties from 1941 to 1946, which succeeded to the Popular Front headed by Pedro Aguirre Cerda's government...

.

In 1945, Allende became senator for the Valdivia
Valdivia Province
Valdivia Province is one of two provinces of the southern Chilean region of Los Ríos . The provincial capital is Valdivia. Located in the province are two important rivers, the Calle-Calle / Valdivia River and the Cruces River.It is part of Northern Patagonia and its wild virgin forest embrace the...

, Llanquihue
Llanquihue
Llanquihue may refer to:*Lake Llanquihue, the second largest lake in Chile*Llanquihue Province, a province of Chile located in the southern Los Lagos Region*Llanquihue, Chile, a Chilean commune and city in Llanquihue Province, Los Lagos Region...

, Chiloé
Chiloé Province
Chiloé Province is one of the four provinces in the southern Chilean region of Los Lagos . It encompasses all of Chiloé Archipelago with the exception of the Desertores Islands. The province spans a surface area of...

, Aisén and Magallanes
Magallanes
-Chile:* Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena Region** Magallanes Province, within this region** Punta Arenas or Magallanes, the main city in the region and province-Philippines:* Magallanes, Agusan del Norte* Magallanes, Cavite* Magallanes, Sorsogon...

 provinces; then for Tarapacá
Tarapacá Region
The I Tarapacá Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions. It borders the Chilean Arica and Parinacota Region to the north, Bolivia's Oruro Department on the east, the Antofagasta Region on the south and the Pacific Ocean on the west. The port city of Iquique The I Tarapacá...

 and Antofagasta
Antofagasta
Antofagasta is a port city in northern Chile, about north of Santiago. It is the capital of Antofagasta Province and Antofagasta Region. According to the 2002 census, the city has a population of 296,905...

 in 1953; for Aconcagua
Aconcagua
Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Americas at . It is located in the Andes mountain range, in the Argentine province of Mendoza and it lies west by north of its capital, the city of Mendoza. The summit is also located about 5 kilometres from San Juan Province and 15 kilometres from the...

 and Valparaíso
Valparaíso
Valparaíso is a city and commune of Chile, center of its third largest conurbation and one of the country's most important seaports and an increasing cultural center in the Southwest Pacific hemisphere. The city is the capital of the Valparaíso Province and the Valparaíso Region...

 in 1961; and once more for Chiloé, Aisén and Magallanes in 1969. He became president of the Chilean Senate in 1966.

His three unsuccessful bids for the presidency (in the 1952
Chilean presidential election, 1952
A presidential election was held in Chile on September 4, 1952. It was the first presidential election where women were allowed to vote, after gaining the right in 1949...

, 1958
Chilean presidential election, 1958
A presidential election was held in Chile on September 4, 1958. Because none of the candidates obtained an absolute majority needed to win outright, a confirmation by Congress was carried out on October 24, 1958 to declare the winner.-Election:...

 and 1964 election
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....

s) prompted Allende to joke that his epitaph would be "Here lies the next President of Chile." In 1952, as candidate for the Frente de Acción Popular (Popular Action Front, FRAP), he obtained only 5.4% of the votes, partly due to a division within socialist ranks over support for Carlos Ibáñez. In 1958, again as the FRAP candidate, Allende obtained 28.5% of the vote. This time, his defeat was attributed to votes lost to the populist
Populism
Populism can be defined as an ideology, political philosophy, or type of discourse. Generally, a common theme compares "the people" against "the elite", and urges social and political system changes. It can also be defined as a rhetorical style employed by members of various political or social...

 Antonio Zamorano. In 1964, once more as the FRAP candidate, he lost again, polling 38.6% of the votes against 55.6% for Christian Democrat
Christian Democrat Party of Chile
The Christian Democratic Party is a political party in Chile and governs as part of the Coalition of Parties for Democracy coalition. In the 2009 election it won 19 congress seats and 9 senate seats....

 Eduardo Frei
Eduardo Frei Montalva
Eduardo Frei Montalva was a Chilean political leader of world stature. In his long political career, he was Minister of Public Works, president of his Christian Democratic Party, senator, President of the Senate, and president of Chile from 1964 to 1970...

. As it became clear that the election would be a race between Allende and Frei, the political right
Right-wing politics
In politics, Right, right-wing and rightist generally refer to support for a hierarchical society justified on the basis of an appeal to natural law or tradition. To varying degrees, the Right rejects the egalitarian objectives of left-wing politics, claiming that the imposition of equality is...

which initially had backed Radical
Social Democrat Radical Party
The Social Democratic Radical Party is a social democratic party in Chile.The party is a member of Socialist International....

 Julio Durán. settled for Frei as "the lesser evil".
Allende's socialist beliefs and friendship with Cuban president Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

 made him deeply unpopular within the administrations of successive U.S. presidents, from John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 to 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...

; they believed there was a danger of Chile becoming a communist state
Communist state
A communist state is a state with a form of government characterized by single-party rule or dominant-party rule of a communist party and a professed allegiance to a Leninist or Marxist-Leninist communist ideology as the guiding principle of the state...

 and joining the Soviet Union's sphere of influence
Sphere of influence
In the field of international relations, a sphere of influence is a spatial region or conceptual division over which a state or organization has significant cultural, economic, military or political influence....

. Allende, however, publicly condemned the Soviet invasion of Hungary
1956 Hungarian Revolution
The Hungarian Revolution or Uprising of 1956 was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the government of the People's Republic of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956....

 (1956) and of Czechoslovakia
Prague Spring
The Prague Spring was a period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia during the era of its domination by the Soviet Union after World War II...

 (1968) but he later made Chile the first Government in continental America to recognize the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 in 1971.

Relationship with the Chilean Communist Party

Allende had a close relationship with the Chilean Communist Party
Communist Party of Chile
The Communist Party of Chile is a Chilean political party inspired by the thoughts of Karl Marx and Lenin. It was founded in 1922, as the continuation of the Socialist Workers Party, and in 1934 it established its youth wing, the Communist Youth of Chile .In the last legislative elections in Chile...

 from the beginning of his political career. On his fourth (and successful) bid for the presidency, the Communist Party appointed him as the alternate for its own candidate, the world-renowned poet Pablo Neruda
Pablo Neruda
Pablo Neruda was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean poet, diplomat and politician Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. He chose his pen name after Czech poet Jan Neruda....

.

During his presidential term, Allende took positions held by the Communists, in opposition to the views of the socialists
Socialist Party of Chile
The Socialist Party of Chile is a political party, that is part of the center-left Coalition of Parties for Democracy coalition. Its historical leader was the late President of Chile Salvador Allende Gossens, who was deposed by General Pinochet in 1973...

. Some argue, however, that this was reversed at the end of his period in office.

Election


Allende won the 1970 Chilean presidential election as leader of the Unidad Popular ("Popular Unity") coalition. On 4 September 1970, he obtained a narrow plurality of 36.2 percent to 34.9 percent over Jorge Alessandri
Jorge Alessandri
Jorge Alessandri Rodríguez was the 27th President of Chile from 1958 to 1964, and was the candidate of the Chilean right in the crucial presidential election of 1970...

, a former president, with 27.8 percent going to a third candidate (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....

) of the Christian Democratic Party (PDC), whose electoral platform was similar to Allende's. According to the Chilean Constitution of the time, if no presidential candidate obtained a majority of the popular vote, Congress would choose one of the two candidates with the highest number of votes as the winner. Tradition was for Congress to vote for the candidate with the highest popular vote, regardless of margin. Indeed, former president Jorge Alessandri had been elected in 1958 with only 31.6 percent of the popular vote, defeating Allende.

One month after the election, on 20 October, while the senate had still to reach a decision and negotiations were actively in place between the Christian Democrats and the Popular Unity, 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...

, Commander in Chief of the Chilean Army, 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, on 23 October. Viaux's kidnapping plan had been supported by the CIA, although the then U.S. National Security Advisor 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...

 claims to have ordered the plans postponed at the last moment. Many believe Kissinger's statement to be false and evidence points towards 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...

 following orders directly from President Nixon to do whatever was necessary in order “to get rid of him”, referring to Allende. Nixon handed over a blank check to Helms, which allowed him to use full discretion in ridding Chile of Allende’s presence and “making the economy scream”. Schneider was a 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.

General Schneider's death was widely disapproved of and, for the time, ended military opposition to Allende, whom the parliament finally chose on 24 October. On 26 October, President Eduardo Frei
Eduardo Frei Montalva
Eduardo Frei Montalva was a Chilean political leader of world stature. In his long political career, he was Minister of Public Works, president of his Christian Democratic Party, senator, President of the Senate, 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 to replace René Schneider.

Allende assumed the presidency on 3 November 1970 after signing a Statute of Constitutional Guarantees proposed by the Christian Democrats in return for their support in Congress. In an extensive interview with Régis Debray
Régis Debray
Jules Régis Debray is a French intellectual, journalist, government official and professor. He is known for his theorization of mediology, a critical theory of the long-term transmission of cultural meaning in human society; and for having fought in 1967 with Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara in...

 in 1972, Allende explained his reasons for agreeing to the guarantees. Some critics have interpreted Allende's responses as an admission that signing the Statute was only a tactical move.

Presidency

Upon assuming power, Allende began to carry out his platform of implementing a socialist programme called La vía chilena al socialismo ("the Chilean Path to Socialism"). This included nationalization
Nationalization
Nationalisation, also spelled nationalization, is the process of taking an industry or assets into government ownership by a national government or state. Nationalization usually refers to private assets, but may also mean assets owned by lower levels of government, such as municipalities, being...

 of large-scale industries (notably copper mining and banking), and government administration of the health care system, educational system (with the help of an U.S. educator, Jane A. Hobson-Gonzalez from Kokomo, Indiana
Kokomo, Indiana
Kokomo is a city in and the county seat of Howard County, Indiana, United States, Indiana's 13th largest city. It is the principal city of the Kokomo, Indiana Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Howard and Tipton counties....

), a programme of free milk for children in the schools and shanty towns of Chile, and an expansion of the land seizure and redistribution already begun under his predecessor Eduardo Frei Montalva
Eduardo Frei Montalva
Eduardo Frei Montalva was a Chilean political leader of world stature. In his long political career, he was Minister of Public Works, president of his Christian Democratic Party, senator, President of the Senate, and president of Chile from 1964 to 1970...

, who had nationalized between one-fifth and one-quarter of all the properties listed for takeover. The Allende government's intention was to seize all holdings of more than eighty irrigated hectares. Allende also intended to improve the socio-economic welfare of Chile's poorest citizens; a key element was to provide employment, either in the new nationalised enterprises or on public work projects.

Allende’s first step in early 1971 was to raise minimum wages (in real terms) for blue-collar workers in real terms by 37%-41% and 8%-10% for white-collar workers. Educational, food, and housing assistance was significantly expanded, with public-housing starts going up twelvefold and eligibility for free milk extended from age 6 to age 15. A year later, blue-collar wages were raised by 27% in real terms and white-collar wages became fully indexed. Price controls were also set up, while the Allende Government introduced a system of distribution networks through various agencies (including local committees on supply and prices) to ensure that the new rules were adhered to by shopkeepers.

The new Minister of Agriculture, Jacques Chonchol, promised to expropriate all estates which were larger than eighty “basic” hectares. This promise was kept, with no farm in Chile exceeding this limit by the end of 1972.

The Allende Government also sought to bring the arts (both serious and popular) to the mass of the Chilean population by funding a number of cultural endeavours. With eighteen-year olds and illiterates now granted the right to vote, mass participation in decision-making was encouraged by the Allende government, with traditional hierarchical structures now challenged by socialist egalitarianism. The Allende Government was also able to draw upon the idealism of its supporters, with teams of Allendistas travelling into the countryside and shanty towns to perform volunteer work.

Social spending was dramatically increased, particularly for housing, education, and health, while a major effort was made to redistribute wealth to poorer Chileans. As a result of new initiatives in nutrition and health, together with higher wages, many poorer Chileans were able to feed themselves and clothe themselves better than they had been able to before. Public access to the social security system was increased, while state benefits such as family allowances were raised significantly.

Chilean presidents were allowed a maximum term of six years, which may explain Allende's haste to restructure the economy. Not only was a major restructuring program organized (the Vuskovic plan
Vuskovic plan
The Vuskovic Plan was the basis for the economic policy of the Popular Unity government of Chilean President Salvador Allende. It was drafted by and named after his first Economics Minister Pedro Vuskovic, who had worked before with the CEPAL. Although good results were obtained in 1970,...

), he had to make it a success if a Socialist successor to Allende was going to be elected. In the first year of Allende's term, the short-term economic results of Minister of the Economy Pedro Vuskovic
Pedro Vuskovic
Pedro Vuskovic Bravo was a Chilean economist of Croatian descent, political figure, minister and author of the economic plan implemented by Salvador Allende during his government.-Life:...

's expansive monetary policy were highly favorable: 12% industrial growth and an 8.6% increase in GDP, accompanied by major declines in inflation (down from 34.9% to 22.1%) and unemployment (down to 3.8%). However by 1972, the Chilean escudo had an inflation rate of 140%. The average Real GDP contracted between 1971 and 1973 at an annual rate of 5.6% ("negative growth"); and the government's fiscal deficit soared while foreign reserves declined [Flores, 1997: source requires title/publisher]. The combination of inflation and government-mandated price-fixing, together with the "disappearance" of basic commodities from supermarket shelves, led to the rise of black markets in rice, beans, sugar, and flour. The Chilean economy also suffered as a result of a US campaign against the Allende government.
The Allende government announced it would default on debt
Debt
A debt is an obligation owed by one party to a second party, the creditor; usually this refers to assets granted by the creditor to the debtor, but the term can also be used metaphorically to cover moral obligations and other interactions not based on economic value.A debt is created when a...

s owed to international creditors and foreign governments. Allende also froze all prices while raising salaries. His implementation of these policies was strongly opposed by landowners, employers, businessmen and transporters associations, and some civil servants and professional unions. The rightist opposition was led by National Party, the Roman Catholic Church (which in 1973 was displeased with the direction of educational policy), and eventually the Christian Democrats
Christian Democrat Party of Chile
The Christian Democratic Party is a political party in Chile and governs as part of the Coalition of Parties for Democracy coalition. In the 2009 election it won 19 congress seats and 9 senate seats....

. There were growing tensions with foreign multinational corporation
Multinational corporation
A multi national corporation or enterprise , is a corporation or an enterprise that manages production or delivers services in more than one country. It can also be referred to as an international corporation...

s and the government of the United States.

Allende also undertook Project Cybersyn
Project Cybersyn
Project Cybersyn was a Chilean attempt at real-time computer-controlled planned economy in the years 1970–1973 . It was essentially a network of telex machines that linked factories with a single computer centre in Santiago, which controlled them using principles of cybernetics...

, a system of networked telex
Telex
Telex may refer to:* Telex , , a communications network** Teleprinter, the device used on the above network* Telex , a Belgian pop group...

 machines and computers. Cybersyn was developed by British cybernetics
Cybernetics
Cybernetics is the interdisciplinary study of the structure of regulatory systems. Cybernetics is closely related to information theory, control theory and systems theory, at least in its first-order form...

 expert Stafford Beer
Anthony Stafford Beer
Anthony Stafford Beer was a British theorist, consultant and professor at the Manchester Business School. He is best known for his work in the fields of operational research and management cybernetics.- Biography :...

. The network transmitted data from factories to the government in Santiago, allowing for economic planning in real-time.

In 1971, Chile re-established diplomatic relations with Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, joining Mexico
Politics of Mexico
The politics of Mexico take place in a framework of a federal presidential representative democratic republic whose government is based on a congressional system, whereby the president of Mexico is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system...

 and Canada
Government of Canada
The Government of Canada, formally Her Majesty's Government, is the system whereby the federation of Canada is administered by a common authority; in Canadian English, the term can mean either the collective set of institutions or specifically the Queen-in-Council...

 in rejecting a previously-established Organization of American States
Organization of American States
The Organization of American States is a regional international organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States...

 convention prohibiting governments in the Western Hemisphere
Western Hemisphere
The Western Hemisphere or western hemisphere is mainly used as a geographical term for the half of the Earth that lies west of the Prime Meridian and east of the Antimeridian , the other half being called the Eastern Hemisphere.In this sense, the western hemisphere consists of the western portions...

 from establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba. Shortly afterward, Cuban president Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

 made a month-long visit to Chile. Originally the visit was supposed to be one week, however Castro enjoyed Chile, and one week turned to another. The visit, in which Castro held massive rallies and gave public advice to Allende, was seen by those on the political right as proof to support their view that "The Chilean Path to Socialism" was an effort to put Chile on the same path as Cuba.

October 1972 saw the first of what were to be a wave of strikes. The strikes were led first by truckers, and later by small businessmen, some (mostly professional) unions and some student groups. Other than the inevitable damage to the economy, the chief effect of the 24-day strike was to induce Allende to bring the head of the army, 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...

, into the government as Interior Minister. Allende also instructed the government to begin requisitioning trucks in order to keep the nation from coming to a halt. Government supporters also helped to mobilize trucks and buses but violence served as a deterrent to full mobilization, even with police protection for the strike breakers. Allende's actions were eventually declared unlawful by the Chilean appeals court and the government was ordered to return trucks to their owners.

Throughout this presidency racial tensions between the poor descendants of indigenous people, who supported Allende's reforms, and the white settler elite increased.

Allende raised wages on a number of occasions throughout 1970 and 1971, but these wage hikes were negated by the in-tandem inflation of Chile's fiat currency. Although price rises had also been high under Frei (27% a year between 1967 and 1970), a basic basket of consumer goods rose by 120% from 190 to 421 escudos in one month alone, August 1972. In the period 1970–72, while Allende was in government, exports fell 24% and imports rose 26%, with imports of food rising an estimated 149%.

Export income fell due to a hard hit copper industry: the price of copper on international markets fell by almost a third, and post-nationalization copper production fell as well. Copper is Chile's single most important export (more than half of Chile's export receipts were from this sole commodity). The price of copper fell from a peak of $66 per ton in 1970 to only $48–9 in 1971 and 1972. Chile was already dependent on food imports, and this decline in export earnings coincided with declines in domestic food production following Allende's agrarian reforms.

Throughout his presidency, Allende remained at odds with the Chilean Congress, which was dominated by the Christian Democratic Party. The Christian Democrats (who had campaigned on a socialist platform in the 1970 elections, but drifted away from those positions during Allende's presidency, eventually forming a coalition with the National Party), continued to accuse Allende of leading Chile toward a Cuban-style dictatorship, and sought to overturn many of his more radical policies. Allende and his opponents in Congress repeatedly accused each other of undermining the Chilean Constitution and acting undemocratically.

Allende's increasingly bold socialist policies (partly in response to pressure from some of the more radical members within his coalition), combined with his close contacts with Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, heightened fears in Washington
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

. The Nixon administration
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...

 began exerting economic pressure on Chile via multilateral
Multilateralism
Multilateralism is a term in international relations that refers to multiple countries working in concert on a given issue.International organizations, such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization are multilateral in nature...

 organizations, and continued to back Allende's opponents in the Chilean Congress. Almost immediately after his election, Nixon directed CIA and U.S. State Department officials to "put pressure" on the Allende government.

Foreign relations during Allende's presidency

Allende's Popular Unity government tried to maintain normal relations with the United States. When Chile nationalized its copper industry, Washington cut off U.S. credits and increased its support to opposition. Forced to seek alternative sources of trade and finance, Chile gained commitments from 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....

 to invest some $400 million in Chile in the next six years. Allende's government was disappointed that it received far less economic assistance from the USSR than it hoped for. Trade between the two countries did not significantly increase and the credits were mainly linked to the purchase of Soviet equipment. Moreover, credits from the Soviet Union were much less than those provided to the People's Republic of China and countries of Eastern Europe
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

. When Allende visited the USSR
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....

 in late 1972 in search of more aid and additional lines of credit, after 3 years of political and economic failure and chaos, he was turned down.

US involvement

The possibility of Allende winning Chile's 1970 election was deemed a disaster by a US administration
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

 which wanted to protect US business interests and prevent any spread of Communism during the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

. In September 1970, President 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...

 informed the CIA that an Allende government in Chile would not be acceptable and authorized $10 million to stop Allende from coming to power or unseat him. The CIA's plans to impede Allende's investiture as President of Chile were known as "Track I" and "Track II"; Track I sought to prevent Allende from assuming power via so-called "parliamentary trickery", while under the Track II initiative, the CIA tried to convince key Chilean military officers to carry out a coup.

During Nixon's presidency, U.S. officials attempted to prevent Allende's election by financing political parties aligned with opposition candidate Jorge Alessandri
Jorge Alessandri
Jorge Alessandri Rodríguez was the 27th President of Chile from 1958 to 1964, and was the candidate of the Chilean right in the crucial presidential election of 1970...

 and supporting strikes in the mining and transportation sectors.

After the 1970 election, the Track I operation attempted to incite Chile's outgoing president, Eduardo Frei Montalva
Eduardo Frei Montalva
Eduardo Frei Montalva was a Chilean political leader of world stature. In his long political career, he was Minister of Public Works, president of his Christian Democratic Party, senator, President of the Senate, and president of Chile from 1964 to 1970...

, to persuade his party (PDC) to vote in Congress for Alessandri. Under the plan, Alessandri
Alessandri
Alessandri is a surname, and may refer to:* Alessandri family of Chile* Alessandro Alessandri* Angelo Alessandri* Andrea Velasco Alessandri* Arturo Alessandri* Fernando Alessandri* Hernan Alessandri* Innocente Alessandri* Jorge Alessandri...

 would resign his office immediately after assuming it and call new elections. Eduardo Frei would then be constitutionally able to run again (since the Chilean Constitution did not allow a president to hold two consecutive terms, but allowed multiple non-consecutive ones), and presumably easily defeat Allende. The Chilean Congress instead chose Allende as President, on the condition that he would sign a "Statute of Constitutional Guarantees" affirming that he would respect and obey 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...

, and that his reforms would not undermine any of its elements.

Track II was aborted, as parallel initiatives already underway within the Chilean military rendered it moot.

During the second term of office of Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

, the CIA acknowledged having played a role in Chilean politics prior to the coup, but its degree of involvement is debated. The CIA was notified by its Chilean contacts of the impending coup two days in advance, but contends it "played no direct role in" the coup.

Much of the internal opposition to Allende's policies came from business sector, and recently-released U.S. government documents confirm that the U.S. indirectly funded the truck drivers' strike, which exacerbated the already chaotic economic situation prior to the coup.

The most prominent U.S. corporations in Chile prior to Allende's presidency were the Anaconda
Anaconda Copper
Anaconda Copper Mining Company was one of the largest trusts of the early 20th century. The Anaconda was purchased by Atlantic Richfield Company on January 12, 1977...

 and Kennecott
Kennecott Utah Copper
Kennecott Utah Copper Corporation , a division of Rio Tinto Group, is a mining, smelting, and refining company. Its corporate headquarters are located in South Jordan, Utah, USA. Kennecott operates one of the largest open-pit copper mines in the world in Bingham Canyon, Salt Lake County, Utah. ...

 copper companies, and ITT Corporation
ITT Corporation
ITT Corporation is a global diversified manufacturing company based in the United States. ITT participates in global markets including water and fluids management, defense and security, and motion and flow control...

, International Telephone and Telegraph. Both the copper corporations aimed to expand privatized copper production in the city of El Teniente
El Teniente
El Teniente is an underground copper mine in the Chilean commune of Machalí in Cachapoal Province, O'Higgins Region, near the town of Sewell, above mean sea level in the Andes. Mining at El Teniente is reported to have started as early as 1819...

 in the Chilean Andes
Andes
The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about long, about to wide , and of an average height of about .Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated...

, the world's largest underground copper mine. At the end of 1968, according to US Department of Commerce
United States Department of Commerce
The United States Department of Commerce is the Cabinet department of the United States government concerned with promoting economic growth. It was originally created as the United States Department of Commerce and Labor on February 14, 1903...

 data, U.S. corporate holdings in Chile amounted to $964 million. Anaconda and Kennecott accounted for 28% of U.S. holdings, but ITT had by far the largest holding of any single corporation, with an investment of $200 million in Chile. In 1970, before Allende was elected, ITT owned 70% of Chitelco, the Chilean Telephone Company and funded 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...

, a Chilean right-wing newspaper. Documents released in 2000 by the CIA confirmed that before the elections of 1970, ITT gave $700,000 to Allende's conservative opponent, Jorge Alessandri, with help from the CIA on how to channel the money safely. ITT president Harold Geneen
Harold Geneen
Harold "Hal" Sydney Geneen , was an American businessman most famous for serving as president of the ITT Corporation.-Biography:...

 also offered $1 million to the CIA to help defeat Allende in the elections.

After General Pinochet assumed power, United States Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 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...

 told President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Richard Nixon that the U.S. "didn't do it," but "we helped them...created the conditions as great as possible." (referring to the coup itself). Recent documents declassified under the Clinton administration's Chile Declassification Project show that the United States government and the CIA sought the overthrow of Allende in 1970 immediately before he took office ("Project FUBELT
Project FUBELT
Project FUBELT is the code name for the secret Central Intelligence Agency operations that were to prevent Salvador Allende rise to power before his confirmation, and promote a military coup in Chile....

"). Many documents regarding the 1973 coup remain classified.

Crisis

On June 29, 1973, Colonel Roberto Souper
Roberto Souper
Lt. Colonel Roberto Federico Souper Onfray was a Chilean military officer who launched an unsuccessful coup d'état against the regime of Salvador Allende, surrounding the presidential palace with a tank regiment....

 surrounded the presidential palace, La Moneda, with his tank regiment but failed to depose the government. That failed coup d’état – known as the Tanquetazo
Tanquetazo
El Tanquetazo or El Tancazo of 29 June 1973 are the names used to refer to the failed coup attempt in Chile led by Army Lieutenant Colonel Roberto Souper against the government of Socialist president Salvador Allende. It is called such because the rebelling officers primarily used tanks...

 ("tank putsch") – organised by the nationalist Patria y Libertad paramilitary group, was followed by a general strike at the end of July that included the copper miners of El Teniente.

In August, 1973, a constitutional crisis
Constitutional crisis
A constitutional crisis is a situation that the legal system's constitution or other basic principles of operation appear unable to resolve; it often results in a breakdown in the orderly operation of government...

 occurred, and the Supreme Court of Chile
Supreme Court of Chile
The Supreme Court of Chile is the highest court in Chile. It also administrates the lower courts in the nation. It is located in the capital Santiago....

 publicly complained about the inability of Allende government to enforce the law of the land. On August 22nd, the Chamber of Deputies (with the Christian Democrats uniting with the National Party) accused the government of unconstitutional acts through Allende's refusal to promulgate constitutional amendments, already approved by the Chamber, which would have prevented his government from continuing his massive nationalization
Nationalization
Nationalisation, also spelled nationalization, is the process of taking an industry or assets into government ownership by a national government or state. Nationalization usually refers to private assets, but may also mean assets owned by lower levels of government, such as municipalities, being...

 plan and called upon the military to enforce constitutional order.
For months, Allende had feared calling upon the Carabineros
Carabineros de Chile
thumb|250px|Carabineros de Chile, patrolling a street in [[Santiago, Chile|Santiago]]The Carabiniers of Chile, are the uniformed Chilean national police force and gendarmerie, created on April 27, 1927. Their mission is to maintain order and create public respect for the laws of the country...

 ("Carabineers", the national police force), suspecting them of disloyalty to his government. On August 9th, President Allende appointed 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 Minister of Defence
Ministry of National Defense (Chile)
The Ministry of National Defense is the cabinet-level administrative office in charge of "maintaining the independence and sovereignty" of Chile. It is also charged with planning, directing, coordinating, executing, controlling and informing the defense policies formulated by the President of...

. On August 24, 1973, General Prats was forced to resign both as defense minister and as the commander-in-chief of the army
Chilean Army
The Chilean Army is the land arm of the Military of Chile. This 45,000-person army is organized into seven divisions, a special operations brigade and an air brigade....

, embarrassed by both the Alejandrina Cox incident
Alejandrina Cox incident
The Alejandrina Cox incident was a traffic incident involving General Carlos Prats, then Minister of the Interior for President Salvador Allende, that altered the course of Chilean history by helping launch to the Chilean coup of 1973.-Incident:...

 and a public protest in front of his house by the wives of his generals. General Augusto Pinochet
Augusto Pinochet
Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte, more commonly known as Augusto Pinochet , was a Chilean army general and dictator who assumed power in a coup d'état on 11 September 1973...

 replaced him as Army commander-in-chief the same day.

Supreme Court's resolution

On May 26, 1973, the Supreme Court of Chile
Supreme Court of Chile
The Supreme Court of Chile is the highest court in Chile. It also administrates the lower courts in the nation. It is located in the capital Santiago....

 unanimously denounced the Allende government's disruption of the legality of the nation in its failure to uphold judicial decisions, because of its continual refusal to permit police execution of judicial decisions contrary to the government's own measures.

Chamber of Deputies' resolution

On August 22, 1973, the Christian Democrats and the National Party members of the Chamber of Deputies joined together to vote 81 to 47 in favor of a resolution that asked the authorities to "put an immediate end" to "breach[es of] the Constitution . . . with the goal of redirecting government activity toward the path of law and ensuring the Constitutional order of our Nation, and the essential underpinnings of democratic co-existence among Chileans."

The resolution declared that Allende's government sought "to conquer absolute power with the obvious purpose of subjecting all citizens to the strictest political and economic control by the State . . . [with] the goal of establishing . . . a totalitarian system" and claimed that the government had made "violations of the Constitution . . . a permanent system of conduct." Essentially, most of the accusations were about disregard by the Socialist government of the separation of powers, and arrogating legislative and judicial prerogatives to the executive branch of government.

Specifically, the Socialist government of President Allende was accused of:
  • Ruling by decree, thwarting the normal legislative system
  • Refusing to enforce judicial decisions against its partisans; not carrying out sentences and judicial resolutions that contravened its objectives
  • Ignoring the decrees of the independent General Comptroller's Office
  • Sundry media offenses; usurping control of the National Television Network and applying economic pressure against those media organizations that are not unconditional supporters of the government
  • Allowing its Socialist supporters to assemble with arms, and preventing the same by its right-wing opponents
  • Supporting more than 1,500 illegal "takings" of farms
  • Illegal repression of the El Teniente miners’ strike
  • Illegally limiting emigration


Finally, the resolution condemned the creation and development of government-protected [socialist] armed groups, which . . . are headed towards a confrontation with the armed forces. President Allende's efforts to re-organize the military and the police forces were characterized as notorious attempts to use the armed and police forces for partisan ends, destroy their institutional hierarchy, and politically infiltrate their ranks.

President Allende's response

Two days later, on 24 August 1973, President Allende responded, characterising the Congress's declaration as destined to damage the country’s prestige abroad and create internal confusion, predicting It will facilitate the seditious intention of certain sectors. He noted that the declaration (passed 81–47 in the Chamber of Deputies) had not obtained the two-thirds Senate majority constitutionally required to convict the president of abuse of power
Abuse of Power
Abuse of Power is a novel written by radio talk show host Michael Savage.- Plot :Jack Hatfield is a hardened former war correspondent who rose to national prominence for his insightful, provocative commentary...

: essentially, the Congress were invoking the intervention of the armed forces and of Order against a democratically-elected government and subordinat[ing] political representation of national sovereignty to the armed institutions, which neither can nor ought to assume either political functions or the representation of the popular will.

Mr Allende argued he had obeyed constitutional means for including military men to the cabinet at the service of civic peace and national security, defending republican institutions against insurrection and terrorism. In contrast, he said that Congress was promoting a coup d’état or a civil war with a declaration full of affirmations that had already been refuted beforehand and which, in substance and process (directly handing it to the ministers rather than directly handing it to the President) violated a dozen articles of the (then-current) Constitution. He further argued that the legislature was usurping the government's executive function.

President Allende wrote: Chilean democracy is a conquest by all of the people. It is neither the work nor the gift of the exploiting classes, and it will be defended by those who, with sacrifices accumulated over generations, have imposed it . . . With a tranquil conscience . . . I sustain that never before has Chile had a more democratic government than that over which I have the honor to preside . . . I solemnly reiterate my decision to develop democracy and a state of law to their ultimate consequences . . . Parliament has made itself a bastion against the transformations . . . and has done everything it can to perturb the functioning of the finances and of the institutions, sterilizing all creative initiatives.

Adding that economic and political means would be needed to relieve the country's current crisis, and that the Congress were obstructing said means; having already paralyzed the State, they sought to destroy it. He concluded by calling upon the workers, all democrats and patriots to join him in defending the Chilean Constitution and the revolutionary process.

The coup

In early September 1973, Allende floated the idea of resolving the constitutional crisis with a plebiscite. His speech outlining such a solution was scheduled for 11 September, but he was never able to deliver it. On 11 September 1973, the Chilean military staged a coup
Chilean coup of 1973
The 1973 Chilean coup d'état was a watershed event of the Cold War and the history of Chile. Following an extended period of political unrest between the conservative-dominated Congress of Chile and the socialist-leaning President Salvador Allende, discontent culminated in the latter's downfall in...

 against Allende.

Death

Just prior to the capture of La Moneda
Palacio de La Moneda
Palacio de La Moneda , or simply La Moneda, is the seat of the President of the Republic of Chile. It also houses the offices of three cabinet ministers: Interior, General Secretariat of the Presidency and General Secretariat of the Government...

 (the Presidential Palace), with gunfire and explosions clearly audible in the background, Allende gave his (subsequently famous) farewell speech to Chileans on live radio, speaking of himself in the past tense, of his love for Chile and of his deep faith in its future. He stated that his commitment to Chile did not allow him to take an easy way out, and he would not be used as a propaganda tool by those he called "traitors" (he refused an offer of safe passage), clearly implying he intended to fight to the end.
"Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Keep in mind that, much sooner than later, the great avenues will again be opened through which will pass free men to construct a better society. Long live Chile! Long live the people! Long live the workers!"
President Salvador Allende's farewell speech, 11 September 1973.

Shortly afterwards, the coup plotters announced that Allende committed suicide. An official announcement declared that he had committed suicide with an automatic rifle. Prior to his death he had been photographed several times holding an Ak-47, a gift from his good friend Fidel Castro. He was found dead with this gun. In his 2004 documentary Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende (film)
Salvador Allende is a 2004 documentary film about Chilean president Salvador Allende, from his election campaign to the coup d'état which ended his presidency...

, Patricio Guzmán
Patricio Guzmán
Patricio Guzmán Lozanes is a Chilean documentary film director. He is internationally renowned for films such as The Battle of Chile and Salvador Allende....

 incorporates a graphic image of Allende's corpse in the position it was found after his death. According to Guzmán's documentary, Allende shot himself with a pistol and not a rifle.

For years, Chilean left-wing maintained that Allende had been assassinated, considering that a suicide would weaken Allende's figure. His doctor, José Quiroga, witness of Allende's suicide, but who kept silence for a long time, said “It was more important the political issue of everybody believing that Allende had been killed by the military”. In recent years the view that he committed suicide has become more broadly accepted, particularly as different testimonies appear to confirm details of the suicide reported in news and documentary interviews. His personal doctor described the death as a suicide, and his family accepts the finding. The theory that he was assassinated persists and is referenced in the Michael Moore film Bowling for Columbine
Bowling for Columbine
Bowling for Columbine is a 2002 documentary film written, directed, produced, and narrated by Michael Moore. The film explores what Michael Moore suggests are the causes for the Columbine High School massacre and other acts of violence with guns...

.

In 2011, the controversy over the cause of death was reopened as the subject of an official investigation. On the basis of the original 1973 autopsy, Luis Ravanal, a medical examiner, expressed the opinion that the wounds on the body were not consistent with the theses of the alleged witnesses, namely that there were wounds caused by different guns. In January 2011, a Chilean judge ordered an inquiry, the first judicial investigation of the death. On May 23, 2011, Allende's body was exhumed in order to have an autopsy performed by an international forensic team. On May 31, TVN, the state television station, reported the recent discovery of a secret 300-page military account of Allende's death. The document had been kept in the home of a former military justice official, and was discovered when his house was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake
2010 Chile earthquake
The 2010 Chile earthquake occurred off the coast of central Chile on Saturday, 27 February 2010, at 03:34 local time , having a magnitude of 8.8 on the moment magnitude scale, with intense shaking lasting for about three minutes. It ranks as the sixth largest earthquake ever to be recorded by a...

. After reviewing the report, two forensic experts told TVN "that they are inclined to conclude that Allende was assassinated." This belief is supported by forensic expert Luis Ravanal who has been studying Allende's autopsy since 2007. Ravanal says he found details in the autopsy that weren't in line with the official version of Allende's death. The cranium, he says, shows evidence of a first shot with a small gun, like a pistol, and then, a second shot from a larger weapon — like an AK-47 — which could mean that Allende was shot and killed, then shot a second time with his own gun, to make it look like suicide. Chile's Legal Medical Service confirmed on July 19, 2011 that the death was suicide, consistent with the beliefs of Allende's family. Dr. Patricio Bustos, the director of Chile's LMS, described the conclusions as "definitive". Briton
British people
The British are citizens of the United Kingdom, of the Isle of Man, any of the Channel Islands, or of any of the British overseas territories, and their descendants...

 David Prayer, an expert in ballistics, stated that the former president died as the result of two gunshots wounds which came from an assault rifle placed between his legs and aimed at his chin. The scientific autopsy team delivered a unanimous finding that Allende used an AK-47
AK-47
The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, first developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is officially known as Avtomat Kalashnikova . It is also known as a Kalashnikov, an "AK", or in Russian slang, Kalash.Design work on the AK-47 began in the last year...

 rifle given to him by Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

. The gun was set to fire automatically and the shots tore off the top of his head, killing him instantly.

Family

Well-known relatives of Salvador Allende include his daughter Isabel Allende (politician) and a cousin Isabel Allende (author)
Isabel Allende
Isabel Allende Llona is a Chilean writer with American citizenship. Allende, whose works sometimes contain aspects of the "magic realist" tradition, is famous for novels such as The House of the Spirits and City of the Beasts , which have been commercially successful...

.

See also

  • History of Chile
    History of Chile
    The territory of Chile has been populated since at least 2,000 BC. By the 16th century, Spanish conquistadors began to subdue and colonize the region of present-day Chile, and the territory became a colony from 1540 to 1818, when it gained independence from Spain...

  • Allende stamps
    Allende stamps
    One of the first postage stamps to commemorate Salvador Allende, released after the 1973 coup in Chile, was the Soviet one. It was issued just two months after the event and had a circulation of 3.8 million. The issue was designed by the painter A...

  • Chile under Allende
    Chile under Allende
    Salvador Allende was the president of Chile from 1970 until 1973, and head of the Popular Unity government; he was the first Marxist ever to be elected to the national presidency of a democracy...

  • Death of Salvador Allende
    Death of Salvador Allende
    Salvador Allende, President of Chile, reportedly committed suicide during the Chilean coup of 1973. Since that time, there has been great controversy between supporters and detractors of Allende on the circumstances of his death, since the military junta's version of his suicide was discounted by...

  • Marta Harnecker
    Marta Harnecker
    Marta Harnecker is a Chilean sociologist, political scientist, journalist and activist. Harnecker, a descendant of Austrian immigrants, was a Roman Catholic in her childhood. She visited Cuba in 1960-Early life:...


Other sources


External links

  • Photos of the public places named in homage to the President Allende all around the world
  • Salvador Allende's "Last Words" Spanish text with English translation. The transcript of the last radio broadcast of Chilean President Salvador Allende, made on 11 September 1973, at 9:10 am. MP3 audio available here http://www.salvador-allende.cl/Audio/Salvador_Allende_11sept_1973.mp3.
  • Caso Pinochet. While nominally a page about the Pinochet case, this large collection of links includes Allende's dissertation and numerous documents (mostly PDFs) related to the dissertation and to the controversy about it, ranging from the Cesare Lombroso material discussed in Allende's dissertation to a collective telegram of protest over Kristallnacht
    Kristallnacht
    Kristallnacht, also referred to as the Night of Broken Glass, and also Reichskristallnacht, Pogromnacht, and Novemberpogrome, was a pogrom or series of attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria on 9–10 November 1938.Jewish homes were ransacked, as were shops, towns and...

     signed by Allende.
  • An Interview with Salvadore Allende: President of Chile, interviewed by Saul Landau
    Saul Landau
    Saul Landau is journalist, filmmaker, and commentator. He is Professor Emeritus at California State University, Pomona. He is a senior Fellow at and Vice Chair of the Institute for Policy Studies.-Career:...

    , Dove Films, 1971, 32 min. (previously unreleased):
  • Video (Spanish with English subtitles) in El Clarin de Chile. (Alternative location at Google Video)
  • September 11, 1973, When US-Backed Pinochet Forces Took Power in Chile – video report by Democracy Now!
    Democracy Now!
    Democracy Now! and its staff have received several journalism awards, including the Gracie Award from American Women in Radio & Television; the George Polk Award for its 1998 radio documentary Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria's Oil Dictatorship, on the Chevron Corporation and the deaths of...

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