• Salvador Allende was born in Santiago, Chile June 26, 1908. His family had a history of being politically involved. They were typically towards the left-winged side.
• Allende married Hortensia Bussi in 1973. They had three daughters.
• Juan De Marchi was a big influence on Allende during his teenage years. Juan was just a shoemaker with anarchist ideas. Which shows that Allende didn’t support the idea of a hierarchy from a young age.
• He got a medical degree in 1933 from the University of Chile.
o He looked up to one of the professors from his university named Professor Max Westenhofer. This professor “…stressed on the social determinants of disease and social medicine.”
• In 1933 he co-founded a section of the Socialist Party of Chile in Vaparaiso.
• That same year, Allende published the book Higiene Mental y Delincuencia that criticized Cesare Lombroso’s proposals. This is important because Lombroso believed that people were born criminals and you would be able to tell by physical defects. Therefore, Allende must have not believed that people were inherently bad.
• Allende was also one of the 76 congress people to send a telegram to Hitler telling him that prosecuting the Jews was wrong.
• Allende was elected deputy of the Democratic Alliance after it’s President Aguirre Cerda died in 1941.
• Starting in 1945 Allende became the senator for many of Chile’s provinces.
• In the 1950’s Allende helped establish national health service in Chile, which was the first program in the Americas to guarantee universal health care.
• In 1966 he became president of the Chilean Senate.
• Allende started running for president of Chile through the Frente de Accion Popular party in 1952. He failed three elections in a row and then the fourth time he won through the Communist Party in 1970. Allende was the first socialist to be democratically elected in Latin America.
o The CIA spent $3 million in anti-Allende propaganda for the 1964 elections
o He got a 36.2% plurality and since nobody won majority of the popular vote, the congress got to choose one of the two candidates with the highest votes.
o Rene Schneider was an army general who was supposed to make sure the government doesn’t interfere with politics. However, he was kidnapped and killed by Roberto Viaux Marambio because he wanted to get involved with the government. It has been rumored that the United States Central Intelligence Agency supported the Viaux coup by delivering guns and ammunition the same day Schneider was shot. The reason the United States would have been involved is because they wanted him to stop Allende from becoming the president but Rene didn’t want to go against his role. He felt that the government was only there to protect the people, not to get involved with the politics.
• In November 1971 Allende gave a speech, one year after he became president and he spoke of all the good changes that have happened due to him being in office.
• The Soviet Union gave Allende a $45 million loan in 1972 when he asked for $80 million.
• The Peace Profile: Salvador Allende says that, “Allende also felt that capitalism in Chile was a vicious cycle that would be the downfall of the country. He believed that the mistreatment of workers in order to maximize profit was not only inhumane but would also undermine the economy.”
• From 1939 to 1942 Allende was the minister of health in Chile.
• He wanted to bring democracy to Chile and he wanted to strengthen the economy without the help of outside forces. (Flynn)
• Allende created “The Chilean Path to Socialism.” It increased education, the government redistributed land and wealth.
• Although there Allende’s changes did help the economy initially, it caused inflation and a national debt. This led to “a massive shortage of basic commodities.” (Flynn)
• United States cut off trade after the nationalization of copper. Allende turned to Soviet Russia, to China, and Eastern countries. The U.S. saw this as a threat.
• One the United States’ former presidents, Richard Nixon said in a report with Frost, “Allende was a very subtle and a very clever man. It was not a dictatorship in the sense that Castro’s Cuba is a dictatorship. It was not a dictatorship in that sense. On the other hand, as far as the situation in Chile was concerned, he was engaging in dictatorial actions, which eventually would have allowed him to impose dictatorship. That was his goal.”
• History.com says that, “In 1971, President Allende began nationalizing foreign businesses in Chile, including U.S.-owned copper mines-Chile’s main source of protection-and a large U.S.-run telephone company. Nixon was outraged, and he created an interagency task force to organize economic reprisals against Chile. The task force plotted steps to sink the world price of copper and ordered a complete ban on U.S. economic aid. The World Bank was successfully pressured to end all loans to Chile, and the Export-Import Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank likewise turned their back on the country. Meanwhile, other foreign investment in Chile dried up out of fears of nationalization. By 1973, the Chilean economy was in shambles…” I think that this is similar to the embargo that the United States imposed on Cuba. Since the United States wasn’t able to stop Allende from going into power, they cut them off and as a result, other countries followed.
• Pinera explains in his article that Allende was in contact with Castro from Cuba and that this had a huge impact on Allende’s views and desires for Chile’s future. He says that, “Chilean historian Claudio Veliz, a personal friend of Allende, has concluded that Allende’s trips to Cuba had ‘a fundamental impact on his plans for Chile.”
As time passed by, there were more revolts against Allende because they didn’t want to become communist and because it was very difficult to get things like food and clothes. Women began to go in the streets and protest by banging on pots and pans. They threw chicken feed at the military as a way of telling them they were chickens.
• Eventually on September 11, 1973 there was a Chilean coup d’etat event where the Chilean Air Force took orders from the army and bombed Palacio de La Moneda. Which was where the seat of the Chilean Presidency was. It was said that Allende survived the aerial attacks but he committed suicide. Nobody really knows if that is true but his daughter, Isabel Allende thinks it was very possible. She told BBC, “The report conclusions are consistent with what we already believed. When faced with extreme circumstances, he made the decision of taking his own life, instead of being humiliated.” The Chilean Army Commander-in-Cheift was Augusto Pinochet and after Allende died, Pinochet declared himself as the new elader of Chile.