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A necessary explanation
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
The murder of Allende
And the end of the Chilean way to socialism

Róbinson Rojas
Harper and Row, New York, 1975,1976-Fitzhenry&Whiteside Ltd., Toronto, Canada, 1975
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 2

2. Why was the general assassinated?

"Don't put up roadblocks for us. The worst thing
"would be if we were to fail not because we are
"inept but because some artificial roadblocks are
"put in our way. If that were to happen, the people
"of Latin America would have no recourse but
"violence. If so, the day will come -not that I want
"it to- when no North American will be able to set
"foot safely in South America. This is the great
"political responsibility that the U.S. has".
              Salvador Allende, interview with
              TIME magazine, April 19, 1971

By the end of President Eduardo Frei's administration in 1970, the
common people's hopes for the "revolution in freedom" promised in
1964 by his Christian Democrats had been shattered. The people were
looking elsewhere for the solution to the economic crisis
afflicting their country. Accordingly, the two dominant sectors of
Chilean society, the American multinational companies and the
oligopolies, had a double perspective on the newly elected
President, Salvador Allende, his program, and his political
coalition. They saw him both as a threat to their power and as a
possible "bulwark of containment" for the workers' desires to rid
the country of U.S. imperial interests and to curtail (perhaps even
overthrow) the power of the oligopolies.

The U.S. government showed its interest too, but the organizations
involved were not of one mind. While the Pentagon possessed
enormous influence in the three branches of the Chilean armed
forces, the CIA had close ties to the leadership in the Christian
Democratic and the National parties and to the most reactionary
sectors of the Chilean oligopolies. The CIA had always shown
surprising ignorance about the mind of the Chilean high command,
which led them to commit serious errors in two major coup plots.
Not before late 1972 did all of the groups unsympathetic to
Allende's government -the Pentagon, the CIA, American
multinationals, Chilean oligopolies, and the Chilean armed forces-
come together in a coordinated plan with a prudent and, as it were,
scientifically determined timetable to carry it out. This lack of
coordination meant that between the election on September 4, 1970,
and September 11, 1973, Salvador Allende and the coalition of
leftist political parties supporting him had to deal with six
attempts at a military overthrow of the civil administration:
September-October 1970; March 1972; September 1972; June 1973;
August 1973; and September 7, 1973.

It was partly the manner in which Salvador Allende exploited the
dominant sectors' double perspective of him that allowed him to
disarm their conspiracies, solve political crises, and keep his
administration afloat. But it was also the peculiar manner in which
Allende tied the military to himself just after his election to
keep himself in office that at the same time shaped his final
overthrow. This delicate balance began with the Schneider case in
September-October 1970.1
[1] The fifth coup attempt was covered in Chapter 1. The first and
second military insurrections are treated in Chapter 3; the fourth,
fifth, and sixth in Chapter 5. The coup of September 11, the
seventh and successful attempt, is discussed in detail in Chapters
1, 4, 5, and 6.
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