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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


The political struggle within the armed forces was kept balanced
and marginal by a group of generals led by the Army's commander in
chief, Carlos Prats Gonzalez. Its best known figures were the chief
of the First Division stationed in Antofagasta, Joaquin Lagos
Osorio; the chief of the General Staff, Augusto Pinochet Ugarte;
General Hector Bravo Munoz; and Generals Javier Palacios Ruhman and
Carlos Araya.

Carlos Prats was the spokesman for the "constitutionalists", whose
general line was: "We will support Allende so that Allende will
support us". "We will get Allende to transform our armed forces
into an institution of unsurpassable preparation, having a high
economic status and effective participation in government". Carlos
Prats's thesis was: "We should work to form an Allende-armed forces
government" based on the following division of labour: Allende would
control the masses of workers, and the armed forces would control the
country so that it would prosper. The armed forces must help Allende
strike out at "the extremists of the right as well as those of the

Carlos Prats's thesis, until October 1972, or more certainly until
March 1973, had the widest acceptance among the senior, middle-level,
and junior officers in the Army and among the middle-level and junior
officers in the Air Force and the Navy. In the corps of military
police, Director General Jose Maria Sepulveda Galindo was an
enthusiastic partisan of Prats's thesis.

Precisely because of Prats's moderation, and because he allowed the
"wait and see" strategy to continue, the "reformist" generals in the
Academy of War, who were in close contact with the Pentagon, were
Prats's faithful allies until 1973 when the "stampede" of labourers',
peasants', and office workers' organizations endangered the whole
system. Until then, the Army commander in chief was leading a group
of senior officers toward the goal of an Allende-armed forces
government, with Christian Democratic participation but excluding
the "extremist" groups of the Communist and Socialist parties. This
was the "constitutionalist" line.

The "reformist" generals, whose goal was to prepare themselves to
rule the country and form a purely military government, or one
including Allende but not the Unidad Popular parties, agreed with the
"constitutionalists" that if the time came for them to take power,
they could not destroy all previous changes in the economic structure
and they should continue to develop state capitalism.

These debates went on from November 4, 1970, all during 1971, and
ended in November-December 1972, when the thinking in the heart of
the high command began to take a very different direction.


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