Chile: Two Visions
This book is a study of Chile's turbulent recent history. It covers Salvador Allende's socialist revolution and explains how it sank Chile into chaos, economic deprivation, political turmoil, and illegality. It covers Chileans' repudiation of the Allende government three years later and their call to the military to intervene after the August 1973 congressional censure of Allende failed to stop Allende or convince him to resign.
By winter 1973, Chileans were desperate, as famine loomed in Chile and disorder reigned in the streets. Allende's government had so destroyed the productive apparatus that on Sept. 6, 1973, President Allende announced: "We do not have the most minimal supply of flour, at most for three or four days."
On September 11, 1973, the Chilean military intervened and put a stop to Allende's palace coup against Chile's longstanding democracy. The book explains how the incoming military government quickly restored production in Chile. Before three weeks, shops were re-stocked with goods and long lines for consumer products had subsided. The book details the economic plan-"the Brick"-- written by US-trained Chilean economists, and shows how its implementation by the Pinochet government lifted Chile out of the ranks of third world nations and put the country on a path to modernization.
The book tells the story of the 1980 constitution, drafted by civilians under the military government, designed to strengthen Chile's democracy and make it impossible for another dictator to arise, while laying the foundation for secure private property and a thriving free market economy. The book also details the orderly return to full-fledged democracy set up by Gen. Pinochet and the military government. The generals scheduled their own departure and turned over a booming economy and solid political system to democratically-elected President Patricio Aylwin. Testifying to the worth of the reforms, succeeding democratic governments have not overturned the work of the generals.
The book details the war against Marxist terrorists who aimed to establish communism in Chile. During the Cold War, like other countries in Latin America, Chile was targeted by the Castro regime in Cuba and its Soviet backers for armed insurrection and socialist revolution. The Soviet Bloc provided material, logistical, and financial support to the Marxist terrorists in Chile, who belonged to groups such as the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR), the Manuel Rodriguez Front (FMR), and the Socialist and Communist parties. The war lasted from 1965-1994 and was fought by the Eduardo Frei, Sr. government (1964-70), the Pinochet government (1973-1990) and the Aylwin government (1990-1994). The book contains extensive documentation on terrorist attacks in Chile, including numerous bombings, assassinations and assaults on military installations and the country's infrastructure, and draws on interviews with former terrorists.
Based on both left-wing and military sources, including testimony from both sides, the book covers the Chilean military's efforts to put down Marxist terrorism in Chile. The actions undertaken to fight terrorism garnered the Pinochet government the reputation as a human rights offender. The international press never reported the activities of Chile's violent left. Former leftist terrorists cooperated with the authors and told their story because they want their place in Chilean history.
The Pinochet government was the most successful government Chile has ever known. Yet, the world views Pinochet as a monstrous dictator and Allende as a caring social democrat. The book tells the story of how the myth of Allende was created and shows its continuing deleterious effect on Chile. The October 1998 arrest of Pinochet in Britain on a warrant issued by a low-level Spanish magistrate was a stunning outcome of the triumph of communist propaganda over fact.