The Central Intelligence Agency supported the military coup. Like their criminal KGB counterpart, the CIA criminals wanted to destroy democracy in Chile. Latin America was a very right-wing continent in the 70's. Most nations were under dictatorial control, either by corrupt capitalist presidents or military junta's. The USA supported these anticommunist nations and provided weapons and tools in order for them to fight leftist guerrilla groups!
Salvador Allende was leader of the Socialist Party of Chile. In 1967 the socialists became more radical and adopted anti-capitalist positions. For the presidential elections in 1970, the Socialist Party of Chile created the Popular Unity coalition with the Communist Party of Chile and other leftist forces. Allende was elected because he also got the support from the christian democrats. But the right-wing of Chile would not keep him in power for long!
The USA hated the new leftist president of Chile. Allende said that he was a Marxist and that the Republic of Chile was to become a socialist nation. Now the USA was on full alert, the last thing they wanted was another socialist nation in their backyard. Cuba claimed to be socialist since 1961, the Americans had tried to invade Cuba with 1500 anticommunists but failed. Now Chile was becoming socialist too. The ruling class of America wanted to end socialism before it could begin. They were supported by the conservatives of the Chilean military. Most generals and officers hated leftism. They were deeply Roman Catholic and politically conservative to the core. The CIA knew how use their anticommunism against Salvador Allende and his radical socialists!
When elected, the Socialist Party of Chile wanted radical changes, even so radical that the Stalinist; Communist Party of Chile, asked the president to be more moderate. The stalinists were supported in this by the moderate social democrats of the Radical Left Party. Because social democrats do not like the idea of expropriate wealthy capitalists. Soon they and the christian democrats would oppose the Popular Unity coalition and in the end, betray the president!
We revolutionary socialists find it so ironic that the stalinists were the ones who asked the president to be less revolutionary and more moderate. President Allende was however detriment to build socialism and as the ruling class of Chile feared for their profits, the CIA made plans for a coup that would end democracy!
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 do before. Public access to the social security system was increased, while state benefits such as family allowances were raised significantly!
The redistribution of income enabled wage and salary earners to increase their share of national income from 51.6% (the annual average between 1965 and 1970) to 65% while family consumption increased by 12.9% in the first year of the Allende Government. In addition, while the average annual increase in personal spending had been 4.8% in the period 1965-70, it reached 11.9% in 1971!
All these social programs were paid by nationalizing big business. By 1972, the christian democrats had enough of Salvador Allende, who's radical socialist politics were now destroying their electorate. Allende and the christian democrats tried to forge a compromise. The Party of the Radical Left represented the UP coalition in negotiations. The radical minister of justice Manuel Sanhueza held talks with the Christian Democratic Party over regulations of nationalized firms, but ultimately failed, as the socialist minister of economy Pedro Vuskovic boycotted the negotiations and carried out more radical expropriations. As a result, the Radical Left Party left the UP coalition and joined the capitalist opposition!
The conservative ruling class of Chile asked the christian democrats to windrow support. They did and left the Popular Unity alliance. The parliamentary elections in March 1973 gave the capitalist opposition the control over the parliament But only because former allies of president Allende joined them. The social democrats of the Radical Left Party and the christian democrats were able to use the anticommunist media against the president. Also they were able to rally the upper class and the middle class against the forced expropriations. So the capitalist opposition won the elections, leaving Salvador Allende with a pro-capitalist parliament!
Between March and September 1973, the president was in many conflicts with the now pro-capitalist parliament. The right-wing attacked the president of many fronts, most of the accusations were about the government disregarding the separation of powers, and arrogating legislative and judicial prerogatives to the executive branch of government.
President Allende responded by saying:
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!
But Allende made also mistakes in his presidency. For three years he kept the bourgeoisie and the conservative military intact. The ruling class and their military supported were not eliminated. Also the working class was not armed, the president believed so hard in the bourgeois democratic state and all of its institutions. Salvador Allende never thought that the ruling class would use the state institutions like police and armed forces against him. Although a radical socialist and was still reformist and wanted to reform the Republic of Chile into a socialist nation though reforms and not by revolution. For three years he did his best to reform the nation. He was successful in raising the living standards, but that made the ruling class very angry!
The role of the CIA in Chile was clear. Anticommunists were paid millions of dollars to spread anti-government propaganda. Most media outlets in Chile were right-wing and the newspaper El Mercurio was supported with CIA money. Black propaganda was used by the CIA and their anticommunist allies. Lies and misinformation were told to the Chilean people to weaken Allende's government. The wealthy and the conservatives supported the anticommunist propaganda machine and were able to convince many people. Fear of atheism was also used, since most Marxists are atheists. The Republic of Chile is a Catholic nation and the Roman Catholic Church was not in favor of the radical socialist Allende and his progressive politics!
On 11 September 1973, the plans for a coup were put into action. General Augusto Pinochet led the military uprising that would take power. Around 7:00 am, the Chilean Navy captured the port city of Valparaíso. By 8:00 am, the Army had closed most radio and television stations in Santiago city; the Air Force bombed the remaining active stations; the president received incomplete information, and was convinced that only a sector of the Navy conspired against him and his government!
All military commanders supported the coup. President Allende hoped that some would remain loyal to him. But the army, navy and air force had joined with general Pinochet. Two hours after the start of the coup, all of Chile was under military control. The new junta told Salvador Allende to surrender. He refused and gave a final farewell speech to the Chilean people. Air force planes then bombed the presidential palace. When the soldiers finally took the palace, president Salvador Allende was death. He killed himself with an AK-47, a gift from Cuban president Fidel Castro. For the militarists this was ''proof'' that Allende wanted to turn Chile into a ''communist'' dictatorship!
Workers and poor people wanted to defend their democracy, but because of Salvador Allende's believes in the state institutions, they were not match for the soldiers. Had the working class been armed, then they could have regrouped and attacked the militarists But no workers militia's were created. Allende trusted the police, army, navy and air force. He trusted Pinochet and the other generals. His believe in a bourgeois state became his downfall, as the militarists did not cared about democracy or human rights!
Soon the military junta started their white terror against leftists. More then 133.000 people were arrested and jailed. Between 1973 and 1990, the military junta of dictator Pinochet would murder 3.000 people. Most of these victims were socialists, communists or other leftist minded people. Members of the Socialist Party, Communist Party of Chile, trade unionists and progressive democrats were forced underground. The conservatives, christian democrats and all anticommunists supported the military junta!
Augusto Pinochet was a true capitalist dictator. He said that the government had nothing to say about the economy. A golden age for capitalists began in Chile. Trade unions were banned, workers were not allowed to fight for better wages. Western capitalists loved this and they praised Pinochet for his economic politics. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were among the supporters of Augusto Pinochet. Their criminal support to the Chilean military junta proofs their hostility to democracy. Reagan and Thatcher were so anticommunist, they supported all dictatorships that arrested, tortured and murdered leftists!
The capitalist revolution caused poverty that is still visible today. Although the military junta was removed from power after 1989, its legacy is still here. Pinochet abandon power when the ruling class said that a democracy would be better for Chile. As a supporter of capitalism, the military dictator agreed. Thanks to 17 years of anti-leftist propaganda, the right-wing were able to use the anticommunist climate to win the first democratic elections. Christian democrat; Patricio Aylwin became the first democratic president since 1973. He was a supporter of capitalism, but made some reforms to aid the poor!
A new Solidarity and Social Investment Fund was set up to direct aid towards poorer communities, and social spending increased by around one-third between 1989 and 1993. A new labor law was also enacted in 1990, which expanded trade union rights and collective bargaining, while also improving severance pay for workers. The minimum wage was also increased, as were family allowances, pensions, and other benefits. Between 1990 and 1993, real wages grew by 4.6%, while the unemployment rate fell from 7.8% to 6.5%. Spending on education increased by 40% while spending on health increased by 54%. The incomes of poor Chileans increased by 20% in real terms (above the rate of inflation) under the Aylwin Government, while increases to the minimum wage meant that it was 36% higher in real terms in 1993 than in 1990!
The Socialist Party of Chile and the Communist Party of Chile were legalized and allowed to participate in politics. The ruling class was forced to allow some social reforms in order to keep the socialists and communists out of government. But they had nothing to fear from the socialists, as the Socialist Party of Chile was no longer the radical party of Salvador Allende. The fall of the USSR and the massive anticommunist wave of propaganda in the 90's, turned the socialists to the capitalist side. The party no longer opposed capitalism. They were now social democratic in nature, supporters of a social capitalist market economy!
Ricardo Lagos became the first social democratic president. During Lagos' presidency, Free Trade Agreements were signed with the European Community, the United States, South Korea, the People's Republic of China and New Zealand, Singapore and Brunei (though some of his supporters in the center-left Coalition of Parties for Democracy consider that these agreements may have negative effects on the country); the incidence of extreme poverty was significantly reduced; the legal workweek was reduced from 48 to 45 hours; improvements were made in infrastructure and transport; an unemployment insurance scheme was created; as well as the AUGE health program guaranteeing coverage for a number of medical conditions; the Chile Barrio housing program; the Chile Solidario program; compulsory schooling was extended to 12 years; the first divorce law in Chile was approved; monetary compensation to victims of torture under the Pinochet regime identified in the Valech Report was authorized; and, recently, a recast constitution was signed. He finished his six-year term with historic approval ratings above 70%!
The first female president of Chilean became Michelle Bachelet. In 2006 she was elected president as a member of Allende's Socialist Party of Chile. Many hope for a more leftist direction. But the Socialist Party of Chile was loyal to capitalism and did not changed the nature of the bourgeois state. Former dictator Pinochet was never trialed for his crime. He died on 11 December 2006 at the age of 91. The Chilean state had 16 years to put him to justice, but because of bureaucratic mismanagement and conservative rule, the former leader of the military junta never served jail time!
On 11 September 2013, there was violence on the 40th anniversary of the coup. The current right-wing president and billionaire; Sebastián Piñera has said that he opposed the 1973 coup, but he also understood why the military took over. This led to violence as leftists started to demonstrate against his words. Also the students of Chile are still protesting against the poor education system. A remnant of the Pinochet era. Education in Chile is privatized leaving students of working class background, with little change of getting a good education. Students have struggled for good education since 1990, but the capitalist government of Chile, has not changed anything yet. Capitalism still rules supreme since 1973. Only between 1970 and 1973 it was challenged by the Allende government. The ruling class has shown its true color on 11 September 1973. With CIA support a democratic government was eliminated. 133.000 people were jailed and 3.000 murdered, all thanks to US imperialism who organized it all!