PATRICE GREANVILLE—Perhaps naively, President Allende had tried to make a revolution relying chiefly on parliamentarism, the “Chilean Way”, basically a top-down revolution, but the limitations of this approach, using the bourgeois state playbook and a largely bourgeois Congress to overthrow itself, soon became evident when national and international capital, led by the US, proceeded to systematically sabotage his proposals, inevitably plunging the nation into severe shortages and social turmoil. It’s worth recalling that economic and political sabotage is an old tool of imperialism to maintain its grip on any insolent nation (we see that in abundance these days in the cases of Venezuela, North Korea, Iran and even China and Russia—all subject to illegal sanctions beefed up by trade and information wars). The manufactured chaos was the pretext used by Allende’s conservative opponents at home and abroad to justify their internal coup planning. The coup option received the green light, so to speak, when Allende, despite the terrible problems afflicting the whole nation, in fact managed to increase his share of the popular vote in the Chile’s midterm elections.
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The new left is characterized by criticism of the conservative nature of the transition from dictatorship to democracy, which has been marked by the heritage of the Pinochet regime, by the remaining characteristics of the constitution, and by the support of the Convergence – an alliance between the Socialist Party and the Christian Democrats – of the neoliberal economic model.
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‘Let This Echo Around the World’: Nearly 50 Years After US-Backed Coup, Chile Votes to Rewrite Pinochet Era Constitution
“We’ve been living under an illegitimate constitution created by a military regime, that’s only allowed progress to those who have money,” Catalina Miranda told The Guardian on Sunday night. “There’s been very few times that Chilean people have shared a collective victory like today.” Following Chile’s democratic triumph, progressive voices around the world on social media expressed solidarity and congratulations, noting that this outcome is the product of generations of struggle and sacrifice. “Another historic victory for the people of Latin America,” wrote journalist Ben Norton, linking Chileans’ demand for a democratic constitution to last week’s defeat of authoritarianism, neoliberalism, and U.S. imperialism in neighboring Bolivia.
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RAINER SHEA—In Chile, the people just voted by more than two-thirds to throw out the constitution which was created for them during the Pinochet dictatorship. This means that the era of dictatorship can now honestly be considered over, and that the neoliberal policies which the old constitution enforced are vulnerable to being eliminated by the democratic will of the population-which has suffered on a unique scale from Covid-19 due to these policies.
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September 15, 1970, was a dramatic day in the life of Chilean media mogul, Agustin Edwards Eastman. His day began at 8am, with breakfast in the office of Henry Kissinger, then national security advisor to President Richard Nixon. At 9:15am, Kissinger had arranged for Edwards to secretly see Nixon in the Oval Office. Although there is no documentary record that the meeting with the president took place, later that day at the Madison Hotel in downtown Washington D.C., Edwards became the only Chilean—civilian or military—known to meet face-to-face with CIA Director Richard Helms. At 3:25pm that afternoon, President Nixon called Kissinger and Helms into the Oval Office and instructed them to covertly try to “save Chile” by orchestrating a military takeover. “I have this impression that the president called this meeting,” Helms later testified before the U.S. Senate, “because of Edwards’ presence in Washington and what … Edwards was saying about conditions in Chile.”