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Since 2001 September 11th has been known as the day of the attack on the twins towers marking a day in which large scale terrorism came to american soil. However for the people of Chile a similar defining moment occurred 28 years before. On September 11th 1973 is often referred to the “other September 11th” , the day in which democratically elected president allende was overthrown. After over 45 years the coup has remained a controversial debate in the world of political science. The general consensus is the the U.S had a significant role in the down fall of Salvador Allende. However despite release of classified documents some political scientist argue that the U.S had none or very little role in the coup that lead to downfall of Salvador Allende. It can be proved that the U.s was heavily involved in Chile as seen in direct financing of opposition parties and the political actions of president Nixon and national security advisor Henry Kissinger.
Us relations with Chile deteriorated in 1960 due to a concern of the Chilean Left and the rise of Nationalization. “For the United States the appearance of Marxist Government was completely unacceptable. Dente between superpowers was one thing, allowing Chile “to go communist” was, as Kissinger put it, another”. From the start, most of the Chilean business clans backed by the U.S. government and the multinational corporations moved to undermine and destroy this experiment in democratic socialism. As Richard Nixon’s national security adviser Henry Kissinger declared: “I don’t see why we need to stand idly by and watch a country go Communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people.” By mid-1973 it was clear to many in Chile, including myself, that the democratic institutions would not hold as the opposition began to openly call on the military to violently overthrow the government. On the left, some argued that the existing constitutional system and many democratic liberties had to be suspended and that it was necessary for workers and the popular classes to unite with loyalist sectors of the military to establish a new political regime. Neither the Richard Nixon administration, nor the current Chilean Government, nor U.S. companies with businesses in Chile (Anaconda, International Telephone & Telegraph, Kennicott) wished to see an Allende presidency, fearing his Communist sympathies.
The fear in the growth of this socialist sentiment, is what led the U.S. overtly and covertly to send aid and assistance to the Chilean Government as well as support to political parties such as the Christian Democratic Party. Allende wanted to reform health care, agriculture, and education, and was invested in further nationalization of businesses. He increased the percentage of farms and businesses that were nationalized. Wages increased throughout the administration, and for the first few months, inflation was held at bay. On the surface, the reforms appeared to be successful. It became clear, however, that the successes were not balancing out the problems. Rising wages produced a boom in consumerism, and Chile had to rely on imports to meet demand. The price of copper dropped, which severely affected the country’s balance of payments. In addition, the Chilean Government was running out of foreign sources of aid. If that happened, the U.S. government feared, several of the capitalist exploiters it represented, such as the owners of the ITT, Anaconda and Kennecott corporations – who were heavily invested in the country – might have their factories nationalized. On top of this, the election of Allende would interfere with the U.S. government’s attempts to isolate Cuba, and turn back its revolution. Furthermore, if the events lead to a socialist revolution in which the local capitalist rulers and imperialist lackeys were overthrown by the working class, it would open the doorway to similar events throughout Latin America.·
U.S economic involvement in Chile is not the only evidence of the U.S. highly significant role in the downfall of the Allende regime. Funding for opposition parties and having a campaign against the UP government is another piece of evidence that supports this claim.· At a September 8, 1970 meeting of the 40 Committee, the chairman of the committee asked for analysis of where the US/CIA stood in terms of taking action to prevent Allende from becoming President of Chile. William Broe, a high-ranking CIA officer, said Eduardo Frei Montalva, the 29th President of Chile, was essential to the situation in Chile, regardless of the type of involvement — military or congressional. There were three candidates for the presidency in the 1970. The U.S. Government used covert funds in Chile during this election period, not for any one candidate’s use but to prevent Allende’s election. U.S. support had some impact on the election, but Allende still received over one third of the popular vote. On October 24 the Chilean Congress voted to elect Allende president by a large margin, and on November 3 he was officially sworn in as President of Chile. After Allende’s inauguration, Nixon stated that U.S. relations with Chile would continue, but would be cooler than during previous administrations. The administration feared that Allende would create a Communist government in Chile. U.S. policymakers also took steps to severely limit further credits or aid to Chile.
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