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The Relationship Between the United States and Chile

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The relationship between the United States and 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”.(cia notes meeting)In the early 1960’s, most multinational corporations and Chilean businesses Aided by the U.S. government worked to end the new 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.”(cia notes).

By mid-1973 it was clear to many people in Chile, that the democratic foundations would not hold, as opposition groups began to publicly call on the military to violently overthrow the governmentOn 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. 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. 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.

The CIA launched a program called “FUBELT,” aimed at preventing Allende from becoming elected, or failing that, brings his time in office to a rapid conclusion.(Genesis of Project)In a document dated September 17, 1970 describing the results of a meeting between CIA chief Richard Helms and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, instructions for CIA operatives were laid out. “President Nixon had decided that an Allende regime in Chile was not acceptable to the United States. The President asked the Agency to prevent Allende from coming to power or to unseat him. The President authorized ten million dollars for this purpose, if needed.” ( National Archives, RG 59,) Another secret CIA document dated October 16, 1970 read in part, “It is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup. It would be much preferable to have this transpire prior to 24 October but efforts in this regard will continue vigorously beyond this date.” (National Archives, RG 59,).

The working class and farmers in chile were upset by the delay of Allende’s presidency and some believed that person that the people had elected might not be placed in office.(Davis 145) Allende himself warned “Santiago will be painted red with blood if I am not ratified as President.”(clark 107)Despite numerous attempts to delay declaring Allende president, the National Congress involuntarily declared Salvador Allende President of Chile on October 24, 1970.In response to the events in Chile, the U.S. imperialists began a campaign of economic warfare, similar to what they had done in chile. President Richard Nixon demanded that his foot soldiers “make the [Chilean] economy scream.” In line with this, U.S. Ambassador to Chile, Edward M. Korry, proclaimed, “Not a nut or bolt shall reach Chile under Allende. … we shall do all within our power to condemn Chile and all Chileans to utmost deprivation and poverty.”What about the “democracy” that the U.S. government has always claimed to uphold? Henry Kissinger made their position on that clear, saying “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.”(CIA notes on meeting)

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