The U.S. And Pinochet Essay

1884 words - 8 pages

The U.S. and Pinochet
In 1961, in response to the success of the Cuba’s Communist Revolution, President John F. Kennedy initiated the Alliance for Progress to discourage Marxist revolutions and to promote economic and social cooperation through democracy between the United States and Latin America . All throughout Latin America during the 1960’s Marxism had become the central philosophy and the future of democracy in the region appeared to be greatly threatened. Chile was viewed by the US as the ideal model for the Alliance for Progress program due its long history of constitutional democracy dating back to the nineteenth century. The Cold War fears of the Communist threat infiltrated the Chilean military when the United States funded a training school called the School of the Americas that specialized in teaching counterinsurgency techniques to Latin American militaries in order to combat guerilla warfare . Throughout these Cold War years the United States’ fear of Communism seemed dominate over rationality causing the US to act against their claimed beliefs in freedom, democracy, and basic human rights. That hypocrisy is most greatly evidenced by the United States foreign policy toward Chile during the 1960’s-the 1990’s.
In 1968, the CIA had approved a $350,000 expenditure to manipulate the election in favor the Christian Democratic candidate . They targeted women, the poor, and student voters by passing out pro-Conferación propagandist pamphlets and fliers and funding radio commercials that alluded to the dangers a Salvador Allende victory would bring. US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger declared “the consolidation of Allende in power in Chile, would pose some very serious threats to our interests and positions in the hemisphere ”. Their propagandist efforts failed and Allende was elected anyway, and was sworn in as President in November 1970. US President Richard Nixon instructed CIA director Richard Helms to “make the economy scream”. The US, along with Chilean economists known as the Chicago Boys because they were educated at the University of Chicago, began a program to destabilize Chile’s economy .
President Salvador Allende’s attempt at a socialist revolution was unique. Allende intended a peaceful transition by means of the nation’s long standing electoral democracy. The goal of Allende’s Popular Unity government was a regulated revolution from above that would adhere to Chilean federal laws . Allende’s policies consisted of an increase in real wages and price freezes, and also government sponsored housing, education, sanitation, healthcare, and daycare . Allende also passed agrarian reform legalizing land expropriations, which required a modification to the Constitution and declared any private property held at the expense of society was subject to legal government seizure and redistribution amongst those citizens stricken by poverty, thus angering hacienda owners. He also enacted a progressive takeover of large...

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