In this revealing history of Allende's Chile, Jonathan Haslam uncovers the actual involvement of Cuba, the Soviet Union, and the CIA in that country's struggle for political and economic stability. The story begins by tracing the trajectory of the communist and socialist parties from the pre-war period through to the dramatic election of Salvador Allende as president of Chile in 1970, in a country long accustomed to political democracy but divided by great inequality of income. It weaves in an account of a new force linked to Castro's Cuba, and elucidates the longstanding politicization of the Chilean armed forces through mere talk of action in the early 1960s to the attempted coup d'etat of 1969 and the coup of 1973. It highlights the personal profile of Allende and his close ties to Cuba, and shows Soviet indifference to the fate of the regime during a period of emerging detente with the United States, which meant enduring isolation for this precarious socialist experiment.
In this tragic tale of assisted suicide, The Nixon Administration and the Death of Allende's Chile underlines the chronic mismanagement of the economy in the drive to socialism on the back of a minority franchise. It deepens our understanding of close US involvement in attempts to block the formation of the Unidad Popular government, and how it then attempted to bring down the regime by massive subsidies to nationwide strikes, engineering a coup led by the navy behind the back even of CIA stations in Santiago.
This text by Alain Badiou first appeared on the Mediapart blog. Translated by David Broder.
I understand the bitterness of those remonstrating after the first round of the elections, particularly those left disappointed by Mélenchonism. That said, whatever they do, or say, there was no particular aberration, no swindle, in this vote.
This piece first appeared in NACLA.
Calle San Rafael, Havana. August 2016. via Wikimedia Commons.
Olga, a former University teacher, remembered her faithful devotion to Fidel Castro when she was growing up in Santiago more than forty years ago. “Before the triumph of the Revolution I went to a Baptist private school. After I went to a state school, and I grew disenchanted with religion. This happened not only to me, it happened to my entire generation,” she said. “The change was profound. Fidel replaced the God we had believed in. He was a very significant leader for everyone, but in particular for us of the younger generation. We threw ourselves into the struggle to make the revolution. Life was very difficult after the sugar harvest of 1970 failed. We suffered a lot, but we still had that belief, that determination, that we had to fight for the revolution. We thought of Fidel as our God the saviour, and we all closed ranks, and we struggled, and we tried not to see his errors, his flaws. I did not return to the church for many, many years."
I first interviewed Olga (not her real name) twelve years ago, when, alongside a team of Cuban and British researchers, I began recording life histories of Cuban men and women living on the island. Olga and I last met several months ago, in Miami, where she now lives. Our team has collected the life histories of 125 Cubans from different generations, social positions and political views, of diverse racial, gender, sexual and religious identities. Many talked with us multiple times, recounting how their lives and attitudes have changed over the years.