The other 9-11

Over in Chile, they remember another anniversary of the 1973 overthrow of President Allende.   

Back in 1970, Salvador Allende was elected in a very controversial three-way race that ended up in the Chilean supreme court.  The vote results were:   

Salvador Allende, socialist  1,075,616

Jorge Alessandri, independent  1,036,278

Radomiro Tomic, Christian Democrat  824,849

Allende won a plurality, or 36%.  It was challenged and ultimately upheld in the courts.  In retrospect, a runoff would have been better and Alessandri would have probably won.  It did not happen that way and Allende, whose socialist party was actually to the left of the Chilean communist party, made a massive turn to the left.

By the summer of 1973, Chile was in turmoil. Shortages abounded, political prisons were filled, workers were on strike, and Fidel Castro literally came down to give orders. President Allende had lost control of the situation.  I recall a business colleague of my father who returned from a trip to Santiago totally horrified with the situation.  He saw the panic in the streets, frustration and called it a perfect storm for a coup.Allende embarked on what he called a “Chilean path to socialism” but he totally misread public opinion.  Chile did not vote for a bona fide communist revolution and President Allende was totally out of line.  

By the way, I see a connection to the current Biden presidency, or how the left totally misunderstood the election.  In Chile, that election result was comparable to the bitter fight between Trump and Biden but in no way a statement that the nation wanted a leftist transformation.

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