There And Back Again Part 2: An Experiment In Left Wing Populism

DM, edited by Jalil Javed and Henry Kincaid

Editor’s Note

This article will act as a continuation of the first part; it won’t be a direct follow-up, but it will talk about events that took place in Chile in 1973 with which you can draw many parallels to the events occurring in Venezuela.

Copper, Nationalization and A Coup

On September 11th, 1973, a faction of the Chilean military under General Pinochet bombed ‘La Moneda’, the Chilean presidential palace. This was the military coup that ended not only the rule of President Allende, but the life of the first democratically-elected Marxist in the world.
The reign of Allende was problematic from the start; his staunch anti-Americanism, as well as his stubborn opposition to American interference in Chile, which he viewed as a sign of American imperialism, was undoubtedly going to cause problems with the continent’s most powerful country. As a result, his open refusal to negotiate a compromise with corporate America earned him the honour of becoming a US enemy.
The nationalization of Chilean copper, steel, and iron industries, which were (and still are) the backbone of the Chilean economy, led to a brutal but highly effective American economic war against the Chilean economy. The ‘war’ included embargos on the Chilean copper industry, worker’s strikes throughout the country orchestrated and financed by the CIA, and international financial institutions being pressured by America to stop investing in Chile.
We can’t ignore that Allende and his policies of strict price controls and generous welfare payments to the lower classes didn’t help the Chilean economy to mitigate the effect of the American economic war, but Chile’s flirting with the USSR was highly alarming to the Western world, and quite possibly put the final nail in the coffin for the Marxist experiment in Chilean history.
The Chilean economy under Allende experienced 3 digit inflation numbers, a sharp international trade deficit, and an intense and abrupt reduction in Chilean wages. It quickly became apparent that the question was not ‘if the coup will happen’, but ‘when?’.

Allende committed suicide during the coup on September 11th

On the 11th of September, 1973, a new and historic chapter began in Chile, a chapter that not only aborted the democratic regime, and the democratic tradition of Chile, but also changed the economic landscape radically. Th reign of Pinochet had begun
Soon after the Coup, Pinochet was inaugurated as the President of Chile

To be continued in Part 3…

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