(1) When the people of Chile freely choose a socialist, pro-democracy president, Nixon and Kissinger fear this will set a "good example" for the other oppressed peoples on the US’s "turf".

(2) At Nixon’s command, the CIA instigates the overthrow of the government.

(3) The SOA routinely trains the torturers who keep the military dictatorship in power.

The gory details …







With at least half the population suffering from malnutrition and the country facing severe shortages of food, housing, health care, and education after years of capitalist governments, medical doctor Salvador Allende nearly wins elections for the Presidency in 1958 and 1964, despite enormous criminal CIA manipulation of the elections.

Allende’s "threat", in the eyes of the US, is neither military nor economic, but purely ideological, i.e., psychological — the "threat of a good example" of a democratically-elected socialist who continues to honor the constitution.

"The US has no vital national interests within Chile. … The world military balance of power would not be significantly altered by an Allende government. … An Allende victory would represent a definite psychological set-back to the US and a definite psychological advantage for the Marxist idea." — CIA study, 9/7/70

"The Communist-dominated unions, especially those which follow the Moscow line, now generally accept the peaceful road as a viable alternative." — report of the US Senate Foreign Committee, 7/15/68

Nevertheless, the US determines to prevent a free and fair Allende victory in 1970.

"I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people." — Henry Kissinger, "national security" adviser to Nixon, referring to Chilean voters in 1970


Nixon’s attempts to provoke a coup …

Richard Nixon in 1970, after Allende wins the popular vote but before he takes office: "One in 10 chance perhaps, but save Chile! … not concerned with risks involved … $10,000,000 available, more if necessary … make the economy scream …" — handwritten notes of CIA Director Richard Helms, on Nixon’s orders to encourage a military coup against Allende.

"Sao Paulo, Tegucigalpa, Buenos Aires, Lima, Montevideo, Bogota, Mexico City report continued replay of Chile theme materials. Items also carried in New York Times and Washington Post. Propaganda activities continue to generate good coverage of Chile developments along our theme guidance." — CIA cable, 9/25/70

"[The coup still has] no pretext or justification that it can offer to make it acceptable in Chile or Latin America. It therefore would seem necessary to create one to bolster what will probably be [the military’s] claim to a coup to save Chile from communism." — cable sent from CIA headquarters to Santiago, 10/19/70

After refusing to stage a coup, Chilean Army Commander-in-Chief René Scheider is assassinated with CIA-supplied weapons to overcome what the CIA disdainfully calls "the apolitical, constitutional-oriented inertia of the Chilean military." [US Senate Report on Assassinations, 11/20/75]

The killing backfires, solidifying support for Allende, who takes office with the support of the Chilean Congress. He explains his free-milk program by pointing out that "Today in Chile there are over 600,000 children mentally retarded because they were not adequately nourished during the first eight months of their lives, because they did not receive the necessary proteins."

"Not a nut or a bolt [will] be allowed to reach Chile under Allende." — Edward Korry, US Ambassador

"[A] hope among those who want to block Allende is that a swiftly deteriorating economy will touch off a wave of violence leading to a military coup." — 1970 memorandum of US corporate giant ITT (major defense contractor, owns Caesar’s Palace, Sheraton, many other "gaming" properties)

In the mid-term elections of March 1973, US-supported opposition parties hope to win a combined two-thirds of congressional seats, enough to impeach Allende. But they are unable to stem his popularity, and his party wins what is perhaps the largest increase in popular votes an incumbent party had ever received in Chile after being in power for more than two years.


Success at last …


As is typical around the world, the US claims publicly to be fighting the "international communist conspiracy", while acknowledging privately the absence of any such threat: "Soviet overtures to Allende … characterized by caution and restraint"; "Soviet desire to avoid" another Cuba-type commitment; Russians "advising Allende to put his relations with the United States in order … to ease the strain between the two countries." — US intelligence reports, 1973

In September 1973, with US Navy ships on alert offshore, with 32 US observation and fighter planes landing in Argentina near the Chilean border, and beneath a US-piloted airborne communications control system, US-trained extremists in the Chilean military overthrow the government and assassinate Allende and several cabinet members. The universities are put under military control, opposition parties are banned, and thousands of Chileans are tortured and killed, many fingered as "radicals" by lists provided by the CIA. Under the military junta headed by General Augusto Pinochet, torture of dissidents becomes routine.

In addition to their many crimes against Chileans at home, SOA graduates in the Chilean military bear responsibility for the 1976 torture and murder of a United Nations official, and for the 1976 car bomb explosion in Washington, DC, which kills Allende’s exiled foreign minister Orlando Letelier, and his aide, American Ronnie Moffitt. — Americas Watch reports on Chile, 1989 and 1994

While Augusto Pinochet is not himself a graduate of the School of the Americas, his influence is held in high esteem. In 1991, visitors can view a note from Pinochet, and a ceremonial sword donated by him, on display in the office of the Commandant. — Miami Herald, 8/9/93