The Left's Big Lie On Allende
Chilean President Salvador Allende speaks with his mentor, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, in 1971. Castro stayed in Chile for two months to advise him... View Enlarged Image
History: President Salvador Allende of Chile really did commit suicide in 1973, an inquest concluded on Tuesday. Now will the Left stop saying the U.S. and Chile's army did him in?
Except perhaps for Che Guevara, no one has quite been the heroic totem to the global left than the late Marxist president of Chile, whose death in 1973 made him a martyr to socialism.
Allende seemingly legitimized socialism as a democratically elected leader, the first Marxist who in 1970 didn't shoot his way to power.That gave the left hope for more.
Elected with just 36% of the vote in a split election, he believed he had a mandate to ram through a hard-core Marxist program of expropriation and indoctrination like that of his mentor, Cuba's Fidel Castro.
In the process Allende left Chile's economy in ruins and trampled the rule of law so badly he brought his country to the brink of civil war. He was stopped only when the legislature charged him with 22 constitutional violations and ordered Chile's military to oust him.
As Chilean jets strafed La Moneda presidential palace Sept. 11, 1973, Allende shot himself with a gold-plated submachine gun given him by Castro.
At the request of Allende's family, an official investigation in May exhumed the dead man's body, conducted forensic tests and on Tuesday found that, yes, Allende took his own life. It was what his family always believed, consistent with the tone of his final speech and a family history of suicides.
But rather than listen to the family, the global left used Allende's death for political purposes, falsely claiming he was killed. They did it for one reason: to discredit America and Chile's successful free-market reforms that stand in stark contrast to Allende's socialist failures.
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"Within weeks of Allende's overthrow," wrote Henry Kissinger in his "Years of Upheaval," "his incompetence, corruption and violation of democratic procedures — all widely acknowledged while he was alive — disappeared from public comment."
No one had a bigger stake in making a claim that communism doesn't lead to disaster than Castro himself, whose failed regime can survive based only on colonizing other democracies — first Chile and now Venezuela. That's why Castro was the first to spread the Big Lie that Allende was killed by a sinister CIA-Pinochet cabal.
Castro sycophants in the media and Hollywood followed and succeeded for years in making Allende their martyr.
According to historian James Whelan, in "Out of the Ashes," Time magazine in its Sept. 24, 1973, cover story first claimed Allende was killed by the Chilean military.
Then the New York Times featured talk by Yugoslavia's communist dictator Marshal Broz Tito that the U.S. did it. The Christian Science Monitor ran a dubious story suggesting that all Latin America believed Allende was killed.
From there, Hollywood jumped in, with Constantin Costa-Gavras' 1982 film "Missing" and the pseudo-documentary "Post Mortem," which broadly suggested Allende had been murdered.
Other notables, including Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Sen. Ted Kennedy, also spread the myth. It continued for 40 years — with Bloomberg and Politico repeating it just recently. Now that the truth is out, Chile can heal, Britain's left-wing Guardian crowed.
There's healing to be done all right — but it's from the lies of the left. The Left's Big Lie On Allende - Investors.com