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  •  Well, let's not forget that if it wasn't... (18+ / 0-)

    for our government, there would likely never have been a Pinochet government.

    Pinochet is a creature of U.S. Cold War policy. In the early 1960s, the Kennedy Administration helped defeat Salvador Allende, a socialist presidential candidate who vowed to nationalize foreign-owned industries, by funneling $20 million to a more conservative opponent. In 1970, the Nixon Administration and several U.S. corporations were lulled by faulty polls predicting that Allende would lose again, so they provided less than $1 million in covert aid to stop him. It wasn't enough: Allende narrowly won with 36 percent of the vote. Still, the Chilean Congress had to ratify his victory. That gave President Nixon, National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, and CIA Director Richard Helms seven weeks to overturn the results.

    They concocted a convoluted scheme to influence the congressional vote, which included offering a $250,000 bribe to legislators. They also tried to incite a coup by providing weapons and cash to rightwing military officers. Both efforts failed.

    But that was not the end of U.S. involvement. From November 1970 until the September 1973 coup, the CIA maintained close contact with the military and spent some $8 million to destabilize the Allende government. At the same time, the Nixon Administration drastically cut U.S. aid and blocked international lending institutions from providing loans to the country. These actions helped cripple Chile's economy and paved the way for Pinochet. Although there is no evidence that the U.S. government was directly involved in the 1973 coup, at the very least it knew about the plans and encouraged them. Within weeks after the uprising, the Nixon Administration recognized the military junta and authorized a resumption of aid. Pinochet remained in power for seventeen years.

    The differences between our government and theirs were never as stark as we might like to believe. Our domestic policies weren't as draconian in the past, but our foreign policy has long been criminal.

    All of us driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won't do - that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be ~ Michelle Obama

    by AuroraDawn on Tue Dec 07, 2010 at 04:04:15 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

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