Allende Gossens, Salvador

Allende Gossens, Salvador

(sälväthōr` äyān`dā gō`sāns), 1908–73, president of Chile (1970–73). A physician, he helped found the Chilean Socialist party in 1933, was minister of health (1939–42) and president of the senate (1965–69). Four times a presidential candidate, he won in 1970 by a narrow plurality. Attempting to implement socialism by democratic means ("the Chilean road to socialism"), he nationalized industries, including the U.S.-owned copper multinationals, and pushed extensive land reform. As a minority president, however, his programs provoked strong resistance in the opposition-controlled congress and judiciary. The Chilean people, too, became highly polarized, resulting in vocal support and often violent opposition. Instability was further fueled by soaring inflation and widespread shortages, caused in part by the U.S. economic blockade and the undercover activities of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. In Sept., 1973, Allende was overthrown in a bloody military coup led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet UgartePinochet Ugarte, Augusto
, 1915–2006, president and dictator of Chile (1973–90). An army general who served as chief of staff (1972–73) and commander of the army (1973), he led the coup that overthrew socialist president Salvador Allende (Sept., 1973).
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. He was reported to have committed suicide during the coup, but many believed that he had been murdered. In 2011 his body was exhumed for an autopsy, which confirmed his suicide. Democracy was not restored in Chile until 1990.

Allende Gossens, Salvador

 

Born July 26, 1908, in Valparaiso; died Sept. 11, 1973, in Santiago. Chilean state and political figure.

In 1932, Allende graduated from the medical school at the University of Chile. In the following year he helped found the Socialist Party of Chile; he was subsequently elected deputy general secretary and general secretary of the party. He was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1937 and served as minister of health in the Popular Front coalition government from 1939 to 1942. He was a senator from 1945 to 1970, serving for a number of years as vice-president and president of the Senate.

In 1952, 1958, and 1964, Allende ran for president as the candidate of a leftist coalition; he ran as the candidate of the Popular Unity bloc in 1970 and was elected. Under Allende the government carried out anti-imperialist policies directed toward strengthening Chile’s national sovereignty, eliminating the hold of foreign monopolies on the country, weakening the positions of the big bourgeoisie and the oligarchy of landowners, and improving the lot of the working people.

Allende became a member of the World Peace Council in 1969 and received the International Lenin Prize for Strengthening Peace Among Nations in 1973. Allende was killed in a fascist military coup.