Salvador Allende Born on July 26, 1908, in Valparaíso, Chile, Salvador Allende co-founded Chile's Socialist Party and ran for the Chilean presidency several times before winning the 1970 election. His regime was supported by working-class constituencies, though opposed in covert actions by U.S. PresidentRichard Nixon. Following a military coup led by General Augustine Pinochet, Allende took his own life on September 11, 1973. Early Life
Salvador Isabelino del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús Allende Gossens was born on July 26, 1908, in Valparaíso, Chile. The son of Salvador Allende Castro and Doña Laura Gossens Uribe, he was part of an upper-middle-class family that had a long tradition in progressive politics.
In his youth, Allende was influenced by an anarchist shoemaker, Juan De Marchi, who promoted revolution and radical politics. Allende was arrested multiple times while a student at the University of Chile for protesting against the government. After receiving his medical degree in 1932, he co-founded Chile's Socialist Party.
Entry Into Politics
Allende was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1937, and eventually served as minister of health. During this time, he helped implement such social reforms as higher pensions, a free school lunch program and safety laws for factory workers. In 1940, he married Hortensia Bussi, with whom he had three daughters, Carmen Paz, Isabel and Beatriz.
Allende was elected to the Chilean Senate four times from 1945 to 1969. Early on, he declared his commitment to Marxism and desire to promote a socialist Chile. In the Senate, Allende consistently defended the interests of the working class and attacked capitalism and imperialism, siding with the Cuban Revolution. During this time, Allende also ran for president unsuccessfully in 1952, 1958 and 1964, before finally winning in 1970.
When Allende took office, Chile was enduring a severe economic crisis. Unemployment was high and an estimated half of the country's children under the age of 15 were suffering from malnutrition. Allende immediately implemented his socialist agenda, increasing wages and freezing prices while taking steps to reform the education system, health care and government administration.
In addition to nationalizing many large-scale industries, Allende expropriated American-owned copper industries without compensation. This solidified opposition from U.S. President Richard Nixon's administration, which increased support to Allende's political opponents and led efforts to cut off international lines of credit to Chile.
Poor economic planning and a growing dysfunctional relationship between Allende and Congress deepened the country's economic difficulty. The president's inability to control his own radical left wing brought further hostility from the middle class, though he remained popular among workers and peasants.
On September 11, 1973, GeneralAugusto Pinochetled a military coup d'état to overthrow Allende, who refused to surrender and barricaded himself in the Presidential Palace.
During the siege, a large number of civilians were killed or wounded and many were imprisoned.
There were conflicting reports regarding whether Allende committed suicide or was killed by soldiers storming the palace after it was attacked by the Chilean Air Force. Allegations that the CIA instigated the coup are unfounded, though later the CIA acknowledged its support of the political opposition and advance knowledge of the coup. In 2011, Allende's body was exhumed,and a scientific autopsy confirmed he had died by suicide.
Augusto Pinochet Ugarte (born November 25, 1915) joined the Chilean army in 1935. He rose through the ranks and was appointed Commander in Chief by President Salvador Allende in 1973. A month later, Pinochet led the military coup that overthrew Allende. After 25 years in power, he was put under arrest, but died in 2006, before he could be tried for alleged human rights violations.
Chilean dictator (1973–90), born in Valparaíso, Chile. A career army officer, he led the military coup overthrowing the Allende government in 1973, establishing himself at the head of the ensuing military regime. In 1980 he enacted a constitution giving himself an eight-year presidential term (1981–9). A plebiscite held in 1988 rejected his candidacy as president beyond 1990, but he retained his post as commander-in-chief of the army until 1998.
In October 1998 he became the centre of international attention when he was arrested in London, following a request from Spain for his extradition to stand trial for ‘crimes of genocide and terrorism’, in which some of the victims had been Spanish nationals. The arrest caused tension between UK and Chile, and civil unrest in Chile between Pinochet supporters and opponents. At the beginning of 2000, Pinochet remained under house arrest in the UK, pending the outcome of legal procedures, but the UK government returned him to Chile on the grounds of ill health. Chile's Court of Appeal decided to strip Pinochet of immunity from prosecution, and he was later ordered to stand trial.
In 2001 a Santiago appeals court voted in favour of suspending proceedings against him on the grounds that he was mentally unfit to stand trial, and in 2002 the Chilean Supreme Court ruled that proceedings against him be suspended for good. However, in 2004 the Court of Appeal stripped him of immunity from prosecution, thus paving the way for a trial on charges of human rights abuses during his rule.
Pinochet died December 10, 2006, never having stood trial for the crimes for which he was accused.
Michelle Bachelet was born on September 29, 1951 in Santiago, Chile. Her father was arrested by Pinochet and died under torture. Michelle, a medical student, was also tortured but released into exile in 1975. Bachelet returned to Chile and entered politics after Pinochet was ousted. In 2006 she became Chile's first woman president and was popular for her deft handling of the 2008 financial crisis.
Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jeria - born 29 September 1951) is a Chileanpolitician from the Socialist Party and the President of Chile since 11 March 2014. She previously served as President from 2006–2010, becoming the first woman in her country to do so. After leaving the presidency, she was appointed the first executive director of the newly created United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women). In December 2013, Bachelet was re-elected as President of Chile with over 62% of the vote, bettering the 53.5% she obtained in 2006. She is the first person since 1932 to win the presidency of her country twice in competitive elections.
Bachelet, a physician with studies in military strategy, served as Health Minister and Defense Minister under her predecessor, President Richardo Lagos. She is a separated mother of three and describes herself as an agnostic.Aside from her native Spanish, she also speaks, with varying levels of fluency, English, German, Portuguese and French.