Chile had been calm in the 1960s. But in 1970 a left-center
coalition sought electoral victory. Unidad Popular was led by a
Marxist doctor, Sen. Salvador Allende. U.S. businesses and the
CIA tried -- and failed -- to prevent Allende from being elected
president of Chile.
Allende's first big step was the nationalization of copper,
Chile's biggest industry, which was still effectively under U.S.
control. He pressed on with what he called his "Social
Revolution." Chilean peasants began to seize land. The Chilean
economy was increasingly put under state control -- a move that
upset overseas financiers. The World Bank in Washington cut off
credits to Chile.
Inflation and economic problems mounted. CIA money helped pay
for Chilean truck owners to bring the country to a standstill.
At the United Nations, Allende accused telecommunications
conglomerate ITT of trying to provoke a civil war. On September
11, 1973, Allende was violently ousted by the head of his
military, Gen. Augusto Pinochet. Allende was found dead after
the Moneda, the presidential palace, had been set ablaze.
Following the coup, Pinochet had hundreds of political suspects
rounded up. Many were never seen again.