Virtual Session

Dealing with Dictators

La Moneda, Chile's presidential palace, under fire during the 1973 coup that toppled the Marxist government of Salvador Allende.  The military junta that succeeded Allende, headed by Augusto Pinochet, established a record for human rights abuses that continues to haunt Chilean society.
Inter-American relations during the 1970s functioned on two levels. First, in Latin America itself, the period witnessed the emergence of brutal dictatorships in not only Chile but also in Uruguay and Argentina--and the continuation of previously installed dictatorships in Guatemala, Brazil, Paraguay, and Nicaragua.

Meanwhile, in the United States, sharp clashes between the President and Congress for control of the conduct of US foreign policy were occurring.  One primary area in which congressional activists challenged the executive came on human rights, and Latin America's dictators became a target.

For this virtual session, please begin with this CNN site, which provides commentary from the time on the Chilean coup, with Time's cover story, Salvador Allende's career, the CIA's intentions, and Izvestia's--one of the Soviet government's official journals--take on events.

Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy sponsored the amendment that cut off funding to Allende's regime. Meanwhile, Ed Koch, then a fairly obscure congressman from the Upper East Side, first attracted national attention when he successfully pushed through an amendment to terminate assistance to the dictatorship in Uruguay.


                Schoultz, Human Rights and U.S. Policy toward Latin America


bulletChilean coup document #1: Henry Kissinger, National Security Action memorandum 93
bulletNSC options paper: Chile 1970
bulletCIA coup plotting: 1970
bulletHenry Kissinger on a Chilean coup: Chilean general Roberto Viaux, 1970


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