Chile is non-communist and very prosperous

Down in Chile, they remember a tumultous week — the 46th anniversary of the overthrow of President Salvador Allende.

Allende was elected in a three-way race in 1970.  His presidency divided the country and created economic chaos — food shortages, labor strikes, and rampant violence. 

The nation was in turmoil, and President Allende had lost control of the situation.  I recall a business colleague of my father who had returned from a trip to Santiago, totally horrified with the situation.  He called it panic and frustration, and he was right.

Please don't be fooled by the international Left's romantic and nostalgic recollections of the Allende years.  They were bad for Chile.

Allende embarked on what he called a "Chilean path to socialism," but he totally misread public opinion.

General Augusto Pinochet took over, but it was not easy to turn around a country devastated by the early stages of socialism.

Indeed, there were serious human rights violations.  We cannot overlook those excesses when we praise the work of "the Chicago Boys" in the economy. 

Where is Chile today?  Chile is the jewel of Latin American economies.  It is no longer a third-world country and enjoys a stable economic and political environment.

Is Chile better off today?  I say yes, but I respect those Chileans who lost loved ones during a very difficult period.

Finally, Pinochet left power after losing big in a plebiscite in 1988.  Chile began its return to democracy the next year, and here we are.

In the end, Pinochet's legacy is a prosperous and non-communist Chile, as Paul Weyrich wrote when Pinochet died in 2006.  He saved Chile from turning into Cuba or Venezuela, and most locals are probably very happy about that.

PS: You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

Down in Chile, they remember a tumultous week — the 46th anniversary of the overthrow of President Salvador Allende.

Allende was elected in a three-way race in 1970.  His presidency divided the country and created economic chaos — food shortages, labor strikes, and rampant violence. 

The nation was in turmoil, and President Allende had lost control of the situation.  I recall a business colleague of my father who had returned from a trip to Santiago, totally horrified with the situation.  He called it panic and frustration, and he was right.

Please don't be fooled by the international Left's romantic and nostalgic recollections of the Allende years.  They were bad for Chile.

Allende embarked on what he called a "Chilean path to socialism," but he totally misread public opinion.

General Augusto Pinochet took over, but it was not easy to turn around a country devastated by the early stages of socialism.

Indeed, there were serious human rights violations.  We cannot overlook those excesses when we praise the work of "the Chicago Boys" in the economy. 

Where is Chile today?  Chile is the jewel of Latin American economies.  It is no longer a third-world country and enjoys a stable economic and political environment.

Is Chile better off today?  I say yes, but I respect those Chileans who lost loved ones during a very difficult period.

Finally, Pinochet left power after losing big in a plebiscite in 1988.  Chile began its return to democracy the next year, and here we are.

In the end, Pinochet's legacy is a prosperous and non-communist Chile, as Paul Weyrich wrote when Pinochet died in 2006.  He saved Chile from turning into Cuba or Venezuela, and most locals are probably very happy about that.

PS: You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.