In brief: Allende’s Chile and the Inter-American Cold War

Allende’s Chile and the Inter-American Cold War
Tanya Harmer
2011, University of North Carolina Press
375 pages, hardback

CHILE is still feeling the effects of the momentous events of September 1973 when military forces under General Augusto Pinochet, that most archetypal of Latin American dictators, ousted the elected Marxist president Salvador Allende. Chilean society is still coming to terms with the trauma that this coup delivered upon its democratic body politic, and the ripple effects were felt across the world. In September this year, for example, a Chilean court confirmed that Allende killed himself in 1973 as troops attacked the presidential palace to oust him. It is a story with many chapters that have yet to be written, and Tanya Harmer has provided one of these in this excellent study of the Latin American dynamic within the supwerpowers’ Cold War struggle that formed the backdrop to the coup. Allende’s Chile and the Inter-American Cold War argues that the battle between Chilean social forces was part of an inter-American struggle to determine Latin America’s future, shaped as much by the contest within thr Southern Cone and the US as by Moscow and Washington. She explores, in particular, the role of Cuba and provides a comprehensive and fascinating account of Havana’s activity in Latin America in this period. – GJ