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Proclaimed Intentions are Not Results

Here’s a letter to the Los Angeles Times:

Ariel Dorfman wants President Obama, during his trip to Chile, to visit Salvador Allende’s grave as a means of paying respect to the late Marxist leader that nation (“Ghosts of Chile,” March 20).

Such a visit would be improper.  The fact that Allende was ousted in a coup that resulted in the brutal regime of Augusto Pinochet doesn’t justify the Left’s deification of Allende; he, too, was a thieving brute.  Not only did Allende nationalize (i.e., steal) many of Chile’s industries; not only did his irresponsible monetary policy result in annual inflation rates as high as 140 percent (i.e., more theft of assets, this time from ordinary citizens who saw the return to their work effort diminish daily); and not only did he praise and cozy up to Cuba’s murderous Fidel Castro – Allende also violated, with reprehensible actions, Chile’s constitution.

Harvard-trained economist Jose Pinera, brother of Chile’s current president, notes that, while Allende was popularly elected, “his government lost its democratic character by repeatedly violating the Constitution.”  And just weeks before Allende was deposed, Chile’s democratically elected Chamber of Deputies drew up “a list of twenty legal and constitutional violations of President Allende’s government (including illegal detentions and torture).”*

The fact that Allende justified his thuggish lawlessness with pseudo-intellectual Marxist gibberish hardly makes him or his regime praiseworthy.

Donald J. Boudreaux

* Jose Pinera, “How Chile Was Saved,” Navigator, Sept. 2003.