Salvador Allende quotes

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Salvador Allende

Birthdate: 26. June 1908
Date of death: 11. September 1973

Salvador Guillermo Allende Gossens was a Chilean physician and politician, known as the first Marxist to become president of a Latin American country through open elections.

Allende's involvement in Chilean political life spanned a period of nearly forty years. As a member of the Socialist Party, he was a senator, deputy and cabinet minister. He unsuccessfully ran for the presidency in the 1952, 1958, and 1964 elections. In 1970, he won the presidency in a close three-way race. He was elected in a run-off by Congress as no candidate had gained a majority.

As president, Allende adopted a policy of nationalization of industries and collectivisation; due to these and other factors, increasingly strained relations between him and the legislative and judicial branches of the Chilean government culminated in a declaration by Congress of a "constitutional breakdown". A centre-right majority including the Christian Democrats, whose support had enabled Allende's election, denounced his rule as unconstitutional and called for his overthrow by force. On 11 September 1973, the military moved to oust Allende in a coup d'état supported by the United States Central Intelligence Agency . As troops surrounded La Moneda Palace, he gave his last speech vowing not to resign. Later that day, Allende committed suicide with an assault rifle, according to an investigation conducted by a Chilean court with the assistance of international experts in 2011.

Following Allende's death, General Augusto Pinochet refused to return authority to a civilian government, and Chile was later ruled by a military junta that was in power up until 1990, ending almost four decades of uninterrupted democratic rule. The military junta that took over dissolved the Congress of Chile, suspended the Constitution, and began a persecution of alleged dissidents, in which thousands of Allende's supporters were kidnapped, tortured, and murdered.

„The people must defend themselves, but they must not sacrifice themselves.“

—  Salvador Allende

Final address (1973)
Context: The people must defend themselves, but they must not sacrifice themselves. The people must not let themselves be destroyed or riddled with bullets, but they cannot be humiliated either.
Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Keep in mind that, much sooner than later, great avenues will again be opened, through which will pass the free man, to construct a better society.
Long live Chile! Long live the people! Long live the workers!
These are my last words, and I am certain that my sacrifice will not be in vain, I am certain that, at the very least, it will be a moral lesson that will punish felony, cowardice, and treason.

„Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny.“

—  Salvador Allende

Final address (1973)
Context: The people must defend themselves, but they must not sacrifice themselves. The people must not let themselves be destroyed or riddled with bullets, but they cannot be humiliated either.
Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Keep in mind that, much sooner than later, great avenues will again be opened, through which will pass the free man, to construct a better society.
Long live Chile! Long live the people! Long live the workers!
These are my last words, and I am certain that my sacrifice will not be in vain, I am certain that, at the very least, it will be a moral lesson that will punish felony, cowardice, and treason.

„Now the question is, "Who is going to use whom?"“

—  Salvador Allende

As quoted in Conversations With Allende (1970) by Regis Debray
Context: Now the question is, "Who is going to use whom?" Even accepting the form of the question, the answer is the proletariat. If it wasn't so I wouldn't be here. I am working for Socialism and through Socialism.

„For you to be a Communist or a Socialist is to be totalitarian; for me no.… On the contrary, I think Socialism frees man.“

—  Salvador Allende

Quoted in "Allende Sees Chile Finding Her Own Way to Socialism" by Joseph Novitski, in The New York Times (4 October 1970)
Context: We start from different ideological positions. For you to be a Communist or a Socialist is to be totalitarian; for me no.… On the contrary, I think Socialism frees man.

„Surely, this will be the last opportunity for me to address you.“

—  Salvador Allende

Final address (1973)
Context: Surely, this will be the last opportunity for me to address you. The Air Force has bombed the antennas of Radio Magallanes. My words do not have bitterness but disappointment. … the only thing left for me is to say to workers: I am not going to resign!

„They have force and will be able to dominate us, but social processes can be arrested by neither crime nor force. History is ours, and people make history.“

—  Salvador Allende

Final address (1973)
Context: Placed in a historic transition, I will pay for loyalty to the people with my life. And I say to them that I am certain that the seeds which we have planted in the good conscience of thousands and thousands of Chileans will not be shriveled forever. They have force and will be able to dominate us, but social processes can be arrested by neither crime nor force. History is ours, and people make history.

„Placed in a historic transition, I will pay for loyalty to the people with my life.“

—  Salvador Allende

Final address (1973)
Context: Placed in a historic transition, I will pay for loyalty to the people with my life. And I say to them that I am certain that the seeds which we have planted in the good conscience of thousands and thousands of Chileans will not be shriveled forever. They have force and will be able to dominate us, but social processes can be arrested by neither crime nor force. History is ours, and people make history.

„Long live Chile! Long live the people! Long live the workers!“

—  Salvador Allende

Final address (1973)
Context: The people must defend themselves, but they must not sacrifice themselves. The people must not let themselves be destroyed or riddled with bullets, but they cannot be humiliated either.
Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Keep in mind that, much sooner than later, great avenues will again be opened, through which will pass the free man, to construct a better society.
Long live Chile! Long live the people! Long live the workers!
These are my last words, and I am certain that my sacrifice will not be in vain, I am certain that, at the very least, it will be a moral lesson that will punish felony, cowardice, and treason.

„I will always be next to you. At least my memory will be that of a man of dignity who was loyal to his country.“

—  Salvador Allende

Final address (1973)
Context: I address the youth, those who sang and gave us their joy and their spirit of struggle. I address the man of Chile, the worker, the farmer, the intellectual, those who will be persecuted, because in our country fascism has been already present for many hours — in terrorist attacks, blowing up the bridges, cutting the railroad tracks, destroying the oil and gas pipelines, in the face of the silence of those who had the obligation to act.
They were committed. History will judge them.
Surely, Radio Magallanes will be silenced, and the calm metal instrument of my voice will no longer reach you. It does not matter. You will continue hearing it. I will always be next to you. At least my memory will be that of a man of dignity who was loyal to his country.

„Cuba came from a dictatorship, and I arrived at the presidency after being senator for 25 years.“

—  Salvador Allende

Interview with Saul Landau (1971)
Context: I have been to Cuba many times. I have spoken many times with Fidel Castro and got to know Commander Ernesto Guevara well enough. I know Cuba's leaders and their struggle. It has been difficult to overcome the blockade. But the reality in Cuba is very different from that in Chile. Cuba came from a dictatorship, and I arrived at the presidency after being senator for 25 years.

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„I am not the president of all the Chileans. I am not a hypocrite that says so.“

—  Salvador Allende

Quoted by Chilean newspapers as a remark at a public rally (17 January 1971). Allende sent a public letter to El Mercurio newspaper to deny the quotation
Citied in Jonathan Haslam's "The Nixon Administration and the Death of Allende's Chile"
Misattributed

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