In 1964, to head off the victory of Dr. Salvador Allende’s leftist coalition, the U.S. State Department secretly contributed millions to the presidential campaign of Chile’s Christian Democratic candidate, Eduardo Frei Montalva. Simultaneously, under the assumption that economic development could prevent Marxist revolution, Chile became Latin America’s highest per capita recipient of Alliance for Progress funds. But U.S. support came at a cost. President Frei’s subsequent debt of loyalty to Washington undermined his reformist policies to such a degree that Chileans who had elected him with the only landslide majority in Chile’s history began to distrust him. During that same period, university students founded Chile’s Movement of the Revolutionary Left, remembered by its acronym, MIR. This paper uses primary sources to argue that MIR’s call to armed rebellion owed much of its passion and intensity to the failures of Christian Democratic reform and to the perception that Frei’s government amounted to little more than a proxy for U.S. imperialism.


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pp. 142-168
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