8. President Richard Nixon on covert operations in Chile
|“For us to have intervened [in Chile] – intervened in a free election and to have turned it around – I think would have had repercussions all over Latin America…”
—President Richard Nixon, January 4, 1971
The US was, in fact, carrying out covert operations in Chile, and was providing funding through the CIA to overthrow the newly elected Marxist President Salvadore Allende. Nixon even joked about their semi-successful efforts later in 1971 with Henry Kissinger, a conversation caught on Nixon’s infamous taping system. In 1973, the US-backed anti-government forces would be successful; in a violent coup, General Augusto Pinochet overthrew Allende’s government. Pinochet’s new government killed at least 3,197 people and tortured about 29,000 during a 17-year rule. Nixon was, however, partially correct: American efforts to unseat left-leaning governments and replace them with right-wing dictators did have “repercussions all over Latin America” — and around the world.