5. 1964 presidential election in Chile

In Chile's 1964 presidential election, two main figures vied for leadership. Salvador Allende, the candidate for the socialist Popular Action Front (FRAP), faced Eduardo Frei Montalva of the Christian Democrat Party. Allende, an advocate for nationalising key industries, was met with scepticism from the country's wealthier factions and foreign powers, particularly the United States.

Footage from an Allende rally in the 1964 campaign

Amid the mounting Cold War fears, the U.S., dreading another Cuba in its backyard, intervened to prevent an Allende victory.

The CIA funnelled resources into Frei's campaign and sowed anti-Allende propaganda, aiming to swing the vote towards a more Western-friendly candidate. Many of these activities were documented in a high-profile report from the US senate (PDF). 


The front page of the US senate report

This clandestine intervention had its desired effect; Frei won the election with 56% of the vote, leaving Allende to bide his time until the next electoral contest.

Chile on the day of the election

The 1964 election proved a significant prelude to Chile's turbulent political future, hinting at the intense global power plays that loomed over this South American nation.

Read our interviews with Sebastián Hurtado-Torres and Peter Kornbluh for more background on that controversial election. 

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