_EP: 04

EP 4: The Cybernetic Jacket

Allende stares down the barrel of his gravest crisis yet, as middle classes desert him. As cybernetic strategies bring a glimmer of hope, Fernando Flores is thrust into the limelight. Meanwhile, Stafford walks a perilous line, his reputation now tied to Allende's.

_Episode Notes

01 : 44 "Chile connected by trains"

That vision is laid out in an essay by one of the key members of the Cybersyn team and a person close to Fernando Flores, Gabriel Rodriguez, and eventually Stafford Beer: the Berkeley-educated engineer Hermann Schwember. See his essay (in Italian) Hermann Schwember: "Politica e realtà tecnologica nel Cile di Allende", published in De Michelis, G., and De Cindio, F.. Il progetto Cybersyn. Cibernetica per la democrazia. Italy, Clupguide, 1980.

03 : 24 "band together in solidarity"

For a good account of the strike and the motivation behind it, see the various articles and books by Marcelo Casals. See Casals, Marcelo. "The Insurrection of the Middle Class: Social Mobilization and Counterrevolution During the Popular Unity Government, Chile, 1970–1973." Journal of Social History, vol. 54, no. 3, Oxford UP, Nov. 2019, pp. 944-969, available here and Casals, Marcelo. "The Chilean Counter-revolution: Roots, Dynamics and Legacies of Mass Mobilisation Against the Unidad Popular." Radical Americas, vol. 6, no. 1, UCL Press, Jan. 2021, pp. 1-17, available here. See also chapter I of Contrarrevolución, colaboracionismo y protesta: La clase media chilena y la dictadura militar en la historia de Chile. Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2022. 

04 : 05 "replace them in the hospitals"

On the uneasy relationship between Allende and Colegio Medico, the medical association that he helped co-found, see Miranda Ortiz, Jessica. Colegio Médico: posturas antidemocráticas en la trayectoria de la Unidad Popular (1970-1973). Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano, 2014, PhD dissertation. Available here; and Candina-Polomer, Azun. "Studying Other Memories." Latin American Perspectives, vol. 43, no. 6, SAGE Publishing, July 2016, pp. 75–87, available here; see also Navarro, Vicente. "What Does Chile Mean: An Analysis of Events in the Health Sector Before, During, and After Allende's Administration" Milbank Memorial Fund, 31 July 2018, pp. 93–130, available here.

07 : 07 "a brain of its own"

On Comando Gremial, see Valdivia Ortiz de Zárate, Verónica. Nacionales y gremialistas: el parto de la nueva derecha política chilena, 1964-1973. Chile, LOM Ediciones, 2018, pp. 356-357. See also Orlando Saenz’s account provided in González, Mónica. Chile, la conjura: los mil y un días del golpe. Chile, Ediciones B, Group Zeta, 2000, p. 157.

08 : 04 "something called miguelitos"

For the origins of the name, see "Clinicpedia: ¿Por Qué Los Miguelitos Se Llaman Así?" The Clinic, Mar. 2013, available here.

09 : 57 "one puzzled State Department official"

Haslam, Jonathan. The Nixon Administration and the Death of Allende's Chile: A Case of Assisted Suicide. United Kingdom, Verso Books, 2005, p. 142.

10 : 55 "rather ambiguous on this matter"

See Church Report: "Covert Action in Chile, 1963-1973." United States, Senate, Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations, 1975, p. 31. Available here

15 : 33 "a report from an American diplomat "

Cited in a 1973 memo from an Ecuador-based US diplomat to the State Department. Available here

19 : 41 "prostate problem"

Multiple people have confirmed this to me, including Allende's secretary Patricia Espejo. See also Jorquera, Carlos. El Chicho Allende. Chile, Ediciones Bat, 1993, p. 77-78

20 : 23 "to save the fellow's life"

This anecdote appears in Saenz, Orlando. Testigo privilegiado: anécdotas, curiosidades, revelaciones, indiscresiones y peripecias de un espectador afortunado del pasado reciente. Erasmo Ediciones, 2022, p. 87. 

22 : 16 "called for a day of silence"

The Day of Silence anecdote is related in Trumper, Camilo D.. Ephemeral Histories: Public Art, Politics, and the Struggle for the Streets in Chile. United States, University of California Press, 2016, pp. 74-75.

22 : 45 "industrial belts"

On "industrial belts", see our interview with Camilo Trumper and Ephemeral Histories: Public Art, Politics, and the Struggle for the Streets in Chile. Also see Gaudichaud, Franck. Poder popular y cordones industriales: testimonios sobre el movimiento popular urbano, 1970-1973. Chile, LOM Ediciones, 2004.

23 : 58 "as Mario Grandi points out"

See also Mario Grandi’s account of the strike in his interview that concludes De Michelis, G., and De Cindio, F.. Il progetto Cybersyn. Cibernetica per la democrazia. Italy, Clupguide, 1980.

26 : 10 "as one of their internal memos reveals"

See "Memorandum for the Record." United States, Department of State, Washington, October 17, 1972. Available here

30 : 37 "The Council of Revolutionary Coordination"

On JCR see Marchesi, Aldo. Latin America's Radical Left: Rebellion and Cold War in the Global 1960s. United Kingdom, Cambridge University Press, 2017, pp. 126 - 132; and Lessa, Francesca. The Condor Trials: Transnational Repression and Human Rights in South America. United States, Yale University Press.

35 : 52 "He's brimming with enthusiasm"

Stafford Beer collection, Box 66, Liverpool.

37 : 12 "Here's how Stafford puts it"

Beer, Stafford. Letter to Herman Schwember. November 13, 1972. Stafford Beer collection, Box 66, Liverpool.

40 : 00 "He writes about it in an essay"

See Beer, Stafford. "One Year of (Relative) Solitude: The Second Level of Recursion." December 1972, box 60, Beer Collection.

43 : 10 "he writes to Stafford "

From Raul Espejo to Stafford Beer, November 27, 1972. Monthly Progress Report. Box 66, Beer Collection.

49 : 36 "worst-case scenario"

Tanya Harmer also discusses it in her book on Beatriz Allende. See Harmer, Tanya. Beatriz Allende: A Revolutionary Life in Cold War Latin America. United States, University of North Carolina Press, 2020, p. 200.

50 : 41 "throughout the Cold War era"

For details on this, see Bevins, Vincent. The Jakarta Method: Washington's Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program That Shaped Our World. United States, PublicAffairs, 2021.

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