Life and Revolutionary Legacy
At 9.15 a.m. on September 11, 1973, minutes before US-backed military jets bombed the Presidential Palace, the President of Chile, Salvador Allende, took to the radio and addressed his fellow citizens.
“I will always be with you. At least the memory of me will be of a dignified man who was loyal to the fatherland. I have faith in Chile and in its destiny. Other men will overcome this grey and bitter moment when treachery tries to impose itself. Viva Chile! Viva the People! Long live the workers!”
Salvador Allende’s last words to the Chilean people were probably the greatest words of farewell ever uttered by a political leader, and they had an immense impact on people around the world.
Yet there is much more to the life of Salvador Allende than the last seven hours or even the last three years of his life. These years were the culmination of his political ambitions and the triumph of his political methods, but they were also the last stage in a long process of struggle and organisation that had its roots at the beginning of the twentieth century, around the time Allende was born.
Allende’s death and the overthrow of his government are often told as a dramatic tragedy, but Allende’s significance for Chile and the wider world also lies within the story of his life, intertwined with the history of the popular movement he led. Victor Figueroa Clark’s magnificent biography tells that grand story.