The first ever Marxist President to be freely elected in a Western country, Chile's Salvador Allende, took over the reins of power on November 3.
The first ever Marxist President to be freely elected in a Western country, Chile's Salvador Allende, took over the reins of power on November 3. Now, almost two months later, his reforms are already being implemented.
On Monday, (December 21), President Allende signed a draft constitutional reform to allow the nationalisation of Chile's United States-owned copper mines--a popular move.
Earlier in the week, at a mass meeting, his wife announced the beginning of a campaign to provide every child in the country with a free daily pint of milk. The campaign is the fulfilment of one of President Allende's election promises--and another popular move.
On the copper mine issue, the President promised to pay compensation to the United States owners--to be spread over 30 years with an annual interest of three per cent. But he warned, these payments would be suspended if the companies concerned obstructed the nationalisation of the mines. At the same time, he also warned of an "international conspiracy" against Chile, and told the people to be on their guard. The nationalisation draft declared null and void agreements made with copper companies by his predecessor, Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei.
But as President Allende dealt with the copper reform measures, he appealed to the population to "keep calm", following the seizure of 41 ranches by a thousand peasants earlier in the day. The ranches were in San Antonio Province. Earlier in the week, similar seizures of ranches were made in the Southern Province of Cautin. In his appeal, President Allende told peasants they should keep calm and wait for the Government to take over ranches legally under its agrarian reform programme.
Meanwhile, a left-wing move to Father Christmas replaced by a worker to symbolise a "Christmas" was rejected last week.