22 February 2011

Ch 51: Bob Haldeman Interview-- Communist Takeover in Chile Pt 1

November. 1970; the Election of Salvador Allende

Haldeman: That was in August, and all was fine. The elections came in 
September, and then came the beginning of the end. Allende won. 
It was by the skin of his teeth. It was split in thirds again, 
and I think he won by 34.1 percent. The next man, the 
Conservative, had 33.7 percent. Usually you had to go to 
Congress for a second round; if a person doesn't get 50 percent 
plus one, Congress decides. 

Well, we all knew what Allende was going to do; there was 
no doubt in anybody's mind. I happened to be in Buenos Aires on 
election night. My eldest son and his wife, my first grandson, 
and my third son had come down for summer vacation in September. 
I had invited them down for our twenty- fifth wedding 
anniversary, and we went to the beach. Then we took a trip to 
Buenos Aires, and we were going to go up to Rio [de Janeiro]. 
Then the kids would go home, and I would come back with my wife. 
I thought the Christian Democrats would win- -not by very much, 
but with all the political machinery they had--. 

We were in the Hotel Plaza in Buenos Aires on election 
night, listening on the radio. The vote returns were coming in, 
and faces started to get longer. The grandson was getting tired 
and wanted to eat. I said, "I'm losing my appetite," so we had 
them send up two big tureens of chicken stew, called cazuela de 
aves, and a couple of bottles of wine. We sat there, and by 
twelve o'clock at night it was very obvious what had happened. 
So I had to get back to Santiago. Oh, it was horrible.

Index to Haldeman Interview

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