22 February 2011

Ch 52: Haldeman Interview

We had tickets to leave the next afternoon to go to Rio. I
told the kids, "You go right ahead. Here's the money, and you
make the rest of the trip. I'm going to stay." I got a couple
of seats for my wife and myself on a flight around noon. We got
into the airport--it 's the day after the election and it was
empty. [In Santiago] we got in a taxi, and usually the taxi
drivers are full of beans, but there was absolute dead silence.
Gloom fell over Santiago. We drove through the middle of town,
and there was practically nobody out. People were scared.

Then we had to go through all the rigmarole of waiting for
him to have his session with Congress. Naturally Congress
approved of Mr. Allende's election. Then all of the morale fell
apart. We were just one part of a general panic situation in
the country. Strikes started up, labor indiscipline, groups of
students running down the street shouting and throwing bricks
here and there. People were threatening to go out and take over
the private homes.

Allende was up on the balcony, waving and shouting,
"Corapaneros, I'm going to put legislation in the Congress to get
peoples' courts and turn out the judges. The judges are no
good; we'll have popular tribunals." All of the propaganda. I
even have a little book of his program that they sold on the
street. I had bought it six months before he was elected, and
four months after he was elected he followed the book perfectly.
People didn't believe it.

Chaos happened. People started to scramble. The Chileans
who had money figured that it was the end of their life here.
You could go out and buy a brand-new car- -they would give you
the keys for a thousand dollar bill.

Allende giving his victory speech at Santiago

Index to Haldeman Interview

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