Friday, September 12, 2003

What’s Left of Allende?

Over the weekend radical chic Chileans gathered in knubbly turtleneck sweaters and designer jeans to remember the violent end of the Allende Administration . . . perhaps the least popular people’s revolution in history.

Allende, much like other sixties-era icons such as Jim Morrison, Bobby Kennedy, and Marilyn Monroe, are far more popular in death than they ever were in life.

Salvador Allende, you are unlikely to recall, campaigned for the top political office as the lunatic left candidate in a largely conservative country. Because of the wonders of proportional politics Allende was able to win election with a fraction of the vote, the rest being split among mainstream candidates.

This is like Larry Flynt winning the California recall . . . most Chileans reacted to the election with alarm tempered by the knowledge that Allende had no mandate to do anything foolish.

Allende promptly began to do foolish things like invite Soviet economists to Chile to help dismantle the private sector and thugs from Cuba to apply a little persuasive peer pressure to dissenters.

After nationalizing industries and suspending the justice system Allende was overthrown in a military coup that replaced the bespectled left-wing dictator with a strutting right-wing dictator. The difference being, the right-wing dictator relinquished power peacefully and left behind a thriving economy. Allende did quite the opposite. Nonetheless, Pinochet offended “progressive” sensibilities and is therefore only brutal dictator the Left is willing to criticize.

Anyway, many years have passed and those with little memory or sense showed up at the big Allende love fest this weekend for a day of peace love and music in honor of their favorite authoritarian human rights abuser.

Many musicians from around the radical world played and the United States was ritually booed.

To underscore the true meaning of Lenin’s term “useful idiot” the greatest applause was reserved for Silvio Rodriguez, a Cuban singer whose social conscience is so selective that he actually supported Fidel Castro’s recent execution without trial of three black men who were caught leaving the island paradise without permission.

Rodriguez also managed to find virtue in the imprisonment earlier this year of scores of Cubans who had the nerve to circulate a petition asking the Castro regime to hold free elections.

So the Left celebrates its counter September 11 by cheering the mouthpiece of harsh and repressive Latin American military dictatorship.

I guess poetic justice is better than no justice at all.

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