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Help for Allende

In response to:

A Special Supplement: Chile: Year One from the September 23, 1971 issue

To the Editors:

Professor Hobsbawm’s study of recent Chilean political experience (“Chile: Year One” NYR, September 23) merits praise for its soundness and informative content….

There is one clarifying point, however, I wish to make regarding Hobsbawm’s discussion of the opposition forces in Chile (p. 30). While it is true that the movement toward a unified anti-Marxist Opposition will present formidable problems for the UP, there are positive consequences in such a trend for Allende’s government. One of these is now developing. The Christian Democratic Party or rather elements within the party have undergone an identity crisis because of the party’s close collaboration with the Organized Right (National Party). The results: the formal resignations at a July 28 party meeting of numerous cadres and party militants including the president and two vice-presidents of the Youth Section, six of the twelve members of the National Council, six congressmen, a number of municipal councilmen, and numerous student leaders. They have joined in a new Christian Left Movement (MIC) seeking to unite laymen and clergy in support of Allende’s programs and in opposition to the rightist trend.

To say the least, the MIC places Christian Democracy in an embarrassing situation which cannot but help Allende in his attempts at mobilizing mass support. As the CDP moves to the right, the MIC will become more important and offer a viable alternative to others now reluctant to desert the party.

José Luis Rodríguez

Department of Political Science, Yale

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