In 1971 and 1973 I lived several months in South America carrying out research and giving lectures. I experienced firsthand the social turmoil and economic pandemonium triggered by the election in 1970 of the socialist president of Chile, Salvador Allende. After witnessing the horrors of the civil unrest brought on by "Chiles experiment with socialism," I swore that I would never allow such horrible political chaos to impact on the future of the United States.
Often the "Southern Cone" countries of Argentina, Brazil and Chile in South America are referred to by researchers as the "ABC nations" or "ABC powers." For several years they have all courted socialism. Alvaro Vargas Llosa in his Deseret News column (Oct. 31) explains how Argentina is currently imitating our recent congressional "bailout" through a "government takeover" of retirement funds, a truly socialistic robbery.
In his 1970 promise of change for the Chilean presidency, Dr. Allende — a physician, a Cabinet minister and a senator for more than 30 years — won only 36.2 percent of the popular vote. This compared to 34.9 percent of the votes won by a much older candidate, Jorge Alessandri, who had already served as president from 1958 to 1964. Since Allende did not receive a majority of the votes, the Chilean Senate then elected him president of Chile.
Keeping his political promises for change, Allende nationalized (stole) American companies: Kennecott Copper, ITT (American Telephone and Telegraphs international branch and many other businesses. There was a total lack of food and other products and services.
The result of nearly three years of public chaos was the unfortunate death of Allende in 1973 on Sept. 11 during a military coup, which established the heavy-handed military regime of Gen. Augusto Pinochet that brought on even more drastic censorship and inhuman brutality.
Now Argentina has elected first Nestor Kirchner and subsequently his wife, Cristina. Both are socialist presidents. We have also seen the elections of socialist presidents in Brazil, Bolivia, Chile and Honduras, and Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Also the former Marxist president of Nicaragua (1985-90), Daniel Ortega, has recently been re-elected.
Do we as citizens realize that we are on the threshold of a future that may prove to be disastrous if we imitate the ABC nations of the South?
Lon Pearson, Ph.D., is a visiting researcher at Brigham Young University.