For all those interested in Latin America, Dr. Halperin's Nationalism and Communism in Chile offers a valuable assessment of the crucial interaction among the three leftist parties of that country as well as an appraisal of the pivotal 1964 presidential contest.
The Chilean presidential election of September 1964 was no ordinary political confrontation. At stake was the possibility of Chile joining Cuba as a second Latin American nation in the “socialist camp.” Two of the leftist parties, the Communist Party and the Socialist Party of Chile, were joined in FRAP (Frente de Acción Popular), led by Socialist Salvador Allende. In the 1985 national elections, the same uneasy alliance had managed to capture 28 per cent of the vote and came in a close second behind victorious right-wing Jorge Alessandri.
In 1964. The primary opposition to FRAP was to come from yet another mass leftist party, the Christian Democrats, led by Eduardo Frei. Campaigning under a program of peaceful social reform, moderate nationalism, and a “new deal” with the United States, the Christian Democrats won, even though FRAP managed to garner 38.9 per cent of the vote.
With the Chilean Communist Party, the strongest and best organized in all of Latin America, and its leader Luis Corvalán the main Latin American spokesman for the Soviet position, with a Socialist Party dominated by fierce nationalism and marked by strong Castroite tendencies, the victory of the Christian Democrats has ramifications for all of Latin America. Eduardo Frei's more moderate leftist program has opened the way for new alternatives in solving Chile's problems.
Nationalism and Communism in Chile is being published in cooperation with the Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.