Salvador Allende Biography
(Former President of Chile)
Birthday: June 26, 1908 (Cancer)
Born In: Santiago, Chile
Salvador Allende, the former president of Chile who served from 1970 to 1973, was the first Marxist to be democratically elected the president of a Latin American country. Basically a physician by profession, Allende’s involvement in Chilean politics dates back to 1933 when he co-founded a section of the Socialist Party of Chile and became its chairman. His interest in politics was apparent form his college days when as a medical student he was arrested multiple times for participating in radical politics. He unsuccessfully ran for presidency in 1952, 1958 and 1964 before finally winning the open elections in 1970 to become the first democratically elected socialist president of Chile. The country was in the throes of severe economic crises when Allende came to power. Socio-economic problems like unemployment, inflation and malnourishment were rampant in the country at that time. As president, he tried to build a socialist society by bringing about nationalization of industries and by adopting a policy of collectivism. He introduced a wage increase of around 40% while forbidding companies from hiking prices. He also restored diplomatic relations with China, Cuba and the German Democratic Republic. However his enthusiasm for socialism strained his relations with business houses and many other politicians. In spite of having the support of the farmers and the common man, his government was overthrown in September 1973 by a military coup.