This is a very telling, informative and stimulating collection about not only the life of El Compañero Presidente, but Chilean history in general, especially during the years 1970-1973. One comes to understand Allende not as a Napolean of an Orwellian novel but as the embodiment of democracy, human rights and compassion. You will read about and come to understand how Allende came to power (the world's first freely elected socialist president), as well as the true socialist, not communist, nature of the programs he tried to introduce into Chile. You will read about his friendship and re-establishment of relations with revolutoinary Cuba. Included also are some great discourses given before world bodies such as the U.N., decrying, well ahead of the time it has become accepted to do so, what he viewed as the budding New World Order. More than anything, you will get a feel for President Allende's commitment to democracy, human rights and progress for Chile, as evidenced by his last words via radio to the Chilean nation before his assassination: "I have faith in Chile and its destiny."
His words and ideas resonate still in our day. Anyone who believes that Allende was a victim of U.S. policy of containment, of U.S. fears, "justified," during the Cold War of Red communism getting another foothold in Latin America, which is now inapplicable, need merely consider the recent coup attempt in Venezuela of Hugo Chavez, a president similar to Allende in his election, political inclinations and friendship with such world malcontents as Fidel. The fact that the U.S., besides El Salvador, was the only nation in the hemisphere to quickly endorse the new government of a rightist who, like Pinochet, suspended all legislative and judicial bodies speakd volumes. Essentially nothing has changed, which provides for the words of Allende to still be applicable and important 30 years later.
One need merely visit Chile to get a feel for and understand El Compañero Presidente. He lives on in the memories and hearts of many. The tension is still enough that it is a topic better left alone. Allende was a man of the people. He strove to give back to the people. He worked to include the Mapuche, the marginalized of Chile. There was complete freedom of the press in Allende's Chile, as well as not one political prisoner. The situation was entirely the opposite under Pinochet. You will read this and more in this good collection.
Perhaps the highlight of the Salvador Allende Reader is a word from Fidel Castro, meant as a possible warning to Allende, become the defining and stirring memorial to El Compañero Presidente. Castro told Allende he thought "he trusted in democracy probably a little too much."