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Matthew Shugart

I'm not sure what Allende could have done differently to avoid "bungling." My purpose is not to defend him or his "road to socialism" but I really do not know what better options he had.

The Christian Democrats were the "pivot" party in Chile's party system at the time, and they refused to work with him (except on copper nationalization, which passed Chile's congress unanimously).

At one point in 1973, Allende tried to bring the Christian Democrats into his cabinet, but instead they joined the rightwing parties in passing a resolution calling Allende's government unconstitutional (with, to be charitable, dubious justification)

By that time, it is evident that the Christian Democrats had already thrown themselves into the arms (so to speak) of the coup plotters, and probably assumed there would be new elections (that they would win) almost immediately. Now THAT was a blunder of catastrophic proportions.

Maybe another blunder worthy of note was Allende's decision to promote Pinochet to head of the army shortly before the coup. But I think there is little evidence that he should have known Pinochet would lead a coup. In fact, I think Pinochet led the coup mainly to maintain the integrity of his own institution, which was being pulled asunder by coup plotters within the ranks, some of whom would have preferred to lead a socialist coup, and others of whom were in league with the CIA.

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