September 4, 2010

Nos vecinos

Salvador Allende

Salvador Allende won the vote for president of Chile on this date in 1970, though he did not take office for nearly a month.

Since he had won by such a narrow margin and had no majority, the senate had to vote on the top two candidates.

They had still not voted when Gen. Rene Schneider, head of the Army, was shot and wounded during a kidnap attempt on Oct. 20; he died of his wounds three days later.  Evidently a CIA-backed operation, the attack infuriated the military, which dropped their opposition to Allende.  The parliament chose him to head Chile on Oct. 24.

Three tumultuous years followed, during which Allende’s efforts to create a socialist state failed.  A number of factors contributed to the failure, not the least of which was the U.S. attempt to undermine his every move.  The idea of a socialist Chile reportedly caused Nixon to direct the CIA to “get rid of him.”  And it was Nixon’s goal to “make the [Chilean] economy scream.”

Which is exactly what happened.  Allende was overthrown in a coup by Augusto Pinochet in 1973 and is said to have committed suicide in the presidential palace rather than face exile.

* * *

I read somewhere that the original Los Angeles Pueblo was located in what was called the ‘valley of smoke,’ which is of course completely apt.

Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

LA was officially named The Village of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels of the river of Porziuncola. {Porziuncola was a church in Assisi, where the Franciscans began, and it was the Franciscan Mission which was in charge of the lower half of Las Californias.)

Though the Spanish governor had trouble finding volunteers to settle here, he  finally got some recruits from Sonora and Sinaloa.  The 44 ‘pobladores’ (townspeople) set the pattern for the diverse L.A. to come – they were Spanish, Spanish and Indian, African, African and Spanish, and Indian.  Half of the 44 were children.

That early settlement was in the area of Olvera Street, across from Union Station.  Olvera Street today is a tourist attraction with only a few 19th century buildings still standing, but at least it wasn’t all razed for a skyscraper.  It’s not authentic, but it is fun.

Credit for the photos goes to me.

Olvera Street



  1. Beautiful photo! I love all of my day trips to Olvera Street.
    Very informative info on Salvador Allende. Thanks!


    Comment by Deborah Turk — September 4, 2010 @ 9:07 am | Reply

  2. Allende business still smarts!

    Olvera Street was always a pleasure when I was young. Amazingly,according to your picture,its not only there,but even more attractive.


    Comment by GALYA TARMU — September 4, 2010 @ 4:54 pm | Reply

  3. i remember clearly the day we spent on olvera. finnegan was a babe in arms. you prompt a pleasant memory. finnegan turned seven in august.


    Comment by ursel — September 6, 2010 @ 7:24 am | Reply

  4. Lovely twofer on this day. Photos a great plus.


    Comment by Carol — September 6, 2010 @ 7:07 pm | Reply

  5. good history telling


    Comment by avery zia — September 6, 2010 @ 9:10 pm | Reply

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