- Popular Front (Chile)
The Popular Front in Chile was an electoral and political left-wing coalition from 1937 to February 1941, during the
Presidential Republic Era(1924-1973). It gathered together the Radical Party, the Socialist Party, the Communist Party, the Democratic Party and the Radical Socialist Party, as well as organizations such as the " Confederación de Trabajadores de Chile" (CTCH) trade-union, the Mapuchemovement which unified itself in the " Frente Único Araucano", and the feminist " Movimiento Pro-Emancipación de las Mujeres de Chile" (MEMCh).
Formation of the Popular Front
Since 1935, the Communist Party advocated a
Popular Frontstrategy, in agreement with the Komintern's directions and in hope of succeeding in winning elections as in Spain and France. With this aim in mind, the Communist Party toned down its revolutionary discourse, advocating compromise with " bourgeois democracy" and supporting industrial development of the country. On the other hand, the Socialist Party remained sceptical towards such an alliance, and entered the Popular Front only when the electoral victory of the right-wing candidate, Gustavo Ross, seemed inescapable [http://www.memoriachilena.cl/mchilena01/temas/dest.asp?id=ampliobloquedeizquierdas El Frente Popular (1936-1941) - Amplio bloque de izquierdas] (with documents) es icon] .
Popular Frontpresented the Radical Pedro Aguirre Cerdaas their common candidate for the 1938 presidential election. He narrowly defeated the right-wing candidate. Following Cerda's death in 1946, the left-wing coalition developed into the Democratic Alliance which united the same parties for the 1942 presidential election.
The presidential candidate for 1938 was designed during the "Convención Presidencial de Izquierdas" (Presidential Convention of the Left) on 15-17 April, 1938 in the National Congress. 400 delegates of the Radical parties, 330 Socialists, 120 Communists, 120 members of the Democratic Party and 60 from the CTCH trade-union attended the convention. Initially, none of the proposed candidates obtained the required majority of 684 votes out of 1,030.
On the two first days, Aguirre Cerda won 520 votes (Radicals and Democrats),
Marmaduque Grove360 (Socialists and parts of the CTCH) and Elías Lafferte150 (Communists and parts of the CTCH). In the same time, the Extraordinary General Congress of the Socialist Party was being held, during which it was decided to withdraw Marmaduqe Grove's candidacy and to support Aguirre Cerda.
Government of the Popular Front
The Popular Front created the
CORFOafter the 1939 earthquake, which launched public works schemes, etc. Pedro Aguirre Cerda also nominated Pablo Nerudaas Special Consul in Paris for immigration, and the latter organized the journey of the "Winnipeg", which brought to Chile 2,200 Spanish Republican refugees. The Popular Front also implemented its education program by building 1,000 primary schools and creating 3,000 offices for teachers .
The Popular Front was supported by artists such as Neruda,
Gabriela Mistralor the Surrealistcollective " La Mandrágora", created in 1938 by Teófilo Cid, Enrique Gómez-Correaand Braulio Arenas[http://www.memoriachilena.cl/mchilena01/temas/index.asp?id_ut=frentepopular(1936-1941) El Frente Popular (1936-1941) | Presentación] es icon] .
Pedro Aguirre Cerda
*Minister of Health:
Popular Unity, the left-wing coalition for the 1970 presidential election.
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