Salvador Allende: In Memoriam | by Regis Debray

SEPT. 26, 1973

PARIS—Within him [Allende], will power vibrated stronger than ideas. Salvador was first of all a man of heart, for whom all that this expression holds—courage, faithfulness, emo tion—counted more than everything else. A man who spoke to you using the familiar to [an intimate form of address in Latin languages equivalent to the archaic “thee” in English], and you would have to make an effort to keep from answering him in the same fashion. One acknowledges the political animal in him but that was his twin—his role, his fateful image— which sometimes made him bitter. Because he had quite another image of himself, disarming and disarmed, which he kept secret, without speak ing about it.

Moved by a childlike sense, silent and stubborn about “what was done” and “what was not done,” about the noble and the base, he saw himself as a knight of hope, Robin Hood of the Mountains.

This discrepancy, this glorious in coherence, there is all the man. And that is why Allende was quite different from the colorless political doctrine that bore his name; why he had so many non‐Allendist friends; why was out of the question that he sign his capitulation alive.