Eagle of the Andes V2.0

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  • AN:
    Welcome all to the Rebooted Eagle of the Andes that said while I am going to be updating this it’s going to be slow going. I’m not the fastest writer in the world, and things in RL are looming. That said, there have been some changes in the formatting. I’m going to try and stick with the history text book like format for the most part with occasional vignettes thrown in for flavor just to keep my own sanity intact. Trying to write out what amounts to ten years’ worth of political and diplomatic wrangling before I get to the main body of the story is not something I want to do. I may go back and write a more in depth version of these early years if I finish this off (Stop laughing it could happen!) but for the moment in the interest of keeping the story moving despite the long gaps between updates this is going to be the format.

    That said, readers of the original TL will note that there have been some pretty substantial changes just within this first update. Frankly I didn’t do enough research when I started writing the original version and it showed. Hopefully this will be a massive improvement in both the believability and plausibility, but feel free to point out areas where you think I made a mistake or missed a trick. With all the prefaces out of the way, on with the show.


    The South American War, as it is known in the United States or Europe, or the Beagle War, as it is known in South America, redefined a continent. The fighting not only change the world’s perception of South America, but it also caused a massive shift in Geopolitics. In many ways it redefined the battle ground of the cold war, and the actors who were involved with said conflict. The fighting rewrote the diplomatic and political geography of a continent, and beyond, leaving the world a much more complicated place. The actions of Brazil, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruaguy, Paraguy, and Ecaudor played as visible a role in the conflict as the tens of millions of dollars the USSR, United States, and China poured into the southern cone after the war was over did. Not only that but the diplomatic fall out of the war re wrote the consensus that had been established in the wake of the Second World War concerning wars and territorial expansion. Not to mention the effect that the war had on the UN and the idea of an international judiciary. The conflict reflected a rather sharp, previously unknown, limit on the power of the super powers to control their proxies. In many ways the nature of the conflict required the redefinition of the cold war as much as the super powers influence did. Whilst its first shots were fired in December of 1978 the local tensions that created the flash point stretch back eleven years earlier, and the root causes of the war even further.

    Many commentators will point out that the Beagle dispute between Chile and Argentina, the flash point that launched the war, began in the 1904 when the Argentine government attempted to redefine the 1881 border in their favor. It is unclear why this was done, as Francisco Pascasio Moreno, the chief of the Argentine exploring commission of the southern territories, put it; “I can't understand why the Argentine Government claims sovereignty over the islands Picton, Nueva, Lennox, etc., basing its arguments on the 1881 Treaty and the 1893 Protocol, when the first one invalidates its claim and the second one has nothing to do with the demarcation of the Beagle channel.” This redefinition of the border caused a long running but low level diplomatic tiff, one that was ignorable to the outside world along with the majority of the population of both Chile and Argentina. As the dispute was over little more than ego it was ignored by the rest of the world, even during the border arbitration carried out by King Edward VII in 1902 over the disputed border between the two countries. The Argentine claim was considered completely spurious, and was seen as being settled in the 1881 treaty. Speculation is that this claim could have been made in retaliation for the 1888 annexing of Easter Island by Chile, as Chiles successful colonial adventure gave it some measure of greater respect then the larger and more populace Argentina. Despite this the claim continued to be made in Argentina, much to the annoyance of the authorities in Santiago, although it had little to no real effect on international relations.

    This dispute continued with a low level war of words between Argentine and Chilean diplomats until the Snipe incident of 1958. The incident was triggered when the Chilean navy erected an automated light house on the Islet of Snipe. The Argentine Navy responded by destroying the Chilean light house and erecting one of their own. The Chilean navy, unable to let this stand, responded in kind. The situation was tense and escalating towards a shooting incident. As no one wanted to get into a shooting war Carlos Ibáñez del Campo, president of Chile, and Pedro Eugenio Aramburu Silveti, the Argentine military dictator, worked out a compromise before either countries military did something irreversible. This compromise was aided by Aramburu’s failure to use of the Snipe incident to halt a return to civilian government in Argentina, and his subsequent distraction. Unfortunately while he was the first Argentinian politician to use the Beagle dispute in such a manner he would hardly be the last.

    From 1958 onwards the Argentine political elite, especially those in the military, embraced the idea of a short victorious war, or more accurately a foreign crisis which might lead to a short victorious war at worst. Chile was the usual target for this attitude aided by the Chilean government’s continued focus on dealing with its social and economic ills rather than its military position. Every time there was a political problem in Argentina that the government wanted the population distracted from the Beagle islands were brought up. Although there is some speculation that in light of the strong Chilean military response in 78, coupled with the drawdown of the Royal Navy in the region, that the Argentine target for such warmongering was being shifted to the Malvinas.

    Unfortunately for the world before such a shift could occur the war broke out. These incidents and provocations were characterized by the Argentine military being used to try and push the smaller, less well equipped, but better trained Chilean military around. Of course following the 1970 presidential election the material situation of both armed forces changed, although the numbers did not, leaving the impression that the Chileans were less well equipped then they actually were in 1978. The Chileans historically responded to the increasing number of incidents by matching the Argentinians blow for blow, often worsening the situation despite their relative weakness. This was another factor that many talk about when they consider the war, that the Chileans had made no attempt to changed the Argentine perception of them, as the Chilean military thought in terms of wars not in terms of international politics. They sought to preserve strategic surprise and intentionally invited the Argentine military to error by being too aggressive. The Chilean’s, especially the navy, were content to push the level of dispute beyond what the Argentinians wanted. This was true even when the Chileans were well aware they had no hope of winning the subsiqent armed conflict. This aggressive attitude continued, and became more prevalent, as the Chilean military increased in strength. The Revolución Argentina Junta continued and exacerbated this misconception of the situation in 1967 when it provoked two incidents in rapid succession.

    The Ballenita incident was the first, caused by the Argentine maritime authorities posting an Argentine pilot on the Panamanian ship Ballenita for its voyage to Ushuaia through Chilean claimed waters. The Chilean government responded by heavily fining the ship master, an act which was responded to by the Argentine authorities refusing Chilean pilots the right to board south bound ships at Buenos Aires, forcing them to board at Montevideo in Uruguay. It was a diplomatic incident, one which stung the Argentine government as they were viewed as being in the wrong. The Argentine response was the Cruz del Sur incidents. Instead of backing down an Argentine vessel, the fishing schooner Cruz del Sur was found fishing in Chilean waters. The Chilean navy escorted it out of their waters, only for the ship to return a few days later escorted by an Argentine naval patrol vessel. Even as the Chilean navy moved to reinforce high level diplomatic contacts worked tirelessly to deescalate the situation. The Argentine establishment felt they had made their point, and backed down diplomatically before the Chileans could retaliate. They felt they had established the needed facts on the ground and were satisfied. The Chileans on the other hand, while ostentatiously successful diplomatically, felt that the Argentines had succeeded in their aim without a visible answer. It was felt by the Chilean navy that a continued passive approach to the situation would invite Argentine military authorities to feel that they could act with impunity. Diplomatic rebukes were seen as little more than slaps on the wrist to a set of bullies who didn’t care about international opinion, and so force was needed to demonstrate that should the Argentine military act in such a manner again Chile could respond effectively on its own, with its armed forces.

    The Chilean navy decided that rather than wait for the Argentine navy to escalate, and to take advantage of their new diplomatic and political position, they would push back and preempt any Argentine moves. As such the Guacolda and Fresia, Barceló-class fast attack craft, proceeded to violate Argentine territorial waters in mouth of the Straits of Magellan aggressively menacing Argentine shipping. The Cochrane, a Fletcher class destroyer, patrolled the Argentine side of the disputed Beagle Channel backed up by the Quidora, another Barceló-class fast attack craft, effectively daring the Argentine navy to try and enforce their claim. Pressure built on the Argentine navy to do something, as the Chileans appeared to be completely dominant in the region, and had reversed any gains made during the Cruz del Sur series of incidents. On the 29th of November 1967 the Argentine navy struck back, shelling the Quidora as the fast attack craft entered the Bay of Ushuaia.

    Just why the Quidora was engaged in such a blatant violation of Argentine territory is a controversy that rages in Chile to this day. The Christian Democrat party asserts that the provocation was ordered by the Navy. The Navy on the other hand has repeatedly claimed that the orders for the provocation came out of La Moneda. The consensus among the historical community is that in light of Freis 1966 Brasilia speech, and general disinterest in military affairs, it is unlikely that he would order such a provocation. Those who hold that he did point to his falling popularity, major legislative setbacks such as the chamber of deputies refusal to allow him to leave the country for a state visit to the United States in January, and state that he was looking for an outside crisis to reaffirm his rule. This controversy has been further exasperated by the disappearance of the critical documentation sometime in 1970, an act that both sides of the dispute blame the other for as both sides continue to claim that the missing documents would vindicate them.

    Whatever the truth of the mater after the shelling of the Quidora the Chilean Navy felt embattled, especially after President Frei failed to back them up diplomatically. That he ordered the cashiering of Lieutenant Prieto, the commander of the Quidora at the time of the incident, seemingly as a sop to the Argentine military was widely seen as a slap in the face of the Chilean military. Admiral Ramon Barros, the Commander in Chief of the Chilean Navy, decided to use his last year at his post to raise hell. His program was a rebuke to the president and to the Argentines, and despite its inflammatory nature widely popular. The Chilean public had not been pleased with the way that the Quidora incident had been handled, believing that Frei had been too soft. Avoiding war was one thing, but he and the Christian Democrats were viewed as having bent over backwards to appease a bunch of jack booted thugs. The Battle of Laguna del Desierto where 90 Argentinian security personal had ambushed 4 Chilean Cabineros in 1965, just two years before, was brought up prominently in the media. Frei was widely accused of backing down, betraying the Chilean fighting men, and appeasing the untrustworthy military thugs across the Andes. Interestingly enough both the right and the left agreed on this, and in an unusual situation both El Mercucio, Chiles paper of record widely regarded as being on the political right, and Clarin, a leading left wing populist newspaper, savaged the administration over its Argentina policy.

    Taking advantage of this general dissatisfaction and anger of the general public, in order to promote his own service, Admiral Ramon Barros ordered all four Barceló-class torpedo boats into the straits of Magellan, where they harassed Argentinian vessels for all of 1968. This included the incident where the ARA Buenos Aires (D-6) was chased out of the straits and forced to retreat to Rio Grande. Unlike the usual practice of the navy all of these provocations and incidents were well reported as Admiral Barros allowed reporters from Chilean news media unprecedented access. His media campaign was relatively successful in selling the message that the navy was ready and willing to take on the task of throwing back the Argentinians but the politicians were holding them back. This intense, public, and prolonged retaliation forced General Ongania, the military ruler of Argentina who was just barely hanging on to his power, to respond, which he did in 1969.

    From December 1969 until July of 1970 both the ARA Veinticino de Mayo and the ARA Independicia were deployed in positions where they could strike at the Chilean navy should the Chileans challenge the Argentinian dominance of the Cape Horn and the waterways surrounding Terra del Fuego. They were only withdrawn after General Ongania was overthrown and replaced by General Levingston, and even then General Levingston kept them on station from the time he took power until the middle of July when he began to come under pressure of being deposed in turn. Despite the obsolete nature of the Independicia’s air group (She was still launching F4U Corsairs as her primary strike arm) and her Buenos Aires class escorts (The Buenos Aires class were a modification of the world war one era Royal Navy G class torpedo boat destroyers) the imbalance of power was keenly felt in Chilean military circles. While the Independicia might have been old, bordering on obsolete, along with her escorts they still represented a major qualitative advantage over the Chilean military, an advantage that was made even more obvious by the 25 de Mayo and her modern escorts.

    Much like the Brazilian acquisition of the Minas Gerais class dreadnoughts touched off the South American Dreadnought race the two carriers of Argentina caused a military arms race. Especially when the Argentine military announced that it was seeking to procure A- 1 Skyraiders to modernize the Indepencia’s air group with an eye towards retaining her for future use. Chile, with a navy half the size of Argentina in terms of hulls, naturally sought to correct this imbalance. That Caused the Peruvians to attempt to keep up with their primary pacific rival, spurring on the Ecuadorian’s to try and keep up with the Peruvians. This domino effect spread out around the continent, causing an arms build up. While an international phenomenon this arms race was driven firmly from la Moneda, as the Chilean government set the pace, and standard for the continent. This reclamation of their status of a major regional power caused the Chileans to continue this arms race and exacerbate it. Especially as the arms race firmly pushed Peru back from menacing Chiles position as the third military power in the region.

    For the first time the rising tensions between Argentina and Chile had a direct effect on Chilean politics, something especially obvious in light of the contentious presidential election that was ongoing. Outgoing president Eduardo Frei had misjudged badly during his time in office, not only in that his economic reforms had not been as successful as he had hoped, but that the Chilean electorate would ignore his response to the international crisis as they had traditionally. His attempts to throttle Chilean Jingoistic tendancys backfired on his party allowing the Nationalist to dominate the electoral debate over international a security issues. This was thought of as a safe choice, as economic issues had been driving Chilean politics since the reign of Videla and the Radical party, but proved to be a mistake in hindsight. As a result of Frei’s errors his Christian Democratic party had lost the alliance with the right which had catapulted them into power and throw the elections wide open.

    The Christian Democrats put up Radomiro Tomic, a candidate who was firmly in the left wing of the party he had been widely considered Freis heir apparent but his published policy stances and his campaign statements made the center and right wing of the party nervous. Those two wings of the party had hoped for a nomination challenge to force the party’s platform back to the center, which was not forthcoming due to the massacre of Puerto Montt discrediting their preferred candidate Edmundo Perez Zujovic leaving the left wing of the party to write the parties platform as they pleased. This firm shift on the part of the party as a whole to the left was not greeted with universal accolades. Those on the right and in the center of the party were understandably less enthused, feeling that the party was disregarding their voices.

    They felt that the party’s decision to abandon the political center was a mistake, especially since all of the parties efforts were focused on the left leaning voters taking the centrist voters who had pushed the party into power for granted. Scrambling for the same left leaning votes, with significantly more success, was Salvador Allende the Socialist candidate, and his UP alliance. In an interesting bit of historical irony the UP alliance was running against the very person who had given them their name, as Tomic had been the one to initiate the idea and name it. Both of the left leaning candidates chose to keep their campaigns about economic issues alone, which proved to be a mistake. While the traditional problems of Chile persisted the new fears of the electorate created by the Argentine saber rattling and military confrontations in the south of the country were not addressed by the left leaning campaigns. This let the Alessandri campaign control the narrative on the emerging definitive issue on the campaign. A mistake on the part of the left leaning candidates as they inadvertently gave Alessandri greater legitimacy by ceding the foreign policy and defense discussion to him.

    For Tomic it was a choice forced on him by circumstances. The rise of the MIR terrorists, General Viaux’s abortive coup attempt, and tepid responses to Argentine provocations by President Frei, along with the specter of Presidents Frei’s 1966 Brasilia speech meant that any attempt Tomic made to speak on security issues was a disaster waiting to happen for his campaign. The public having seen the Christian Democrats fumble security issues and foreign affairs more than once leaving behind a profound distrust of the Christian Democrat’s competence on the international stage. To add to Tomic’s woes he moved to the left on economic issues despite the Frei administration’s failure provided the more modest reforms it had promised when elected. This shift to the left also eroded the Christian Democrats support in the critical middle class while failing to bring in enough new voters to counter balance the loss. The leftist proposals coming out of Tomic’s campaign sounded divorced from reality and increasingly fantastical, in effect he was trying to outdo Allende as a leftist without that worthy’s credibility. Tomic, and by extension the Christian Democrats, sounded as if they would do anything to keep themselves in power and that hurt them badly with the electorate. Especially as they were viewed as not being able to follow through on their electoral promises. Those on the left of the party drifted towards the UP collation while those on the right and center quietly supported Alessandri’s candidacy. Despite the fragmentation of the Christians Democrats electoral support a hard core remained, convincing Tomic that he still had a shot at the presidency. He also felt that even if he did not have a shot his candidacy was a chance to move the nation political discourse leftwards, which was a goal that he did achieve. This core of support was based on the rural areas which had benefited from the Christian democrats land reform.

    Although strong in some of the rural regions of Chile, and with a political platform tailored to appeal to residents of said regions, the Christian Democrats failed to gain traction. Many of the lower class who did not benefit from the governmental expropriation campaign felt that the government had failed to do enough for them. The great drought of 68-69 and the government’s response was another hot button issue during the rural campaign, to the detriment of the Christian Democrats. The Norte Chico development region was especially hard for the Christian Democratic campaign as some farmers and communities had found themselves without enough water for human consumption during the drought. Given the heavy concentration of socialists in the regions mining unions Tomic ended up almost abandoning the region to concentrate his campaign on the center of Chile. It was a logical decision despite the criticism he took for making it, after all the demographics of Chile were weighted disproportionately towards the center of the country. The problem with the decision was one of appearance, Tomic and his campaign confirmed the regional and lackluster nature of his campaign when they abandoned more than a third of the country. A view that was reinforced when commentators realized that Tomic had already ceded the south with its strong nationalist voting record to Alessandri without a fight. Voters were given the impression that there was no way Tomic could win, and now he was campaigning simply to not lose his credibility.

    For Allende this was a dream run, his opposition was fragmented and the political landscape of Chile was undergoing a radical upheaval. He felt, not without some justification, that this benefited him to a greater degree than any other candidate. The centrist Christian Democrats were discrediting themselves and heavily involved in internecine bloodletting over their shift to the left. The Radical party had already attempted the same shift and failed, leading it to be regarded as a spent force in Chilean politics. The Radicals had in fact shifted so far to the left that they were founding members of the UP coalition and had thrown their support behind Allende in this presidential election. Given their abysmal showing in the 1964 election it was no surprise that he discounted the Nationalists and their right wing coalition, regarding them as a spent force politically. That they had needed to virtually draft Alessandri into running helped to reinforce this misconception among Allende and his advisors. The race appeared to be his to lose, not that he took his inevitable victory for granted. He had a very strong organization in the city’s, and especially in the early months among the unions, and with the communist, socialist, and Radical party apparatus behind him was set to win. His radical reform platform was well know, having been published with money acquired from the Soviet Union, and played well with the electorate. Not to mention that the United States was not funding his opponents in this election cycle, instead putting money towards an ineffective attack campaign managed from Washington. Without Chilean input said campaign wasn’t nearly as effective as it had been in the 58 or 64 election.

    Allende played to his strengths throughout the campaign. He was known as an inspiring speaker and was well aware that while the rural wing of the Socialist party was in ascendance politically the electoral strength of the party was still based in the cities and their unions. As such he used a combined strategy of mass rallies in the cities, with a well-publicized an organized ground game in the poorer neighborhoods, and targeted radio outreach to the rural population. It was a wise division of his time a resources, one that had his policies not completely alienated the middle class would have won him the presidency.

    Despite a strong showing in the polls, even before the election the UP collation was showing cracks. The hard left Socialists and their Communist allies led by Luis Alberto Corvalán Lepe, the general secretary of the Chilean communist party, and Carlos Altamirano Orrego, a socialist senator and the heir apparent to Allende as the leader of the parliamentary socialist party, worked hard to evict the remaining Radicals from the UP, along with those they felt were doctrinally unsound like socialist deputy Mario Palestro. Despite the covert nature of these attempts they were becoming obvious by the end of the campaign and at several critical junctures Allende was forced to stop campaigning to mediate between the competing wings of his party. The political infighting behind the scenes had in fact gotten so bad that both the Radical Party and the Independent Popular Action parties were in talks to leave the UP collation and create their own left leaning movement before the first ballet had been cast. This inter collation bloodletting was to be publicized after the election was concluded and had a chilling effect on the electoral chances of the political left, a force that had looked to become dominant in Chilean politics.

    As Allende and Tomic competed with increasing vigor for the political left while ignoring the rest of the political spectrum the third Candidate in the presidential race staked out a position that appealed to the forgotten center and right of the political spectrum. Jorge Alessandri was a dynamic former president who was still highly respected by the public. While the hard left dismissed him, along with the Christian Democrats, due to his failure to address the economic woes of Chile during his first presidency, and the fact he had needed to be drafted into running, they missed that his calming influence and commanding demeanor had a major effect on the populace. More so after the first televised debate, as Alessandri’s calm and knowledgeable rebuttals played very well with those who were undecided as opposed to the other two candidate’s bombastic Marxist rhetorical style. This was aided in that Alessandri was the only candidate prepared for a televised campaign. Alessandri had been president during the Nixon/Kennedy debates, and had paid very close attention to the American campaign. He was acutely aware that television was a medium with its own requirements, having seen the difference in response between those who heard the debates on radio and those who saw them on television. To compensate for his lack of knowledge, and personal distaste for the medium, Alessandri hired several American image consultants, aided by the CIA and the American state department. Because of the effort he put into his televised image he appeared to the television viewing audiences as the most put together candidate. His embrace of the televised campaign also helped to stifle rumors that he was suffering from dementia in his advanced age. Not to mention he appeared the most forward thinking of the candidates, certainly he ran the most technologically adept campaign. The Alessandri name alone was enough to calm fears of additional coupe attempts, and given the nervousness of the country his run was seen as a call back to his father’s two presidencies. With the additional worry’s brought on by the increasingly belligerent Argentina his promises of safety and stability resonated well with the middle class, and especially with women voters.

    Alessandri might have represented the economic and political right, and been more comfortable there politically and personally, but the way that the other two candidates had lunged to the left forced him to move to the left as well. While he did not abandon his own center right ideals the platform he put together and campaigned on was a departure from his first campaign and showed a distinct drift to the left. In order to move leftward without losing his credibility he had several potent weapons in his pocket. The first, which he deployed with great skill in the north of the country, was the renowned labor relations author and former minister of labor William Thayer, who had been ousted from the Christian Democratic government in 1968 for his support of a comprehensive reform in labor laws. He had been brought on by Alessandri to fix labor relations in the country amidst great fanfare and publicity. A political move that reassured Christian Democratic voters that despite the bad blood between Frei and Alessandri he would be willing to work with the Christian Democrats for the betterment of the country.

    William Thayer was very much the right man for the job and having fallen victim to internal Christian Democratic politics had an axe to grind with Tomic he campaigned mightily for the chance to show that his answer had been correct and the Christian Democrats wrong to have fired him. The rural unions, all based off the legal work that Thayer had done while he was in office, were the reason why the Christian Democrats had such strength in rural areas. He pointed to them loudly and publically, asking why they had been established but the industrial unions were not allowed the privileges that they had. Importantly, to sell the idea to the right, he pointed out that a key portion of his proposed reforms would allow the Unions as a group to become spokesmen for the working man rather than the socialist-communist mouthpiece’s that they had become.

    Allowing the Unions to collect and maintain their own strike funds was a major step forward in labor relations as well as a very well thought out political strike against the Communist and Socialist parties, both of which enjoyed the support they did from Unions due to their history of using party funds to fund strikes and other labor actions. It was said that giving the unions the abilitie to raise their own funds would change little, other then decoupling them from their need to appeal to the socialist and communist parties in order to do their jobs. Thayer put forth a program based on the 1951 codetermination law of Germany, and all that had lead up to that point in German labor relations, a program that was acceptable to both the upper class and surprisingly enough found widespread support from industrial workers.

    The second, and perhaps the most potent, weapon that Alessandri deployed was his support among the women of Chile. It was a support that he cultivated religiously, one which cut across class divides and widened his base of support to an appreciable degree. This was accomplished by a dual pronged approach by the Alessandri media office. On one hand they ran a vicious campaign of fear mongering, placards and advertisements featuring children taken from their homes and brainwashed by the socialists. One of the more successful series of ads alleged that should Allende win he would send the youth of Chile to be indoctrinated in Cuba, a rerun of an earlier CIA sponsored campaign from the 1964 campaign. These scare tactics, coupled with an appeal to the apolitical traditional role of Chilean women in politics and expressly linking said role with Alessandri, was a success. By the end of the campaign Alessandri was polling as having twice the support of his nearest competitor with the female vote. It also heavily informed the Alessandri administrations choice of cabinet ministers and how the administration was run.

    Alessandri ran his campaign as an independent, presenting himself as a unifying almost apolitical figure. It was a strategy that had worked for him before, and he easily picked up back up. By including members of the Christian Democrat party, disaffected Radicals, and Nationalists in his campaign he emphasized an inclusivity and stability that had been missing in the increasingly bitterly divided political discourse of the country. With right wing generals marching, and radical left wing terrorists committing bombings seemingly right and left, this promise of apolitical stability was appealing. Alessandri emphasized his commitment to this apolitical stance by publically promising to appoint the largest number of women to his cabinet, taking advantage of the traditional view of women in Chile.

    An additional advantage that wasn’t counted at the time, and is still in dispute, were the actions taken by the CIA. Alessandri had been a beneficiary of their manipulations during the last election cycle he participated in, but during this election cycle he was rather pointedly not given any aid. The CIA spent its money, and influence, solely on keeping Allende out of La Moneda. While this appeared to be a disadvantage at first glance, it subtly reinforced Alessandri’s status as an independent in the minds of the more educated electorate, giving him several endorsements he would not have received otherwise.

    Alessandri’s main issue on the campaign trail was that he was the CEO of the largest nongovernmental monopoly in Chile, the paper company and his age. Much criticism was leveled at him for being more of the same, a gentleman don of the upper class telling the peasants how to live. While this rhetoric played well to the established communist and socialist voters the remaining radical voters found it uncomfortable and many of the Christian Democrat voters agreed. Alessandri was also able to turn this criticism into a strength as he talked about his economic program, and shifting the economy away from import substitution into export driven, as he had done for the paper company. His emphasis on attracting non US foreign investment went over well as it was mildly anti United States, but was not a call for radical changes. While many didn’t listen to his economic message, enough did. On the issue of his age he ignored it, at least superficially, while running the most technologically advanced campaign yet seen in Chile. He used his comfort with technological progress to silently emphasize that he was more comfortable with the new technologies then either of his younger opponents, as well as being more mentally flexible.

    When the votes were counted in the early morning of September the 5th Alessandri had 1,076,279 vote or 36.6 percent of the popular vote and was in first place, Salvador Allende came in second with 1,055,603 votes or 35.9 percent of the popular vote, and Radomiro Tomic was firmly in third with 804,861 votes or 27.4 percent of the popular vote. The election was close fought and, because no one candidate had achieved an absolute majority, was thrown to the National Congress. There tradition held and Alessandri was elected to the Presidency of the Republic, despite rumors of soviet money making its way into the pockets of suggestable senators and deputies urging them to vote for Allende. Despite his election the razor thin plurality that he had won meant Alessandri needed to build a governing coalition with a wide base of support if he intended to rule without resorting to decrees. After all he had won based on less than a percent of the popular vote.
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  • AN: So i lied, i am going to be putting in at least a couple prose vignettes... mostly because I found some time and I find that writing short form in this way relaxing... somthing i dearly need as i search for a new apartment.

    “Will you reconsider? I need your expertise now more than ever,” Jorge Alessandri spoke softly but firmly.

    “My time is past, much as I would like to deny that. Besides it was under my stewardship that the preconditions for the Viaux affair came to be. You cannot afford to have someone the generals view as weak as minister of defense. Perhaps if things were different I would be willing to, but not as it stands.” Carlos Vidal answered with firm conviction. “I know you said your administration would be a return to normalcy, but you surely realize that normal is not working?”

    “Oh I am well aware of that,” Alessandri bared his teeth almost snarling in anger. He had read the internal reports that the army had compiled over the Viaux and Valenzuela groups with growing horror. It seemed that he would be following in his father’s footsteps after all, at least in terms of dealing with the military. As far as he was concerned the days of the army being the senior service were well and truly finished. He would break those arrogant fools, re accustoming them to being in the harness as servants of the state if it was the last thing he did. “The army is going to receive a rather harsh reminder of where they sit in relation to the state if I have anything to say about it.”

    “Ah… I presume that the air force is also going to be reminded that this is Chile not the United States?” Carlos asked with a raised eyebrow.

    “The air force… I know they are followers of the United States party line too closely for my liking but they have not gone over the edge the way that the army has. They are toeing the line, not over it.” Jorge shook his head in exasperation. “I can understand their frustration, we are after all not equipping or paying them as they deserve. Of course the army pay raises did not help matters.”

    “You will need the support of the navy, not just their compliance,” Carlos thought for a moment. “If you can convince him to resign as an admiral I would recommend Jacobo Neuman Etienne, he served well as the CNO of the navy so he has the administrative knowledge needed, is well regarded, and will be viewed by the armed forces as putting one of their own into the discussion over hardware.”

    “Do I want to cater to them though?” Jorge asked, turning towards his office window and looking out over the city of Santiago. “You know that giving the military ideas about how they deserve political power is a recipe for disaster…”

    “That is true. In a perfect world this would not be my suggestion but the politicians, you and I not excepted, have ignored the armed forces for too long. We were content with what we had and ignored the way that our equipment was outdated. When there was no international tension this was forgivable, to an extent, but it has gone too far. The army, navy, and air force all need a complete equipment overhaul and that is going to be expensive.” Carlos paused and collected his thoughts. “In order to afford it, and to keep the social programs you know as well as I do are necessary going, we are going to have to spread out the expense. That means the pace of modernization is not going to be fast enough for anyone, by having one of their own in the position of minister of defense it reassures the generals and admirals that you are dealing with the issue.”

    “I understand all too well just how expensive this is going to be,” Jorge said with a deep sigh. “I wish I could coopt the army or air force though, they would be less expensive.”

    “We dropped the ball, were lured in by the cheap American cast offs, and now we have to pay the price.” Carlos shrugged resignedly. “Since I was one of the people who lead the charge into those cheap American cast offs I am not the man who should preside over our getting out of that hole. I know deep in my heart that it was the right decision but, to see how that decision turned out is heartbreaking. Besides, ask the navy for a plan, you might be surprised by just how cost conscientious they can be. Ever since ASMAR was formed they’ve had a finger on the pulse of the international economy, and their ability to budget reflects that.”

    “The navy will ask for a carrier,” Jorge said with a sigh, running one hand through what remained of his hair. “That will undoubtedly offend the air force…”

    “Fuck the air force,” Carlos replied with a snarl of his own. “While others can bray about how the Chilean armed forces are apolitical till the end of time, you know better! The reason why they have not dared to stick their nose into the business of running the country is because your father took them out behind the shed and forcibly reminded them that they were subordinate to him. The air force hasn’t crossed any lines, but as you said they are toeing them often enough, perhaps the navy having some jets will remind them that they answer to you not Washington.”

    “Considering that the navy already has a ground force, it would make my threat to replace both other services with the navy have a touch more teeth,” Jorge said with a slight smile. “Still this Jacobo Neuman is unknown to me, you know how I retreated from the public eye after my last service to the republic. Tell me about him, convince me that he is will be my man, that he is worth supporting.”

    “He is plain spoken, and will tell you the truth no matter what you want to hear,” Carlos replied with a slight grin. He knew that Jorge had made up his mind to follow the advice he had been given, and that was a good thing. “There will be problems with the more conservative senators and deputies, but the man knows his job and can argue for days just on the facts without losing his temper. You will need that quality if you are to succeed in arming our nation.”

    “I know,” Jorge said softly. “I just hope we haven’t left it too late, or let the rot spread too far… while I admire my father as a man and as a president I have no desire to see my own honor marred by a Seguro Obrero …”

    “Then pray that things are not as bad as you believe,” Carlos said with an intensity that had been missing from the conversation before. “If things are half as bad as you believe them to be a Seguro Obrero will be the least of your concerns, El Salvador and Peurto Montt have seen to that, worry that you will have to order a Ranquil or worse.”

    “It will not come to that,” Jorge replied in a voice of iron. “The left and the right will be reminded to play the game by the rules laid down in the constitution. The right I already have a plan for, the left I am waiting for them to make a mistake and go over that line…. When they do they will discover that I have no interest in pandering to them and will reap the full rewards of their folly.”

    “If you want to avoid it, then you will have to move fast, and spend money. The Cabinero’s need an equipment update just as badly as the armed forces, and they need more training. I know they lost the last round of budgetary compromises, especially on the issue of artillery, but they need to have a visible threat potential in order to talk down a riot rather then shooting. My advice off hand? Get them helicopters, they are loud visible, and threatening but can be procured in small numbers and in such a way so that the expense is not as great as replacing all of their vehicles, which does need to be done.”

    “That is a very good suggestion,” Jorge frowned as he tried to work out in his head how it would work. “I will keep it in mind.”
  • Servant to the Fatherland
    A Memoir of service
    by René Rojas Galdames

    When I was asked to serve, it came as a surprise. Whilst I was well known, and respected, in the Chilean diplomatic community I was hardly the first person whose name came to mind when one considered who Don Jorge would choose as his foreign minister. I was a professional, not a politician, as such I expected to execute policy not to be in charge of formulating it. I had of course heard his election promises, but what serious man of substance takes those to be true? They are driven by perception and not by reality. Everyone in government is aware of just how pie in the sky most of even the simplest schemes promised during an election are. An Apolitical cabinet? That sounded more like rhetoric then a serious ambition to me.

    Still when I was summoned to Don Jorge’s apartment on the outskirts of Santiago, and asked to serve, I concealed my shock as best I could and then did as I had been asked. It was without a doubt the honor of a lifetime to be recognized like this, as the best in my field. Naturally such an honor came attached with more than a few issues which needed to be resolved. The first challenge facing me was to figure out what our diplomatic position actually was. I knew from my own experience running embassy’s what our local position was like, but I needed an overview desperately. Fortunately Gabriel Valdes was inclined to aid me in my quest and promptly set up a meeting. Or at least that was the way it seemed.

    In the end the bad feelings of the election had poisoned most avenues of cooperation between the incoming administration and the Christian Democrats. It was a reverse of when they had come into office, scorning Don Jorge and all of his good works. The lower party members, those without strategic vision and understanding of why they had lost so badly, felt slighted by the return of Don Jorge. They conspired to such a degree that the amicable meeting I had set up with Don Gabriel was put off by his undersecretary, re scheduled, and then canceled without notice.

    Fortunately for the country Don Gabriel realized what was occurring and contacted me at my home. Much to my surprise he invited me into his own home and we held our meeting and strategy session there rather than in the ministry of foreign affairs. A major concession on his part, and I must give him accolades for doing so. He demonstrated clearly with this act that he is and was a true servant of the fatherland, putting its needs above his own desires in such a manner. It was a choice forced on us by politics but one I feel has benefited the country as a whole. At his home we were less constrained by the norms and mores of the foreign affairs department and had a full and frank exchange of ideas. Whilst it is not a practice that I implemented during my time as the minister, an informal setting and relaxation of the standard rules and protocols were helpful to our discussion.

    The first item on the agenda, as is always the case in our world, was a frank discussion of our position in regard to the two super powers. Even in Latin America, an area that they arduously ignored for the most part, we have to be cognizant of such titans. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was the first to be discussed as it was the easiest. They had firm footholds across our borders to the north in Peru the military dictator Velasco, that benighted lower class thug, was fully involved with the soviet beast. Our own intelligence sources said that he was expected to begin announcing major military purchases from the Soviet Union. Not only that but there were persistent rumors, ones which worried our own security services, that Peruvian intelligence officers were being offered places at the KGB academy in Moscow. A renewed Peruvian diplomatic and military push to regain their lost territory was to be expected, although there was a distinct possibility that we could use the linked nature of the Peruvian thugs and the KGB to make our case to Washington.

    Another worry in the north was the ever unstable Bolivia. With her constant coupes and ever shifting regimes the country was a security and diplomatic nightmare, one that we avoided through the simple expedient of not recognizing whatever government of the week came up. Still General Alfredo Ovando Candia did draw our attention in the context of speaking about the Soviet Union. He was reported to have been quite the fan of Che, and was moving his country to a soviet line. Although we did not expect him to last long there was some worry that with soviet military assistance he might launch a foolishly doomed war to retake Bolivia’s access to the sea. Although the possibility of engaging with him was raise, I shot it down, as I did not believe he would last long as president.

    Still the Soviets had a rather worrying amount of influence and cooperation on our border. Given the diplomatic maneuvers that I would be called on to execute, especially out pivot to Israel and the Asia’s, I needed to be aware of the foreign pressure that would be brought to bear. After all it would cost the Soviets nothing to try and disrupt our maneuvers through the clever use of their Peruvian and Bolivian puppets, and those states would not need prompting as they already held a deep seated hatred for us Chileans in their hearts. Talks of Latin unity not withstanding it is a sad truth that the success and sustainability of our great state has engendered feelings of inadequacy and jealousy across the southern cone.

    Closer to home Don Gabriel gave me the security services estimates of soviet operations on our soil, and that was not a pleasant picture. I had been made aware that Allende’s ties to the left were less then legal, it was a well-known fact in the circles in which we both traveled, but the extent and closeness of his connections to foreign powers was disturbing to read. That one of his daughters were married to known DGI agents and he was responsible for Allendes personal security was an affront to me as a patriotic man of the fatherland. The depth and breadth of the soviet attempts to bring down our democracy through legitimate and illegitimate means staggered me.

    Whilst I am well aware that what the soviets were spending in Chile was small beer on the scale that the super powers operate it was enough that they were capable of making major waves for any government. In fact they had consistently outspent the United States in terms of buying direct influence, and were a threat to the Fatherland directly. These factors were to heavily inform my foreign policy decisions, and resulted in my dedicated stance that communism was a disease that was best fought on other people’s land, as if they appeared to be triumphant then we would have to fight them here at home.

    On the topic of fights at home Don Gabriel made me aware of the coming storm with ITT. A corporation which believed because they were American they would be protected despite their many and severe violations of election law. I was going to have to smooth over the ruffled feathers in Washington and that would not be an easy task. Despite their vehemently anticommunist stance the Nixon white house, and Kissinger in particular, had no interest in Latin America. He had actually had the temerity to say, directly to Don Gabriel face; “Nothing important can come from the south. The axis of history starts in Moscow, goes to Bonn, crosses over to Washington, and then goes to Tokyo. What happens in the south is of no importance.” A bigoted and foolish comment from an otherwise great statesman.

    Despite my fears it turned out we did have a slight in with the administration and at least one Latin friend who could get us an audience. We would not have to tap our British connections in order to be heard, an act that I was loath to use as we would be relying on them so heavily for our naval expansion. For some reason the Brazilian Junta was listened too and respected in Washington. While relations between us were not completely cordial a quid pro que was in existent, and they would be willing to help us out. We would undoubtedly be giving them concessions and political cover in both Paraguay and Uruguay, probably Ecuador as well, but it would be worth it for their voice in the white house.

    Even with our ability to coopt the Brazilian voice we would need to develop one of our own if we intended to maintain and grow our relevance on the world stage. Many have questioned Don Jorge’s decision to do just that, pointing to our severe problems at home as a reason to focus on that first and ignore the world, but Don Jorge was convinced that any solutions to our domestic troubles were to be found by looking outward and not inward. As such I was directed to find a way to make us relevant globally.

    Vietnam was an obvious choice, the United States was heavily engaged their and she had invited in several smaller pacific nations. I knew we would not be able to make a major contribution, but we could at the very least send some doctors much like what the Philippines had done. There were calls for true military engagement but that was not something we could afford even after we wrangled a small subsidy for our participation in that debacle. Had our borders been clear then we might have been able to send more, but with the restive powers we were faced with it was better to keep our military at home. Still we did end up sending more than I was truly comfortable with in order to achieve our goals, although it did work out in the end. A less obvious but more attractive option for us was the southern horn of Africa.

    The Portuguese were engaged in a life or death struggle with the communists in their colonial possessions, and the Cubans had deployed there to disrupt that effort. I felt that we had an opportunity there, and that with the support of the South Africans we could make a real difference, demonstrating to the United States that we were an ally well worth having. Not only that but disrupting the copper production of Zambia was a goal in its own right as that would increase the price of our own copper exports. Rhodesia was a thornier issue, and one that both Don Gabriel and I avoided talking about rather pointedly. I did not know his mind there and after my rather frank comments on Zambia felt that it was best not to offend him.

    Fortunately I could turn the conversation to Don Jorge’s aspirations, and how he felt they would be seen on the world stage. That was a rather awkward conversation as Don Gabriel was a traditionalist in the diplomatic sense. He was also a realist and as such saw the nonaligned movement as little more than a tool of the Soviet Union, if we succeeded he warned then we would have just built a competing tool for the United States. Still he did have several useful suggestions for dealing with the Japanese.
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    1971 overview
  • Not dead, just been a hellacious couple of months personally. I'm obviously not giving up this project, although i cannot unfortunately promise anything like regular updates.

    George Alessandri won the presidential election but he felt that he lacked a true mandate. He won a plurality of the vote, but he had failed to get a majority. It was a failing he felt that he could rectify at least in form, along with helping his own long time pet issue of reducing inflation. Among the first actions he took was to introduce a constitutional amendment which mandated run-off elections at the presidential level. It was a move which pleased both the center and the right of the political spectrum while infuriating the left as it was accepted wisdom that under this new system the UP coalition would have no presidential prospects.

    While he was infuriating the left Alessandri moved as quickly as possible to tackle inflation at the same time. His reasoning being that he was going to fight the left on this issue anyways, so he would let them divide their efforts fighting him on multiple fronts rather than allowing them the time to recover from his political assaults. It was an effective strategy, especially given the dislocations that the UP coalition was going through as a result of the elections and its failures. Alessandri was able to set up a constitutionally mandated independent reserve board in charge of interest rates and charged with keeping inflation under control. While it was not initially completely successful the reserve board would prove to be one of Alessandri’s most important legacies.

    These initial strikes against the left were helped by the way that the UP coalition began to disintegrate. The Radical party, with the addition of several socialist deputies, bolted from UP. Mario Polestro, and his brother, led the group of Socialist defectors. All were machine politicians who felt that the Socialists and their new focus on ideological purity no longer held a place for them. The Radicals were more than happy to take in the defectors, using them as a public sign of strength and parlaying their defection into two cabinet positions.

    Alessandri had the last laugh on that though. He named Adriana Olguin as Minister of Justice, with explicit instructions to clean the foreign money out of the Chilean political process. While Olguin was without question a Radical she was also a firm indication to the women of Chile that Alessandri was going to fulfill his promises to them. By naming such a figure to the Ministry of Justice he made an implicit promise that he would be cleaning up the government. He also named Maria Teresa del Canto to be his minister of education, a second radical and a second women. Given the position of women within the party structure, and more importantly public perception, Alessandri fulfilled his promise to the Radicals without allowing their party leadership to have any real say in his government. It was a masterful political move, one that would prove to be fortuitous as the Ministry of Justice went after Allende and the UP for accepting soviet money with a will.

    The UP wasn’t the only party to face internal strife in the early days of the Alessandri presidency. The Christian Democrats were also undergoing convulsions. Tomic and his leftist allies found themselves in a very awkward position as Jose Ignacio Palma and Patricio Aylwin lead a virtual parliamentary coupe. Jose Ignacio Palma represented the technocratic wing of the Christian democrats, and was able to work well with the Alessandri administration and especially Willaim Thayer the new secretary of labor. Aylwin on the other hand represent the right wing of the Christian Democrats, who had been infuriated by the campaign Tomic had run. He was less welcome by the Alessandri administration but that initial hesitance on the part of the administration would thaw over time.

    The divides in the Christian Democrat party benefited Alessandri’s agenda as the right and center of the party could be courted without speaking to any of those figures who Alessandri felt had slandered him in the past. Being able to court various factions of the Christian Democrats allowed for a workable effective majority in the chamber of deputies and the senate. Even if those parties which explicitly supported the Administration were not in the majority.

    Of course despite his successes Alessandri did not get everything his way. Palestro and his newly minted radical friends managed to secure for their districts the majority of the urban redevelopment money that he had hoped to spread widely. They wisely maneuvered through the political process and were promised the subsidized housing towers in their districts, meaning that they were very secure in terms of electability. They were also able to convince those contractors who were bidding on the towers and housing blocks that hiring locals would be looked upon favorably during the selection process and their districts saw a sharp jump in the number of employed heads of households. Those construction jobs would turn out to have staying power and would serve as an engine of social mobility. Those who landed said construction jobs were often able to get their families out of the lower class and into the lower middle class at worst, well into the middle class at best.

    In addition to the urban renewal projects that Alessandri launched, there was a steady drum beat of announcements about development in the Norte Chico region. Alessandri and his administration were determined to be seen correcting the problems of the previous administration at the earliest possible time. This lead to the Army deploying engineers to survey possible water pipe routes from the coast up to the highlands, as well as an intensive study of just what would be required to implement such a system. In addition noises were made about a trio of desalination plants and a nuclear reactor to power them. While little initial progress was made, studies were launched and ground was surveyed very publically. Although the idea of piping water to the highlands would eventually be abandoned the idea of having the coastal cities served by desalination plants in times of drought and the idea of nuclear power were implemented in the long run.

    Despite Alessandri’s best efforts he wasn’t able to reduce the agricultural land redistribution as much has he had wanted too. He did manage to slow governmental appropriation a fair bit and rewrite the compensation model but nothing he could do would completely pacify the campenisto’s and their demands for land. It would remain a struggle throughout his presidency to balance land redistribution with driving the engines of economic progress. He was able to convince more than a few of the technocratic wing of the Christian Democrats to support him in trying to attract foreign investment and modernization in the harvesting and fruit packing industries. That would have long term consequences as the export potential of Chilean fruits and produce was drastically increased thanks to Alessandri’s foresight.

    Alessandri would remain skeptical of the jobs that his opposition had forced him to create until the day he died. It seemed very much like a continuation of the Radicals approach to job creation which he had seen fail to drive the economy for his entire adult life. As such he tried mightily to attract foreign investment, and industry. Mostly through quietly offering tax breaks and favorable deals to various international corporations, although it was to his credit that those industries he tried to entice into Chile were all focused on export, rather than continuing the Radical idea of import substitution. His vision would allow Chile to begin to build a manufacturing sector which would be the envy of Latin America, although that was to be years down the road. He was moderately successful over the course of his presidency, but the ground work for his biggest success was laid within days of his assentation to office.

    ASMAR, with the full support of the government, made a major purchase of heavy industrial equipment from the bankrupt New York Shipbuilding Corporation. With the industrial equipment and dry docking supply’s ASMAR was able to expand its shipyards, as well as offer surplus equipment to other shipbuilding companies in order to lure them into partnership. The government fully supported this effort offering tax incentives and subsidizing land purchased for the purpose of building factories and shipyards in Chile. Despite the economic benefits the purchase was arraigned for one reason and one reason only, securing the dry docking and industrial equipment needed to service a ship the size of the Kitty Hawk. The Navy having been promised a carrier, was bound and determined that they would be able to service and support said carrier.

    Despite the military rational for the purchase it would be the economic implications of the purchase which would have longer lasting effects. Two companies would take the Chileans up on their offer, Haijin heavy industries, a developing company in Korea, and Sumitomo Heavy Industries of Japan. Though negotiations would go through to 73 when the partnership was signed, and the first ground would not be broken on the proposed shipyards until 74, with the shipyards fully opening only in 81 the effect on the Chilean shipbuilding industry was enormous. Especially the Partnership between the three companies to produce propellers.

    Despite Chile never building more than 3 percent of the hulls constructed in a year the subcontracting and parts manufacturing plants built during the Japanese shipbuilding boom of the eighties means that Chile produces between five and six percent of all maritime construction in the world. A figure which has remained steady even after the decline of the Japanese shipbuilding industry as the Korean shipbuilding industry took advantage of the excellent pipeline for components that the Japanese had built, along with the build quality which the Japanese had insisted on. All of this was started by President Alessandri, giving his legacy a shine which it otherwise would not have had.

    In addition to the straight economic benefits ASMAR was also able to parley Alessandri’s turn to Israel and Asia into military contracts by obtaining a license to building the Sa’ar 4 missile boat. Islamic countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Iran were offered the Israeli designed ship from an acceptable source. Thailand, The Philippines, and Shri Lanka were also approached to see if orders could be found. ASMAR in partnership with the Israeli defense establishment had begun to turn Chile into an arms exporter.

    The contacts with the Israelis were not limited to ASMAR, and as the two nations drew closer several joint projects were launched and Israeli ex pats became something of a feature in the Chilean defense industry. The most immediately obvious sign of this growing cooperation was the introduction of the next generation assault rifle by FAMAE, the Israeli designed GAL. Although it would not be deployed for some time the testing of the rifle, and FAMAE’s retooling of its production line began much earlier than most thought. Procurement of a new assault rifle was hardly the only military procurement which began, Alessandri and his advisors were determined that the next time they faced down Argentina they would not have what was clearly a losing hand.

    Perhaps the most innovative of the procurement decisions made in the early days of the Alessandri presidency had very little civilian input. The FACH, acting almost completely on its own, managed to work out a four way deal with Britain, Kuwait, and the United States. By purchasing BAE Lightning’s from Kuwait at a very low price, due mostly to the emirates seeming inability to maintain its own systems. The interceptors were quickly becoming something of a national embarrassment, and by flogging them off to an acceptable source the Kuwaiti monarchy managed to save a considerable amount of face. The condition of the plains did necessitate having them refurbished by BAE, which did not add appreciably to the cost or time. It also allowed the FACH to begin the acquisition of the British Shorts Belfast stock at the behest of the CIA through their British connections. Those Belfast’s would be used to transport F-5A’s from Iran to South Vietnam in 72 as part of Operation Enhance Plus, thereby freeing up United states assets for more important tasking’s as well as building concrete diplomatic and military ties to the Iranian regime and South Vietnam for minimal effort on the Chileans part. It was a masterwork of complicated dealing, which directly led to the sacking of three generals in the FACH when Alessandri found out about the program. There was talk of transferring the Belfast’s to the navy, but in the end it was allowed to stand, although discussion’s about the purchase of new fighters was looked on with extreme disfavor in La Monda for the next couple of years. Despite said disfavor the purchase of Israeli AAM’s and licensing for said AAM’s was looked at quite closely throughout the year, with the idea of establishing a native missile and air industry gaining strong political support. It would not come to fruition until later, but the seed had been planted and was beginning to grow.

    Unlike the FACH the army read the political situation correctly, and therefor proceeded with a modicum of caution. While there were needs a plenty to fill when they contemplated the possibility of war with Argentina, they made their request into something which could be parlayed into a diplomatic victory for the President. The Israeli’s had recently had a deal to sell 350 AMX-13 light tanks to Singapore fall through when the French government had undercut their bid. The army differentially offered the idea of picking up the Singaporean order at a discount to replace the majority of its existing tank stock and to replace all of the Sherman’s still in service. It was an idea which was adopted readily and the negotiations commenced with somewhat indecent speed.

    The most important exploration of purchasing was done in England by the Navy. Purchase orders for the Leander broad beam frigates which would be known as the Condell class was expanded from four to six, and the Chilean navy began to work with British ship builders to modify the type 42 design into a form more suitable to Chilean needs, and to suite the sea conditions in which they would be used with an eye towards the south Atlantic. That modification would become known as the Batch III Type 42 in British service, and represented a clearly superior end product then the initial run of Type 42’s, the extra 50 feet of length not only increased the sea worthiness of the design but also made the accommodations much more acceptable. Not to mention the expanded missile magazines would render the ships effective for longer than their series mates. Still while these moves were important, and profitable for British industry, they were not the main focus of the Chilean acquisition efforts.

    A carrier was required by the Chilean navy, which was the consensus and much like the ‘we want eight and we won’t wait’ campaign in Britain prior to world war one it was also a popular demand. Alessandri had no intention of going against such a popular project, although he didn’t intend to over stretch the budget. The initial inquiries launched by the Chileans were for the Centaur, unfortunately the Spanish had also expressed an interest in that ship and a small bidding war was the result which the Chileans decisively lost. By December of 1970 the Centaur was towed into Devonport to be upgraded to and improved Hermes standard for Spanish service. The Chileans next turned their attention to the Hermes, only to be informed that she was being transferred to the RAN following the discovery that the Melbourne - Frank E Evans collision had caused major structural damage to the Melbourne, as rebuilding the bow of that ship for a second time was going to be a more intensive project then the initial survey in Singapore had suggested leading the RAN to deem the project uneconomical and search for an immediately available replacement.

    Inquiries in America about the purchase of an Essex class vessel had also run into a brick wall. The Chilean navy had already been leery of their ability to man and operate an Essex class carrier, which was the reason they had tried to go British, but an additional problem was presented to the Chilean ambitions in the form of American strategic policy. The US government, Nixon and Kissinger in particular, had no desire to see any more destabilization of the southern cone then was already present. Not even the active soviet presence in Peru managed to sway them. There was a belief that introducing another carrier to the southern cone would touch off an arms race which could lead to the fall of not only the Chilean government but also the Argentine and Brazilian government’s as they overspent in an attempt to keep up with their neighbors. By way of compensation the Chilean navy was transferred multiple S2 Trackers, WF1B Tracers, and C-1 Traders with an unusually generous end user license which allowed for those air craft to be sold after upgrading.

    In France the naval delegation also met with considerable success. Dassualt aviation having heard about the transfers of both the Hermes and Centaur, as well as the upcoming competition for the Entendard replacement for the Marine National, was working on two prototypes for naval use. The Mirage F2M two seat interceptor which was the naval version of the F2 that had been cancelled in 66 was reworked to accept the M53 engine, its avionics suite modernized and upgraded, and the prototype navalized. Dassault would have a prototype flying in 73, ready for naval testing. Running parallel to that project was the F1M project, which again would be ready for testing in 73, which drew extensively from the F1m53 project for the NATO future light fighter competition. Dassault was banking on an expanded naval aviation market, as the Spanish, Australians, and Chileans had all expressed interest along with the Marine National. The Chileans declined to present a firm order, but their interest was represented by tentative orders placed for both craft. The foreign interest resulted in the abandonment of the Super Entendard project, with its resources and personnel being folded into the development of the F series naval fighters.

    As 1970 closed the Chilean Admiralty was in the unusual position of having almost everything ready for a carrier, except for the carrier itself. It was fully expected that this was going to turn into a massive scandal, as the Chilean tax payers discovered the amount of money spent on a unit that wasn’t going to come into being. Especially since there was a dearth of carriers which could be considered for sale on the world market. Fortunately for the Chileans Whitehall came to their rescue. The RN was being moved firmly out of the carrier game, and it was felt that the cost to refit the Eagle was excessive, as such quiet noises were made to the Chileans about the possibility of buying the Eagle as is, with a possible SLEP refit, sometime in 72. The Chileans grasped the opportunity as if it were a life preserver and they were a drowning man. The Eagle would not only fulfill their needs, but the refits and modernizations needed would not be overly costly.

    Whitehall’s accommodation of the Chilean desire for a carrier has been speculated to be linked to when the British ambassador to Uruguay was kidnapped by the Tupamaro guerrillas. MI-6 brought perennial presidential hopeful Salvatore Allendes connection to the movement to the Chilean Justice Departments attention in the hopes that they could use him as a go between in negotiating for the release of their ambassador. This revelation caused panic as Allende and his foreign connections were thought to be a domestic dirty secret, no one wanted to admit it internationally and it being known meant that the investigation which was already ongoing took on new urgency. Chilean intelligence reached out to the Uruguayan military, as one of Allendes aids was a ministry of justice plant they believed could be used as the go between when the negotiations were conducted. A second string was added to the bow when clearance for the British to deploy the famed SAS on Uruguayan soil was received.

    On August 12 Chilean operative located the people’s prison in which Geoffrey Jackson and ten other hostages were held. Three days later while the Uruguayan army launched a frontal assault on the Tupamaro’s an SAS squadron snuck in the back of the people’s prison and freed the hostages. The operation was widely hailed as a prime example of international cooperation, and gain Chile diplomatic points with England. As this was just before the possibility of the Eagles sale was raised it is widely considered to be part and parcel of the deal struck for the Chileans to acquire their carrier.

    While all of this diplomatic maneuvering was going on in back rooms close to home Alessandri had turned his foreign policy firmly towards Asia by the end of the year, with the first draft of corps men, nurses, doctors, and airmen being sent to establish themselves in South Vietnam. It was a commitment that he felt needed to be made to reassure the American’s especially given how nervous they were about an arms race breaking out in the southern cone. That commitment would never grow to be over five hundred men, but the effects would be important in the long term. It was the first deployment of Chilean forces on the international scene, and while small it was effective. Chilean technician’s, in Vietnam to keep the Belfast’s running as they eventually shuttled F5A’s from Iran to Vietnam, became respected by their American comrades as professional and highly skilled. The corps men were deployed in penny packets, going from village to village and dispensing medical services much like their Philippine colleagues. They gained a reputation for being inventive with their limited resources, and being competent, as well as gaining Chile a humanitarian reputation with the peasantry of South Vietnam and the international press. The military doctors and nurses were the least commented on part of the deployment, and yet their experience’s in Vietnam resulted in a slew of reforms that revolutionized military and trauma medicine in Chile.

    The military was actually the smallest contributor to the Vietnam project. Chilean banks were a larger force as they began to build bridges with their South Vietnamese competitors. By partnering with Vietnamese banks they allowed a flow of capital out of the country, something that was to become painfully apparent after the United States pulled out. Additionally their presence in South Vietnam allowed those officers and magnates who were inclined to look for long term wealth generation for their money to invest with confidence in the future. After all while the future of South Vietnam might be in question no one doubted that Chile would be around long term. South Vietnamese capital began to prime the Chilean economic pump, giving Alessandri a growing economy.

    These cautious first moves by Chilean banks were followed up rapidly with an exploration of the possibilities presented by Africa. Botswanan banks were invited to partner with Chilean banks to begin building the financial sector of that country and to facilitate the sub Rosa movement of American and Israeli capital into South Africa and Rhodesia. It was a move which would never have been possible without support from the CIA and the world development bank, but armed with the assurances which Chilean bankers received from those institutions they began to expand and build economic bridges. It was a partnership which would benefit Botswana in the long run, but the trials and tribulations of operating in Africa would continue to bedevil the Chilean political establishment for years to come.

    Of course South Vietnam was not the only country with which the Chileans sought to trade with. South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Australia, and New Zealand were all approached with the intention of beginning to negotiate trade treaties. The initial efforts did not yield much, but they laid the foundation for what was to come. These cautious initial approaches also gave Chilean companies openings into foreign markets and began to orient them towards export markets. The first to feel the effects of this move was the fruit industry, as Chilean fruit began to penetrate the Taiwanese and Korea markets, putting more money into the modernization efforts being undertaken for the industry. Suddenly the Chileans were not just confined to the United States market, but could see a wider world market and they were determined to take advantage of it.

    The most surprising result of the Alessandri reorientation came out of Israel. Israel, while a major partner in the defense field, never was an importer of Chilean goods. Leading many to discount its importance in the Chilean economy, a view which fails to take into account the effect of Israeli vintners on the Chilean wine industry. The Israeli winery Carmel acquired its new Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc grape stock from Chile after their initial efforts to acquire new stock was blocked repeatedly by the French Government. Contact with the Israeli vintners and their ideas about wines ended up sparking off a major revolution in the aging and storage of wines in Chile. Raulli Beachwood barrels began to lose their popularity in favor of stainless steel and Oak, a process that would take years, and culminate with Chilean wines being considered among the best in the world. Although the traditional Raulli Beachwood aged wines would remain a delicacy they would never be a major export item. This revolution on vining would have a major positive long term effect on Chilean trade.

    All in all Alessandri’s first year in office was a modest success, he had managed to get political reforms enacted and he had managed to begin growing the economy. Of course his success and the fragmented nature of the left would begin to give him problems in the next year as the political left began to recover from the blows that it had taken. He had also inadvertently added a new element to the rich poor divide by introducing a divide between the urban poor and the rural poor. Alessandri’s programs were decidedly to the benefit of the urban poor, and it was noticed, and he was funding them by slashing the land redistribution programs and those programs which had benefited the rural poor. Additionally his decision to involve Chile in the Vietnam conflict was not popular, opening up a secondary line of political attack to the center and left. His decision to cooperate with the CIA in its Africa adventures would also present long term political problems for him and his successors.
  • Having finally succeeded in recovering my files, and then dealing with my RL housing issues it looks like I will have time to write again. Rejoice, and all that jazz. I should be able to update this at a steady rate, even if its not going to be as fast as I want it to be. without further ado on to the TL:

    I have been asked many times to speak of my last year in the senate and as president of that august body and I have always declined. While I have dedicated my life to public service this particular era, or more accurately the ending of the era, is rather painful for me to remember. When one thinks about it one must take in mind the times, and what was occurring around us. Most who talk about the Agriculture Bill and my fall from grace think it was just about the bill, but they would be wrong. To truly understand the issues you need to go back and look at the economics of the situation.

    Let me be blunt here, development in the Latin world has a long and storied history of being a disaster. Every time the Latin world attempts to rise above its roots it has been battered down, with one shining exception. By the early seventies the luster of import substitution industrialization had worn off and the problems of land reform were beginning to be felt. For land reform the issue was one that was complicated by capital issues, and latent classism. Alessandri sought to side step the issues that had developed with earlier attempts to complete land reform by using a mixed free market response. He sought to allow the campesino to buy the land and to have enough money left over so that they could properly capitalize their farms. It was an ambitious scheme and market the first true departure from the stifling mold that Latin development had been put into.

    The second part of his plan was to involve the ultra-rich, those who had owned the land, in developing export led industrialization. After all these people had the money to buy the appropriate machinery to make our industry truly competitive on the international market. They were also well educated and thoroughly westernized. By giving them an option to increase their wealth Alessandri hoped to engage them in building the economy. After all if they were getting richer then surely they would hire more people and lift the poor into a comfortable middle class existence.

    This change in policy coupled with educational reform and investment in education, a policy that I am happy to say that I precipitated, were the plan for the future. It was a good plan, and as history has shown us it worked, but politically it had problems. Alessandri and I were well aware that we were going to be slaughtering more than a few of the lefts political sacred cows, how could we not be aware? Hadn’t the socialists and communists repeatedly told the poor that if they just had the land then things would be better? Hadn’t the Syndics been mocked for being a week attempt to move Chile towards a modern collectivist economy? Of course the assault from the left could be expected no matter what we did. Everyone knew that the left had no interest in true engagement, just in authoritarian domination under Marxist Leninism. Allende had already privately abandoned his Chilean way to socialism, making his stance and ambitions all too clear for anyone with eyes to see.

    The problems that I encountered which were the most damaging to me personally, even if I managed to contain them to the back rooms of the chamber of deputies and not allow them to be aired publicly, came from the right. Alessandri was already under fire for his repudiation of many of the policies that he had begun in his first term as president as well as the repudiation of the Fries era reforms. Instead of going with right wing orthodoxy as was expected he had swung at the center. Public private ventures, government encouragement of industries, tax incentives. All solid plans, and all outside of the comfort zone of the right. He was also dismantling the much cherished belief in import substitution, a sacred cow of the right.

    There was a reason why we spent the first year of his administration building a super majority and marginalizing the socialist/communist alliance. Politically both parties were heavily mobilized even if they consistently failed at the ballet box. We felt that without a super majority both parties would feel free to call out the gutter trash and thugs they relied on to intimidate the remained of the chamber of deputies as they had in years past. We had reasoned that if we had a super majority the politicians would stand firm, after all they would represent a clearly defined will of the people. So it was to be as when the agriculture bill was tabled for the first time the socialist communist alliance took to the streets in important rage.

    I will admit that I had made a mistake in my calculations. I had forgotten just how invested in import substitution the political class was. It had been the theory for twenty years, with no voices of dissent aside from the communists. When Alessandri and I put up an alternative I had expected debate, reasoned argument, and eventual acceptance. What I got was a political explosion within the coalition as the streets were filled with the scum of the earth….

    Memoirs of public service, Luis Pareto González, pub. 2002.
  • “Copper, it is both our blessing and our curse,” Luis Ferro said as he looked around the room he was making his presentation to. He and his brother had finally inherited their fathers Hacienda and promptly sold it off. Neither of them were interested in either farming or in managing a large population of campesinos scrapping out marginal livings. As such they had set their sights on actually increasing their family’s wealth, and thought that they had found the way to do that. As an additional bonus once this venture was off the ground, they could hire managers and do less work then they would have had to do for the Hacienda. They and their descendants could simply sit back and rake in the profits while doing what they actually wanted, at least that was their plan. Given that the government was practically throwing money at their class it seemed that this was the best time to make the move from land owner to industrialist. Especially with the talk of rising land taxes on more substantial Hacienda’s. “As the largest producer in the world we have something that almost every country wants, but we have failed to capitalize on this. Copper is one of the metals whose price is notoriously unstable and instead of selling refined copper, and finished products, we have continued to sell it as an ore or as blanks. This was and continues to be, a mistake.”

    Looking around the room as he took a sip of water Luis was relieved that he had not lost any of his audience. He was giving them facts and figures that they damn well should know, but you could never tell with bankers and lawyers. They were a slippery bunch after all. Especially these bankers. He had chosen them because they were all private banks, and with his pay out from the government he thought that they would be inclined to back him. It they didn’t then he and his brother would go to Banco del Estado de Chile but they wanted to keep that source of funding in reserve. If they could capitalize their business on their own then the terms they would be offered by Banco del Estado de Chile would be better, much better.

    “We as a nation currently produce around a third of the worlds copper but we refine much less than that. The Ferro group seeks to change this, and use this gap as an engine to drive profits. An example of this potential can be found when one examines the most basic use of copper; wire. As of yesterdays close on the New York market copper was valued at fifty cents per pound, and that is a high price, as compared to two dollars and fifty cents per pound of wire. Think about the difference that just a few machines can make. With the addition of one worker, and one machine, the profit increases by leaps and bounds.” Luis paused and looked around the room, he had been hoping for more of a reaction then he had gotten, but it hadn’t happened so he let it go and moved on.

    “This, gentleman, represents a multimillion dollar investment. Some of the best minds in the world have worked on it, and I show it to you today in the hopes that you will be willing to invest some of your money in it.” Luis gestured grandly as he swept the sheet off his model. “The central building is a refinery. Cooper ore is smelted and refined. The bottom building is a wire drawing mill, with a pipe manufacture to the left, and an undifferentiated factory to the right. It has a direct rail shunt so shipping cost should be negligible. In terms of technology these factories will have the very best German machines tools and the management plan is to use Japanese best practices in order to maximize profits. Statistical examination of the Japanese and Korean land management practice are the reason for the undifferentiated facility. Expirence in those two countries has shown that prime real estate for factory facilities increases in cost exponentially when a ‘new’ industry takes off. As we fully expect other entropenures and foreign companies to follow our lead in moving copper refinement and manufacturing closer to the source then the land will grow in value at a rate commiserate with the expansion of industry. Technology is changing, and copper is already a big part in that. It is felt that in five to ten years electronics manufacture or something of that nature will be the biggest industry around. The point of the wire mill and the pipe manufacture is to get us to that point and provide a steady backdrop of profit.”

    “I can see that you have thought about this pretty comprehensively, although I do have some questions about a few of your funding decisions,” Hector Ilium stated blandly after glancing around at the other bankers. “For instance, just why did you decide not to take advantage of the government industrialization loans you are eligible for?”

    “My brother and I felt that those loans would be most beneficial in phase two of our plans. After the initial set up had been complete and we had a steady business in place then expansion through low interest loans would be preferable to trying to expand at the market rate. The instabilities in the copper market mean that risk management will be difficult in the first five years of our venture, after that we will either be established or have failed.”

    “Ah, so you are aware of the instabilities in the market. How do you intend to combat that uncertainty given how closely you will be tied to the commodities market?”

    “Just on time manufacturing will allow us to vary the price on our tenders per the market, keeping the price low as possible while responding to the markets. We feel that the variability will be offset by the theoretically lower price we could offer. If the government does go through with the planned electrification of the rail lines between the mines and the manufacturing and shipping destinations as they have stated then our overhead will be lowered exponentially. We have not built that assumption into our business plan though, but view it as likely with the cooperation between the Chinese and Zambian government. We believe that will put pressure on our own government to invest in the infrastructure to support the copper industry, although our current prospectus does not take that into account as we have no idea just what the governments response will be at this time. We sought to use the most pessimistic assumptions in our prospectus so as to show that this is a viable opportunity for profit generation even under the worst circumstances.”

    From there the questioning continued for an hour and a half. The bankers were by their very nature conservative, but at least on paper the Ferro brothers had provided a very respectable plan to take advantage of a perceived gap in the market. Most of the questions had been covered in the prospectus and business plan but they had wanted to make sure that the brothers hadn’t had the plan ghost written and actually knew their stuff. In the end they came away convinced that this had the possibility of being a viable business, but even so they refrained from committing themselves. They would take their observations back to their bosses and discuss the plans and presentation before they committed to anything. The Ferro brothers had known that would be the case so they were not disappointed, nor were they surprised when the offers started to come in a month later. By the end of the year the machines had been ordered and construction had started on their factories. They would open their doors in nineteen seventy two.
  • Carlos Prats really didn’t want to deal with Lt. Colonel Roberto Federico Souper Onfray. If there had been any justice in the world he would have joined his natural niche and fallen in with Pinochet and the other low effort boot lickers where he could be either sidelined or dismissed as needed. The man was both ambitious and a firm believer in the deep state philosophy that had become so in vogue with the younger officers. This should have made him a natural ally of the cabal of officers who seemed to be gravitating to that peasant ass Pinochet, as opposed to what had happened with him joining Prats camp. The man didn’t believe in the Schneider doctrine, but he had come over because Prats had succeeded in replacing the M-24 Chaffee light tanks, a world war two vintage machine, with recently overhauled AMX-13 tanks. Carlos was of the firm belief that if he managed to replace their aging fleet of M-4 Sherman’s with real main battle tanks then Roberto would offer to bear his children.

    It was one of Carlos long held dreams to dismiss the man from service, but that wasn’t a possibility. He was one of the few armor officers who had chosen a side in the inter office politics, and he was widely regarded as one of the better ones. Dismissing him would have hurt Carlos political side and helped Pinochet or more accurately whomever was pulling the fools strings. That wasn’t going to happen. Still he did wish that someone else could deal with the man. It didn’t help that he had started off in artillery and still was biased in favor of that branch of service. Tanks were all well and good but artillery was called the queen of the battlefield for a reason. It didn’t help that the two branches were in direct competition for funding, and it showed.

    “Enough,” Prats said mildly, but with a clear edge of threat in his voice. “I understand your point. Our armor is sadly out of date even with the improvements I have made. I understand that, just as I understand that you are thinking of getting more help from the Israelis. I understand that you want to have improvements made on the Sherman’s at a minimum…. But let’s be realistic, they have been out of date for years.”

    “I know they are out of date, everyone knows that, but the improvements are the minimum required for the tanks to be even remotely competitive. What do you want me to do? We need these improvements! The M-24 replacement was a good step forward, especially as the AMX-13 has been proven to be a platform that takes to modernization well. We have the M-41 Bulldogs, but despite not being a true light tank they are also not a main battle tank. We need a modern MBT.” Roberto Souper threw up his hands in exasperation.

    “Who has modern tanks in the region? Just how badly do we need them? I have to ask you this because the budget is already stretched even with the improvements in funding that we are getting. I am trying to balance things so that we modernize at an acceptable pace while not putting us too deeply in debt.”

    “Peru has ordered twenty four T-55’s for ‘evaluation’ porpoises,” Roberto said with a look of complete contempt. “Just how stupid they think we are I do not know, but it is clear that these tanks are meant to train their forces in the operation of the T-55. I do not know just how many they intend to purchase, but it will not be a minor order. The Bolivians… I will admit I am less worried about. They have been talking to the Austrians about the purchase of SK-105 Kürassier light tanks. Those I am sure we could take with what we already have. You undoubtedly know about the Argentines Firefly’s so I feel no need to go into that…”

    “Damn… I was hoping to delay any tank purchase until we had dealt with the infantry…” Prats muttered.

    “I think we wait for a bit,” Roberto shook his head, as if to shake off a fly, “I know you think I am too monomaniacal on the subject of tanks but we do need to start at least thinking about a MBT buy. I’m not saying that we need to do one immediately, but thinking and planning we should do…”

    “I’m not about to authorize a full buy but I do want you to get with the Israelis. If the Peruvians are going to deploy the T-55 I want our officers fully familiar with its capabilities and how to knock them out… or operate them should we capture a few. I’m sure that you can convince the Israelis to sell us four or so for that purpose.” Prats mad a snap decision, it seemed to be the right one but only time would tell.

    “I will get on that, I presume you will at least think about what I have said?”

    “I am thinking of it, tanks are an area I know we need to address. I just need to figure out where to get the money from.” Carlos grimaced. “I have a lot of projects like that, including several ambitious artillery projects, all of which are on hold until I deal with the infantry. To add to that we are not in the best odor in La Monda, the navy is the flavor of the week and the apple of the presidents eye right now. He is not best pleased with our more… political… shall we say, officers and their actions. I, and Schnieder, are trying to fix the issue but it will not be an easy thing to deal with.”

    “There’s more then you licensing the TAP47 pattern cammo? I know about the monetary issues, but planning costs us very little for when we are back in the drivers seat in terms of funding. I would much rather we be in a position to make an informed decision when we get the money rather then it being a snap decision we will have to deal with after the fact like the assault rifle purchase.” Roberto asked with a raised eyebrow.

    “And getting them new rifles to correct the error of our snap decision earlier, looking at their mortars, new fighting knives beyond the traditional Corvo, the new model Stahlhelm commission is still riding me over helmets as well. All in all things are a bit of a mess.”

    “I thought that the helmet issue was resolved,” Roberto asked with more than a little amusement leaking into his voice. “I thought that the politicians had finally accepted that the new American helmets were better than the pre-world war to stahlhelms we were using…”

    “They did, and then they ordered me to get a native Chilean stahlhelm as opposed to buying the American helmets,” Carlos sighed deeply as he said that. “Given we don’t currently have a helmet manufacturing company, or any clue of how to get a better helmet… well that’s turning into a bitch of a project. One where we are going to spend a lot of money on research for a gain that could be achieved simply by buying from another country.”

    “Politicians, they see the small systems and they ask just why we don’t make it. They never think of just how complicated it actually is to make the thing. I had a similar discussion with one of the senators over the optics on my tanks, they seemed to be under the impression that such were easy to make and we should have bought Chilean rather than allowing the Israelis to do it.” Roberto was sympathetic, and then a thought hit him. “Perhaps you might just buy the research off the British or the Americans. I know it will not be everything that you need but… it could cut some of the time and costs from the project.”

    “I would but the research is classified and you know that neither of those nations has any respect for the Latin intelligence services. They are rather sulphurous about those Latin nations in Europe and their intelligence services…” Carlos shrugged. “I think that it will just be a project that will take time and money. Thought we may be able to recover some of that should we get lucky.”

    “Luck is a matter of skill,” Roberto replied simply repeating the maxim that most of the army lived on. “I doubt that our scientific establishment is anywhere in the league of those in the Estados Unitos or the brits. Have you thought about asking the Israelis’ if they have any ideas? They were almost a pariah state for some time and they probably have at least some idea of how to go about getting what we need or have research of their own they would sell to us…”

    “No they are not, but they are also not incompetent. If we support them with enough funds then there may be discoveries made… besides supporting our own scientific establishment is the only way to allow it to grow in both size and competence. That is something that we will need. Especially if this latest memo from the air force is true…” Prats paused and really thought about what Roberto had suggested. He quickly jotted himself a note, that was an idea worth following up on. He doubted there would be much but it was better then nothing. “I had not thought about the Isrealies and their situation in this context, especially as they have attracted the favor of the Estados Unitos in recent years.”


    “Aren’t there always?”
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