Salvador Allende (1908-1973) was a politically active Chilean physician, who became the first elected Marxist President of Chile. Among the founders of the Chilean Socialist Party in 1933, elected to the lower house of Congress in 1937, and introduced legislation on public health and the rights of women., Allende was named minister of health, prevention, and social assistance in the Popular Front government, a position he held until 1942, when he became leader of his party. In 1945, he was elected to the Chilean Senate, and, during the 1950s, sponsored legislation that led to the formation of the Chilean Health Service, which guarantee universal healthcare.
Allende unquestionably believed in Marxist ideology, but he worked within a parliamentary rather than a revolutionary context. Richard Nixon believed he could become another Castro.
He died in a military coup on September 11, 1973; most accounts say he committed suicide, during a heavy attack on the presidential offices, to avoid capture, although there are unconfirmed reports he was killed. The coup, although actually carried out elements of the Chilean military, was heavily encouraged by the United States; see CIA activities in Chile.
- Tedeschi, Sara K.; Theodore M. Brown & Elizabeth Fee (December 2003), "VOICES FROM THE PAST: Salvador Allende : Physician, Socialist, Populist, and President", American Journal of Public Health (no. 12)