Hostile Intent: U.S. Covert Operations in Chile 1964-1975. By Kristian Gustafson. (Washington: Potomac Books, Inc., 2007. Pp. xiv, 244. $29.95)
Kristian Gustafson served as an officer in the Canadian Army and later earned a Ph.D. at Cambridge University. He is a lecturer at Brunel University's Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies in England. In this book he takes a middle-of-the road view of U.S. involvement with Chile's political processes during the decade from Salvador Allende's first campaign for president through the coup d'etat which ended his presidential term.
Over the past several years thousands of CIA and State Department documents relating to United States involvement in Chile between 1964 and 1974 have been released to the public. Dr. Gustafson has done extensive research in that documentation with the intention of using it to add significant factual information to what was known, or believed, about that involvement. With Hostile Intent he has succeeded admirably.
Gustafson concludes that the CIA was indeed involved in supporting the Chilean Christian Democratic party for a decade prior to, as well as during the 1970 election which Allende won and afterwards. He also concludes that the CIA was not involved in the coup d'etat that overthrew Allende in 1973. In explaining his conclusions Gustafson provides extensive background on U.S. covert financial support for political parties in Chile going back at least to the 1964 presidential campaign in that country. He argues persuasively that the assistance leading up to and after the 1970 election was essentially a continuation of that assistance. Gustafson's analysis is made more valuable by the fact that he also explains the internal dynamics of Chilean politics of the time. Too often, writers on the U.S. involvement in Chile during this period treat it in a vacuum, ignoring those internal dynamics that Gustafson argues were the real reason for Allende's ouster.
Hostile Intent begins with an extensive introduction that identifies the materials Gustafson relied upon for his analysis, notes the shortcoming of much of the previous research on this topic, and summarizes his conclusions. He then describes U.S. covert financial support of the Chilean Christian Democratic and National political parties from the presidential election of 1964 through the 1970 election; and analyzes the events leading up to the assassination of Chilean Army Commander Gen. Rene Schneider in October...