Juan Gonzalo Larrain Campbell


Frei, the Chilean Kerensky,

Thirty Years Later









Catolicismo, August 1997

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To understand the true scope of the texts we cite below -- all written by ideological opponents of Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira and TFP – it is worth making a quick review of the background of the communism v. anticommunism struggle that preceded the publication of Frei, the Chilean Kerensky. [1]

 Until World War II, Communists won victories through violence while openly preaching their atheistic and materialistic doctrines. That method proved ineffective because they failed to persuade the crowds and instead faced resistance.

Communists sought to circumvent this obstacle by changing their policy and reaching out to Catholics to continue advancing. While welcomed by the forerunners of progressivism, this maneuver encountered significant opposition from pre-conciliar Pontiffs, who condemned it explicitly. [2]

At that point, the so-called third way—supposedly ‘neither capitalist nor communist’—emerged in political environments. Its advocates sought to impose egalitarian ‘structural reforms’ on society in the name of the Gospel and religion, thus ‘baptizing’ the road to communism. Christian Democracy was the movement supposed to implement the ‘third way.’

N. 1 - Eduardo Frei. n. 2 - Salvador Allende

Frei: A Symbolic Man of the Revolution [3]

Frei came to power in 1964. He undoubtedly was one of the most symbolic men of the revolutionary new look in the temporal order.

Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, an always-vigilant sentinel of the Counter-Revolution, wasted no time to discern the danger that Frei’s ascension meant for the Latin American continent. He asked Fábio Vidigal Xavier da Silveira to travel to Chile to verify, in loco, the apprehensions that rose in his mind.

Prophetic Book “Shook Frei’s Prestige”

Decio Monteiro de Lima thus describes the book’s genesis and some of its effects:

“When the smoke of Satan spread on the other side of the Andes, [the Brazilian TFP sent] Fábio . . . to explain to Chileans the communist danger embedded in the agrarian reform program that Allende (read Frei) preached . . . but he ended up receiving an ultimatum from Chile’s Interior Minister, Bernardo Leighton, to leave the country within 72 hours. Months later, in July 1967, he fought back by publishing Frei, the Chilean Kerensky. An Argentine edition of the book was sent into Chilean territory clandestinely, as its sale there was prohibited. It undermined the prestige of the Frei Government with the rural aristocracy, which supported him. At any rate, the book . . . was seen as ‘prophetic.’ With an extraordinary sense of opportunity, the TFP quickly promoted the sale of thousands of copies of the work alerting Latin Americans to that example of leftist escalation. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira also took advantage of the event [by publishing] ‘The Whole Truth about the Elections in Chile.’” [4 and 5]

Etched in People’s Minds across the Continent

Jesuit Fr. Roger Vekemans, one of the priests who most contributed to Frei’s ascension, grudgingly recognizes the book’s effectiveness:

“Unfortunately, his baseness [sic!] did not prevent his thesis from being etched into many minds throughout the continent even after more than ten years.” [6]

Later on, he felt obliged to confess:

“On the other hand, its title itself—which undoubtedly is an advertising hit—is sophistry. ... The sad part . . . is that subsequent events—Allende’s succession of Frei—seem to prove Silveira right.”  [7]

The Book Debunked the Myth of the Third World’s Symbolic Man

The leftist writer José Rodriguez Elizondo, despite wrongly attributing to the Chilean right a role in the book’s publication that it did not have, thus reveals the book’s force of impact:

“Because the Chilean right knew Frei’s personality in-depth, they would get better dividends from their attacks. A single touch would be enough to affect him deeply. . . . [The right] published and distributed throughout the continent a denunciation-book titled Frei, the Chilean Kerensky. Already in its title, the book accused him of becoming the apprentice sorcerer who unleashed the forces of the Bolshevik revolution in a key position in Latin America. They thus touched on the most sensitive nerve of those who had presented themselves and their party as the true alternative to the socialist revolution, which should serve as an example for the group of nations of the so-called third world.” [8]

The Work Plunged the Chilean Left into a Crisis

With Allende’s rise, to move ahead without hitches, the Marxist ‘revolution in freedom’ that Frei initiated needed to retain strong support from Christian Democrats. Frei, the Chilean Kerensky eroded precisely that support. Carlos Altamirano, then general secretary of the Chilean Socialist Party and one of Allende’s biggest supporters in the government, recognizes this fact. In an interview with journalist P. Politzer, he states:

“Continuous political and personal problems between both forces (Marxism and Christian Democracy) this ideological contradiction. In my opinion, it was crucial to the Allende-Frei relationship, which seriously deteriorated at the end of the Christian Democrat government ... At that time, Frei broke both his political and personal relations with Allende.”

Q: “Why?” [asks Mrs. Politzer, the journalist]

A. “Frei recalls this break in one of his last interviews, but I disagree with his interpretations.”

Q. “And what is your interpretation of when the break exactly took place?”

A. “A certain distancing had already happened during the Frei administration, but the break occurred with Allende’s candidacy. I think the book they launched in Brazil, Frei, the Chilean Kerensky, had a brutal impact on Frei. It was the stick that broke the camel’s back. That is when their broad and good relationship was definitely broken.”

1) We place this article within this work, because Dr. Fabio Vidigal Xavier da Silveira—a disciple of Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira and a brilliant collaborator and promoter of his thought and work, especially in Latin America— always recognized him as the inspirer of Frei, the Chilean Kerensky. Its title, suggested by the President of the Brazilian TFP, proved to be prophetic.

2) Cf. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Unperceived Ideological Transshipment and Dialogue, Vera Cruz, São Paulo, 1974, 5th ed. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, A Igreja ante a escalada da ameaça comunista -- Apelo aos Bispos silenciosos, Vera Cruz, São Paulo, 1977, 4th ed. Juan Gonzalo Larrain Campbell, "Colaboração e infiltração: a vigorosa denúncia da manobra comunista anti-católica” Catolicismo nº 526, 10/94, p. 9.

3) At the Orly Airport in Paris, about to leave France after an official visit, Frei met with Maritain, who showed up to say goodbye and “to give him his latest published book and tell him that there only three revolutionaries in our century: himself, his friend Frei, and Father Teillard de Chardin” (Gerardo Mello Mourão, A invenção do saber, 1983, p. 164).

4) Decio Monteiro de Lima, Os senhores da direita, Antares, Rio de Janeiro, 1980, p. 55, 56.

5) Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira wrote this article after Allende’s election in September 1970; it was published in Folha de S. Paulo on September 10, 1970.

6) Roger Vekemans, S.J., Autopsia del mito Vekemans, Universidad Católica del Táchira, Caracas, 1982, Coleccion Testimonio, p. 79, 80.

7) Op. cit., pp. 79, 80.

8) José Rodriguez Elizondo, Introducción al facismo Chileno, Editorial Ayuso S.A., México, 1976, 1st ed., p. 62.

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