Eduardo Frei Montalva

Eduardo Frei Montalva

Infobox President | name=Eduardo Frei Montalva

order=28th President of Chile
term_start=November 3, 1964
term_end=November 3, 1970
predecessor=Jorge Alessandri
successor=Salvador Allende
birth_date=birth date|1911|1|16|mf=y
birth_place=Santiago, Chile
death_date=death date and age|1982|1|22|1911|1|16|mf=y
death_place=Santiago, Chile
spouse=María Ruiz-Tagle Jiménez
party=Christian Democrat
religion=Roman Catholic

Eduardo Nicanor Frei Montalva (1911–1982) was a Chilean political figure and president of Chile from 1964 to 1970. His eldest son, Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, also became president of Chile (1994-2000).

Early life

Eduardo Frei Montalva was born in Santiago on January 16, 1911, the son of Eduardo Frei Schlinz, a Swiss-born ethnic German from Austria, and Victoria Montalva Martínez. He attended high school at the Instituto de Humanidades Luis Campino and went on to study law at the Universidad Católica de Chile, graduating as a lawyer in 1933. He married María Ruiz-Tagle and had 5 children.

He began his political career in the Conservative Party, but was among a group of young men who founded their own party in 1938: the Falange Nacional. In 1957, the Falange became the Christian Democratic Party of Chile, and he became the undisputed leader.

He was minister of Public Works in 1945, and senator in 1949. He ran for president in 1958 before being elected in 1964. That year he was elected with his "Revolución en Libertad" ("Revolution in Liberty") slogan by a large margin (56%), defeating Socialist candidate Salvador Allende who only received 39% of the vote, but who subsequently won the 1970 Chilean presidential election.

His campaign had been supported by the CIA, who feared an Allende victory, with US$ 3 million, mostly used in the Chilean media. [ [ CIA Site Redirect — Central Intelligence Agency ] ]


Frei's administration began many reforms in Chilean society. "Promoción Popular" (Social Promotion), "Reforma Agraria" (Agrarian Reform), "Reforma Educacional" (Education Reform), and "Juntas de Vecinos" (Neighborhood Associations) were some of his main projects. He also took measures to rationalise drug supply.

, until its opening to the public in 1966.

Position on Pinochet

After Allende's 1970 victory, Frei became convinced of what he called a "totalitarian project" to impose a Communist tyranny. His Christian Democratic Party supported the Armed Forces intervention to remove Allende from office in 1973, after the Chamber of Deputies on August 22, 1973, accused Allende of violating the Constitution. In November 1974 Frei wrote a historic letter to Mariano Rumor, President of the International Christian Democrats, endorsing the Armed Forces intervention and denouncing what he alleged was an attempt by Allende to impose in Chile a Communist dictatorship. [ [ Letter to Mariano Rumor, 8 November, 1973] , also at [ wikisource] (Spanish).]

Frei later became part of the opposition against the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship. Fact|date=December 2007


Frei died in Santiago, on January 22, 1982, after undergoing surgery for a stomach illness. His death was attributed to an infection, septicaemia, stemming from surgery. He is buried in the Cementerio General de Santiago.

His death is a matter of controversy due to allegations that he was poisoned by the Pinochet regime, allegedly using a toxin produced by the DINA biochemist Eugenio Berrios. After Belgian researchers from the University of Ghent reportedly found mustard gas in Frei's body, the former president's family filed a lawsuit, which is still pending as of 2007 [ [ Ex-Chilean leader 'was murdered'] , BBC, 23 January 2007] . Some commentators, notably conservative columnist Hermógenes Pérez de Arce, dispute the existence of the Belgian report, citing the denial by the University's chief of communications, Tom de Smedt, that an investigation had been done in that university [Pérez de Arce, Hermógenes, "En el nivel 49", "El Mercurio", 31 January 2007] .


ee also

*Frei family
*History of Chile

External links

* [ Biography] es
* [ Chile 1964: CIA covert support in FREI election]
* Steve Anderson [ Body of Chile's Former President Frei May Be Exhumed] , "The Santiago Times", April 5, 2005
* [ Genealogical chart of Family Frei-Montalva]

###@@@KEY@@@###succession box
title=President of Chile
before=Jorge Alessandri
after=Salvador Allende
years=1964 - 1970
succession box
title=President of the Senate of Chile
before=Américo Acuña
after=nowrap|Government Junta of Chile (1973)

Template group
title=History of Chile
list =

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