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RIP Luis Corvalan

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Post 22 Jul 2010, 21:49

Yesterday saw the passing of Luis Corvalán, general secretary of the Chilean Communist Party from 1958 to 1989. He had plenty to deal with at the head of what became the biggest communist party in the continent, including the forming of the Popular Unity government of Allende and the military dictatorship of Pinochet.

Former leader of the Chilean Communist Party Luis Corvalán died at 94, Chilean radio reports.
Luis Alberto Corvalán Lepe was born in 1916 and joined the Communist Party of Chile at the age of fifteen in the city of Chillán shortly after the fall of the repressive dictatorship of Carlos Ibáñez del Campo in 1932. Trained as a teacher, after 1952 he became an elected member of the PCCh’s Central Committee, and after 1958 served as the Secretary-General. The party was outlawed from 1948 until 1958. In this period Corvalán was interned in the concentration camps of Pitrufquén and later in Pisagua. On September 11, 1973, General Augusto Pinochet lead a military Coup and Corvalán was among the many arrested. The Soviet Union launched an international campaign for his release. December 18, 1976 Corvalán was exchanged for a Soviet political prisoner dissident Vladimir Bukovsky, and received asylum in the USSR. In 1983, Corvalan changed his appearance and returned to Chile. After the end of Pinochet’s dictatorship in 1989, Corvalán also retired from the Communist Party’s leadership.

I don't need to say that he was highly successful in implanting the national liberation strategy that was agreed by communist parties worldwide, making communism mainstream and getting hundreds of thousands reading up on Marxism and taking part in activism. He was less than successful in the same general flaws of this strategy, too much compromise, too much reluctance to show strength when it is on your side. It must be said that he remained head of the party even after jailed and that he approved plans for underground resistance (armed struggle).

Oh, nice! RIA Novosti has an obituary:

And an anecdote on the prisoner exchange with the USSR:
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