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General René Schneider Chereau (1913-1970) was the Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army at the time of the 1970 Chilean presidential election, when he was assassinated during a kidnapping attempt. His murder virtually assured Salvador Allende's election by the Chilean Congress two days later.
In 1970, Salvador Allende's possible win was highly controversial, particularly within the Chilean military, because of his Marxist ideology. Schneider had expressed firm opposition to the idea of preventing Allende's inauguration by means of a coup d'état; as a constitutionalist, he wished to preserve the military's apolitical history.
On October 22, 1970, coup-plotters loyal to General Roberto Viaux attempted to kidnap him. His official car was ambushed at a street intersection in the capital city of Santiago. General Schneider drew a gun to defend himself, and was shot point-blank several times. He was rushed to a military hospital, but the wounds proved fatal and he died three days later, on October 25.
The attempt on him was due to the fact that Schneider was the army Commander-in-Chief and a constitutionalist, which meant he would not support a coup. The CIA in Santiago kept contact with two groups inside the military and provided guns and money for kidnapping Schneider, but the fact that he was killed during the operation effectively put an end to any further direct attempts for the time being. It is unclear whether the U.S. State Department sanctioned CIA assistance to Viaux, as declassified documents show that National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger and President Richard Nixon had expressed intentions to withhold support over concerns that the coup would fail a week before it actually took place.
This incident and his death provoked national outrage, and caused the citizens and the military to rally behind the just-elected Allende, who was ratified by the Chilean Congress on October 24. It also helped to insure an orderly transfer of power to Allende.
On September 10, 2001, his family filed a suit against former U.S. National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, accusing him of collaborating with Viaux in arranging for Schneider's murder. While declassified documents show that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, displeased with the Socialist victory, had explored the idea of supporting Viaux in a coup attempt, they also show that the agency decided on tracking down other members of the Chilean military, deciding that a Viaux coup would fail. On October 15, 1970, Kissinger had told President Richard Nixon that he had "turned off" plans to support Viaux, explaining that "Nothing could be worse than an abortive coup." 
- Official biography (in Spanish)
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