Eduardo Frei Montalva


Eduardo Frei Montalva : biography

January 16, 1911 – January 22, 1982

Between 1960 and 1962, he lectured at Columbia University on problems in Latin America. In 1962, he gave a conference at Notre Dame University on the development and the integration of Latin American countries.

He ran for president again 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.

Support of the coup d’etat against Allende

After Allende’s 1970 victory, Frei became convinced of what he called a "totalitarian project" to impose a Communist tyranny.

In 1971, he gave conferences at universities in Dayton, Ohio, Boston, and the Council of the Americas in New York, denouncing in all of them the actions of the Allende government that were violating the Constitution and the laws of Chile.

In the March 1973 parliamentary elections he was elected Senator for Santiago by a first majority. He was afterwards elected President of the Senate and became the leader of the opposition to Allende.

On September 11, 1973, during the coup d’etát President Salvador Allende committed suicide in the presidential palace, La Moneda, as the Armed Forces seized power.

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 1973 Frei wrote an 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 a Communist dictatorship in Chile., also at (Spanish).

Between 1973 and 1977, Eduardo Frei Montalva was invited to different countries and participated in conferences, such as: The Altlantic Conference in 1976.

In 1975 he published his book “El Mandato de la Historia y las Exigencias del Porvenir” (“The Mandate of History and Demands of the Future“), and in 1977 his quintiessential book “América Latina: Opción y Esperanza” (“Latin America: Option and Hope”) which has been translated into several languages.

In the period between 1977 and 1982, he was invited to participate in the Brandt Commission, led by Willy Brandt. As a member, he attended meetings held in Germany, Switzerland, Mali, United States, Malaysia, France, Austria, Belgium, and Great Britain. As a Brandt Commission delegate he engaged with important executives from IDB, OAS, and ECLAC.

In 1980, he participated in the Meeting of Former Democrat Presidents of Latin America held in Caracas, Venezuela. In 1981, he was invited to the Club of Rome International Conference on the “Alternatives for Humanity: Latin America Mission” also held in Caracas. His last book “El Mensaje Humanista” (“The Humanist Message”) was published.

Later, Frei became an opponent of Pinochet’s military government.

On January 22, 1982, Eduardo Frei Montalva died in Santiago, six days after turning 71.

Additional information

See also

  • Frei family
  • Tacnazo
  • History of Chile



A History of Chile, 1808–1994, by Simon Collier and William F. Sater

Category:1911 births Category:1982 deaths Eduardo Frei Montalva Category:Presidents of Chile Category:Members of the Senate of Chile Category:Members of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile Category:Candidates for President of Chile Category:People from Santiago Category:Pontifical Catholic University of Chile alumni Category:Chilean Roman Catholics Category:Chilean people of Swiss descent Category:Chilean people of Austrian descent Category:Infectious disease deaths in Chile Category:Deaths from sepsis Category:Deaths by poisoning Category:People killed in Operation Condor Category:Assassinated Chilean politicians Category:Christian Democrat Party of Chile politicians

Early life

Eduardo Frei Montalva was born in Santiago on January 16, 1911, the son of Eduard Frei Schlinz, a Swiss-born ethnic German from Austria, and Victoria Montalva Martínez. In 1914, his family moved to Lontué, where his father had been hired as an accountant at a winery. In addition, his other two siblings, Arturo and Irene, were born. He attended the Escuela Pública de Lontué (Public School of Lontué).

In 1919 the family returned to Santiago and Eduardo, as a young man, entered the boarding School Seminario Conciliar de Santiago where he remained until 1922. In 1923, he entered Instituto de Humanidades Luis Campino, where he graduated in 1928, at the age of 17.

As an 18 year old, he entered Universidad Católica School of Law in 1929. For two years, he had been visiting María, the sister of his friend, Alfredo Ruiz-Tagle. He attended high school at the and went on to study law at the graduating as a lawyer in 1933. He married María Ruiz-Tagle with whom he had 7 children. His eldest son, Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, was President of Chile from 1994 to 2000.