Estudios Públicos | Nº 73, 1999.
Soviet Intelligence in Latin America during the Cold War
Nikolai Leonov (author)
In these pages we present a transcript of the lecture and dialog given by former Sub-Director of the State Security Committee (KGB) of the Soviet Union, General Nikolai Leonov, in the Centro de Estudios Públicos on September 22nd, 1998. After giving his view of the guidelines that oriented Soviet foreign policy in the Third World during the Cold War, General Leonov highlights the decisive role the Cuban Revolution played in Soviet policy towards Latin America, arguing that both Cuba (the triumph of socialism without foreign intervention) and Chile (the installation of socialism by electoral means) were two landmarks for socialist forces worldwide. As regards Chile, he also refers to the aid provided by the USSR to the government of Salvador Allende, and reveals that in the northern hemisphere summer of 1973, approval had been given to send weapons (artillery, tanks) to the Chilean Army. However, when information was subsequently received about the imminence of a coup d’étât to depose Allende, the order was given to unload the weapons in another country. He also tells of the plan drawn up by Soviet Intelligence -which in the end was not carried out-to free the Secretary General of the Chilean Communist Party, Luis Corvalán, from prison on Dawson Island after the military takeover on September 11th 1973. General Leonov also describes the circumstances that led to the breakup of the USSR and puts forward his view of the acute crisis Russia is going through today.