Departing Santiago

Here’s a quick moment on the timeline of Henry Hecksher’s life.

Salvador Allende was inaugurated as Chile’s president on November 5, 1970

In Kristian Gustafson’s Hostile Intent, the opening chronology has one mention of the Santiago Station chief, though we’re certain to find plenty more as we delve into the book.

November 1970: Raymond Warren replaces Henry Hecksher as COS in Santiago.

This is a month after a dramatic series of events in the Chilean capital, where Hecksher was the CIA’s chief of station, or COS.

In August 1970, the CIA began what is known as Track I, an effort to thwart Socialist Salvador Allende from becoming Chilean president through complicated political maneuvers.

Allende won a plurality on election day on September 4, but under Chile’s constitution that would leave it to the country’s congress to decide the next president.

Then comes Track II, which was also a complicated tact aimed at the same goal through extra-constitutional measures that included the kidnapping of Chile’s commander-in-chief, General Rene Schneider.

Neither of these tracks played out as plan. In the kidnapping attempt, Schneider was shot on October 22, Allende was confirmed on October 24, and then the next day the general died in a Santiago hospital.

We’ll go over all of this in great detail in posts to come.


Gustafson, Kristian. Hostile Intent: U.S. Covert Operations in Chile, 1964–1974, Verso Books, Kindle Edition. Page xii

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