Corvalán Lepe, Luis (1916–)

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Corvalán Lepe, Luis (1916–)

Luis Corvalán Lepe is a politician and the secretary general of Unidad Popular, the Chilean Communist Party. A professor by education, Corvalán worked his way up in the party to serve as a senator representing the south. Then, selected by his predecessor, he became head of the party in 1957. Always a supporter of Moscow, he was nevertheless willing to cooperate with progressive elements. Corvalán rationalized the Unidad Popular's policies, arguing that it was possible to achieve socialism in Chile without revolution. Captured in the 1973 coup that overthrew Allende, Corvalán suffered torture at the hands of the Pinochet government. He was then imprisoned, and during his incarceration he was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize for 1973–1974. In 1976 he was exchanged for the Soviet political prisoner Vladimir Bukovsky. He received asylum in the USSR and relocated there. From exile, he continued to head the Communist Party of Chile. He returned to Chile in October 1989, just before the plebiscite to decide whether Pinochet would continue his rule. He immediately began campaigning for Patricio Aylwin, Pinochet's opponent, who won the election.

See alsoChile, Political Parties: Communist Party .


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Furci, Carmelo. The Chilean Communist Party and the Road to Socialism (1984), pp. 19, 37, 56, 85-88, 153, 167.

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Shragin, Victor. Chile, Corvalán, Struggle. Translated by Yuri Sviridov. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1980.

                                       William F. Sater