Tacnazo insurrection and contributions to culture. Tacnazo insurrection highlights. Andes culture and attractions
Andean World Home > Chile > Add your site to this page

Tacnazo insurrection (October 21, 1969) (Spanish: El Tacnazo) was a brief revolt of the Tacna armored regiment, led by General Roberto Viaux in what turned out to be a non-violent attempt against the government of Chilean President Eduardo Frei Montalva.


Around mid-1969, Brigadier General Roberto Viaux, commander of the First Army Division stationed in Antofagasta, asked "the opinion of the young officers" (colonels, lieutenant colonels, majors, and captains) and based on their answers, wrote a letter of petition to the Army Commander-in-chief, General Sergio Castillo, to be presented to President Eduardo Frei Montalva.

General Viaux's letter said that "national security and internal peace in our country" depended on the armed forces, and "in our judgement" the Frei administration, like its predecessors, had not concerned itself with keeping a modern army in working order, "well equipped and taking real part in important decisions". The letter demanded that a new government policy toward the armed forces be put into effect, that senior officers' salaries be adjusted to conform to "their high social status and national responsibility" (in the letter, Viaux complained that "''a general of the Republic earns less than a competent worker at the Chuquicamata copper mine''", which was true), that adequate war materiel be purchased, and that the higher echelons of the military hierarchy be given a prominent participatory role in the economic, political, and social development of Chile.

General Viaux was confident that his letter would lead to a new dialogue with President Frei, because he had discussed it beforehand with the head of the Army's General Staff, Division General Rene Schneider. The letter had even made suggestions about the "participatory" role of the generals in the economic and political life of the country. President Frei, however, did not listen to Rene Schneider, but he did listen to Sergio Castillo, the commander in chief of the Army, an intimate personal friend and a political supporter above all else. General Roberto Viaux was relieved of his command of the First Division on Saturday, October 18, 1969, and recalled to Santiago.


On Tuesday, October 21, 1969, General Viaux awoke as head of a military insurrection localized in the Tacna Regiment in Santiago, with the support of the Junior Officers' School, the Academy of War, and part of the 2nd Armored Regiment. At noon on October 21, it was clear to the reporters covering the incident that General Viaux was counting on the covert support and simpathy of the majority of Santiago's officer corps, and that, technically, if Viaux suggested it, there was nothing to prevent the overthrow of Eduardo Frei and his replacement by a military government without a shot being fired.

President Frei reacted by ending the legislative session of the congress, and declaring State of emergency. However, after a phone conversation with the head of the Army General Staff, Rene Schneider, General Viaux issued a statement in which he emphasized that "my movement is not against the President of the Republic," but rather was a last resort "to call attention" to the necessity of putting the Army in the place it deserved. The next day, October 22, General Viaux ended his rebellion, having elicited the following concessions that were officialized in the so called "Tacna agreement": The Army Commander-in-chief, General Sergio Castillo, and the minister of Defense, General Tulio Marambio, would retire. Division General Rene Schneider would assume as Army Commander-in-chief, and the government would urgently upgrade the salaries of the army personnel and the military budget.

General Viaux accepted forced retirement for himself, since General Schneider's presence as Commander-in-chief guaranteed that his petitions would be heard. After the negociations Viaux surrendered himself to General Alfredo Mahn.


General Schneider forced Frei to carry out part of Viaux's original petition: in January 1970, the generals' salaries were raised from an equivalent of six times the minimum wage to twelve times the minimum wage. (The minimum wage was fixed by law each year for state employees and private enterprise.) That is, the generals became part of the 2 percent of Chilean households with the highest income. They had belonged to the 10 percent with the highest income before. The military budget was raised by 50 percent for the following fiscal year, and plans to expand the number of officers in the three branches of the armed forces, the military police, and the civilian investigatory police were studied. (These plans were not put into effect until 1971, under Salvador Allende's administration.)

It was agreed that for their part the corps of Army generals would study long- and short-term "plans of action" to put into practice General Viaux's demand that "the armed forces be given a real responsibility in solving national problems". During 1970 this plan was deferred by the generals themselves so they could concentrate on the means of intervening "in search of social peace", should the political struggle for the presidency erupt into violent confrontations between the various political factions, a situation that kept threatening throughout the year until September 4, 1970 the day of the presidential elections.

Additional information

See also

  • Schneider assassination
  • History of Chile
  • List of coup d'etat in Chile


  • Information on El Tacnazo
  • Work document on El Tacnazo
  • Interview with one of the protagonists
  • [https://www.cia.gov/csi/studies/vol47no3/article03.html Alleged US intervention]
  • History-of-Chile

Other pages about History of Chile

-1925 Chilean coup d'etat -1973 Chilean coup d'etat -1992 Galvarino -2006&#8211? -Alejandrina Cox incident -Alessandri family -Allende family -Allende stamps -Antonio Samore -Arauco War -Ariostazo -Army of the Andes -Burnt Alive case -Capture of Valdivia -Carrera family -Caso Degollados -Charles Horman -Chile under Allende -Chile under Pinochet -Chilean Civil War -Chilean Revolution of 1829 -Chilean coup d'etat -Chilean transition to democracy -City of the Caesars -Clemente de Lantano -Colonia Dignidad -Covadonga (ship) -Crossing of the Andes -Cuban packages -DINA -Death of Salvador Allende -Economic history of Chile -Errazuriz family -Esmeralda (BE-43) -Estadio Nacional de Chile -Estadio Victor Jara -Figueroa mutiny -First Ladies of Chile -Flach (submarine) -Forced disappearance -Frei family -Gabino Gainza -Garcia de Nodal expedition -Government Junta of Chile (1924) -Government Juntas of Chile -Heroes (Chilean miniseries) -History of Chile -History of Chile during the Parliamentary Era (1891-1925) -Huaso (horse) -Ines de Suarez -John E. Hamm -Kingdom of Araucania and Patagonia -Kingdom of Chile -Leighton case -Letelier case -Liberal-Conservative Fusion (Chile) -List of archaeological sites in Chile -List of major political scandals in Chile -List of presidents of Chile -Lonco -Maitland Plan -Mapuche -Maria Callcott -Marusia massacre -Michael Townley -Missing (film) -Montt family -National Party (Chile) -Norte Grande insurrection -Nueva Extremadura -Occupation of the Araucania -Operation Colombo -Operation Condor -Operation TOUCAN (KGB) -Paul Schafer -Pedro de Valdivia -Project Cybersyn -Project FUBELT -Ranquil massacre -Rettig Report -Royal Governor of Chile -Saber noise -Sailors' mutiny -Schneider Doctrine -Scorpion scandal -Seguro Obrero massacre -Supreme director -Tacnazo insurrection -Tanquetazo -Timeline of Chilean history -Toqui -Valech Report -Valparaiso bombardment -Villa Grimaldi

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Tacnazo_insurrection

Latest posts at MundoAndino Community Forum

Andean World

Social bookmarks

About Chile


Social life


Need Advice?

Andean World Attractions

Popular topics

2006 - Mundo Andino / Andean World