St. Paul Dispatch 18.06.1975
Singing protester seeks end of all U.S. support of Chile
By Dorothy Lewis
Singer Dean Reed came to St. Paul with a rather "impossible" mission Tuesday, but appeared to accomplish it with grace, style and charm.
The tall, handsome pop singer, who views Chile as his second "homeland," is presently touring the country to try to persuade Americans to pressure Congress into withdrawing all support of the present Chilean dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet.
He urged the pressure be applied in the manner the American public reacted to end the Vietnam war.
Reed sang a concert of mostly "protest" songs to a mixed audience of some 250 Summit Avenue society types and campus activists in the University Club, 420 Summit Ave., and received an extremely warm reception. He also presented a noon concert on the Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota.
He has a good voice and style and delivered his message between songs which he sang to is own guitar accompainment.
The message is his contention that the CIA and other American "spy" agencies, along with International Telephone & Telegraph Cc. (ITT) interest, are hard at work in Chile, and have been since Marxist Salvador Allende's regime began in 1970. He also contends the U.S. has continued to support Gen. Pinochet's military government with large loans and other material goods, despite a U.S. promise to "accept" a government attained through free elections.
"People ask me," he admitted, "how I explain myself - an American singer, living in East Germany, and calling Chile my second home."
The 36-year-old Reed, born and reared in Denver, went to Hollywood in 1959. As a pop singer, he began recording for Capitol Records and, by some quirk, the records made a bit hit in Latin America. He went there on a personal tour to plug them and was an instant sensation.
"It was love at first sight," he recalled. "I loved the Chilean people and they seemed to love me."
He returned to the U.S., studied Spanish, and on his second trip decided to stay in South America. At the same time, he developed his "political conscience." This came as he witnessed the awesome poverty there.
He was befriended by Allende and became a political activist, strongly supporting Allende's Pupular Unity government in 1970.
He lived for a year in Argentina but was ordered out of that country for his political leanings. After spending a third year in various South American countries, he toured Russia and East Germany and again was an instant success. In Russia, some critics called him the "Soviet Sinatra." He married an East German girl and began making movies, both "spaghetti westerns" in Italy and German-language films, at which he makes a good living.
He says his politics are "from the heart."
"I am basically a singer of love songs. There is love between a man and woman, a mother and child, and a person's love for mankind. It is my love for mankind that makes me protester," he explains.