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Chile in the Last Decade

Chile in the Last Decade - Christina Perles Chile In the...

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Christina Perles Chile In the international community, Latin America is known to be in a state of crisis. Environmental degradation, poverty, drug trafficking, and a feeble economy are just a few of the problems that characterize the majority of Latin America. Not all countries in Latin America, however, are forced to bear such a dismal connotation. Chile, despite poor economic conditions, a volatile political environment, and a constant battle between authoritarianism and democracy, has found success. Chile’s paradigm of regime shifts between dictatorship and democracy can be best understood by tracing its history back to the military coup of General Luis Altamirano. The coup, launched in 1924, declared Carlos Ibanez del Campo as the leader of Chile(Varas 7) . Though technically considered a dictatorship, Ibanez del Campo’s regime was relatively mellow and not as harsh as the dictatorship that was to come just a few decades later (Carruthers 344). As dissatisfaction grew, however, a new party called the Radicals emerged and swiftly gained influence over Chile. For the next twenty years the radicals dominated the political arena in Chile, their primary mission being to increase state influence in the economy(Varas 10). In a democratic election, the people of Chile called Ibanez del Campo back to power, and he ruled relatively peacefully for a term of six years. Although Ibanez del Campo had previously been a dictator, he conformed to meet the new standards of Chile and ruled Chile democratically, though clearly more conservatively than the Radical Party before him (Varas 12-14). In 1964, conservative rule in Chile continued with the election of Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei Montalva (Debray 33). However, although Montalva was a known rightist, his reign was also one of great reform in Chile. Frei’s major concerns were with worker’s rights, educational reform, `and housing quality and accessibility. Frei implemented revolutionary
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policies, the institution of labor unions top among them, but five years into his term, Frei found much of the Chilean population unimpressed with his performance. Liberals and leftists asserted that reform under Frei was insufficient, while the conservative right countered that his policies were too radical (Varas 42-45). With disappointment coming from all sides, Frei was not elected to serve a second term. The people of Chile, seeking a leader willing to make more extreme reforms, elected Salvador Allende Gossens as their next president (Carruthers 344). Allende, who was trained as a doctor before his political life began, offered new hope to Chile with his socialist party. He was always careful to emphasize the distinction between socialism and communism, as he believed that what Chile needed most was a party absorbed with concerns specific to Chile, rather than issues spanning the global spectrum (Debray 62). Top among Allende’s priorities was social reform. As a young doctor, Allende had
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Chile in the Last Decade - Christina Perles Chile In the...

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