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