Chile Presidentialism

Economic Development

The economy in Chile was dominated by the production of copper since the beginning of the century, this country has one of the most formidable deposits known until then, being considered one of the first producers. This mineral represents about half of the total annual exports, although it has been constantly subject to fluctuations in world market prices.

Other minerals such as oil and natural gas, discovered in 1945, are exploited in Tierra del Fuego and the Strait of Magellan. It also has huge deposits of nitrates, iodine, sulfur and coal, gold, zinc, manganese, molybdenum, and silver, of which it is considered the sixth largest producer in the world.

After the coup that brought with it the death of President Salvador Allende, most of the nationalized companies were privatized. Transportation, the chemical industry and agri-food products are the sectors that have shown themselves most dynamically, although economic growth continues to be too dependent on mining exports, which makes the country’s economy in general fragile.

In 1995, agriculture used about 12% of the assets with the exception of sheep farming, which is practiced in the south of the country; Most of the agricultural activities are concentrated in the central Valley and the main crops include wheat, potatoes, sugar beets, corn, rice, tomatoes and oats. Among the fruits, grapes, melons, apples, peaches, apricots, plums and cherries have their exclusivity. The country is also an important wine producer. Rams are raised in large herds in the so -called Tierra del Fuego and in the pampas of Magellan.

About 12% of the Chilean territory is covered by timber trees such as laurel and pine, which are exploited and used essentially in carpentry and the manufacture of paper pulp.

The Chilean territory also has one of the most important fishing industries in South America, counting among the most abundant species with sardines, mackerel, hake, anchovies and lobsters.

Chile’s unit of currency is the Chilean Peso.

Government of Carlos Ibáñez del Campo

The 1 of October of 1925, Arturo Alessandri Palma resigned the presidency, temporarily taking over as Vice President Luis Barros Borgoño, who served as Minister of the Interior. On October 24, 1925, Emiliano Figueroa prevailed by a large majority in the first direct vote and at the end of the year he began his duties. During his mandate he was unable to introduce the changes that were expected, little by little he moved away from the effective direction of public affairs and his Minister of War, Colonel Carlos Ibáñez del Campo, tried to carry out some reforms proposed in 1924 imposing itself with a heavy hand. As a result, several political leaders were jailed and others went into exile. The 4 of maypole of 1927 Figueroa presented his resignation, which porvocando the rise to power Ibanez as vice president who called for elections as the only candidate presenting and obtaining 98 percent of the vote.

After several years of political and social unrest, Ibáñez’s main concerns were the reestablishment of order, the restructuring of the public administration and carry out a broad economic reform and for this he adopted harsh restrictive measures and against corruption, purifying the magistracy, the army and the navy. New institutions were created among them, Carabineros de Chile in 1927, product of the merger of several police forces and was created in 1930 the Chilean Air Force, a military branch specialized in aeronautics. Education was made compulsory for children and young people between seven and 15 years old, the law of university autonomy was enacted, which guaranteed the academic and administrative independence of the University of Chile. In 1931, the situation became delicate for the Chilean people, the threat of bankruptcy was presented as a real possibility, discontent was growing and protests were on the rise. Faced with the dilemma of resigning or repressing, Ibáñez opted for the former, and on July 26, 1931 he submitted his resignation.

Government of Salvador Allende

The 3 of November of 1970 Salvador Allende assumed power, at the time of his election represented the Popular (UP) Unit. The new government had a socialist character. Once in office, President Allende soon put into effect the promises made during his campaign, transforming the country into a socialist state.

An important part of the economy passed under state control: mines (July 1971 copper law), foreign banks and monopoly companies were nationalized. The agrarian reform was accelerated and paisano councils were instituted. Consequently, agricultural production rose a lot. Average inflation was falling. Construction was increasing by nine percent. Unemployment fell less than five percent (the lowest in a decade). Consumption of steak and bread increased by 15 percent between 1971 and 1972. In the first year, the Chilean GNP increased by 8.5 percent, the second highest in Latin America. [3] In addition, Allende undertook the redistribution of national income, increased wages, and instituted price controls. However, the opposition was not inactive and, since 1972, it has spread rumors to scare the population. Conditions deteriorated in 1973: rampant inflation, food shortages due both to the restriction of foreign credits and the policy of retail sales and small industrialists that stocked goods, strikes and political violence led to Chile on the brink of chaos. In addition to this internal opposition, the United States, distrustful of the new Chilean power, practiced a financial blockade on the country.

The Allende government invested in health equipment and facilities, readjusted workers’ salaries. It gave each child a free half liter of milk a day, with a coverage of approximately 80 percent. With regard to education, efforts were concentrated on preschool, basic, and industrial education for workers, and the housing construction program begun during the term of President Frei Montalva was almost completely completed. The November of September of 1973, President Allende was killed during the coup led by Augusto Pinochet, who took power by implementing a harsh dictatorship.

Chile Presidentialism