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Long and narrow, Chile clings to the western edge of South America's South­ern Cone. Hugging - page 44 / 46





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Chile                                    479

nomic programs, for example, partial nationalization of copper and land reform

1970 Salvador Allende elected president at the head of Popular Unity, a coalition of Leftist political parties; Chile begins the peaceful, democra­tic road to socialism; political and social polarization over nationaliza­tion of industry and land reform and other sociopolitical issues tear the country apart

1973 On September 11, the armed forces overthrow Unidad Popular and a U.S.-backed military junta takes political power; several years of state terror follow

1974 In December, General Augusto Pinochet becomes president of Chile

1975 Radical neoconservative experiments in economic and social reform begin

1978 Military government approves an amnesty law for all security per­sonnel involved in human rights violations

1980 A new constitution with many authoritarian enclaves is approved in a highly questionable plebiscite

1982 Beginning of an economic depression that revived moribund oppo­sition political parties and a broad opposition movement

1983 In May, once-a-month mass mobilizations against the military regime begin demanding democracy; opposition political parties and organized labor lead the protest

1986 The economy stabilizes; crackdown on political opposition after failed assassination attempt on General Pinochet

1988 End of military rule; the Christian Democrat-led opposition coalition, with help from U.S. government, defeats general Pinochet in a plebiscite on his continued rule in October of that year

1990 Christian Democrat Patricio Aylwin becomes president of redemoc-ratized Chile at the head of a broad center-Left coalition of political par­ties known as Concertacion; his government introduces progressive legislation to redress the worst excesses of the military government;

extends presidential terms to six years; record economic expansion continues

1994 Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei, Jr., begins a second Concertacion administration

1998 Asian economic crisis triggers recession in Chile; Pinochet taken into custody in Britain pending extradition charges to Spain for human rights violations

1999 Ricardo Lagos, a moderate European-style Socialist becomes the pres­idential candidate for the Concertacion after internal primaries, ending Christian Democratic domination of the governing coalition

2000 Lagos wins run-off election and begins third government of the Con­certacion; Pinochet released from custody in Britain returns to Chile to face legal proceedings for human rights violations; economic growth re­sumes

2001 Pinochet, 85 years old, legally declared fit to stand trial

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