Chile. During the year, the country's former president
and dictator Augusto Pinochet (1973–90) became the subject
of much attention both in Chile and internationally.
Countryaah, when he
became a life senator and leader of the powerful military
bloc in Congress in March, some members protested that a man
who kept the institution closed for 17 years would be
granted legislative status.
At the request of Spanish judges, Pinochet was arrested
in October by the British police in London, where he was
undergoing medical treatment. He was requested to be
extradited to Spain to investigate his responsibility for
the disappearance of Spanish nationals in Chile during the
1970s. This created great expectation not only for exile
Chilean people around the world that the former dictator
should be held responsible for human rights violations, but
also that the Pinochet affair would be an important
precedent for other dictators. In Chile, however, street
unrest and demonstrations also occurred in support of
Pinochet. His defender pointed to his legal immunity as a
congressman, the limitation period for possible offenses and
the applicable amnesty laws, which Pinochet, however,
himself established. But on November 25, the arrest of the
British Supreme Court Justice Order was approved, which
opened the way for further proceedings. The incident also
had effects in other Latin American countries, where
military junta during the 1970s secretly conducted
intelligence cooperation under the name "Operation Condor"
to fight leftists. The evidence of the cooperation is a
forgotten police archive in Paraguay that was produced
following the fall of Paraguayan dictator Alfredo Stroessner
in a coup d'état in 1989.
1993 Concertación wins the election again
At the 1993 elections, Concertación Democrática won
again. Its candidate was Eduardo Frei - the son of the
former president. He was elected president with 58% of the
vote in the back. Yet he did not get the necessary
parliamentary majority to abolish Pinochet's political
remnants. In the Senate, there are still eight "nominated"
senators, and the opposition to reforms has therefore still
Shortly before the presidency was handed over, outgoing
President Aylwin pardoned four members of the FPMR who were
convicted of the 1986 attack on Pinochet. In May 1995, the
minimum wage was raised by 13%. Sales of cigarettes and cars
were taxed to finance an increase in the lowest pensions of
10% and an increase of 5% in educational expenses. In June,
Chile applied for affiliation to the Mercosur Common Market
between Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina. At the same
time, the country applied for admission to NAFTA.
Brigadier General Pedro Espinoza and retired General
Manuel Contreras were sentenced to prison terms for
participating in the assassination of Allende's Foreign
Minister, Orlando Letelier. He was killed by a car bomb in
Washington in 1976. Pinochet expressed the military's
solidarity with the convicted, but at the same time declared
that he would respect the civilian authorities. At the same
time, the authorities filed an investigation into the
charges of corruption against the ex-dictator's son. In
submitting an appeal in February 1998, Contreras presented
himself as a "subordinate" to Pinochet, declaring that the
real leader of DINA - the intelligence service under the
military dictatorship - had been the dictator himself.
Contreras had been convicted as the chief responsible for
DINA, who was behind the bomb attack against Letelier.
The Chamber of Deputies adopted by 76 votes against 26 a
trade agreement with the Mercosur member states. The
right-wing parties UDI and RN stated against this agreement.
The Free Trade Agreement was signed on June 25, 1996,
creating a "four plus one" construction between the ancient
Mercosur countries and Chile. Chile is an associate, but not
an actual member. A report by the National Agricultural
Associations (SNA) pointed out that the deal leads to $ 460
million in losses for the Chilean agricultural sector, but
at the same time the country is being integrated into a
market of 200 million people.
At the municipal elections in October, the government
alliance got the majority of votes. The Christians, the
Socialists, the PPD and the SDR increased their
representation on the municipal councils, but the number of
mayors from the Concertación fell compared with the number
from 1992. Within the framework of the Concertación, the
support for the Christian Democrats decreased while
increasing for the socialists and the PPD. This strengthened
their position within the coalition.
Various surveys conducted in 1996 indicated that the
average economic growth of 11% over the previous 11 years
had led to a reduction of the so-called "extreme poverty" -
without, however, reducing social differences. Thus, the
richest fifth of the population had 57% of the national
wealth, while the poorest fifth had only 3.9%.
In the first half of 1996, military and civil courts
closed 21 cases involving disappearance and execution of a
total of 56 persons without having identified the guilty. In
May 1997, demonstrations were carried out by the Miners
Union in the center of Santiago violently attacked by the
police. The trade union is a bastion of the Chilean labor
movement and of the Communist Party.