Chile: the other 9/11 anniversary. Cia Pinochet coup d’etat. Detention, Torture of Elected Opponents.
Economic policy took a radical neoliberal turn under the influence of Milton Friedman. Allende’s nationalisations were reversed and a programme of privatisations was introduced, together with the elimination of tariff barriers;
this, alongside the banning of trade unions, produced a dramatic fall in real wages and an equally dramatic increase in business profits.
The dispersal into exile of 200,000 Chileans, most of them to Europe, added to the media images of men and women who had seen their lives destroyed by the death or disappearance of friends and relatives.
The murder of thousands of political opponents and the detention and torture of people who were identified with the constitutional government isolated the military regime internationally.
massive influx of foreign capital, which produced both significant economic growth and widening inequalities, most notably during the crisis of 1983 when unemployment reached 30% and 55% of the population fell below the poverty line.
The dictatorship’s most devastating long-term effects are in education .
Pinochet pushed through the education law just four days before leaving power; it placed the responsibility for education in the hands of the private sector at the same time as allowing complete freedom to create educational centres. The result was the deterioration of the quality of education, while making it prohibitively expensive.
95% of 20-year-olds do not vote. They know they cannot change the world by taking up arms or achieving victories at the polls and they have no faith in professional politicians.
Yet neither are they happy with the current situation. Perhaps that explains why there are in Chile hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of small groups devoted to cultural and social activities that can affect the immediate situation. It is, now, politics in a different form.