Accession Number:

ADA512645

Title:

Chile: Political and Economic Conditions and U.S. Relations

Descriptive Note:

Congressional rept.

Corporate Author:

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2009-12-10

Pagination or Media Count:

19.0

Abstract:

Following a violent coup against democratically elected Marxist President Salvador Allende in 1973, Chile experienced 17 years of military rule under General Augusto Pinochet before reestablishing democratic rule in 1990. A center-left coalition of parties known as the Concertacion has governed Chile over the two decades since the end of the dictatorship. In addition to addressing human rights violations from the Pinochet era, the coalition has enacted a number of constitutional changes designed to strengthen civilian democracy. Chile has made significant economic progress under the Concertacions free market economic policies and moderate social programs, which have produced notable economic growth and considerable reductions in poverty. Current President Michele Bachelet enjoys widespread popular support despite having faced a number of challenges since taking office in 2006. Throughout her term, Bachelet has been confronted by student demonstrations against the education system, increased militancy by indigenous groups, and opposition control of the legislature. The global financial crisis is President Bachelets latest challenge, though the governments timely decision to save recent fiscal surpluses has allowed Chile to pursue counter-cyclical policies and minimize the effects of the economic downturn. An election to replace Bachelet, who is constitutionally ineligible to run for a second consecutive term, is scheduled to be held in Chile on December 13, 2009. Chile has enjoyed close relations with the United States since its transition back to democracy. Both countries have emphasized similar priorities in the region, designed to strengthen democracy, improve human rights, and advance free trade. Chile and the United States have also maintained strong commercial ties, which have become more extensive since a bilateral free trade agreement between them entered into force in 2004.

Subject Categories:

  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Government and Political Science

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE