The Dictatorship Of Augusto Pinochet

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The people of Chile have been starved of a proper democratic regime for much of their history. Although there have been measures in place for the country to be categorized as a democracy, there have also been a series of interruptions that never allowed the democratic process to blossom. The dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet carried profound and ostensibly sturdy changes that manipulated the political landscape of Chile and stagnated its economic growth; crushing the revolutionary left and heavily shifting economic focus to the marketplace. Thus, I argue that Chile can only be considered a true democracy after the fall of Pinochet; which can be attributed to military adherence of the law and a societal reinvigoration in democracy. By defining what a democracy is, and Chile’s previous governmental form of authoritarianism, there can be set objective barriers for evaluation. First, a “democracy” as defined by Larry Diamond is: “A civilian, constitutional system in which the legislative and chief executive office is refilled through regular, competitive, multi party elections with universal suffrage…, the absence of reserve domains of power, … the vertical accountability rulers to the ruled, requires a horizontal accountability of officeholders to one another”.1 Authoritarian, as defined by Samuel Huntington, “is characterized by a single or a weak party, no mass mobilization, possibly a ‘mentality’ but no ideology, limited government, ...and no effort to remake society and human nature.”2 In almost any system of government the military usually holds the tools most capable of taking human life, resulting in their indisputable ability to usurp power; consequently, whatever side the military is on usually wins. Throughout Latin America... ... middle of paper ... ... has as far as governmental outlines. However, there are plenty of countries in the world that use ancient outlines for their government but are able to practice democracy, because they have barriers to prevent power from being abused. Chile’s creation of programs like the “Confederation of Production and Commerce” creates a healthy barrier between the market and the leaders of the country, so that there is communication but not manipulation, other institutions such as this have been implemented by leaders following Pinochet.14 Making the most difficult task for the future of democracy, be the maintenance of a good civil-military relationship. Returning to the central argument, the notion that Chile can only be considered a democracy after the fall of Pinochet is fully supported. Looking at the definitions set at the beginning of the paper, a democracy is one that is

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