World Country Chile

About the world country Chile, its location, size, population, and who is in power.



Location: Along the Pacific coast of southwestern South America. Size: 292,257 sq. mi. (756,945 sq. km.). Population: 11,262,000.

Who Really Rules: A four-man military junta, headed by Maj, Gen. Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, has ruled Chile since 1973, when it seized power from an elected leftist government in a bloody CIA-supported coup. Since that time, the Pinochet regime has outlawed most political activity and has repressed leftists at home and abroad. In 1980 the military claimed a 2-to-1 victory in a plebiscite which promised military rule at least until 1989 and authorized it until 1997.

Within Chile, Pinochet is opposed not only by the left but also by the Christian Democrats who supported his coup and even by one of the four members of the original junta.

Since 1973 the government has dismantled Chile's mixed economy and applied the "free market" economics of U.S. economist Milton Friedman. Under the "Chicago Boys," Chilean disciples of Friedman, Chile's economy has grown considerably, but the working class has suffered. Several U.S. banks have made large loans to Chile since the coup, and multinational corporations have upped their investments there. In 1981 the Reagan administration lifted trade sanctions which had been imposed against the Chilean military government by President Carter.

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