LATIN AMERICA REVIEW - CHILE: EVOLUTION OF THE OPPOSITION

Created: 8/15/1983

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relative progress of Chile's polilical oppositionn formutattng common objectives andis taiiinf Ihe prospectshowdown with President Pinochet. Moderate political and laborhave sponsored generally betier coordinated monthly protest! iince May. if. anticipation of the IDth anniversary of Pinochet's rule oneptember, leftist polilical parties, meanwhile, have begun to shift away from strategies of armed struggle toward cooperationfront. Al the same time, some dissatfslt rv.s havetheir polilical

The National Development Project, Mul tl pari Ida ria. and Socialistpolitical coalition* were all formed during lite past tight months, as were the labor blocs nfjonil Workers Command and tbe National Superior Und Transportation Council, These coalitions are primarily responsible foribc national pretests and strikes and for defining ihe issues. Tbey hive managed to put Pinochet under greater pressara than be has ever faced, but only now

are they beginningive labsttntive focus to their

oppojiiion.lBBJ

OppuiltsM CoaOUosts aad Transition Proposals

The National Developmentby Christian Democrats, conservatives, and tradethe fi-st new group to call for changes. Ittatement In3 demanding that congressional elections be held within sU months andomplete transition lo democracy be completed wiihin two years. In early August theleader, former Christian Democratic Senalor Jorgeannounced lhat (he fourth day of

national protest onugust was being organisedemand Pinochet's resignation. These would be Ihe first protests to focus more on ihe President than on issues related to the transition, theand the status of uilcs-ffj

Theby representative* of the Christian Democratic. Rei ublican. Socialand Radical parlies and three faaiurts of ihe Socialista "Democratic manifesto" on. This called for an immediate end to ihe state of emergency, election ofconstituent assemblyew constitution, legalization of political parly aciiviiies. more liberal economicmore public works programs, restoration of civil liberties, and the rciurn of Chile's ailes.lJM

stent

Socialist Convergence and iu associatedof Political Daily were formed in3 by socialist factions that had been badly splintered for yean. The Committeeanifesto onpt: callingemocratic, autonomous, and nationalHt-ai well as socsalisi-altemalivc lo the militaryufficiently general positionuggest that differences still had not been resolved. B|

Two important labor coalitions were also formed. In April, the National Workers Command grouped trade unionists from the country's five largest labor confed-eraiioni. Led by copperworkers'chief RodolfoSeguel.

ihe Command has helped to organise all four days of national protest and backed strikes by copperworkers and truckers in June^BBJ

The National Superior Land Transportationin May by the owners and drivers of trucks, ia lis. andthe list major'ir. formed. In late June, iiransport strike (hat led the government toeitend debt relief to transport owners andialogue with labor leaders on modifications u> the9 labor olan-H

Recent OrxlefRKim im theaining (hat the fact ionaliia lion at, must be overcome il* iHey irr to challenge Pinochet, the cooliiiont. fanic. and bbc* groups are accelerating Ihe process orjtalogue within and between the varj-ows blocs These contacts arc most intensive in the periods immediately priorhe national piotcsit This dialogue plus the sustained protestsiven (be oppositionomentum that may be leading to ireaier unity The opposition groups ireufficiently (ormsdabie political force tan Pinochet cannot be ash them aside.he wouldone in yea-s

I the Christian cmocrattclargest and most influential the opposition -has consistently refused to signcooperation agrccmcBts with the Communists or any group thai advocates violence. Both moderate Icfliiis and Christian Democrati realize, however, that the Commuaius and Clodomiro Almeydas fae-lion of the Socialists arc influential ia labor and youth sectors. Because of this, the moderates have discussed some opposition strategics with leftists on anjj

An additional significant tread this year is theof the conservative panics. During the Allende years. rightists were largely represented by theParty. bat il was voluntarily disbanded afterJ coup, when its philosophies were generally adopted by the milrury junta Recently, many former Nationalists have begun to disagree with theespecially over the timing of the return to

democracy, economicand restrictions on eml liberties Former members of the National Party met several times this springiscuss react nafon of the party and to outline their ae" .i

The conservatives, are basically divided into three groups. The so-called Council of State Projectdei Republicans, New Democracy advocates, and some military officers and presidential advoers who privately advocate significant political liberaliiation and an accelerated return to democracy. Another, known as she Military-Civilian Project is made up of supporters of0 constitutional timetable who arc scchiag to dc-clop support for governmentThe third is an citrcmcly conservative group consisting mainly of members of Roberto > >ri fascist National Populcr Movement.

Outlook

The sustained activism of thend labor coalitions, the apparent change in leftist strategy, and the erosion na rightist support Tor Pinochet have significantly increased pressures on the President. He hns- -wiledil of repression >nd limned concessions in an effort to split the opposition Wc bclnrvc. howecr. theecoming incraa-itsgly more unified and less wilting to settle for cosmetic changes |M

ugust. Pinochet announced the creationotno irxorporate oppositioa newtudy of ways to bring bach political panics and the con-jress and for holdingnot. Wc do not believe this will satisfy many critics.

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