National [Mi ' Center
Chile: Political Prospects
An (okllierncr Attewnent
Information available asI has been used in ihe preparation vf /Art report.
The prospects for orderly governn Chile for ihe remainder of
are good, bui in the longer icrm itl chances are not as bright as the current stability might suggest.
A new constitution guarantees President Augusto Pinochet nine more years in Office and gives him the option of standing for an additional eight-year term.risis, suchevere economic downturn. Pinochet is likely ttfremaln in power, largely on his own terms, for the remainder of
ps the most significant threat to continued orderly government over ihejlong'ierm is thai which is inherent in one-man rule. No successor has beers groomed and. ir Pinochet left ihe scene Abruptly, the military would have trouble replacingeriod of government by military junta, dominated by the Army, probably would ensue.
Pinochet probably will continue on the course be has pursued since seizing pcrf er from Mariist President Salvador Allende eight years ago. lhat is:
olitical system thai is boiii stable and resistantesurgcnce of Marxism.
effortstamp ou! leftist political and guerrillaevitalize Ihe economyasically free market approach.
Two key factors have contributedinochets success so far he has cultivated the military, and he apparently has persuaded most Chileans thai he is ihe only sure alternative lo the chaos that prevailed duringenure. The improved economy and ihe disarray and distrust among opposition political forces have further enhanced his prospects forower.
Chile will face serious problems, however, in resuming democraticTbe political polarization thai has existed in Chifc forhas been deepened by (he repressive policies andofllcnde and Pinochet. Political institutions haveby the prolonged ban on political activity, and it is uncertainpolitical tensions of ihe past two decades will be vented. Leftistthose adept al maneuvering clandestinely, have remainedwouldhreat to weak democratic political and
Chile at present faces no foreign policy problem lhai is likely lo shake Pinochet's regime or force him toajor shift in domestic policies, Pinochet's stronger domestic position in recent years has lessened his concern about'international approval; at the same time. Chile's standing in the international community has improved. Recent US moves that could lead to warmer relations, such as the Congressional lifting of sanctions against Chile.'havc been especially well received in Santiago,
lion procesi from military rule to plural' hal'i* ni Listhen be will VoT standingcighrycur termm White Pintjeheiigh seme ofcMJlying chronic politKyl andIcnW, hij transi/ion plairn likcl>* potarbatiotifand leave the country poorly preparedcumpiKin of.'democf aire government.
TV Pknochrl TraasiliM 5ca**M
Pinochet jp.xais motivated by three faetorv
me :Eihe will eaiily be nominated and approved in the plebiscite Should the junta's nominee beseems unlikely under current circum-*tanccv -the military government would continue to rule for one year and ihen would convoke general elections
Pinochet fusiifies the long period of continuedon political activity as necessary to restructure the political system Chile traditionally hasraf mcnicd politicalhich any one party only rarelyajority. Cootlitu-tional provisions allowing the eieciionresident withlurality of the popular vote further encouraged the tendency toward narrow-based minor-ity governments Allende *as electedor example, with only J6 percent of ;lic vote Coalition governments were commonplace and. given shifting party alliances, often unstable Opposiuoe groups in congrci* impeded decisive executive action, and by
desire to clingower.
A deepuImi-ii agai'st former President Salvador Allende and the Marilim he represented
A commitmentutiiical tyticm lhai willcuirgcnce of Marxist leadership
The political system environed inew cunMitulion is batkally ckmocrjiic aad. except for banning Marxist runic, docs nui differ radically from the pluralisticcm of the putt. To avoid the executive'legitia livethai had long pUgucd Chilean politics,engthens theof the president and preclude* the election of minority partyb)unoffthe leading candidatcs.'H
The traiHitOf> article* that will (overo ihe penodowever, are not conduciveucceuful return lo democracy Ratherhased return io elective rule, the article* allow Pinochet to continue io ban political activlly9 The junta -ill thenresident whoto be approvedkbtveite for an eif ru-.ear term. Only then will congressional elections be called Pinochet.is
reobablv jvMimei that with the power ofand his ability iotrong opponent from
CuffyriotiieO maieHBllrom IPI basremoviB.
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iryS reputation Latin America'* most successful dcmocrac Chileans had come id View their political'
umip ftmnhri nodi oath iJMont ;Mf
Ihcthroionam. loorfk-iafnancgf iWaod. ihepuhtKi]wrurtkpm-obi* andcumfl.lkinal reform.'.ccan.
-.nereaiedh> jdnuniiu.iwnhenaUc la fdfiU ihe fcjh (wm*i.*lau, pohoe. alarmed cm.cn. ked <w
Indkaiite of ihe invrnuiif pjUii/iiwn.he iifhi and left brian lecianae In Out dunat hitddntinixirjiKw mmm
Marxists hadstrong base of suppori- in the labor movement, which they controlled from its incepiiorrln. A* Chilean irade unions grew into somehe largest and mow powerful in Laljn America, leftist electoral influence also expanded. Communisis and Socialists polled more than one-fifih of Ihe vote in each of ihe seven presidential and congressional con-lesis8ecord unmatched elsewhere in Lalin America during that period.^
he lefl al lasi elected Salvador Allende. who had come in second iwice before. Under Allende. however, poorly managed public finances and the rapid nationalization of private industry led toin public services, severe shortages of consumer goods, and an inflation rale that was among the
" (JVC; lhc]-iori;-' tlf ! y
formation of, paramilitary group* backedllcnde's: extremist suppcnc" Despiteowever.ercent of the electorate voted for
oalition of Communists. Socialists,scveial smaller panics in the congressionalthai were held only sis month* before the3 thai ousted Allende and led toh H
The military turned on Allende'* foltcw-en with un preccdcntcd ferocity Several thousand leftists were killed during and immediatelyoup, and many tens of thousands fled into exile or west intc hiding. Political activity was ruthlessly stamped out. and any ciprcssto* of Marxbm was. and remains, vigorously prohibited
The Realities of li'oterning
From the beginning, the military regime appears to havelearer undemanding of what it wanted to destroy from the past (baa what it' might create in its stead. For example, Pinochet has been unable toatisfactory substitute for'thc traditional parties. Intrigued with the corporate system ofin Franco's Spain. Pinochet approved the formationational Unity Movementhich be probably hoped to use a* an electoral vehicle for his own future civilian candidacy The Movement generated little popular enthusiasm, however, and
the idea. The new constitution permits the formation of political parties, and runts members have said that tbey will be allowed to
me ibeir political activities byjthc cid of the transition
Pan of the difficulty stems from the military'sthat the left stilltrong base of support that would surface should controls be lifted. Although many Ckikans are grateful for aa end to the chaos of the Allende years, it is probably true that tbr leftetains the support of the third of the electorate il bat historically controlled tag
The military's problems arc compounded by theof hatred created in ibe bloody aftermath of Allende'* ouster. The regime's fear'ofiii iv to create ground rules for returning
political activity. Improvements in the militaryhuman rights record daring the past five years have not diminished the hostility of tle families and political group* persecuted in the early yean. The continuing restrictions on political activity and (he regime's continued harassment or even iu non-Marx-isi critics have ceated other enemies. Any political lyitcm the regime ultimately creates is unlikely to be wholly able to satisfy the military's need forfrom retribution.|
Another factor complicating theinochet's own apparent desireifetimeAlthough he has not publicly acknowledged this goal, hb actions suggest he will not quit old'- as long as hb health holds up, hb military backing remains strong, hb civilian opponent! remain divided and ineffective, and the economy continues to produce gains for the average ChikanaaaaB
Ptnachrt* MHilary Base
The Chilean military had prided itself on itsis one of the most professional and apolitical aimed forces in Latin America Chilean soldiers are* well trained, have rdaihcly high morale, and have anenviable record of success in the country's foreign wars The Chilean military has taken charge of the government only three limes since; only Uruguay of the South American countries has spent fewer years in this century under military rule than Chile. fffH
From the start. Pinochet has maneuvered shrewdly and successfully to maintain the crucial support of thepafiicular the Army,he largest and most powerful of the services Althoughhardline policies and pcrsonaliitic style of government haveconcern within the military, this docs nothreat to hb rule.
Nonetheless, many officers almost ccfcialy would prefer more moderate policies than Pinochet hasefinite, so-called btandc-duro (softline-hardline) division exisU among them, withajority of those in the Navy and Air Force sharing
theilitary bliindtH believe thai
hichlv jutNwitarunnconsistent<democratic tradition. Many of ihcm fear ihjt ihe forced dcpuluicmiion of ihe country will eventually increase noluriraiion. rather than diminish
ii. In the Army. whose officers are moreToothless politician
undernfluence, institutional'he ban on polilical activity had not muutcd
concern for careersougher positionChile's politicians areivided and lacking in
line wdh regime nulk ie* thai ihey might notaWe
mmmm . id Pinochet's continued rule. Antagonisms
PinochetsomctimeA highhanded manipulation ofpolilical groups have consisicnily impeded
military csiuDlishmenl iitclf is offensive to some toohesive and effective opposition
officers, both blandos and duros. Pinochet insistsNational Party, ihe chief conservative parly,
nuking all major appoint menu within the govern-both ihe centrist Christian Dcmor-ai- and ihe
lu hiimclf than ability and service records. Army promocions to general officer, for esa outstanding colonels were passed over in favor capable men more closelyr. Vi
Despite some criticism of suchvosi _Pinochetsout'reducing left ence.ound economy, and providing IuImosI safeguards agaiasi political insiabihiy Maraiwn. Morw<tt. Chilean officer* place an ally high value on discipline and.thus tend,inochet's orders, rsrially^miliia'ry attitudes atij,
meat and the Army, basing his choice more onleftists and has voluntarily submincd to the
political ban. The majoriiy of Christian Democrats
eject both accommodation with the government and less .'alignment with the cure me left. The Communal* and Socialists longtime rivals for votes and control of. labor movement, cannot agreeommontrategy. The Communist*roadegime from and an accord wiih the Christian Demo-"erals, bul are unlikely to succeed in ibis effortfj
Jinconfused and polari/ed political situation.ioixhei play> on popular fearseturn lo Ihe
deterioration that preceded the coup.l
A significant factor in the relative ease Ih which Pinochet maintains control is Ihevuppori given him by Chilean conservatives, who tiaditKinall)onstituted about one-third of the electorate Tbe National Parly played an active rose in opposing Allcnde and. by Ihe time of the coup, most of its leaders favored not just Allcnde'a overthrow, but more fundamental polilicaluch asthe Communisthile many leadingconservatives are outspoken regime apotogiiti (he National Party bas been even more valuable lo Pinochetomplying with his ban on public political activity Its president. Sergio Onefrc Jarpa. has minted lhai the party abide by the prohibit ion, despite misgivings among some members |
. 'chaos and leflwing eairemism of the Allcnde days. He undercuts ccnwuii by coaiinually reinforcing the j* IrV siromly influenced by evidence of public acceptance widespread perception that they, along with the left, of ihe regime Two referendum! andce-yearly were to blame for the political, economic, and social Gallup pulls commissioned by ihe government ha*e dceen favorable, helping to keep Pinochet's credibility
The abaeneetrong counierweight to Pinochelri;within the military also deters theence within iis ranks. For ciamplc. Gen. Raul' Benavidea. -ho tookscat as theepresentative on Ihe junta in March when the new
'constitution elevated the Prendcnlosition above the rulingJ officera Tvf;comment record of suppori for Pinochet
> * Minire in bask" agreementthe
government's notions ill political restructuring anal a'cin au'cplmi their political activit> at lung as they leadmnul ol the leftist trends uf the peecouphe regime's free market economic policies also appeal lo National Part) traders, who include some uf ihc country's top industrialists lor the mosthe industrialists are contentgnore politics and lend to theti business alTairseriod of expanding economic opportunities il
were in office, and who then failed to preventelection Frei, who wpn the presidencyandslides probably still Pinochet'seiwus potential rival and is the most frequent larget
of Pinochet's criticisniv
It is not clear how successful on unfettered PDC would be in organinng an opposition, but the results of the constitutionalon by theby athat most centrists as well as conservatives "isted in favor of tbeWhile the lackear alternative gave an unfair advantage to ihc regime, the outcome sugfests ihc government may have been successful inthe party and may have made inroads into PDC control of Ihc Center Bang
Demoralized by the margin of thes by what they sec as Pinochet's growing international acceptability. Chnstianseem uncertain how io proceed. Some PDC leaders initially believed the part} should attempt to
cpsrtir nujomj The Christian Ocmocrsts.oo* nuUJiWto. UnW. iW lie--tua.tr ai lM pnlH
While ihc Nationals* solid Mippuri'for the regime furihcrs political stability for the inomcnt. theirof politics, bodes ill for'lhe futoic of the party system that will be needed if civilianis to return. Formed only seven years before ihc coup when two main conservative groups merged, the pari( docs not have sufficiently strung foundations locnglhy period of neglect National Party leader* probably assume thai Pinochet willheir support by maneuvering them into advantageous positions to inherit power, but their tack of urganira-lion could prove cost's They may Tind themselves without an effective voice and without workable lie* to other political parties, leaving, the onc-ibird of the electorate whose allegiance they boM with no viable parly to represent in
Ckriuima Or mot ran. Former President Fduardo Frei's centrist Christian Democratic Partshich also representsne-third of the voters, originally backed the coop asnd the Allende debacle The party moved into the eemeni-iHjn^howcvcr. once the repressive nature of the regime became cleatecame evident thcnls after the coup that the military would no) give the POC access to power. Although the> try lo avoid wnnccosanl) antagonizing the mtlitar) government. Christian Democrats have defied the ban on political sctivil} b> circulating parly documents, holdingmeetings, and generally keeping the party machinery in workingI
PDC leaders have been discredited by Pinochet's charge thai ihey were stooges whoa'sded'Mariiscn by carrying out socialist economic policies when
reach an accomodation wilh the government.ew adherent* or to form an alliance with centrist* spite hi*inochet had once indicated an Old grudge* between Communist* andnd inccrcxi in having the party'iii could be thewn internal factionalism, have ham-*cc*rcd at tittlebctc leaders hope ti.cn- pered attempts to unify ctisling leftist support II^IJ jcvonimodalion now would lead Pinochet to speed 'up;.'"
','} live in mobilizing public opposition to the regime. The
IMIR spent several years rebuilding itself abroad, recruiting adherents among Chilean cailcs. Many of the recruits received training in Cuba or the Middle East.9 Ihc MIR launched its largest terroristcampaign since tbe early post coup period. It carried rhe' oat numerous bank robberies and attacks on public ''buildings and was probably involved in several mur-formed dcrs. The campaign, however, failed lo generate popu-tvoia: support, and sccutity forces have continued to of all ound up members of MIRwrcover. ihc
MIR'* activity in Chile continues to be undercut by the defection of exiles who return from overseas and find economic conditions better than they expected. Many of these returnees simply fade out of the guernlla movement Others continue lo take part inargely on targets of opportunity, but so far have pro*o be no Ihrcat to the regime. |
democratization. They are particularly anxsoyt* Leftist guerrilla movements have been even less effec-cau.vc their most popular leader, Frei.'rt 7fJ'j* and may not be able lo lead the parly much!
Other Christian Democratic Party chiefs:-gi gloomy political prosrecii. believe tbe party to lose by aligning itself with the Com other elements of the TormeCAIIende*cc4rtiii PDC.has occasiOfully cr>*pcratcd witharlies since Pinochet took over, butermanent alliances Theuch an accord, argue thairoad fi antircgimc force*enous chance of Pinochet to make-
lained control of Ihc I
ielements'for 2Shears by skillfully balancing 'opposing factions. Ulikely to. reject accommodation th cither the left or the regime. Tbe majority of
The MIR's actions, in fact, may be serving the cause of the government more than that of the left. The MIR has kept alive the specter of the extremism of the Allende days and given proof of the need to continue restrictions until the terrorist threat is ended.
hristian Democrats probably will follow Fret's lead and continue their policy of independent defiance, recognizing that any course tbey choose has little chance lu bringajor political opening in tbe
The MIR has yet tooncerted effort to go after key government official* or members of the foreign business or diplomatic communities Were it to do so. it might indeed begin to undermine the public confidence upon which the regimes economic success rests. ttm
Despite its ineffectual rolehe militarythe left stillower base among labor and youth and could again exercise considerable influence Although avowed Marxists probably will not reenter politics for years, tbey couldignificant impact through tbe infiltration of other panic* The Communistarticularly adept ai
l. The Chilean left is likely toreater concern for future governments than for the current military regime, whose powerful position andpolicies have held it in check. Many leftistarticularly inocialist Party, were killed during and immediately after the coup, and within two or three years security force* had largely neutralised the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIRl and other scmiterrorist gioupa Of the; mayor leftisthe Communist Part),had aclandestine network, escaped with tbe least damage to its leadership and party
Forced to operate largely from abroad, surviving leftist leaders have been una Me snpposition movement The negative image of the leftin the eye* of most Chileans impedes its efforts to gam
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estrictive cavifonmeni. It was banned1at on the day the baa was lifted, sis congressional dcpuiici kft ihrlr wall among Ihe other parties to form Ihe Communis! congressional caucus
If the prospectsore liberal politicaldo not improve, more leftists may turn toward violence as the only way to oast Pinochet Communal Party Secretary General Luis CorvaLaa. who before the coup publicly advocated ihe electoral path lo power, has now endorsed violence.Ijhc Cubans main-lain contact with many leftists, providing training andupport to the MIR. and possibly soother groups, while the Soviets and EastJGermans give fundside range of Chilean ciilcsB^B^
Tfct haMI aaul Lata*
hief factor in public acceptance of the Pinochet regime has been its success ia revrtahiiog theand satisfying ihe needs of consumers who well remember ihe economic disruptions and severeunder Allcnde' To maintain public approval, however, the government must weather an anticipated economic downturn and continue to check unrest among Chile's historically sciivBt labor unions, pj
The government's economic recovery program has brought dramatic improvements lo contrast to Ike capital Dight. iripie-digll inflation, and near breakdown in many sectors of the economy during Allende's lasl two years. Chile hai-erceni growth laicnflation has fallen loercent, and goods and service* arc now generally available. Urban unemployment,ajor concern, has dropped belowercentyear BJ
Low world market prices for copper. Chile's chief caport. coupled with high interest rates and oil prices, probably will slow the growth rateercent for ihe neii year or so This level is respectableeveloping country with limited petroleum resoarcca andikely to cauae widespread popular dissitu-faction. Should the need arise, Chile's good credit Handing would enable ii to get foreign assistance I
Austcniy measures initiated5 causedhardship among workers, some of whom lost Iheir jobs as noncompetitive businesses closed when tariffs were lowered. Despite the generally freeoutlook of the regime, wages were controlled in
milnd did not keenih theorise> as price.control* Acre liftedre Jlcr equilibriumn p" 1 gON. hiiWcvcr. has bcetc established .
during the pusf.lsVo or. three years;rate ha*ntent y.
l "At the tint' of,thehe labor 'moveni uiik-iJ-by-grjos/if i.tc confederations
hascs'for Icfliil union bossesmcunx.iliring supp^i'rfw'AllJiide. Although
a'majoriiy ofX'hilcan workers were non-Marxist, (helaboV leadership, particularly'in the larSest
iwu. *as dominated by C
Most non-MarxiM uniun leaders backed Ihc military government initially and accepted the tightions it pul on laborecevsary hardship. A* the years pastedlabor still circumscribed, however, some became critical of the regime, tind both centrists and leftists have gained ut ihc expense uf rcgimc-appomicd labor chiefs The right to strike, collective bargaining, and mcnt union elections have no- been restoredegime-dictated labor code enacied two yean ago Tbrs may enhance rather than dampen the Chilean labor umons' potential for generalactivism, especially if the economy ;wcreurn sour and unemployment begin to rise
Chilepresent faces no foreign policy problem that is likely to shakeold on power or force himajor shift in domestic
Chileans gcnciallywlih approval their returnnternali ul acceptability following their pariah-like treatment .uring Pinochets first few years. Human rights violations had given theegative image and impeded its efforts to buy -capons and acquire loans Pinochet saw anti-Chilean sentimentroduct of Soviet propaganda, but hit1 desire to regain good standing abroad influenced Im decision to reduce rcprcisMno ha frustration,Ihc improvement was not acknowledged and. when tbe LM annual human rights resolution again
condemned Chilepontfcd byopular referendum Chileans rejected the UN findingsargin and. in soeesoundingonfidence, mmm
Pinochet now fects less concerned about international dis-nproval because of his stronger domevtic position. The economic recovery program hus attracted forvign investors and placed Chileelter bargaining portion with its creditors.umber of governments, cither because they gradually havethe improvement in human rights conditions in Chile or simply because they have resigned ihem-xches io Pinochets hold on power, base upgraded stalc-tc-siaie relations Fortarn last year restored ambassadceial-kvcl relation, and lifted its embargo on arms sales to Chile |
Pinochet icgards the change in US administrations inhe most favorable foreign policy development in years. Bilateral relations had reached an all-time low9 when Santiago turnedS request for (he citraditsoo of threeem security officials Indf former Ambassadortelier in Waifcing-tofl. Pinochet appafcmry decided the re-ards for cooperating with Washington were not sufficient io risk alienating those in the Army who would have been seriously embarrassed if former security chief Manuelareer Army officer and the chief target of the US probe, had been punished.
Recent UN moves thai could lead to warmer relations, such as (he Senate's lifting of sanctions against Chile, have been well received in Santiago Pinochet has publicly praised the -good rapprochement* between the two countries. Chile has resumed participation in the annual inter-American naval exercises, and the military services have indicated an interest incooperation with their US counterparts |
Chile's most pressing foreign policy problem is its longstanding dispute with Argentina ewer the Beagle Channel, where Santiago is particularly vulnerable because of Argentina's dear miliary superiority. Papal mediation of the dispute istandstill following Argentina's rejection of the Pope's proposal that would hive awarded the islands in question to
rinovher* domestic standir
_ vermlly support ihe govern;
liven.if ihe mediation' effort were lo break down cntircls. however, ii prubably would nol harmChilean* almO'l uni-
Authoritarianism will domi
ale the Chilean nobtkal scene fof ihe nest severalinochet ha* no intention of leaving office, and for the foreseeable future he has no reasonrisis worse than those he has already weathered
. ^orccs beyond fore .ecu! conomicth.iderablce> not aptio public statements give' have.cvulvcdioiengthenedis' policiei have been vindi or-im 10
Pinochet itolitical sophisticate, but heinstincts. He has unerringly pursued thepolicies Ihalare crucial lo his survival: he hasihe support of Ihe military, and heajority of Chileans that he rs the onlylo chaos. Theictory inplebiscite0 und the currentstate of the oppeaiiiun indicate thaiStill ,
icr ihcsiivution. economy androspect* ofTer coav then circum "policy shiftHisliia.'gwliidea* 'the years. His
Convinced him thai Ai present, there are incentivesIhe polilical open-
Perhaps ihe only
significant! ihrtti to the regime it that inherent in one-man rule. Pinochet is b5 and appear* to have no serious health problems. He has nutuccessor. however, and if he wereavt from the icene unctpcctedli. the military would have trouble replacing him. ll might resortunta rule, at least initially: the Army, as ihe most powerful service.probably retain us dominance
No mailer when Pinochet leaves office, Chile nmb-ably will face major difficulties in restoring deroo-cractic government. Ii is unlikely lo make the difficult transition with ihe same success a* Spain after Franco, Pinochet show* no sign* of gradually cavings Franco did beginning in, or ofuccessor.
' Chilean politics have long been polarised Pinochet believes he is cooling the overheated atmosphere by banning polilical activity, but be may be i- creating, rather than decreasing, the polarization. Hi*plan docs nol offer an opporiunityeal the polilical wounds of (he lastears norrovide aa outlet to vent accumulated tensio" radual growth in civilian participation is crrvisiuncd such as that whichajor fiiuur insuccessful return to democracy last year H
In cooir.it.lanned retention of apolitical ban unlil the end of the transition period gives civilian politicians no lime to rebuild their constjtuencic* or restructure their rusty parties. Many politically conscious Chileans share former President Fredsat the enforced inactivity is likely to sap the sirtnglh of democratic political and labor organization* and could redound to theof ihe left, especially those groups more adept at operating clandestinely In sum. the long-termfor Chile arc noi as brighl at the current viability would suggcM JfJOriginal document.