Michelle Bachelet

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Posted by sonny 03/13/2009 @ 01:07

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Bachelet, Obama to Meet in June - Inside Costa Rica
Santiago de Chile - Chilean President Michelle Bachelet is to hold talks with Barack Obama in Washington on June 23, during Bachelet´s upcoming official visit to the United States. Bachelet made the announcement yesterday in Santiago de Chile,...
Chilean Economy May Shrink in 2009, Central Bank Says - Bloomberg
Lower rates have been passed on to consumers and companies, the bank said, and Chile's President Michelle Bachelet plans to spend at least $4 billion on tax breaks and subsidies this year to stimulate the economy. Those attempts to pump the economy...
Chilean president confirms meeting with Obama in June - Xinhua
SANTIAGO, May 13 (Xinhua) -- Chilean President Michelle Bachelet will pay an official visit to the United States in June at the invitation of her US counterpart Barack Obama. Bachelet told reporters on Wednesday that she will meet with Obama on June 23...
Year Keeps Improving for Chile's Bachelet - Angus Reid Global Monitor
(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - Chilean president Michelle Bachelet is enjoying a surge in public support, according to a poll by Adimark Gfk. 67 per cent of respondents approve of Bachelet's performance, up 4.9 points since March....
Bachelet: Chile will be one of the countries to recover fastest ... - El Mercurio OnLine (Chile)
President Michelle Bachelet stated this morning that the Chilean economy will be amongst those most capable of rapidly recuperating from the crisis, pointing out that forecasts predict a period of between five and seven months....
President's defining moment - Livemint
During her visit to Chile, she was quick to build a warm rapport with President Michelle Bachelet, the first elected woman president in Latin America, who referred to Patil as a “dear friend”. Now, all eyes are on Patil, as she sets out to decide who...
President Bachelet signs national employment stimulus agreement - El Mercurio OnLine (Chile)
Accompanied by representatives from the political, business and labor union sectors, President Michelle Bachelet signed the National Employment, Training and Labor Protection Pact today. According to the Head of State, the document is based on the...
74 percent of Chileans believe Chile will beat Peru at The Hague - Living in Peru
Seventy-three percent of the Chileans asked about the case affirmed that maritime limits with Peru were "well established" and fifty-nine percent said Michelle Bachelet's administration was doing a good job of defending the country's border....
Chile Government Unveils Set Of Measures To Offset Unemployment - NASDAQ
SANTIAGO -(Dow Jones)- Chilean President Michelle Bachelet on Wednesday unveiled a new set of measures aimed at combatting rising unemployment levels, currently topping 9% and expected to rise into double digits in coming months....
Sixty-seven percent of the Chilean public support President Michelle Bachelet's management of the government, according to an Adimark poll for the month of April. This latest result, which comes only 10 months before Bachelet is due to leave office,...

Michelle Bachelet

Michelle Bachelet

Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jeria (born September 29, 1951) is a center-left politician and the current President of Chile—the first woman to hold this position in the country's history. She won the 2006 presidential election in a runoff, beating center-right billionaire businessman and former senator Sebastián Piñera, with 53.5% of the vote. A moderate Socialist, she campaigned on a platform of continuing Chile's free market policies, while increasing social benefits to help reduce the country's gap between rich and poor. She was inaugurated on March 11, 2006.

Bachelet—a pediatrician and epidemiologist with studies in military strategy—served as Health Minister and Defense Minister under President Ricardo Lagos. She is a separated mother of three and a self-described agnostic. A polyglot, she speaks Spanish, English, German, Portuguese and French. In 2008, Forbes magazine ranked her as 25th in the list of the 100 most powerful women in the world (she was #27 in 2007, and #17 in 2006). In 2008, TIME magazine ranked her 15 on its list of the world's 100 most influential people.

Bachelet was born in Santiago, the second child of archaeologist Ángela Jeria Gómez and Air Force Brigadier General Alberto Bachelet Martínez. Her paternal great-great-grandfather, Joseph Bachelet Lapierre, was a French wine merchant from Chassagne-Montrachet who emigrated to Chile with his Parisian wife in 1860 hired as a wine-making expert by the Subercaseaux vineyards. Bachelet Lapierre's son, Germán—Michelle Bachelet's great-grandfather—was born in Chile and married to a French-Swiss woman. Her maternal grandfather, Máximo Jeria Chacón, of Greek ancestry, was the first person to receive a degree in agronomic engineering in Chile and founded several agronomy schools in the country.

Facing growing food shortages, the government of Salvador Allende placed Bachelet's father in charge of the Food Distribution Office. When Augusto Pinochet came to power in the September 11, 1973 coup, General Bachelet, refusing exile, was detained at the Air War Academy, under charges of treason. Following months of daily torture at Santiago's Public Prison, on March 12, 1974, he suffered a cardiac arrest that resulted in his death. On January 10, 1975, Bachelet and her mother were detained at their apartment by two DINA agents, who blindfolded them and drove them to Villa Grimaldi, a notorious secret detention center in Santiago, where they were separated and submitted to interrogation and torture. Some days later they were transferred to Cuatro Álamos ("Four Poplars") detention center, where they were held until the end of January. Later in 1975, due to sympathetic connections in the military, both were exiled to Australia, where Bachelet's older brother Alberto had moved in 1969.

In May 1975, Bachelet left Australia and moved to East Germany, to an apartment assigned to her by the German Democratic Republic (GDR) government in Am Stern, Potsdam; her mother joined her a month later (living separately in Leipzig). In October 1976 she began working at a communal clinic in the Babelsberg neighborhood, as a preparation step to continue her medical studies at an East German university. During this period she met architect Jorge Dávalos, another Chilean exile, whom she married in 1977. In January 1978 she went to Leipzig to learn German at the Karl Marx University's Herder Institute (now the University of Leipzig). Her first child with Dávalos, Sebastián, was born there that same year. She returned to Potsdam in September 1978, to continue her medical studies at the Humboldt University of Berlin for two years. Five months after enrolling as a student, however, she obtained authorization to return to her country.

In February 1979 Bachelet returned to Santiago, Chile from East Germany. Her medical school credits from the GDR were not transferred, forcing her to resume her studies from where she had left off before fleeing the country. She graduated as an M.D. in 1982, opting to work in the public sector, applying for a position as general practitioner, to wherever attention was most needed; her petition was, however, rejected by the military government on "political grounds." Instead, because of her academic performance and published papers, she earned a scholarship to specialize in pediatrics and public health at Children's Hospital Roberto del Río (1983–1986). During this time she also worked at PIDEE (Protection of Children Injured by States of Emergency Foundation), a non-governmental organization helping children of the tortured and missing in Santiago and Chillán. She was head of the foundation's Medical Department between 1986 and 1990. Some time after, her second child with Dávalos —Francisca— was born in 1984, she and her husband legally separated.

Between 1985 and 1987 Bachelet had a romantic relationship with Alex Vojkovic Trier, a Communist engineer and spokesman for the Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front, an armed group which among other activities attempted to assassinate Augusto Pinochet in 1986. This affair turned into a minor issue during her presidential campaign, during which she argued that she never supported any of Vojkovic's activities.

In 1990, after democracy was restored in Chile, Bachelet worked for the Ministry of Health's West Santiago Health Service and was a consultant for the Pan-American Health Organization, the World Health Organization and the German Corporation for Technical Cooperation. While working for the National AIDS Commission (Conasida), she became romantically involved with Aníbal Henríquez, a fellow physician —and right-wing Pinochet supporter—, who fathered her third child, Sofia, in 1992; their relationship ended, however, a few years later. Between March 1994 and July 1997, Bachelet worked as Senior Assistant to the Deputy Health Minister.

Driven by an interest in civil-military relations, in 1996 Bachelet began studies in military strategy at the National Academy for Strategic and Policy Studies (Anepe) in Chile, obtaining first place in her class. Her student achievement earned her a presidential scholarship, permitting her to continue her studies in the United States at the Inter-American Defense College in Washington, DC, completing a Continental Defense Course in 1998. That same year she returned to Chile to work for the Defense Ministry as Senior Assistant to the Defense Minister. She subsequently graduated from a Master's program in military science at the Chilean Army's War Academy.

In her first year as a university student (1970), Bachelet became a member of the Socialist Youth (then presided by future deputy and now disappeared physician Carlos Lorca, her political mentor), and was an active supporter of the Popular Unity. In the immediate aftermath of the coup, she and her mother worked as couriers for the underground Socialist Party directorate that was trying to organize a Resistance movement; eventually almost all of them were captured and disappeared. Following her return from exile she became politically active during the second half of the 1980s, fighting —though not on the front line— for the re-establishment of democracy in Chile. In 1995 she became part of the party's Central Committee, and from 1998 until 2000 she was an active member of the Political Commission.

In 1996, Bachelet ran against future presidential adversary Joaquín Lavín for the mayorship of Las Condes, a wealthy Santiago suburb. Lavín won the election with nearly 78% of the vote, while she finished fourth at 2.35%. At the 1999 Coalition of Parties for Democracy (CPD—Chile's governing coalition since 1990) presidential primary, she worked for Ricardo Lagos's nomination, heading the Santiago electoral zone.

On March 11, 2000 Bachelet —a virtual unknown at the time— was appointed Minister of Health by President Ricardo Lagos. She began an in-depth study of the public health-care system that led to the AUGE plan a few years later. She was also given the task of eliminating waiting lists in the saturated public hospital system within the first 100 days of Lagos's government. Unable to meet this goal (she had reduced waiting lists by 90%), she offered her resignation, which was promptly rejected by the President. More controversially, she allowed for the free distribution of the morning-after pill for victims of sexual abuse.

On January 7, 2002 Bachelet was appointed Defense Minister, becoming the first woman to hold this post in a Latin American country and one of the few in the world. While Minister of Defense, she promoted reconciliatory gestures between the military and victims of the dictatorship, culminating in the historic 2003 declaration by General Juan Emilio Cheyre, head of the army, that "never again" would the military subvert democracy in Chile. She also oversaw a reform of the military pension system and continued with the process of modernization of the Chilean armed forces with the purchasing of new military equipment, while engaging in international peace operations.

A moment which has been cited as key to Bachelet's chances to the presidency came during a flood in northern Santiago, where she, as Defense Minister, led a rescue operation on top of an amphibious tank, wearing a cloak and military cap.

In late 2004, following a surge of her popularity in opinion polls, Bachelet was established as the only CPD figure able to defeat Lavín, and she was asked to become the Socialists' candidate for the presidency. She was at first hesitant to accept the nomination, as it was never one of her goals, but finally agreed because she felt she could not disappoint her supporters. On October 1 of that year she was freed from her government post in order to begin her campaign and to help the CPD at the municipal elections. On January 28, 2005, she was proclaimed the Socialist Party's candidate for president.

An open primary scheduled for July 2005 to define the sole presidential candidate of the CPD was canceled after Bachelet's only rival, Christian Democrat Soledad Alvear, a cabinet member in the first three CPD administrations, pulled out early due to a lack of support within her own party and in opinion polls.

At the December 2005 election, Bachelet faced the center-right candidate Sebastián Piñera (RN), the right-wing candidate Joaquín Lavín (UDI) and the far-left candidate Tomás Hirsch (JPM). As predicted by opinion polls, she failed to obtain the absolute majority needed to win the election outright, winning 46% of the vote. In the runoff election on January 15, 2006, Bachelet faced Piñera, and won the presidency with 53.5% of the vote, thus becoming her country's first female elected president and the first woman who was not the wife of a previous head of state or political leader to reach the presidency of a Latin American nation in a direct election.

Bachelet was sworn in as President of the Republic of Chile on March 11, 2006, in a ceremony held in a plenary session of the National Congress in Valparaíso, which was attended by a record number of foreign heads of states and delegates.

Most of Bachelet's first three months as president were spent working on 36 measures she had promised during her campaign to implement during her first 100 days in office. They ranged from simple presidential decrees, such as providing free health care for older patients, to complex bills to reform the social security system and the electoral system.

Bachelet's first political crisis came in late April 2006, when massive high school student demonstrations —unseen in three decades— broke out throughout the country demanding a rise of quality levels in public education (see: 2006 student protests in Chile). These protests and a sharp drop in her popularity, forced Bachelet to reshuffle her cabinet after only four months in office— a record in the country's history.

The final months of 2006 were marred by reports of alleged misspending of public funds during the previous administration, specially in Chiledeportes, a government sports funding organization. There were also accusations of misappropriation of funds channeled through phantom firms and identity theft to fund congressional campaigns in late 2005. The scandal prompted Bachelet to present an anti-corruption plan in late November (see: 2006 corruption scandals in Chile). Other issues faced by Bachelet during her first year included, the death of general Augusto Pinochet, a controversial decree allowing for the free distribution of the "morning-after pill" to women older than 14 years of age without parental consent, a nine-month Government-Congress deadlock over the naming of a new Controller General, and a difficult implementation of a new public transport system for the capital Santiago (see: Transantiago). The latter issue scaled into a major crisis that damaged her popularity and which resulted in a second cabinet adjustment, just two weeks into her second year.

Bachelet's second year saw a dip in her popularity, reaching a nadir of 35% approval, 46% disapproval, in September, 2007. The cause behind this fall was mainly attributed to the Transantiago transport fiasco, put into motion in February that year. On her decision not to abort the plan's start, she said in April 2007 she was given erroneous information which caused her to act against her "instincts." That same month she had a disastrous public relations incident, when a group of earthquake victims she was visiting in the southern region of Aisén received her bearing black flags and berated her publicly in front of television cameras, accusing her of arriving late and asking her to leave. In November, following months of discussions, Bachelet reached preliminary agreements with the opposition in the issue of education reform and in measures to tackle urban crime. On the economic side, while the year saw the lowest unemployment rates since 1998, and growth was forecast to be above 5% (better than 2006's disappointing 4%), inflation nearly doubled the Central Bank's upper target of 4% —due to a rise in food prices, the result of a harsh winter that cut harvests— and the peso strengthened to an eight-year high against the US dollar, hurting exporters.

Bachelet began her term with an unprecedented absolute majority in both chambers of Congress —before appointed senators were eliminated in the 2005 constitutional reforms, the CPD never enjoyed majority in the Senate—, but she was soon faced with internal opposition coming from a number of dissatisfied lawmakers from both chambers of Congress —the so-called díscolos ("disobedient," "ungovernable")—, which jeopardized the coalition's narrow —and historic— Congress majority on a number of key government-sponsored bills during much of her first half in office, and forced her to negotiate with a right-wing opposition she saw as being obstructionist. During the course of 2007, the government lost absolute majority in both chambers of Congress, as several senators and deputies from the CPD became independent.

During her first year in office, Bachelet faced continuing problems from neighbors Argentina and Peru. On July 2006, she sent a letter of protest to Argentine president Néstor Kirchner, after his government issued a decree increasing export tariffs of natural gas to Chile, which was considered by Bachelet a violation of a tacit bilateral agreement. A month later a long-standing border dispute resurfaced after Argentina published some tourist maps featuring a contested territory in southern Chile —the Southern Patagonian Ice Field (Campo de Hielo Patagónico Sur)— as Argentine territory, violating an agreement not to draw a border over the area. In early 2007, Peru accused Chile of unilaterally redefining their shared sea boundary on a law, passed by Congress, which detailed the borders of the new administrative region of Arica and Parinacota. The impasse was resolved by the Chilean Constitutional Tribunal, which declared the particular section of the law unconstitutional. In March 2007, the Chilean state-owned —but editorially independent— television channel TVN cancelled the broadcast of a documentary about the War of the Pacific, after a cautionary call was made to the stations' board of directors by Chilean Foreign Relations Minister Alejandro Foxley, apparently acting on demands made by the Peruvian ambassador to Chile. The show was finally broadcast in late May of that year. In August 2007, the Chilean government filed a formal diplomatic protest to Peru and summoned home its ambassador, after the neighboring country published an official map claiming a part of the Pacific Ocean that Chile considers its sovereign territory. Peru said this was just another step in its plans to bring the dispute to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Chile's October 16, 2006 vote in the United Nations Security Council election—with Venezuela and Guatemala deadlocked in a bid for the two-year, non-permanent Latin American and Caribbean seat on the Security Council—developed into a major ideological issue in the country and was seen as a test for Bachelet. The governing coalition was divided between the Socialists, who supported a vote for Venezuela, and the Christian Democrats, who strongly opposed it. Ending months of speculation, the president announced —through her spokesman—, the day before the vote, that Chile would abstain, citing as reason a lack of regional consensus over a single candidate. On March 2007 Chile's ambassador to Venezuela, Claudio Huepe, revealed in an interview with teleSUR that Bachelet personally told him that she initially wanted to vote for Venezuela, but then "there were a series of circumstances that forced me to abstain." The government quickly recalled Huepe and accepted his resignation.

Continuing the coalition's free-trade strategy, in August 2006 Bachelet promulgated a free trade agreement with the People's Republic of China (signed under the previous administration of Ricardo Lagos), the first Chinese free-trade agreement with a Latin American nation; similar deals with Japan and India were promulgated in August 2007. In October 2006, Bachelet promulgated a multilateral trade deal with New Zealand, Singapore and Brunei, the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (P4), also signed under Lagos' presidency. She also held free-trade talks with other countries, such as Australia, Vietnam, Turkey and Malaysia. Regionally, she signed bilateral free trade agreements with Panama, Peru and Colombia.

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Chile is responsible for over a third of world's copper production.

Chile, officially the Republic of Chile (Spanish: República de Chile), is a country in South America occupying a long and narrow coastal strip wedged between the Andes mountains and the Pacific Ocean. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage at the country's southernmost tip. It is one of only two countries in South America that does not have a border with Brazil. The Pacific forms the country's entire western border, with a coastline that stretches over 6,435 kilometres. Chilean territory extends to the Pacific Ocean which includes the overseas territories of Juan Fernández Islands, the Salas y Gómez islands, the Desventuradas Islands and Easter Island located in Polynesia. Chile claims 1,250,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi) of territory in Antarctica.

Chile's unusual, ribbon-like shape — 4,300 kilometres (2,700 mi) long and on average 175 kilometres (109 mi) wide — has given it a hugely varied climate, ranging from the world's driest desert — the Atacama — in the north, through a Mediterranean climate in the centre, to a snow-prone Alpine climate in the south, with glaciers, fjords and lakes. The northern Chilean desert contains great mineral wealth, principally copper. The relatively small central area dominates the country in terms of population and agricultural resources. This area also is the cultural and political center from which Chile expanded in the late 19th century, when it incorporated its northern and southern regions. Southern Chile is rich in forests and grazing lands and features a string of volcanoes and lakes. The southern coast is a labyrinth of fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands. The Andes Mountains are located on the eastern border.

Prior to the coming of the Spanish in the 16th century, northern Chile was under Inca rule while the indigenous Araucanians inhabited central and southern Chile. Although Chile declared its independence in 1810, decisive victory over the Spanish was not achieved until 1818. In the War of the Pacific (1879-83), Chile defeated Peru and Bolivia and won its present northern regions. It was not until the 1880s that the Araucanian Indians were completely subjugated. The country, which had been relatively free of the coups and arbitrary governments that blighted the South American continent, endured a 17 year military dictatorship (1973-1990), one of the bloodiest in 20th-century Latin America that left more than 3,000 people dead and missing.

Currently, Chile is one of South America's most stable and prosperous nations. Within the greater Latin American context it leads in terms of human development, competitiveness, quality of life, political stability, globalization, economic freedom, low perception of corruption and comparatively low poverty rates. It also ranks high regionally in freedom of the press and democratic development. Its status as the region's richest country in terms of gross domestic product per capita (at market prices and purchasing power parity) is however countered by its high level of income inequality, as measured by the Gini index.

There are various theories about the origin of the word Chile. According to a theory proposed by 18th century Spanish chronicler Diego de Rosales, the Incas of Peru called the valley of the Aconcagua "Chili" by corruption of the name of a Picunche tribal chief ("cacique") called Tili, who ruled the area at the time of the Incan conquest in the 15th century. Another theory points to the similarity of the valley of the Aconcagua with that of the Casma Valley in Peru, where there was a town and valley named Chili. Other theories say Chile may derive its name from the indigenous Mapuche word chilli, which may mean "where the land ends," "the deepest point of the Earth," or "sea gulls;" or from the Quechua chin, "cold", or the Aymara tchili, meaning "snow". Another meaning attributed to chilli is the onomatopoeic cheele-cheele—the Mapuche imitation of a bird call. The Spanish conquistadors heard about this name from the Incas, and the few survivors of Diego de Almagro's first Spanish expedition south from Peru in 1535-36 called themselves the "men of Chilli." Ultimately, Almagro is credited with the universalization of the name Chile, after naming the Mapocho valley as such.

About 10,000 years ago, migrating Native Americans settled in fertile valleys and coastal areas of what is present day Chile. Example settlement sites from the very early human habitation are Cueva del Milodon and the Pali Aike Crater's lava tube. The Incas briefly extended their empire into what is now northern Chile, but the Mapuche successfully resisted many attempts by the Inca Empire to subjugate them, despite their lack of state organization. They fought against the Sapa Inca Tupac Yupanqui and his army. The result of the bloody three-day confrontation known as the Battle of the Maule was that the Inca conquest of the territories of Chile ended at the Maule river.

In 1520, while attempting to circumnavigate the earth, Ferdinand Magellan discovered the southern passage now named after him, the Strait of Magellan. The next Europeans to reach Chile were Diego de Almagro and his band of Spanish conquistadors, who came from Peru in 1535 seeking gold. The Spanish encountered hundreds of thousands of Native Americans from various cultures in the area that modern Chile now occupies. These cultures supported themselves principally through slash-and-burn agriculture and hunting. The conquest of Chile began in earnest in 1540 and was carried out by Pedro de Valdivia, one of Francisco Pizarro's lieutenants, who founded the city of Santiago on February 12, 1541. Although the Spanish did not find the extensive gold and silver they sought, they recognized the agricultural potential of Chile's central valley, and Chile became part of the Viceroyalty of Peru.

Conquest of the land took place only gradually, and the Europeans suffered repeated setbacks at the hands of the local population. A massive Mapuche insurrection that began in 1553 resulted in Valdivia's death and the destruction of many of the colony's principal settlements. Subsequent major insurrections took place in 1598 and in 1655. Each time the Mapuche and other native groups revolted, the southern border of the colony was driven northward. The abolition of slavery in 1683 defused tensions on the frontier between the colony and the Mapuche land to the south, which permitted increased trade between colonists and the Mapuche.

Cut off to the north by desert, to the south by the Mapuche (or Araucanians), to the east by the Andes Mountains, and to the west by the ocean, Chile became one of the most centralized, homogeneous colonies in Spanish America. Serving as a sort of frontier garrison, the colony found itself with the mission of forestalling encroachment by Araucanians and by Spain's European enemies, especially the British and the Dutch. In addition to the Araucanians, buccaneers and English adventurers menaced the colony, as was shown by Sir Francis Drake's 1578 raid on Valparaíso, the principal port. Because Chile hosted one of the largest standing armies in the Americas, it was one of the most militarized of the Spanish possessions, as well as a drain on the treasury of Peru.

The drive for independence from Spain was precipitated by usurpation of the Spanish throne by Napoleon's brother Joseph in 1808. A national junta in the name of Ferdinand—heir to the deposed king—was formed on September 18, 1810. The junta proclaimed Chile an autonomous republic within the Spanish monarchy. A movement for total independence soon won a wide following. Spanish attempts to re-impose arbitrary rule during what was called the "Reconquista" led to a prolonged struggle.

Intermittent warfare continued until 1817, when an army led by Bernardo O'Higgins, Chile's most renowned patriot, and José de San Martín, hero of the Argentine War of Independence, crossed the Andes into Chile and defeated the royalists. On February 12, 1818, Chile was proclaimed an independent republic under O'Higgins' leadership. The political revolt brought little social change, however, and 19th century Chilean society preserved the essence of the stratified colonial social structure, which was greatly influenced by family politics and the Roman Catholic Church. A strong presidency eventually emerged, but wealthy landowners remained extremely powerful.

Toward the end of the nineteenth century, the government in Santiago consolidated its position in the south by ruthlessly suppressing the Mapuche during the Occupation of Araucanía. In 1881, it signed a treaty with Argentina confirming Chilean sovereignty over the Strait of Magellan. As a result of the War of the Pacific with Peru and Bolivia (1879–83), Chile expanded its territory northward by almost one-third, eliminating Bolivia's access to the Pacific, and acquired valuable nitrate deposits, the exploitation of which led to an era of national affluence. The Chilean Civil War in 1891 brought about a redistribution of power between the President and Congress, and Chile established a parliamentary style democracy. However, the Civil War had also been a contest between those who favored the development of local industries and powerful Chilean banking interests, particularly the House of Edwards who had strong ties to foreign investors. Hence the Chilean economy partially degenerated into a system protecting the interests of a ruling oligarchy. By the 1920s, the emerging middle and working classes were powerful enough to elect a reformist president, Arturo Alessandri Palma, whose program was frustrated by a conservative congress. Alessandri Palma's reformist tendencies were partly tempered later by an admiration for some elements of Benito Mussolini's Italian Corporate State. In the 1920s, Marxist groups with strong popular support arose.

A military coup led by General Luis Altamirano in 1924 set off a period of great political instability that lasted until 1932. The longest lasting of the ten governments between those years was that of General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo, who briefly held power in 1925 and then again between 1927 and 1931 in what was a de facto dictatorship, although not really comparable in harshness or corruption to the type of military dictatorship that has often bedeviled the rest of Latin America, and certainly not comparable to the violent and repressive regime of Augusto Pinochet decades later. By relinquishing power to a democratically elected successor, Ibáñez del Campo retained the respect of a large enough segment of the population to remain a viable politician for more than thirty years, in spite of the vague and shifting nature of his ideology. When constitutional rule was restored in 1932, a strong middle-class party, the Radicals, emerged. It became the key force in coalition governments for the next 20 years. During the period of Radical Party dominance (1932–52), the state increased its role in the economy. In 1952, voters returned Ibáñez del Campo to office for another six years. Jorge Alessandri succeeded Ibáñez del Campo in 1958, bringing Chilean conservatism back into power democratically for another term.

The 1964 presidential election of Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei Montalva by an absolute majority initiated a period of major reform. Under the slogan "Revolution in Liberty", the Frei administration embarked on far-reaching social and economic programs, particularly in education, housing, and agrarian reform, including rural unionization of agricultural workers. By 1967, however, Frei encountered increasing opposition from leftists, who charged that his reforms were inadequate, and from conservatives, who found them excessive. At the end of his term, Frei had accomplished many noteworthy objectives, but he had not fully achieved his party's ambitious goals.

In 1970, Senator Salvador Allende Gossens won a plurality of votes in a three-way contest. He was a Marxist physician and member of Chile's Socialist Party, who headed the "Popular Unity" (UP or "Unidad Popular") coalition of the Socialist, Communist, Radical, and Social-Democratic Parties, along with dissident Christian Democrats, the Popular Unitary Action Movement (MAPU), and the Independent Popular Action, Despite pressure from the government of the United States, the Chilean Congress, keeping with tradition, conducted a runoff vote between the leading candidates, Allende and former president Jorge Alessandri and chose Allende by a vote of 153 to 35. Frei refused to form an alliance with Alessandri to oppose Allende, on the grounds that the Christian Democrats were a workers party and could not make common cause with the oligarchs.

Allende's program included advancement of workers' interests; implementation of agrarian reform; reorganization of the national economy into socialized, mixed, and private sectors; a foreign policy of "international solidarity" and national independence; and a new institutional order (the "people's state" or "poder popular"), including the institution of a unicameral congress. The Popular Unity platform also called for nationalization of foreign (U.S.) ownership of Chile's major copper mines.

An economic depression that began in 1967 peaked in 1970, exacerbated by capital flight, plummeting private investment, and withdrawal of bank deposits by those opposed to Allende's socialist program. Production fell and unemployment rose. Allende adopted measures including price freezes, wage increases, and tax reforms, which had the effect of increasing consumer spending and redistributing income downward. Joint public-private public works projects helped reduce unemployment. Much of the banking sector was nationalized. Many enterprises within the copper, coal, iron, nitrate, and steel industries were expropriated, nationalized, or subjected to state intervention. Industrial output increased sharply and unemployment fell during the Allende administration's first year.

Other reforms undertaken during the early Allende period included redistributing millions of hectares of land to landless agricultural workers as part of the agrarian reform program, giving the armed forces an overdue pay increase, and providing free milk to children. The Indian Peoples Development Corporation and the Mapuche Vocational Institute were founded to address the needs of Chile's indigenous population.

The nationalization of U.S. and other foreign-owned companies led to increased tensions with the United States. As a result, the Richard Nixon administration organized and inserted secret operatives in Chile, in order to quickly destabilize Allende’s government. In addition, international financial pressure restricted economic credit to Chile. Simultaneously, the CIA funded opposition media, politicians, and organizations, helping to accelerate a campaign of domestic destabilization. By 1972, the economic progress of Allende's first year had been reversed, and the economy was in crisis. Political polarization increased, and large mobilizations of both pro- and anti-government groups became frequent, often leading to clashes.

By early 1973, inflation was out of control. The crippled economy was further battered by prolonged and sometimes simultaneous strikes by physicians, teachers, students, truck owners, copper workers, and the small business class. A military coup overthrew Allende on September 11, 1973. As the armed forces bombarded the presidential palace (Palacio de La Moneda), Allende reportedly committed suicide. A military government, led by General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, took over control of the country. The first years of the regime were marked by serious human rights violations. On October 1973, at least 72 people were murdered by the Caravan of Death. At least a thousand people were executed during the first six months of Pinochet in office, and at least two thousand more were killed during the next sixteen years, as reported by the Rettig Report. Some 30,000 were forced to flee the country, and tens of thousands of people were detained and tortured, as investigated by the 2004 Valech Commission. A new Constitution was approved by a highly irregular and undemocratic plebiscite characterized by the absence of registration lists, on September 11, 1980, and General Pinochet became president of the republic for an 8-year term.

In the late 1980s, the regime gradually permitted greater freedom of assembly, speech, and association, to include trade union and limited political activity. The right-wing military government pursued free market economic policies. During Pinochet's nearly 17 years in power, Chile moved away from state involvement, toward a largely free market economy that saw an increase in domestic and foreign private investment, although the copper industry and other important mineral resources were not returned to foreign ownership. In a plebiscite on October 5, 1988, General Pinochet was denied a second 8-year term as president (56% against 44%). Chileans elected a new president and the majority of members of a two-chamber congress on December 14, 1989. Christian Democrat Patricio Aylwin, the candidate of a coalition of 17 political parties called the Concertación, received an absolute majority of votes (55%). President Aylwin served from 1990 to 1994, in what was considered a transition period.

In December 1993, Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, the son of previous president Eduardo Frei Montalva, led the Concertación coalition to victory with an absolute majority of votes (58%). Frei Ruiz-Tagle was succeeded in 2000 by Socialist Ricardo Lagos, who won the presidency in an unprecedented runoff election against Joaquín Lavín of the rightist Alliance for Chile. In January 2006 Chileans elected their first woman president, Michelle Bachelet Jeria, of the Socialist Party. She was sworn in on March 11, 2006, extending the Concertación coalition governance for another four years.

A long and narrow coastal Southern Cone country on the west side of the Andes Mountains, Chile stretches over 4,630 kilometres (2,880 mi) north to south, but only 430 kilometres (265 mi) at its widest point east to west. This encompasses a remarkable variety of landscapes. It contains 756,950 square kilometres (292,260 sq mi) of land area.

The northern Atacama Desert contains great mineral wealth, primarily copper and nitrates. The relatively small Central Valley, which includes Santiago, dominates the country in terms of population and agricultural resources. This area also is the historical center from which Chile expanded in the late nineteenth century, when it integrated the northern and southern regions. Southern Chile is rich in forests, grazing lands, and features a string of volcanoes and lakes. The southern coast is a labyrinth of fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands. The Andes Mountains are located on the eastern border. Chile is the longest north-south country in the world, and also claims 1,250,000 km2 (480,000 sq mi) of Antarctica as part of its territory. However, this latter claim is suspended under the terms of the Antarctic Treaty, of which Chile is signatory.

Chile controls Easter Island and Sala y Gómez Island, the easternmost islands of Polynesia, which it incorporated to its territory in 1888, and Robinson Crusoe Island, more than 600 kilometres (370 mi) from the mainland, in the Juan Fernández archipelago. Easter Island is nowadays a province of Chile. Also controlled but only temporally inhabited (by some local fishermen) are the small islands of Sala y Gómez, San Ambrosio and San Felix. These islands are notable because they extend Chile's claim to territorial waters out from its coast into the Pacific.

Chile is divided into 15 regions, each of which is headed by an intendant appointed by the President of Chile. Every region is further divided into provinces, with a provincial governor also appointed by the president. Finally each province is divided into communes which are administered by municipalities, each with its own mayor and councilmen elected by their inhabitants for four years.

Each region is designated by a name and a Roman numeral, assigned from north to south. The only exception is the region housing the nation's capital, which is designated RM, that stands for Región Metropolitana (Metropolitan Region).

Two new regions, Arica and Parinacota in the north, and Los Ríos in the south, were created in 2006, and became operative in October 2007. In the numbering scheme, Region XIII was skipped; Arica and Parinacota was designated Region XV, while Los Ríos was designated Region XIV.

The climate of Chile comprises a wide range of weather conditions across a large geographic scale, extending across 38 degrees in latitude, making generalisations difficult. According to the Köppen system, Chile within its borders hosts at least seven major climatic subtypes, ranging from desert in the north, to alpine tundra and glaciers in the east and south east, humid subtropical in Easter Island, Oceanic in the south and mediterranean climate in central Chile. There are four seasons in most of the country: summer (December to February), autumn (March to May), winter (June to August), and spring (September to November).

After a decade of impressive growth rates, Chile began to experience a moderate economic downturn in 1999, brought on by unfavorable global economic conditions related to the Asian financial crisis, which began in 1997. The economy remained sluggish until 2003, when it began to show clear signs of recovery, achieving 4.0% real GDP growth. The Chilean economy finished 2004 with growth of 6.0%. Real GDP growth reached 5.7% in 2005 before falling back to 4.0% growth in 2006. Higher energy prices as well as lagging consumer demand were drags on the economy in 2006. Higher Chilean Government spending and favorable external conditions (including record copper prices for much of 2006) were not enough to offset these drags. For the first time in many years, Chilean economic growth in 2006 was among the weakest in Latin America. GDP expanded 5.1% in 2007.

Chile has pursued generally sound economic policies for nearly three decades. The 1973-90 military government sold many state-owned companies, and the three democratic governments since 1990 have continued privatization, though at a slower pace. The government's role in the economy is mostly limited to regulation, although the state continues to operate copper giant CODELCO and a few other enterprises (there is one state-run bank). Chile is strongly committed to free trade and has welcomed large amounts of foreign investment. Chile has signed free trade agreements (FTAs) with a whole network of countries, including an FTA with the United States, which was signed in 2003 and implemented in January 2004. Over the last several years, Chile has signed FTAs with the European Union, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, China, and Japan. It reached a partial trade agreement with India in 2005 and began negotiations for a full-fledged FTA with India in 2006. Chile conducted trade negotiations in 2007 with Australia, Malaysia, and Thailand, as well as with China to expand an existing agreement beyond just trade in goods. Chile hopes to conclude FTA negotiations with Australia and the expanded agreement with China in 2008. Negotiations with Malaysia and Thailand are scheduled to continue throughout 2008. The members of the P4 (Chile, Singapore, New Zealand, and Brunei) also plan to conclude a chapter on finance and investment in 2008. The economic international organization the OECD agreed to invite Chile to be among four countries to open discussions in becoming an official member.

High domestic savings and investment rates helped propel Chile's economy to average growth rates of 8% during the 1990s. The privatized national pension system (AFP) has encouraged domestic investment and contributed to an estimated total domestic savings rate of approximately 21% of GDP. However, the AFP is not without its critics, who cite low participation rates (only 55% of the working population is covered), with groups such as the self-employed outside the system. There has also been criticism of the inefficiency and high costs because of a lack of competition among pension funds. Critics cite loopholes in the use of pension savings through lump sum withdraws for the purchase of a second home or payment of university fees as fundamental weaknesses of the AFP. The Bachelet administration plans substantial reform, but not an overhaul, of the AFP during the next several years.

Unemployment hovered in the 9%-10% range after the start of the economic slowdown in 1999, above the 7% average for the 1990s. Unemployment finally dipped to 7.8% for 2006, and has kept falling in 2007, averaging 6.8% monthly (up to August). Wages have risen faster than inflation as a result of higher productivity, boosting national living standards. The percentage of Chileans with household incomes below the poverty line—defined as twice the cost of satisfying a person's minimal nutritional needs—fell from 45.1% in 1987 to 13.7% in 2006, according to government polls. Critics in Chile, however, argue true poverty figures are considerably higher than those officially published, because the government uses an outdated 1987 household budget poll, updated every 10 years. According to these critics, using the 1997 household budget data, the poverty rate rises to 29%. Using the relative yardstick favoured in many European countries, 27% of Chileans would be poor, according to Juan Carlos Feres of the ECLAC. Despite enjoying a comparatively higher GDP and more robust economy compared to most other countries of Latin America, Chile also suffers from one of the most uneven distributions of wealth in the world, ahead only of Brazil in the Latin American region and lagging behind even of most developing sub-Saharan African nations. Chile's top 10 richest percentile possesses 47 percent of the country's wealth. In relation to income distribution, some 6.2% of the country populates the upper economic income bracket, 15% the middle bracket, 21% the lower middle, 38% the lower bracket, and 20% the extreme poor.

Chile's independent Central Bank pursues an inflation target of between 2% and 4%. Inflation has not exceeded 5% since 1998. Chile registered an inflation rate of 3.2% in 2006. The Chilean peso's rapid appreciation against the U.S. dollar in recent years has helped dampen inflation. Most wage settlements and loans are indexed, reducing inflation's volatility. Under the compulsory private pension system, most formal sector employees pay 10% of their salaries into privately managed funds.

Total foreign direct investment (FDI) was only $3.4 billion in 2006, up 52% from a poor performance in 2005. However, 80% of FDI continues to go to only four sectors: electricity, gas, water and mining. Much of the jump in FDI in 2006 was also the result of acquisitions and mergers and has done little to create new employment in Chile. The Chilean Government has formed a Council on Innovation and Competition, which is tasked with identifying new sectors and industries to promote. It is hoped that this, combined with some tax reforms to encourage domestic and foreign investment in research and development, will bring in additional FDI and to new parts of the economy. As of 2006, Chile invested only 0.6% of its annual GDP in research and development (R&D). Even then, two-thirds of that was government spending. The fact that domestic and foreign companies spend almost nothing on R&D does not bode well for the Government of Chile's efforts to develop innovative, knowledge-based sectors. Beyond its general economic and political stability, the government also has encouraged the use of Chile as an "investment platform" for multinational corporations planning to operate in the region, but this will have limited value given the developing business climate in Chile itself. Chile's approach to foreign direct investment is codified in the country's Foreign Investment Law, which gives foreign investors the same treatment as Chileans. Registration is simple and transparent, and foreign investors are guaranteed access to the official foreign exchange market to repatriate their profits and capital. Faced with an international economic downturn the government announced a $4 billion economic stimulus plan to spur employment and growth despite the global financial crisis, aiming for an expansion of between 2 percent and 3 percent of GDP for 2009. Nontheless, economic analysts differ from the government stimates and forecast economic growth at a median of 1.5 percent.

2006 was a record year for Chilean trade. Total trade registered a 31% increase over 2005. During 2006, exports of goods and services totaled US$58 billion, an increase of 41%. This figure was somewhat distorted by the skyrocketing price of copper. In 2006, copper exports reached a historical high of US$33.3 billion. Imports totaled US$35 billion, an increase of 17% compared to the previous year. Chile thus recorded a positive trade balance of US$23 billion in 2006.

The main destinations for Chilean exports were the Americas (US$39 billion), Asia (US$27.8 billion) and Europe (US$22.2 billion). Seen as shares of Chile's export markets, 42% of exports went to the Americas, 30% to Asia and 24% to Europe. Within Chile's diversified network of trade relationships, its most important partner remained the United States. Total trade with the U.S. was US$14.8 billion in 2006. Since the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement went into effect on January 1, 2004, U.S.-Chilean trade has increased by 154%. Internal Government of Chile figures show that even when factoring out inflation and the recent high price of copper, bilateral trade between the U.S. and Chile has grown over 60% since then.

Total trade with Europe also grew in 2006, expanding by 42%. The Netherlands and Italy were Chile's main European trading partners. Total trade with Asia also grew significantly at nearly 31%. Trade with Korea and Japan grew significantly, but China remained Chile's most important trading partner in Asia. Chile's total trade with China reached U.S. $8.8 billion in 2006, representing nearly 66% of the value of its trade relationship with Asia.

The growth of exports in 2006 was mainly caused by a strong increase in sales to the United States, the Netherlands, and Japan. These three markets alone accounted for an additional US$5.5 billion worth of Chilean exports. Chilean exports to the United States totaled US$9.3 billion, representing a 37.7% increase compared to 2005 (US$6.7 billion). Exports to the European Union were US$15.4 billion, a 63.7% increased compared to 2005 (US$9.4 billion). Exports to Asia increased from US$15.2 billion in 2005 to US$19.7 billion in 2006, a 29.9% increase.

During 2006, Chile imported US$26 billion from the Americas, representing 54% of total imports, followed by Asia at 22%, and Europe at 16%. Mercosur members were the main suppliers of imports to Chile at US$9.1 billion, followed by the United States with US$5.5 billion and the European Union with US$5.2 billion. From Asia, China was the most important exporter to Chile, with goods valued at US$3.6 billion. Year-on-year growth in imports was especially strong from a number of countries—Ecuador (123.9%), Thailand (72.1%), Korea (52.6%), and China (36.9%).

Chile's overall trade profile has traditionally been dependent upon copper exports. The state-owned firm CODELCO is the world's largest copper-producing company, with recorded copper reserves of 200 years. Chile has made an effort to expand nontraditional exports. The most important non-mineral exports are forestry and wood products, fresh fruit and processed food, fishmeal and seafood, and wine.

Successive Chilean governments have actively pursued trade-liberalizing agreements. During the 1990s, Chile signed free trade agreements (FTA) with Canada, Mexico, and Central America. Chile also concluded preferential trade agreements with Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador. An association agreement with Mercosur—Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay—went into effect in October 1996. Continuing its export-oriented development strategy, Chile completed landmark free trade agreements in 2002 with the European Union and South Korea. Chile, as a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) organization, is seeking to boost commercial ties to Asian markets. To that end, it has signed trade agreements in recent years with New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, India, China, and most recently Japan. In 2007, Chile held trade negotiations with Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, and China. In 2008, Chile hopes to conclude an FTA with Australia, and finalize an expanded agreement (covering trade in services and investment) with China. The P4 (Chile, Singapore, New Zealand, and Brunei) also plan to expand ties through adding a finance and investment chapter to the existing P4 agreement. Chile's trade talks with Malaysia and Thailand are also scheduled to continue in 2008.

After two years of negotiations, the United States and Chile signed an agreement in June 2003 that will lead to completely duty-free bilateral trade within 12 years. The U.S.-Chile FTA entered into force January 1, 2004, following approval by the U.S. and Chilean congresses. The bilateral FTA has inaugurated greatly expanded U.S.-Chilean trade ties, with total bilateral trade jumping by 154% during the FTA's first three years.

Chile unilaterally lowered its across-the-board import tariff for all countries with which it does not have a trade agreement to 6% in 2003. Higher effective tariffs are charged only on imports of wheat, wheat flour, and sugar as a result of a system of import price bands. The price bands were ruled inconsistent with Chile's World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations in 2002, and the government has introduced legislation to modify them. Under the terms of the U.S.-Chile FTA, the price bands will be completely phased out for U.S. imports of wheat, wheat flour, and sugar within 12 years.

Chile is a strong proponent of pressing ahead on negotiations for a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and is active in the WTO's Doha round of negotiations, principally through its membership in the G-20 and Cairns Group.

Chile's financial sector has grown quickly in recent years, with a banking reform law approved in 1997 that broadened the scope of permissible foreign activity for Chilean banks. The Chilean Government implemented a further liberalization of capital markets in 2001, and there is further pending legislation proposing further liberalization. Over the last ten years, Chileans have enjoyed the introduction of new financial tools such as home equity loans, currency futures and options, factoring, leasing, and debit cards. The introduction of these new products has also been accompanied by an increased use of traditional instruments such as loans and credit cards. Chile's private pension system, with assets worth roughly $70 billion at the end of 2006, has been an important source of investment capital for the capital market. Chile maintains one of the best credit ratings (S&P A+) in Latin America. There are three main ways for Chilean firms to raise funds abroad: bank loans, issuance of bonds, and the selling of stocks on U.S. markets through American Depository Receipts (ADRs). Nearly all of the funds raised through these means go to finance domestic Chilean investment. The government is required by law to run a fiscal surplus of at least 1% of GDP. In 2006, the Government of Chile ran a surplus of $11.3 billion, equal to almost 8% of GDP. The Government of Chile continues to pay down its foreign debt, with public debt only 3.9% of GDP at the end of 2006.

Chile's 2002 census reported a population of 15,116,435. Its growth has been declining since 1990, because of a decreasing birth rate. By 2050 the population is expected to reach approximately 20.2 million. About 85% of the country's population lives in urban areas, with 40% living in Greater Santiago. The largest agglomerations according to the 2002 census are Greater Santiago with 5.4 million people, Greater Valparaíso with 804,000 and Greater Concepción with 666,000.

The Chilean population is approximately 30% white, with mestizos of predominantly white (castizos) ancestry further estimated at 65%. Another recent study estimates that the white population corresponds to about 8.8 millions or 52,7% of Chileans. The White and Mestizo figures appear combined in some sources, so that Chile's population is classified as 95.4% white and white-amerindian by publications such as the World Factbook.

The white segment, also consists mainly of Spanish descent, as well as Italian, Irish, French, German, English, Swiss or Croat ancestry, alone or combined among themselves. The mestizo segment, and derives from the racial mixture between colonial Spanish settlers (mainly Andalusians and Castilian) and indigenous tribes (mainly Picunches, Diaguitas and Mapuches). (Having disappeared during the first two groups during the Colonial period). In that respect, Chile is relatively homogeneous, with the majority of the people sharing a common ethnic identity stemming from what is known locally as Chilenidad.

The Afro-Chilean population was negligible, reaching a high of 25,000 during the colonial period; their racial contribution is less than 1%. The current Native American population is small (see below) according to the censuses; their numbers are boosted when taking into consideration those that are associated to them either linguistically or socially.

According to the Census 2002, 4.6% of the Chilean population was Indian, although most show varying degrees of miscegenation.

At the 1992 census, a total of 10.33% of the total Chilean population surveyed declared themselves indigenous, irrespective of whether they currently practiced a native culture or spoke a native language; almost one million people (9.61% of Chileans) declared themselves Mapuche, 0.50% declared to be Aymara, and 0.23% reported as Rapanui.

At the 2002 census, only indigenous people that still practiced a native culture or spoke a native language were surveyed: 4.6% of the population (692,192 people) fit that description; of these, 87.3% declared themselves Mapuche.although most show varying degrees of miscegenation.

Immigrants were important to the evolution of Chilean society and Chile as a nation. Basque families arrived from Spain and regions in the south of France. Who migrated to Chile in the 18th century vitalized the economy and joined the old Castilian aristocracy to become the political elite that still dominates the country. Chileans of Basque descent are estimated at 10% (1,600,000) or as high as 27% (4,500,000) of the Chilean population. Some non-Spanish European immigrants arrived in Chile mainly to the northern and southern extremities of the country during the 19th and 20th centuries, including English, Germans, Irish, Italians, French, Croatians, and former Yugoslavians. The prevalence of non-Hispanic European surnames among the governing body of modern Chile are a testament to their disproportionate contribution and influence on the country. Also worth mentioning are the Croatians, were the most numerous Chile has an estimated 380,000 with the highest number of descendants of Croats. and especially Palestinian communities, the latter being the largest colony of that people outside of the Arab world.The volume of immigrants from neighboring countries to Chile during those same periods was of a similar value.

After independence and during the republican era, English and Irish descendants between 350,000 to 420,000., Italian, and French merchants established themselves in the growing cities of Chile and incidentally joined the political or economic elites of the country. In 1848 an important and sizable German immigration took place, laying the foundations of a present German-Chilean community. Sponsored by the Chilean government with aims of colonising the southern region. These Germans (which included German-speaking Swiss, Silesians, Alsatians and Austrians), markedly influenced the cultural composition of the southern of Chile. During the second half of the 19th century was exceptional. Small numbers of displaced eastern European Jews and Christian Syrians and Palestinians fleeing the Ottoman Empire arrived in Chile. Today they spearhead financial and small manufacturing operations. Greeks have also immigrated to Chile and have formed a notable ethnic identity .Greeks Estimated to be descendants from 90,000 to 120,000 Most of them live either in the Santiago area or in the Antofagasta area. Chile is one of the 5 countries with more descendants of Greeks in the world.

European immigration, and to a lesser degree in the Middle East, produced during the second half of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (large "waves" in America), after corresponding to the Atlantic coasts of the Southern Cone ( that is, Argentina, Uruguay and South Brazil), was the most significant Latin America is favored mainly by the intense traffic that is produced through extreme south of the country until the opening of the Panama Canal in 1920, although other numbers came from Argentina, across the Cordillera.

Currently, immigration from neighboring countries to Chile is greatest. Chile’s 2002 census counted 184,464 immigrants in the country, 26 percent of whom were from Argentina, 21 percent from Peru and 6 percent from Bolivia. Emigration of Chileans has decreased during the last decade: It is estimated that 857,781 Chileans live abroad, 50.1% of those being in Argentina, 13.3% in the United States, 8.8% in Brazil, 4.9% in Sweden, and around 2% in Australia, with the rest being scattered in smaller numbers across the globe.

According to the most recent census (2002), 70 percent of the population over age 14 identify as Roman Catholic and 15.1 percent as evangelical. In the census, the term "evangelical" referred to all non-Catholic Christian churches with the exception of the Orthodox Church (Greek, Persian, Serbian, Ukrainian, and Armenian), the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Seventh-day Adventists, and Jehovah's Witnesses. Approximately 90 percent of evangelicals are Pentecostal. Wesleyan, Lutheran, Reformed Evangelical, Presbyterian, Anglican, Episcopalian, Baptist, and Methodist churches are also present.

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and other laws and policies contribute to the generally free practice of religion. The law at all levels protects this right in full against abuse, either by governmental or private actors.

Church and state are officially separate. The 1999 law on religion prohibits religious discrimination; however, the Catholic Church enjoys a privileged status and occasionally receives preferential treatment. Government officials attend Catholic events and also major Protestant and Jewish ceremonies.

The Government observes Christmas, Good Friday, the Feast of the Virgin of Carmen, the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, the Feast of the Assumption, All Saints' Day, and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception as national holidays. The government has recently declared October 31st, a public national holiday, in honor of the Protestant churches of the country.

The Spanish spoken in Chile is distinctively accented and quite unlike that of neighbouring South American countries because final syllables and 's' sounds are dropped, and some consonants have a soft pronunciation. Accent varies only very slightly from north to south; more noticeable are the small differences in accent based on social class or whether one lives in the city or the country. The fact that the Chilean population essentially was formed in a relatively small section of the center of the country and then migrated in modest numbers to the north and south helps explain this relative lack of differentiation, which is now maintained by the national reach of radio and especially of television. The media diffuse and homogenize colloquial expressions.

German and Croatian is spoken in southern Chile.

English language learning and teaching is popular among students, academics and professionals, with some English words being absorbed and appropriated into everyday Spanish speech.

There are several indigenous languages spoken in Chile: Mapudungun, Quechua and Rapa Nui. After the Spanish invasion, Spanish took over as the lingua franca and the indigenous languages have become minority languages, with some now extinct or close to extinction.

The Constitution of Chile was approved in a highly irregular national plebiscite in September 1980, under the military government of Augusto Pinochet. It entered into force in March 1981. After Pinochet's defeat in the 1988 plebiscite, the constitution was amended to ease provisions for future amendments to the Constitution. In September 2005, President Ricardo Lagos signed into law several constitutional amendments passed by Congress. These include eliminating the positions of appointed senators and senators for life, granting the President authority to remove the commanders-in-chief of the armed forces, and reducing the presidential term from six to four years.

Chileans voted in the first round of presidential elections on December 11, 2005. None of the four presidential candidates won more than 50% of the vote. As a result, the top two vote-getters—center-left Concertación coalition's Michelle Bachelet and center-right Alianza coalition's Sebastián Piñera—competed in a run-off election on January 15, 2006, which Michelle Bachelet won. She was sworn in on March 11, 2006. This was Chile's fourth presidential election since the end of the Pinochet era. All four have been judged free and fair. The president is constitutionally barred from serving consecutive terms.

The Congress of Chile has a 38-seat Senate and a 120-member Chamber of Deputies. Senators serve for 8 years with staggered terms, while deputies are elected every 4 years. The current Senate has a 20-18 split in favor of pro-government senators. The last congressional elections were held on December 11, 2005, concurrently with the presidential election. The current lower house—the Chamber of Deputies—contains 63 members of the governing center-left coalition and 57 from the center-right opposition. The Congress is located in the port city of Valparaíso, about 140 kilometres (84 mi) west of the capital, Santiago.

Chile's congressional elections are governed by a binomial system that rewards large representations. Therefore, there are only two senate and two deputy seats apportioned to each electoral district, parties are forced to form wide coalitions and, historically, the two largest coalitions (Concertación and Alianza) split most of the seats in a district. Only if the leading coalition ticket out-polls the second place coalition by a margin of more than 2-to-1 does the winning coalition gain both seats. In the 2001 congressional elections, the conservative Independent Democratic Union surpassed the Christian Democrats for the first time to become the largest party in the lower house. In the 2005 parliamentary election, both leading parties, the Christian Democrats and the UDI lost representation in favor of their respective allies Socialist Party (which became the biggest party in the Concertación block) and National Renewal in the right-wing alliance. The Communist Party again failed to gain any seats in the election.

Chile's judiciary is independent and includes a court of appeal, a system of military courts, a constitutional tribunal, and the Supreme Court of Chile. In June 2005, Chile completed a nation-wide overhaul of its criminal justice system. The reform has replaced inquisitorial proceedings with an adversarial system more similar to that of the United States.

Chile's Armed Forces are subject to civilian control exercised by the president through the Minister of Defense. The president has the authority to remove the commanders-in-chief of the armed forces.

The commander in chief of the Chilean Army is General Oscar Izurieta Ferrer. The Chilean Army is 45,000 strong and is organized with an Army headquarters in Santiago, seven divisions throughout its territory, an Air Brigade in Rancagua, and a Special Forces Command in Colina. The Chilean Army is one of the most professional and technologically advanced armies in Latin America.

Admiral Rodolfo Codina directs the 23,000-person Navy, including 2,500 Marines. Of the fleet of 29 surface vessels, only eight are operational major combatants (frigates). Those ships are based in Valparaiso. The Navy operates its own aircraft for transport and patrol; there are no Navy fighter or bomber aircraft. The Navy also operates four submarines based in Talcahuano.

Gen. Ricardo Ortega Perrier heads a force of 12,500. Air assets are distributed among five air brigades headquartered in Iquique, Antofagasta, Santiago, Puerto Montt, and Punta Arenas. The Air Force also operates an airbase on King George Island, Antarctica. The Air Force took delivery of the final 2 of 10 F-16s, all purchased from the U.S., in March 2007. Chile also took delivery in 2007 of a number of reconditioned Block 15 F-16s from the Netherlands, bringing to 18 the total of F-16s purchased from the Dutch.

After the military coup in September 1973, the Chilean national police (Carabineros) were incorporated into the Defense Ministry. With the return of democratic government, the police were placed under the operational control of the Interior Ministry but remained under the nominal control of the Defense Ministry. Gen. Eduardo Gordon is the head of the national police force of 40,964 men and women who are responsible for law enforcement, traffic management, narcotics suppression, border control, and counter-terrorism throughout Chile.

Since the early decades after independence, Chile has always had an active involvement in foreign affairs. In 1837 the country aggressively challenged the dominance of Peru's port of Callao for preeminence in the Pacific trade routes, defeating the short-lived alliance between Peru and Bolivia, the Peru-Bolivian Confederation (1836-39) in the War of the Confederation. The war dissolved the confederation while distributing power in the Pacific. A second international war, the War of the Pacific (1879-83), further increased Chile's regional role, while adding considerably to its territory.

During the nineteenth century, Chile's commercial ties were primarily with Britain, a country that had a decisive influence on the organization of the navy. The French influenced Chile's legal and educational systems and had a decisive impact on Chile, through the architecture of the capital in the boom years at the turn of the century. German influence came from the organization and training of the army by Prussians.

On June 26, 1945, Chile participated as a founding member of the United Nations being among 50 countries that signed the United Nations Charter in San Francisco, California. With the military coup of 1973, Chile became isolated politically as a result of widespread human rights abuses.

Since its return to democracy in 1990, Chile has been an active participant in the international political arena. Chile completed a 2-year non-permanent position on the UN Security Council in January 2005. Jose Miguel Insulza, a Chilean national, was elected Secretary General of the Organization of American States in May 2005. Chile is currently serving on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors, and the 2007-2008 chair of the board is Chile's ambassador to the IAEA, Milenko E. Skoknic. The country is an active member of the UN family of agencies and participates in UN peacekeeping activities. It is currently bidding for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. Chile hosted the Defense Ministerial of the Americas in 2002 and the APEC summit and related meetings in 2004. It also hosted the Community of Democracies ministerial in April 2005 and the Ibero-American Summit in November 2007. An associate member of Mercosur and a full member of APEC, Chile has been an important actor on international economic issues and hemispheric free trade.

The Chilean Government has diplomatic relations with most countries. It settled its territorial disputes with Argentina during the 1990s. Chile and Bolivia severed diplomatic ties in 1978 over Bolivia's desire to reacquire territory it lost to Chile in 1879-83 War of the Pacific. The two countries maintain consular relations and are represented at the Consul General level.

During the period between early agricultural settlements and to the late pre-Hispanic period, northern Chile was a region of Andean culture that was influenced by altiplano traditions spreading to the coastal valleys of the north. While southern regions were areas of Mapuche cultural activities. Through the colonial period following the conquest, and during the early Republican period, the country's culture was dominated by the Spanish. Other European influences, primarily English, French, and German began in the 19th century and have continued to this day. German migrants influenced the Bavarian style rural architecture and cuisine in the south of Chile in cities such as Valdivia, Frutillar, Puerto Varas, Osorno, Temuco, Pucón and Puerto Montt.

Music in Chile ranges from folkloric music , popular music and also to classical music. Its large geography generates different musical expressions in the north, center and south of the country, including also Easter Island and Mapuche music . The national dance is the cueca. Another form of traditional Chilean song, though not a dance, is the tonada. Arising from music imported by the Spanish colonists, it is distinguished from the cueca by an intermediate melodic section and a more prominent melody. Between 1950 and 1970 appears a rebirth in folk music leading by groups such as Los de Ramon and Los Huasos Quincheros among others with composers such as Raul de Ramon, Violeta Parra, Nicanor Molinare and others . In the mid-1960s native musical forms were revitalized by the Parra family with the Nueva Canción Chilena, which was associated with political activists and reformers such as Victor Jara, and by the folk singer and researcher on folklore and Chilean ethnography, Margot Loyola.

Chileans call their country país de poetas—country of poets.Gabriela Mistral was the first Chilean to win a Nobel Prize for Literature (1945). Chile's most famous poet, however, is Pablo Neruda, who also won the Nobel Prize for Literature (1971) and is world-renowned for his extensive library of works on romance, nature, and politics. His three highly individualistic homes, located in Isla Negra, Santiago and Valparaíso are popular tourist destinations.

Chilean cuisine is a reflection of the country's topographical variety, featuring an assortment of seafood, beef, fruits, and vegetables. Traditional recipes include cazuela, empanadas, humitas, and curanto.

Chile's most popular sport is association football (soccer). Chile has appeared in seven FIFA World Cups which includes hosting the 1962 FIFA World Cup where the national football team finished third. Other results achieved by the national football team include four finals at the Copa América, one silver and two bronze medals at the Pan American Games, a bronze medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics and two third places finishes in the FIFA under-17 and under-20 youth tournaments. The main soccer clubs are Colo-Colo, CF Universidad de Chile and CD Universidad Católica. Colo-Colo is the country's most successful club, winning 46 national tournaments and three international championships, including the coveted Copa Libertadores South American club tournament.

Tennis is the country's most successful sport. Its national team won the World Team Cup clay tournament twice in 2003-04, and played the Davis Cup final against Italy in 1976. At the 2004 Summer Olympics the country captured gold and bronze in men's singles and gold in men's doubles. Marcelo Ríos became the first Latin American man to reach the number one spot in the ATP singles rankings in 1998. Anita Lizana won the US Open in 1937, becoming the first women from Latin America to win a grand slam tournament. Luis Ayala was twice a runner-up at the French Open and both Ríos and Fernando González reached the Australian Open men's singles finals.

At the Olympic Games Chile boasts two gold medals (tennis), seven silver medals (athletics, equestrian, boxing, shooting and tennis) and four bronze medals (tennis, boxing and football).

Rodeo is the country's national sport and is practiced in the more rural areas of the country. A sport similar to hockey called chueca was played by the Mapuche people during the Spanish conquest. Skiing and snowboarding are practiced at ski centers located in the Central Andes, while surfing is popular at some coastal towns.

Polo is professionally practiced within Chile and in 2008 Chile achieved top prize in the World Polo Championship a tournament where the country has earned both second and third places medals in previous editions.

Popular among Chileans is basketball a sport in which the Andean country has earned a bronze medal in the first men's FIBA World Championship held in 1950 and winning a second bronze medal when Chile hosted the 1959 FIBA World Championship. Chile hosted the first FIBA World Championship for Women in 1953 finishing the tournament with the silver medal.

Tourism in Chile has experienced sustained growth over the last few decades. In 2005, tourism grew by 13.6%, generating more than 4.5 billion dollars of which 1.5 billion is attributed to foreign tourists. According to the National Service of Tourism (Sernatur), 2 million people a year visit the country. Most of these visitors come from other countries in the American continent, mainly Argentina; followed by a growing number from the United States, Europe, and Brazil with a growing number of Asians from South Korea and PR China.

The main attractions for tourists are places of natural beauty situated in the extreme zones of the country: San Pedro de Atacama, in the north, is very popular with foreign tourists who arrive to admire the Incaic architecture, the altiplano lakes, and the Valley of the Moon. In Putre, also in the North, there is the Chungará Lake, as well as the Parinacota and the Pomerape volcanoes, with altitudes of 6,348 m and 6,282 m, respectively. Throughout the central Andes there are many ski resorts of international repute, like Portillo and Valle Nevado. In the south, the main tourist sites are the Chiloé Archipelago and Patagonia, which includes Laguna San Rafael National Park, with its many glaciers, and the Torres del Paine National Park. The central port city of Valparaíso, with its unique architecture, is also popular. Finally, Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean is probably the main Chilean tourist destination.

For locals, tourism is concentrated mostly in the summer (December to March), and mainly in the coastal beach towns. Arica, Iquique, Antofagasta, La Serena and Coquimbo are the main summer centres in the north, and Pucón on the shores of Lake Villarrica is the main one in the south. Because of its proximity to Santiago, the coast of the Valparaíso Region, with its many beach resorts, receives the largest number of tourists. Viña del Mar, Valparaíso's northern affluent neighbor, is popular because of its beaches, casino, and its annual song festival, the most important musical event in Latin America.

In November 2005, the government launched a campaign under the brand "Chile: All Ways Surprising," intended to promote the country internationally for both business and tourism.

The national flower is the copihue (Lapageria rosea, Chilean bellflower), which grows in the woods of southern Chile.

The coat of arms depicts the two national animals: the condor (Vultur gryphus, a very large bird that lives in the mountains) and the huemul (Hippocamelus bisulcus, an endangered white tail deer). It also has the legend Por la razón o la fuerza (By right or might or By reason or by force).

The flag of Chile consists of two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red; there is a blue square the same height as the white band at the hoist-side end of the white band; the square bears a white five-pointed star in the center representing a guide to progress and honor; blue symbolizes the sky, white is for the snow-covered Andes, and red stands for the blood spilled to achieve independence.

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Socialist Party of Chile

Emblem of the Socialist Party of Chile.svg

The Socialist Party of Chile (Spanish: Partido Socialista de Chile or PS) is part of the ruling Coalition of Parties for Democracy coalition. Its historical leader was the late President of Chile Salvador Allende Gossens, deposed by General Pinochet. 27 years after, The President of Chile Ricardo Lagos Escobar represented the Socialist Party in the 1999 presidential elections. He won 48.0 % in the first round and was elected with 51.3 % in the second round. In the last legislative elections on December 16, 2001, the party won as part of the Coalition of Parties for Democracy 10 out of 117 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 5 out of 38 elected seats in the Senate. This changed at the 2005 elections to 15 and 8.

Socialist Michelle Bachelet Jeria won the 2005 Presidential election. She is the first female president to rule Chile.

The Socialist Party of Chile was co-founded on April 19, 1933 by Colonel Marmaduque Grove, who had already led several governments, Oscar Schnake, Carlos Alberto Martínez, future President Salvador Allende, and other personalities. After the Chilean coup of 1973 it was proscribed (along with the other leftist parties constituting the Popular Unity coalition) and split itself in several groups that would not reunite until after the return to civilian rule in 1990.

The socialist thought in Chile goes back in the middle of the 19th century, when Francisco Bilbao Barquín and Santiago Arcos Arlegui raised the speech of the equality in Chilean society. These ideas took force in the labour movement at the beginning of the 20th century and the communist, anarchist, socialist, and mutualist ideals were diffused through the writing and leaders as the Luis Emilio Recabarren. On the other hand, the impact of the 1917 October Revolution in Russia gave new impulses to the revolutionary movements, that in the twenties they were identified with the world communist movement, arising the Communist Party of Chile.

The Great Depression of 1930 submerged the popular sectors and media of the country in a serious crisis that carried them to empathize with the socialist ideas, being expressed in the establishment of the brief Socialist Republic of Chile in 1932. The idea to found a political party that to join with the different movements that were identified with the socialism crystallized in the foundation of the Socialist Party of Chile, April 19, 1933. In this way, in the Mountain street 150, they concurred: 14 delegates of the Socialist Marxist Party conducted by Eduardo Rodriguez Mazer; 18 of the New Public Action, headed by the lawyer Eugenio Matte Stolen; 12 delegates of the Socialist Order, whose main exponent was the architect Arturo Bianchi Gundian; and 26 representatives of the Revolutionary Socialist Action of Oscar Schnake for protocolize the Minutes of Foundation, his Program of Immediate Action and to elect his first executive Secretary General, Oscar Schnake.

The Socialist Party adopts as method of interpretation of the reality the marxism, enriched and rectified by all contribute them scientists of the constant one to occur social. The state of capitalist exploitation based on the private property of the land, of the instruments of production, of change, of credit and of transportation, necessarily should be replaced for an economic socialist in which said state private property be transformed into collective. The production socialized is organized, according to a scientific planning, for the benefit of all the community and the distribution is carried out according to the collective needs and not with end of gain or private benefit. During the process of total transformation of the system (capitalist), is necessary the action of a representative revolutionary government of the manual and intellectual workers. The new socialist state only can be born of the initiative and of the revolutionary action of the laborious masses. The socialist doctrine is of international character and requires a supportive action and coordinated with the workers of the world. To carry out this advanced the Socialist Party will support the economic unit and politics of the towns of Latin America for arrive at the Confederacy of the Socialist Republics of the Continent, as first step toward the World Confederation. The socialism fight by obtaining, as first phase of its action, the establishment of a state that draw the general lines of a restructures economic-social tending toward developing the productive forces, to surpass the cultural, technical, and social delay, and to eliminate the economic subordination.

The party quickly obtained popular support. Its partisan structure exhibits since the start some singularities, such as the creation of "brigades" that groups their militants according to environment of activity; brigades that live together next to the organic that its militant youths are given grouped in the Confederacy of the Socialist Youth, or the women, organized in the Confederacy of Socialist Women. In the second half of the years 30 they enter al parted the "Left Communist", conformed by a sector splits of the Communist Party of Chile, headed by Manuel Noble Plaza and comprising the journalist Oscar Waiss, the lawyer Tomás Chadwick and the first secretary of the POS, Ramón Sepúlveda Loyal, among others.

In 1934 the Socialists, along with the Radical-Socialist Party and the Democratic Party constituted the "Block of Left" (or Left-Wings' Cartel). In the first parliamentary election that participates (March of 1937) obtains 22 representatives (19 representatives and 3 senators), among them its Secretary general Oscar Schnake Vergara, elected senator of Tarapacá-Antofagasta, being placed by the PS in a noticeable place inside the political conglomerates of the epoch. For the 1938 presidential election, the PS participated in the formation of the Popular Front, withdrawing its presidential candidate, the colonel Marmaduque Grove, and supporting the Radical Party's candidate, Pedro Aguirre Cerda, who narrowly defeated the right-wing candidate following an attempted coup by the National Socialist Movement of Chile. In the government of Aguirre Cerda the socialists obtained the Ministries of Public Health, Forecast and Social Assistance, given to Salvador Allende, the Minister of Promotion, trusted to Oscar Schnake, and the Ministers of Lands and Colonization, handed out to Rolando Merino.

The participation of the Socialist Party in the government of Aguirre Cerda finished on December 15, 1940, due to internal conflicts among the Popular Front coalition, in particular with the Communist Party. In the parliamentary elections of March 1941 the PS advanced outside of the Popular Front and obtained 17,9% of the votes, 17 representatives and 2 senators. However, the PS integrated the new left-wings' coalition following Cerda's death, now named Democratic Alliance, which supported the candidacy of the Radical Juan Antonio Ríos, who was triumphally elected. The Socialists participated in his cabinet, alongside Radicals, members of the Democratic Party and of the Liberal Party and even of the Falange. Oscar Schnake occupied again the post of Promotion and the socialist Pedro Populate you Edge and Eduardo Squire Forrastal assumed the positions of Lands and Colonization and Salubriousness, Forecasting and Social Assistance, respectively.

Due to this hesitancy, the youth of the party assumed a very critical attitude, which caused the expulsion of all the Central Committee of the FJS, among them Raúl Vásquez (its secretary general), Raúl Ampuero, Mario Palestro and Carlos Briones. This situation accentuated the differences in the interior of the community. In the IX Congress of the PS of the year 1943 Salvador Allende displaced the General Office of the secretary to Marmaduque Grove and withdrew his party from the government of Ríos. Grove did not accept this situation, and was expelled from the PS and the Authentic Socialist Party. These conflicts caused, in the parliamentary elections of March 1945, the PS to descend violently to only 7% of the votes, diminishing significantly its parliamentary strength.

There was complete confusion in the Socialist Party for the presidential election of 1946. The PS decided to raise its own candidate; its secretary general Bernardo Ibáñez. However, many militants supported the radical candidate Gabriel González Videla, while the Authentic Socialist Party of Grove stopped supporting the conservative Eduardo Cruz Coke.

After the failure of the candidacy of Ibáñez (who obtained barely a 2.5% of the votes), the purges continued. In the XI Ordinary Congress the current "revolution" of Raúl Ampuero was imposed and he assigned to academic Eugenio González the making of the Program of the Socialist Party which defined its north; The Democratic Republic of Workers.

The promulgation, in 1948, of the Law 8.987 "Law of Defense of the Democracy" that banned the communists, was again a factor of division among the socialists. Bernardo Ibáñez, Oscar Schnake, Juan Bautista Rosseti and other anticommunist socialists supported it with enthusiasm; while the board of directors of the party directed by Raúl Ampuero and Eugenio González rejected it. The anticommunist group of Ibáñez was expelled from the PS and they constituted the Socialist Party of the Workers; nevertheless the Conservative of the electoral Roll assigned to the group of Ibáñez the name Socialist Party of Chile, forcing the group of Ampuero to adopt the name Popular Socialist Party.

The Socialist Popular Party proclamation, in its XIV Congress, carried out in Chillán in May 1952, as its presidential standard bearer to Carlos Ibáñez del Campo, despite the refusal of the senators Salvador Allende and Tomás Chadwick. Allende abandoned the party and united the Socialist Party of Chile, which, as a group with the Communist Party (outlawed), raised the candidacy of Allende for the Front of the People. The triumph of Ibáñez permitted the popular socialists to have important departments such as that of Work (Clodomiro Almeyda) and Estate (Felipe Herrera).

After the parliamentary elections of 1953; where the Socialist Popular Party obtained 5 senators and 19 representatives, the popular socialists abandoned the government of Carlos Ibáñez del Campo and proclaimed the need to establish a Front of Workers, in conjunction with the Democratic Party of the People, the socialists of Chile and the outlawed communists.

Finally, on March 01, 1956, the two socialist parties (Socialist Party of Chile and Socialist Popular Party), the Party of the Workers (communist outlawed), Democratic Party of the People and the Democratic Party all signed the minutes of constitution of the Front of Popular Action (FRAP) with Salvador Allende Gossens as the president of the coalition, which participated successfully in the municipal elections of April 1956.

After the parliamentary elections of March 1957 the "Congress of Unit" was carried to power, formed from the Popular Socialist Party directed by Rául Ampuero and the Socialist Party of Chile of Salvador, directed by Allende Gossens. These chose the secretary general of the unified Socialist Party; Salomón Corbalán.

July 31, 1958 the Law of Permanent Defense of the Democracy was derogated by the National Congress, therefore the ban of the Communist Party was repealed. In the presidential elections of 1958, the standard bearer of the Front of Popular Action (FRAP), the socialist Salvador Allende, lost the presidential election narrowly to Jorge Alessandri. In spite of the loss, the unification of the socialist parties had a new leader, and Chile was one of the few countries of the world in which a Marxist had clear possibilities to win the presidency of the Republic through democratic elections.

The overwhelming triumph of Eduardo Frei Montalva over the candidate of the FRAP Salvador Allende Gossens in the presidential elections of September 1964 caused demoralization among the followers of the "Chilean way to the socialism". The National Democratic Party (PADENA) abandoned the coalition of left; and the influence of the Cuban revolution and above all of the "guerrilla way of Ernesto Guevara" they were left to feel the heart of the Socialist Party. The discrepancies of the party were perceived clearly. In July from 1967 the senators Raúl Ampuero and Tomás Chadwick and the representatives Ramón Silva Ulloa, Eduardo Osorio Pardo and Oscar Naranjo Arias were expelled, and founded the Popular Socialist Union (USOPO). In the XXII Congress, carried out in Chillán in November of 1967, a radicalization of the political line was made, favored by Carlos Altamirano Orrego and the leader of the Rural Confederation Ranquil, Mentioning Cauldron Aránguiz, leader of the faction "elenos"; "Marxist-Leninist" to declare as inevitable and legitimate the "revolutionary violence" as a path to obtain economic and political power.

In the year 1969, the skepticism for the "Chilean way to the socialism" was the majority in the Central Committee of the PS. Salvador Allende Gossens was proclaimed presidential preliminary candidate of its party with 13 votes in favor and 14 abstentions, among them that of its secretary general, Aniceto Rodriguez, of Carlos Altamirano Orrego and of Clodomiro Almeyda Medina. Nevertheless, the candidacy of Allende galvanized the forces of left, who constituted, in October of 1969, the Popular Unity coalition of the Socialist Party, Communist Party, Radical Party, Movement of Unit Popular Action (split of the Christian Democrat Party) and former supporters of Carlos Ibáñez grouped in the Independent Popular Action alliance, that culminated with the presidential triumph of September of 1970.

October 24, 1970 Salvador Allende Gossens was officially proclaimed President of the Republic of Chile. There was world expectation; he agreed to manage the coalition and to be a Marxist president with the explicit commitment to build socialism, while respecting the democratic and institutional mechanisms.

The position of the PS at first,, of the government of the UP, was radicalized with the choice of the party's direction, chosen in the XXIII Congress, carried out in The Serene One in January 1971, by the senator Carlos Altamirano Orrego; who proclaimed that the party he should transform into "the Chilean vanguard in the march toward the socialism".

In the municipal elections of April 1971, the leftist coalition reached the simple majority in the election of managers, which caused growing polarization due to the alliance of the Christian Democrats with the sectors of the right in the country. The retreat of the Party of Radical Left from the government, with its 6 representatives and 5 senators, meant that the government of Allende remained with less than one third of both houses of the parliament.

In the parliamentary elections of March 1973, the Popular Unity ruler coalition managed to block the initiative of the opposing Democratic Confederation to promote a constitutional accusation against the president Allende, to obtain this two thirds of the votes would have been required.

Nevertheless, the serious economic problems that faced the government deepened the political division of the country. The Socialist Party, that had achieved its better historic voting, was opposed, along with MAPU, to any dialogue with the right-wing opposition. On September 11, 1973, Augusto Pinochet led the military coup against Allende's government, putting an end to the Presidential Republic Era started in 1924. President Salvador Allende refused to give the power to the Armed Forces, and committed suicide in its office of the Palace of La Moneda, submitted to an intense air bombardment.

The coup d'état was devastating for the organization of the Chilean Socialist Party. Within a few weeks of the coup; 4 members of their Central Committee and 7 regional secretaries of the PS had been murdered. Other 12 members of their Central Committee were imprisoned, while the remainder members took refuge in various foreign embassies. Its secretary general, Carlos Altamirano, managed to escape from Chile appearing in Havana on January 1, 1974, during the anniversary of the Cuban Revolution.

The lack of experience in the subterranean work during the ban produces the break-up of the Secret Direction of the Party. The secret services of the military state infiltrate and one to one are persons under arrest their main leaders; Exequiel Ponce Vicencio, Carlos Lorca Tobar, Ricardo Lagos Salinas and Víctor Zerega Ponce. Their bodies have never been found.

Other victims of the repression are the former home Secretary, José Tohá González and the former Minister of National Defense, Orlando Letelier del Solar. Slowly the self-critical analysis of the consequences of the rout of the Popular Unit, united to the experience of the refugees in the "real socialisms" of Eastern Europe, al permanent contact with the western European social democracy and to the strategy to continue against the regime of Pinochet causes deep dissents al interior of its exterior organization, whose central direction was in the German Democratic Republic.

In April 1979, in the Third Full Exterior one, the majority sector of the party, names to Clodomiro Almeyda as new secretary general, to Galo Gómez like the undersecretary; and expels of the party to Carlos Altamirano, to Jorge Arrate, to Jaime Suaréz, to Luis Meneses and to Erich Schnake under the charges to be "representative elements of the unpleasant aftertaste of a past in trance of beating and that testify the survival Implacable and resistant al development qualitatively superior of an authentic revolutionary vanguard".

In the 1980s decade the socialist factions revived as opposing assets al government of Pinochet. A sector; that of the calls "socialist renewed", case the "Socialist Convergence", alliance to which concur the Movement of Unit Popular Action, the MAPU Working Rural and the Christian Left and search, as a group with the Christian Democracy, through "methods not rupturistas" the term of the dictatorship. The other sector (majority among the socialist militants of the interior of the country) promulgates, for equal end, as a group with the Communist Party, the Movement of Revolutionary Left and the Radical Party of Anselmo Sule, the line of that of popular rebellion". After the First Day of National Protest against the state of Pinochet, occurred May 11, 1983, the activities of the different factions of the Socialist Party intensify.

The Socialist Party XXIV Congress (or "renewed"), directed by Ricardo Ñúnez concurs to the foundation of the Democratic Alliance, coalition of democrats-Christian, radicals of Forest Cimma, and sectors of the republican and democratic right, which calls to the National Protest Day Quarter (August 11, 1983) and favorable, in September of 1983, the formation of the Block Socialist, first intent of unification of the low, Chilean socialism Democracy Now!.

In the meantime the Socialist Party "Almeyda", as a group with the Communist Party, radicals of Aníbal Palm and the Movement of Revolutionary Left found September 06, 1983 the "Popular Democratic Movement" (MDP), which calls to the Fifth Day of National Protest.

The signing of the National Accord to the end of August 1985, between the Democratic Alliance and sectors of related right al military state deepens the division of the Chilean left. Al gradualist focus of transition toward the democracy is opposed the way political-soldier of the most radicalized sectors, whose main exponent is the Patriotic Front Manuel Rodriguez (FPMR).

Al PS "renewed", now directed by Carlos Briones, adds him themselves the MAPU-OC, whose main figures are Jaime Gazmuri, Jorge Molina and Jaime Estévez.

In September 1986, the way political-soldier of the "national uprising" finally is aborted after the failure from the "Operation 20th century", like al is known I try of murder of Pinochet on the part of the FPMR. The own PS-Almeyda begins to take distance of the Communist Party, al to consider some of its main leaders, among them Germán Correa Díaz, Luciano Valle Acevedo and Ricardo Solari, that the idea of the overthrow of the dictatorship is an unfeasible strategy.

In this way is imposed in the socialist left the tendency that a "negotiated exit" al conflict does not be able found al margin of the conditions created by the Constitution of 1980.

In March 1987, Clodomiro Almeyda enters secretly to Chile and is presented before the justice to normalize its situation. The socialist leader is deported to Chile Chico, condemned and despoiled of his civic rights.

In April 1987, Ricardo Núñez, new leader of the socialism "renewed" announces in the 54° Anniversary of the PS: "To Pinochet do not we be going to remove him of the political setting by the weapons, we shall defeat Him in the ballot boxes (..) Ourselves are convinced that the town is going to stop to Pinochet through the ballot boxes. That we are going to build that army of seven million citizens to face the different alternatives of the Chilean political panorama".

In December from 1987 the socialism renewed founds the Party by the Democracy, a party "instrumental" that serve as tool to supply legally to the democratic forces for participate in the Plebiscite of 1988 and in the subsequent elections. It is appointed to Ricardo Lakes as their president and upon they adhering some radicals, dissident communists, and even democratic liberals.

In February 1988 is formed the Concertación de Partidos por el No (Coalition of Parties for the No), to which they adhere 17 parties and Chilean political movement, among them the ones that formed the Democratic Alliance, the PS-Almeyda and the Christian Left. The political direction of the campaign falls in the Christian Democrat leader Patricio Aylwin and in the socialist one Ricardo Lakes, which culminates existosamente with the results of the Plebiscite of October 5, 1988, where near the 56% of the votes valid emitted they reject the idea that Pinochet will continue as the President of the Republic.

After the plebiscite of October 1988, the Coalition of Parties for Democracy requires a constitutional reform that eliminate the "authoritarian enclaves" of the Constitution of 1980.

This aspiration of the democratic opposition partly is received by the authoritarian government by means of the Plebiscite of July 30, 1989, where 54 reforms to the Constitution are approved in force, among them the revocation of the controversial article 8°, which served of base for the exclusion of the political life of the socialist leader Clodomiro Almeyda.

In November from 1988 the PS-Almeyda, the Christian Left and the Communist Party, among others organizations of left create a party "instrumental" called Amplies Party of Socialist Left (PAIS), with Luis Maira as the president and Ricardo Solari like secretary general.

In May 1989, the PS "renewed" carried out (in an unpublished fact in the history of the Chilean socialism) internal elections by secret ballot of its membership throughout the country. The list was composed of Jorge Arrate and Luis Alvarado, besides the competitive lists of Erich Schnake and Akím Soto; and of Heraldo Muñoz (this last one supported by the internal tendency of Ricardo Lagos).

The winning list of Jorge Arrate represented the tendency of the "socialist renewal", follower of a permanent alliance with the Christian Democracy in the framework of the Coalition, as he was a firm champion of the unification of the party, to the opposition of the other internal currents, more excépticas in this last matter. They finalized the elections in the XXV Congress, that was carried out in the locality of Costa Azul, and in which the transcendental decision for the Chilean socialism was taken to abandon its traditional isolationism and incorporate the International Socialist.

In June 1989, the Coalition appointed the Christian democrat Patricio Aylwin as its standard bearer for the presidential elections. Aylwin had imposed, in the internal elections of its party, to the preliminary candidates Gabriel Valdés and Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle and received, in the few weeks before its election, the support of the radicals of Silva Cimma and of the own one PS-Almeyda. Finally the PS-Arrate (or "renewed") low to its candidate Ricardo Lagos and adds to the candidacy whose was one of the main adversaries of the government of the Popular Unity, being president of the Christian Democratic Party.

The candidacy of Aylwin is imposed easily in the presidential elections of 1989, gaining more than the 55% of the votes valid. This position was strengthened as 16 representatives of the Party were elected, 13 of whom were militants of the PS-Arrate. In matter of senators, three of their militants were chosen (Ricardo Núñez Muñoz, Jaime Gazmuri and Hernán Vodanovic), but there was regret over the rout of Ricardo Lagos in his candidacy of Santiago West.

The PS-Almeyda obtained a total of 7 representatives, two of them chosen via Amplied Party of the Socialist Left and 5 of them chosen as independent in the ready Coalition. In matter of senators, Rolando Calderon Aránguiz was chosen by Magallanes.

The fall of the wall of Berlin, which occurred November 9, 1989, affected deeply the Chilean left, especially in its more orthodox sector, which accelerated the process of unity of the party, which itself strengthened December 27, 1989. This opportunity incorporated itself to the PS Unified the Movement of Unit Popular Action, headlined by Oscar Guillermo Garretón.

Between the 22 and November 25, 1990 the Savior Unit Congress Allende was carried out , where itself incorporated historic leaders as Raúl Ampuero and Aniceto Rodriguez and the Christian Left headed by its president Luis Maira and its two representatives (Sergio Aguiló and Jaime Naranjo). In that Congress Jorge Arrate MacNiven was chosen as the president, Ricardo Núñez Muñoz as vice president and Manuel Almeyda Medina as secretary general.

The first challenges for the unified socialism were the exercise of power and the relation of "double membership" that had the "socialist renewed" in the PS and in the Party for Democracy. Finally, the Socialist Party decided to be recorded under its name and symbols in the electoral rolls and gave a time limit to its militants of two years to opt for the PS or the PPD. A prominent number of socialists "renewed" did not return; among them Erich Schnake, Sergio Bitar, Guido Girardi, Jorge Molina, Vicente Sotta, Víctor Barrueto and Octavio Jara.

In power; the socialist Enrique Correa (as the minister General Secretary of Government), Carlos Ominami (Economy), Germán Correa (Transportation), Ricardo Lakes and Jorge Arrate MacNiven (Education) and Luis Alvarado (National Goods) integrated the cabinets of the Patrician president Aylwin, while in the Camera (House) of Representatives the socialist José Antonio Viera-Gallo and Jaime Estevéz exercised its presidency.

In the elections of 1992, Germán Strap was chosen as president of the PS, supported by the sector "renewed" of Ricardo Núñez Muñoz and the fraction "tercerista" of the almeydismo, who imposes on themselves the candidacy of Camilo Escalona, Clodomiro Almeyda and Jaime Estevez, who represent an alliance between the traditional supporters of Clodomiro Almeyda and a faction of the "renewed" of Jorge Arrate MacNiven.

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2006 student protests in Chile

Universidad de Chile students take part in the National Strike

The 2006 student protests in Chile (also known as the Penguins' Revolution or The March of the Penguins, because of the students' uniform) were a series of ongoing student voice protests carried out by high school students across Chile from late April to early June 2006. The protests peaked on May 30 when 790,000 students adhered to strikes and marches throughout the country, becoming Chile's largest student demonstration of the past three decades and the first political crisis of president Michelle Bachelet's administration.

Amongst the students' short term demands were free bus fare and the waiving of the university admissions test (PSU) fee, while the longer term demands included: the abolition of the Organic Constitutional Law on Teaching (LOCE), the end to municipalization of subsidized education, a reform to the Full-time School Day policy (JEC) and a quality education for all.

On June 1, Bachelet addressed the nation by television, announcing several new measures for education that met most of the student's demands. On June 7 the president announced a 73-member presidential advisory committee — promised by Bachelet on her speech to discuss the students' long term demands — which included six seats reserved for high school students. Initially hesitant to join the committee, on June 9 the student assembly finally accepted the invitation and called for an immediate end to strikes and school take-overs.

On August 23, around 2,000 students were marching in Santiago and other cities in the country, in protest of the slow speed that the reforms were taking place. The rally eventually got violent when small groups turned away from the peaceful demonstrations and started throwing rocks at the police. The police responded with tear gas and water cannons. More than 200 of the demonstrators were arrested and over a dozen were injured.

The Organic Constitutional Law on Teaching or LOCE (Law Nº 18,962) was promulgated on March 7, 1990 and came into force on March 10, the last day of Pinochet's 16½ year dictatorship. Despite being widely criticized by both students and teachers as well as the ruling coalition (Concertación), it has remained largely unmodified since the restoration of democracy.

Critics of LOCE point out that it reduces the state's participation in education to a solely regulatory and protective role, whilst the true responsibility of education has been transferred to private and public corporations (public schools being managed by local governments — Municipalidades), thus reducing the participation that students, parents, teachers and non-academic employees had previously enjoyed in their schools.

During the 1990s, one of the main objectives of the Concertación administration was a so-called Educational Reform. One of the main pillars of this reform, launched during the Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle administration, was the Jornada Escolar Completa, JEC (Full-time School Day policy) — a plan to increase the hours that high school students actually spend in classrooms (in many cases not increasing the number of additional classrooms and other infrastructure required). However, many consider that the quality of education has dropped to worrying levels despite the high level of government spending on public education. Studies have showed that the JEC still has not been correctly implemented nor has it achieved the desired results.

Since 2000 a new demand has emerged with respect to the transport system's school pass and the new University Selection Test, and although much progress was made in some areas, the core of the students' demands have remained unsolved as of 2006.

Following the announcement in April 24 of a new increase in fees for the PSU (up to $28,000 Chilean Pesos or around US$50) and the rumored introduction of a new restriction in the students's transport pass (Pase Escolar) that would limit reduced bus fares to only two travels per day, several public schools in Santiago organized demonstrations in the Alameda Avenue (Santiago's main street) demanding gratuity for transport passes, bus fares and university admissions tests. These demonstrations ended in some outbursts of violence — the Carabineros (the uniformed police) subsequently arrested 47 secondary students on April 26.

In the following days, new demonstrations took place without the permission of the regional authority. Despite the Ministry of Education acceding to minor demands, the students were left unsatisfied.

On May Day, secondary students of Santiago took part in a massive demonstration on Parque Almagro, near downtown Santiago. Violence again erupted and 1,024 students were arrested by the police in Santiago as well as in other cities throughout the country. The violence was consequently condemned by the Government and public opinion.

Following three weeks of protests, little progress for the students' demands had been achieved and acts of violence had been counter-productive to public sympathy of their struggle. A turning point arose when students of the prestigious school Instituto Nacional and Liceo de Aplicación overran the school campuses during the night of May 19, 2006 demanding an improvement in the educational reform including: the ending of the system of schools being run by municipalities (present since 1982), the abolition of the LOCE, as well as a clear declaration by President Bachelet in her traditional May 21 speech to the National Congress. In her speech, the President only indirectly referred to the students' demands and instead focused in condemning the students' recent acts of violence.

I want our citizens to be critical, self-conscious, and to express their ideas and demands. However, the criticism must be expressed in a constructive manner, laying clear proposals upon a table, and most importantly, with an unveiled face without resorting to violence. I want to be crystal clear in this, what we have witnessed in the past weeks is unacceptable. I shall not tolerate acts of vandalism or intimidation. We won democracy without resorting to concealing our faces and we shall continue without doing so (this was in reference to the practice of certain individuals who anonomously partook in violence under the cover of hoods).

The government's reply did not satisfy the students' leaders who called for the continuation of demonstrations, even though the Instituto Nacional students desisted in its school take-over in exchange for a school strike which was supported by teachers, parents and the school administrators alike. Occupations of several Liceos (public high schools) continued — among others Liceo A-13 (formerly, Confederación Suiza) and Liceo Carmela Carvajal — and two failed attempts to occupy the Liceo José Victorino Lastarria in Providencia. Although peaceful, the occupations were rejected by the government and the Education Minister Martín Zilic, broke off negotiations stating that he would not come back to the table as long as the mobilizations continued.

However, the ministerial strategy of avoiding dialogue did not work out. Since April 24, there were fourteen schools either occupied or on strike including the Liceo Nº1 de Niñas — the school that President Bachelet herself attended as a student.

What is not understandable is that while trying to talk, there's also the applying of pressure. That is not the way to create dialogue in a democracy. It is terrific that they have chosen to reveal their faces. Now what they must do is to be able to dialogue seriously, but with a will to negotiate from both sides. The government is willing to discuss many topics, but it must be done with respect and without pressure. The government has already shown that it agrees to seek a solution on the PSU and the school bus pass, jointly with the ministries of Transportation, Education, and Finance, and they know this...regarding the JEC, they know that I am interested in knowing their evaluation of the JEC, if they consider that it isn't fulfilling its objective, what we want is to improve the quality of education, we are completely available to listen to everything.

That same night, eleven schools in Santiago downtown, Ñuñoa, Estación Central, La Cisterna, Maipú, Providencia and Recoleta were occupied by students. The students received political support from deputies from the governing coalition, the College of Teachers and other institutions, leaving Minister Zilic in a fragile position. He finally called for a new round of negotiations with "all representatives of schools in conflict" which was scheduled for the following Monday May 29. Throughout the day, more schools were occupied in Arica, Iquique, Valparaíso, Rancagua and Concepción.

On May 26, the situation escalated, as students from Maipú, San Miguel, Las Condes, Puente Alto and Pudahuel carried out peaceful marches and private schools adhered to the events. One-hundred thousand students (and up to a 100 schools) were on mass demonstrations throughout the country. Meanwhile the ACES called for a national strike on Tuesday May 30, which was supported by the Students Federation of the University of Chile (FECH), and the Teachers National Union.

Public opinion became increasingly critical of the government and its mishandling of the crisis, forcing President Bachelet to express her will to reestablish a dialogue "in an agenda without exclusions" but reaffirming that this new stand was not a contradiction nor a defeat: "What we have here is the decision to sit down to talk and listen. There will be things which we agree on and there will be others which we do not".

The last opportunity to avoid a nationwide strike was the meeting called by the Minister Zilic with the representatives of the schools in conflict. However, this meeting was not presided by the minister himself but rather by the deputy minister Pilar Romaguera, a situation which was rejected by the students. In addition, the site chosen for the negotiations did not have the capacity for the approximately one hundred student representatives, leading to the secondary students refusing to continue the negotiations unless all school representatives were in one room. The government maintained confidence in continuing negotiations, refusing to consider the situation as a failure and insisting that a small step had been achieved.

After the breakdown of the meeting, the ACES reorganized itself into six regional branches and set up a meeting with senators of both the Concertación and the Alliance for Chile, another sign of the wide spread support the movement had won across the political spectrum.

According to ACES, more than 250 schools were paralyzed on May 30, 2006 in a day that was characterized by diverse acts of violence, despite many calls to carry out peaceful demonstrations. The secondary students' call to strike was followed by university students from Universidad de Chile, Universidad Católica and the Universidad de Santiago. The actual number of students on strike was calculated at between 600,000 and one million.

During that morning, President Bachelet, summoned her Political Team — the Ministers of Interior, Finance, Gen. Sec. of Gov. and Gen. Sec. of the Presidency — as well as Minister Zilic to a special meeting in La Moneda. Zilic was sent away to meet directly that afternoon with 23 student leaders at the National Library — a neutral place chosen because of the symbolism of being Chile's main public library.

In other areas of the country, a number of demonstrations took place, many being broken up by the police. The main incidents took place in Maipú, Puente Alto, La Florida (all large middle-class districts of Santiago) and in Santiago itself, around the Liceo de Aplicación and the University of Chile's head office. The police were widely criticized for firing tear gas at people gathered outside the National Library, waiting for the meeting's resolution.

Despite having initially backed the police, the regional government and the Interior Minister, Andrés Zaldívar, later severely criticized them as did the Gen. Director of Carabineros who opened an investigation and dismissed ten officers including the Special Forces Prefect and his deputy.

Further demonstrations, mostly peaceful, took place in Temuco and Valparaíso, with some riots in Santiago's Plaza Italia, resulting in the arrest on May 31 of 54 people.

On May 31, 2006, ACES members gathered at the Instituto Nacional to analyze the Minister's proposal to exempt the PSU fees for applicants of the population's three lowest-income quintiles. After hours of debate by the hundreds of student leaders, their spokespersons declared their disagreement with the proposal and extended an ultimatum for the following Monday in which they would call for a national general strike, which would also include university students, teachers and workers.

Minister Zilic met with the students again at the Recoleta Domínica, an old church in Santiago. After seven hours of negotiations the students declared that they had not received new offers and that their call for a general strike would continue. Zilic declared the unwillingness of the government to negotiate under such pressure.

Bachelet also referred specifically to the government's incapacity to deliver free transport fare to all students, due to prohibitively high costs (166 billion Chilean pesos annually, US$300 million dollars), which she equated to the funding of 33,000 new social houses, the whole cost of the health system or the creation of seventeen new fully-equipped hospitals. Nevertheless, she did announce a 25% rise in family benefits for 2007 that would affect 968,000 beneficiaries. The following day, the economic proposals were detailed by the Finance Minister Andrés Velasco who announced that the total cost of the measures would reach 60 million dollars in 2006 and 138 million dollars per year from 2007 onwards.

The students met to analyze the president's proposal at the Instituto Superior de Comercio (Insuco) on June 2. After a long meeting of more than eight hours, the ACES met with the Education minister. Close to 10 p.m., Minister Zilic announced that he had not been able to reach an agreement with the students, which was later confirmed by the student spokespersons, who further announced another meeting for the following day in the Internado Nacional Barros Arana in order to organize the national strike to take place on June 5.

On 3 June 2006, the Coordinating Assembly held a new assembly in the Internado Nacional Barros Arana. However, speculation began to arise concerning a split between the radical and moderate groups of the Assembly, which would explain the resignation of César Valenzuela as spokesperson (he insisted that he had stepped down in order to look after his sick mother). Rumors began to spread that some of the traditional schools of Providencia and Santiago were holding parallel talks with Zilic and that one of the leaders of the Assembly, the communist spokesperson María Jesús Sanhueza, had been removed because of her extremist positions. Nevertheless, the ACES later expressed that all of these rumors were unfounded and part of a government strategy to undermine the movement.

Meanwhile, more than one hundred groups showed their support for the Monday 5 June strike, including a call from the Frente Patriótico Manuel Rodríguez to march in protest, contrary to the wishes of the student leaders who had called for peaceful demonstrations from within the schools. The call from the FPMR provoked much annoyance in the government (motivating the Minister Ricardo Lagos Weber to declare that this act was condemnable), however the student leaders expressed that the FPMR were within their rights to demonstrate as they wished but that they should assume full responsibility for their actions.

The strike was held on Monday with the additional support of university students, high school teachers, truckers and workers amongst other unions. There was relative calm during the morning apart from a few minor isolated incidents close to the Plaza Italia by an unauthorized march and the burning of tires in the Alameda and Del Sol Highway around 7 a.m. Throughout the country, protest activity was dissimilar: while there were almost no protests in Punta Arenas, more than 140 establishments in the Bío-Bío Region, 58 in Iquique, 9 in Coihaique were occupied as well as the only school on Easter Island. Peaceful marches took place in Osorno, Puerto Montt and La Serena as well as Valparaíso where more than 12,000 people peacefully gathered.

In Santiago, the majority of the occupied schools underwent protests of a cultural natural within their premises, the largest of which took place in the Instituto Nacional and the nearby the University of Chile's main campus. Nevertheless, as the afternoon wore on, disorderly behavior and looting began to take place which lead to the mobilization of the Carabineros, who later attacked the people gathered at the Instituto Nacional with tear-gas and water cannons, which according to Germán Westhoff, President of the Student Center, was a "provocation on the part of the Carabineros". In all, more than 240 people were detained during this day of mobilizations.

On June 6, the student assembly wrote a letter to the Minister of Internal Affairs informing him that they saw the creation of a presidential advisory committee — announced by Bachelet in her speech of June 1 to discuss the long term demands — as a positive step, adding that it should include students, teachers, school administrators, education experts and other social stakeholders and that half of them should be determined by the student assembly. This petition was rejected by the government because it was considered excessive, explaining that the president was free to decide who should be included. On June 7, the president announced a committee of 73 members, which included six seats reserved for high school students.

According to El Mercurio, on June 7 50 schools in Santiago and 175 across the country ended the strikes and were in conditions to return to classes. According to La Tercera, the number of schools ending mobilizations was close to 500.

On June 9 the student assembly agreed to participate in the committee and put an end to strikes and school take-overs.

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Source : Wikipedia