Politics in Chile: Democracy, Authoritarianism, and the Search for Development

Politics in Chile: Democracy, Authoritarianism, and the Search for Development

Politics in Chile: Democracy, Authoritarianism, and the Search for Development

Politics in Chile: Democracy, Authoritarianism, and the Search for Development

Synopsis

Investigating the dramatic political changes in Chile over the past 30 years, this book focuses on identifying the dynamics of political conflict underlying this turbulent period and examines the attempt to enact revolutionary socialism in the country.

Excerpt

This new edition, with an expanded section on the democratically elected Concertación governments of the 1990s, represents my reflections on what has happened in Chile since I first wrote this book five years ago. It was written while on sabbatical, in residence in Chile, with support from the Fulbright Commission and the World Society Foundation. I thank both institutions, along with the University of Judaism, for sabbatical support.

My stay in Chile gave me an opportunity to listen to Chileans discuss and debate the political and economic situation of the country, as well as to share my reflections with them. The result is a more critical perspective on contemporary Chile than in the first edition. This, perhaps, was inevitable, given that the euphoria of a return to democracy has worn off; additionally, after eight years of constitutional rule, with the threat of direct military intervention dim, it is now easier to question governmental policies or directions. However, the book is still a reading that recognizes Concertación achievements and the limitations and difficulties within which the current civilian leaders operate.

I wish to thank the following colleagues who read and commented on portions of the manuscript: Verónica Silva, Alicia Frohmann, Mario Drago, Edith Benado, Eugenio Lahera, Ximena Valdés, and Rodrigo Caro. They may not agree with my interpretation but all kindly shared their expertise with me. I also wish to thank Miriam Krawczyk and the Unidad de la Mujer y Desarrollo of CEPAL for providing me institutional space and support.

Lois Hecht Oppenheim . . .

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