Political Suicide in Latin America: And Other … | WHSmith
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Chile, after Uruguay, traditionally has been one of South America's best educated and most stable and politically sophisticated nations. Chile enjoyed constitutional and democratic government for most of its history as a republic, particularly after the adoption of the 1833 constitution. After a period of quasi-dictatorial rule in the 1920s and early 1930s, Chile developed a reputation for stable democratic government. Like Uruguayans, Chileans have benefited from state-run universities, welfare institutions, and, beginning in 1952, a national health system. (Hudson 1994).
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Through the 1960s and 70s import substitution strategies did not lead to sustained economic growth, and this combined with increased unemployed and political crises led to the forceful intervention of the military which ran repressive regimes, e.g. Brazil 1964, Argentina 1966, and Chile 1973 (Skidmore & Smith 2001, p56). In turn, these regimes created 'bureaucratic-authoritarian' states designed to clamp down on dissent, restore economic growth, and consolidate cooperate with international economic forces and transnational corporations (Skidmore & Smith 2001, p57). At the same time, many of these countries increased their borrowing and debt, e.g. Latin American debt rose from $27 billion in 1970 to $231 billion by 1980 (Skidmore & Smith 2001, p58). This led in the 1980s to a debt crisis in most of these countries, with high levels of debt servicing, and in many cases the intervention of the IMF (International Monetary Fund) to help these countries but only under stringent conditions of structural adjustment. This locked many of these countries more firmly into the global economy, but also reduced their ability to maintain social services and developmental programs (see Brown 1999).