Chile. According to CountryAAH, the total population in Chile is 19,116,212 people in 2020. The municipal elections on October 31 became a clear success for the government coalition Concertación, especially for the Christian Democratic Party. The coalition won 45% of the mayor’s posts and 48% of the city council seats. But opposition candidate Raúl Alcaíno won the mayor’s post in the capital Santiago with 49% of the vote.
In October, the government and opposition alliance Alianza por Chile agreed on two important reforms: the reintroduction of a civilian authority over the military and the abolition of the non-elected senators. It was the ninth attempt since democracy was reintroduced in 1990 to remove the last remnants of the Pinochet dictatorship in the constitution. Voting rights for Chileans in exile and civil rights for their children born abroad were also introduced.
On November 28, President Ricardo Lagos published the so-called Valech Report with testimony on torture of political prisoners during the Pinochet dictatorship. The report stated that torture was used systematically and on a large scale by government agencies. In total, torture of 27,000 people has been documented, and these will receive financial compensation from the state for their suffering. Just over three weeks before the report came, a statement by Army Chief Juan Emílio Cheyre was published in which the Army acknowledged its responsibility for human rights violations. A similar statement was made by the Air Force, while the Navy and police did not support Cheyre but reiterated his previous position that the abuses were due to individual disciplinary offenses.
O’Higgins was proclaimed chief of state in 1817, while the royalists continued to have some pockets of resistance. He drafted the constitution of the country’s political organization with the constitution of 1833, and it was consolidated under the government of Diego Portales. It was an oligarchic state, directly called the “aristocratic republic.” The poor urban population, the middle classes and the emerging proletariat had no political rights.
Until the 1860’s, the ruling landlord class built up a relatively independent Chilean economy. Customs duties and secure export earnings from agricultural production were the basis for some growth of independent Chilean business – including with a large merchant fleet and a Chilean-owned copper production, which in 1862 accounted for as much as 60% of world production. However, during the last decades of the 19th century, English capital penetrated in such a way that the country, in economic terms, became a British half-colony. The protection duty was abolished, the merchant navy, railways and coasts passed to foreign hands, and the gradually expanding production of saltpeter from the desert regions of Northern Chile was bought bite for bite of English capital until it was entirely in British hands in the 1890’s.
England controlled 49% of Chilean foreign trade. An alliance developed between British interests and the export-producing landownership.
To expand its control over nitrate production, England sent Chile to war with its neighbors, Peru and Bolivia. The result of the Pacific War of 1879-84 was that Chile moved its border a good distance north, leaving Bolivia without access to the sea. Nitrate production increased under English management, as did the number of wage workers.
In 1885, an attempt was made to stop the British invasion when a coalition of liberal groups based on emerging industrial citizenship elected José Manuel Balmaceda as president in a program of increased Chilean control over the salt industry, land reform and state expansion plans in the area of teaching. This challenge against landlords and British capital was met with civil war in 1890. Balmaceda lost and committed suicide and British domination continued until World War I. To this day, the spokesmen of the Chilean bourgeoisie bear names like Edwards, Kay and Parker forever reminding us that the impetus of imperialism in the latter half of the 19th century, finance capital was in search of new investment projects – even in countries as far away as Chile.