Catastrophic Consequences Of Salvador Allende Chile

Topics: Dictatorship

Under President Salvador Allende’s socialist rule, Chile suffered from the 1972 economic crisis, which was disastrous for the inflation rate of over 350% and damaged the state’s production and unemployment rate (Ciment). His social reforms and public spending worsened the economy, leading to internal political problems, opposition from part of the public, and eventually a military coup in 1973, run by General Augusto Pinochet. The overthrow of Salvador Allende’s presidency led for the new authoritarian regime to emerge from the Chilean Armed Forces, which would control the devastated country with economic policies and political reforms, transforming Chile’s economy to be one of the best in Latin America and the Caribbean today.

During Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship, the Chilean government pushed to change the economy from 1973 to 1983 in order to improve its impoverished state by restructuring it to be more open, like a free-market economy, which would boost the productive system with less restrictions on businesses and consumers.

This would promote foreign trade and could decrease the unemployment rate in Chile, as well as improve the production for private businesses.

However, the Chicago Boys, a group who called themselves the economic experts, had a more anti-political outlook, opposing this notion, but, in 1975, Pinochet permitted them to have full control over Chile’s economic policy. With the Chicago Boys in charge, Chile’s economy began to lean more towards fascism rather than this free-market economy, creating a financial scandal that decontrolled prices, privatized industry, and abolished tariffs; redesigning labor laws, social welfare, education, and social security.

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The economic state of Chile was improved and much more open than most Latin American countries, especially with international trade and capital being enforced. But, in the 1980s, the Chilean banks fell into debts leading to another crisis, and the Chicago Boys wanted to continue their effort, despite the fact that it could cause another economic depression.

So, Pinochet formed a new economic team, removing the Chicago Boys, in hopes of stabilizing the Chilean economy again. Towards the end of the 1980s, new socioeconomic networks were created forming a more export-based development that would protect traded goods being exported and permitted tariffs to rise from 10 percent in 1982 to an average of 25 percent in 1985, falling back to 15 percent in 1990. This protection allowed for the agricultural and industrial sectors to recover, growing at rates higher than 6 percent between 1983 and 1990. With more control over the economy, Pinochet incorporated military intervention to enforce national security within the Chile’s economy. His goal was to undermine social solidarity and the ethnic of social rights by restricting social welfare benefits to the very poor, the 1978 labor code so that workers were not given as many rights as before, and deprived the Chilean population of real social choices such as voting for political parties. Pinochet’s power over the Chilean population and the economy allowed for him to abuse the people’s rights by imposing policies which ultimately restricted them.

Many of the Chilean people fell into poverty and starvation, creating an unequal society, causing many people to revolt against the dictator’s regime (Ciment). However, having an authoritarian regime, Augusto Pinochet used brutal repression, power, and torture methods to enforce order and support within Chile. According to the Universal Declarations of Human Rights (2018) by the United Nations, human beings are entitled to their rights “regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion,” etc. They should not be discriminated or restricted to practice their rights freely due to a country’s government. As for Augusto Pinochet, his dictatorship consisted of using power to his advantage over the people, specifically, those who opposed him. When Pinochet was named chief of the nation after overthrowing Salvador Allende in 1973, spies and agents were ordered to arrest and capture anyone suspected of operating against his regime throughout Chile, without legal restraints, where they were taken to be tortured and to confess their secret plans (Ciment).

This continued on for five years, where people were murdered, tortured, and even exiled from the state and marked as disappeared by the government in order to hide their crimes from the public. These arrests can actually be considered as abductions, since there were no warrants needed for the Chilean police to be able to search through homes and they were never taken on trial to prove if they were guilty or innocent. Instead, they were taken to be tortured, which explains Pinochet’s motive but shows how he violated the human rights of the people in Chile. By using terror and power, Augusto Pinochet was able to eliminate his enemies from other political parties and also those who secretly planned to destroy his authoritarian regime. He wanted to exert this fear into Chile in order to establish his position whether the people followed him or not. But, in 1978, an amnesty passed for police, military and security officials who committed crimes during this period, which decreased the amount of disappearances in the state but led to a psychological kind of torture to be developed.

Near the end of Pinochet’s dictatorship, four businesses with strong U.S. connections were bombed allowing for foreign countries to discover the dangers of his regime and the damage it had done to the country’s economy and population. After Pinochet was removed from office and he was tried for his crimes in court, declaring nearly 2,300 people killed under his dictatorship for political reasons (Ciment). Throughout Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship, foreign affairs were necessary in order to keep his authoritarian regime intact in Chile. Since Pinochet needed to improve the economy after the disastrous effects from the Chicago Boys in 1977, he was interested in the World Bank and was given $20 million to help the country recover from the U.S., but it was used to fund for his dictatorship instead.

Although, this was later stopped by the U.S. after realizing the funds were used to violate the human rights of the people and make the Chilean government more rich and powerful under his dictatorship. Connections were very important to Pinochet, especially with their neighbor Argentina, who had Raúl Alfonsín as their president. In creating this regional cooperation in 1984, with their rival for many years, both countries would benefit from this agreement since it would advance their countries’ interests and allow them to create initiatives for each of their governments on their people. In this case, Augusto Pinochet wanted to have an ally that would not interfere in his plans and help continue to establish his control and power over Chile.

Also, it did not help that Russia, being inspired by Pinochet’s authoritarian regime, consistently praised the success in Chile during the 1970s. They saw Pinochet as their foundation for domestic and foreign propaganda, as well as using his authoritarian rule and free market economy to create their totalitarian system in Russia. Having received this immense support from a foreign country, Pinochet continued to violate the human rights of the people in order to remain powerful and continue to be worshipped by others such as Russia. Therefore, the economic liberalization in Chile allowed for Pinochet to create a wider gap between the rich and the poor, resulting in public opposition and eventually left Pinochet to use power and force to eliminate, torture, and exile his enemies. However, it was not the only reason for his various human rights violations. Overall, Pinochet’ s oppressive authoritarian regime and his foreign relations/ affairs also had an impact on this, apart from the economic liberalization, which left many Chilean lives to be lost.

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Catastrophic Consequences Of Salvador Allende Chile. (2022, Feb 28). Retrieved from

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