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History 2501E Lecture Notes - Frank Teruggi, Blue-Collar Worker, Authoritarianism

Course Code
HIS 2501E
Luz Hernandez- Saenz

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March, 07, 2013
Military Dictatorships
-The power is in the hands of the military and they usually come as a reaction to the populist regimes they had
-Populism tried to share wealth but it didn’t work out and there were problems that the military stepped in to
solve and the tried to revive the economies by consolidating their ties with the international economic forces
-When they got loans from organizations like the World Bank there were certain conditions they had to follow
involving restructuring and stopping wasting money so many cuts had to made costing jobs and social services
-People don’t respond well to this and this is why military regimes were necessary because they could enforce
things and they were usually parties coming out of the political right
-To achieve unpopular goals the needed to stop political opposition so other parties are wiped out
The Chilean Background:
-Chile is a strange country because it is like a ribbon running down the coast and this causes problems with
transportation to the north and south while the width is very small
-Most of the bases of the economy are concentrated in the centre of the country near Santiago where 70% of the
population and industrialized employment
-The north is also important because that was where the copper mines were and that was where the unions
concentrated as well and it was a blue collar area
-The economy in the 50-60’s was mostly agrarian with little industrialization and Chile was supposed to be one of
the most traditional and democratic country because there were less revolutions there but it was not truly
democratic because politics was dominated by a small group of land owners
-They made sure their workers would vote for certain candidates and this swayed politics greatly but for a while it
worked but when they started fiddling around with the structure of how land was divided and weakening
landowners the whole system changed
-There were many strikes in 1907-1919 and the government sided often with the employers and it was also a
system in which on some occasions when things were getting out of hand they government would ask the
government to take over until things calmed down then they would go back to their more democratic system
-This happened more than once and it happened with Pinochet
-During the cold war in the 1950’s the Catholic church was also afraid of the Communists and they tried to combat
them by giving the workers better conditions and more benefits so they would not be swayed and many priests
went to actually live with the workers and actually do their jobs with them to better understand how to help them
-At the same time there were other organizations that were trying to do the same in the Americas and they felt if
you gave people a better standard of living they wouldn’t become Communists and the result was that in Chile
there were many workers organizations that became politicized and they supported peasant rights and organised
them so by the 60’s there was a network of organizations working for the same goal but it was complex
-They achieved many things they wanted and people were better able to fight for their rights
-Also by the 60’s there was a Marxist influence and some groups started leaning more this way and the Alliance for
Progress also funded Chile at this time and there was support for land reforms
-Chile was of interest to the US because they were dependant on them economically and 40% of the products sent
to Chile were from the US and 90% of the technology needed for mining and most of their debt was to the US
-The USA started funding some of the political parties fighting for power in Chile under the table
-There were two main regimes and one of them in 1964-70 saw Eduardo Frei as president who was left of centre
and supported by the USA because he was seen as a reformer but not an extremist and his campaign announced a
revolution in liberty and he raised expectations about what the people would get from him but this was all for
liberty and no one would be forced to do anything
-He nationalized corporate industry with a lot of support, agrarian reform, tax reform, and promoting industrial
growth and the population was growing fast and they also had to deal with housing and the shanty towns so he
wanted to organize groups to bring infrastructure to the areas
-He achieved some progress but it didn’t fix the problem because he couldn’t reach everyone and this causes
resentment among the people
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