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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Juan Pereira Marsiaj

Getulio Vargas, president and dictator of Brazil from 1930-1945, and Augusto Pinochet, leader of the military junta that overthrew the socialist from 1951 to 1954 government of President Salvador Allende of Chile on Sept. 11, 1973, and head of Chiles military government (197490). the provisory government (1930-34), the constitutional government (1934-37), Estado Novo (1937-45), and elected president (1951-54). Pinochet was named head of the victorious juntas governing council, and he Nationalist, feared communism moved to crush Chiles liberal opposition; in its first three years, the regime revered by his followers as the Father of the Poor arrested approximately 130,000, many of whom were tortured. In June 1974 Vargas relied on populism, the mass support of the people, to gain Pinochet assumed sole power as president, relegating the rest of the junta to an As a Ministry of Labor, he rallied the support of the masses from advisory role. urban areas which helped him Pinochet was determined to exterminate leftism in Chile and to reassert free- rise to power. market policies in the countrys economy. His junta was widely condemned for its Because he treated the average Brazilian with respect, he received harsh suppression of dissent, even though its reversal of the Allende their support. He appealed to the middle class. He promised them governments socialist policies resulted in a lower rate of inflation and an improved economic status, education, and health care, but he failed on economic boom in the period from 1976 to 1979. A modest political liberalization these promises. began in 1978 after the regime announced that, in a plebiscite, 75 percent of the Vargas crushed a leftist uprising in 1935. Fifteen thousand people electorate had endorsed Pinochets rule. were arrested and many were tortured. Anything associated with Under a new constitution promulgated in March 1981, Pinochet remained communism was repressed and censored. president for an eight-year term until 1989, when a national referendum would Vargas used censorship against the people and filled the prisons with determine whether he served an additional eight-year term. During the 1980s, suspected dissidents under his Estado Novo regime. Journalists and Pinochets free-market policies were credited with maintaining a low rate of novelists were also discouraged from criticizing the government. inflation and an acceptable rate of economic growth despite a severe recession Under Estado Novo, strikes were considered crimes and unions were in 198083. Pinochet permitted no meaningful political opposition, but he strictly controlled by the government. fulfilled his constitutional obligation to hold the plebiscite scheduled, which took The poor condition of the economy caused Vargas to announce that the place earlier than mandated in October 1988. The result was a no vote of 55 minimum wage would double. percent and a yes vote of 43 percent. Although rejected by the electorate, Due to Brazils alliance with the allies in WWII, Vargas declared war Pinochet remained in office until free elections installed a new president, the on Germany, Italy, and Japan. This resulted in Brazilians with German, Christian Democrat Patricio Aylwin, on March 11, 1990. Italian, and Japanese heritage to be sent to concentration camps. As commander of the armed forces until 1998, Pinochet frequently thwarted Minorities were discriminated against by the army when entrance into human-rights prosecutions against members of the security forces. After military schools depended on ones race, religion, family, and political stepping down, he became a senator-for-life, a post granted to former presidents views. under the 1981 constitution. Later in 1998, while visiting London, he was As a nationalist, Vargas believed in promoting self-growth in the detained by British authorities after Spain requested his extradition in country without the help of others. He helped modernize Brazil. connection with the torture of Spanish citizens in Chile during his rule. The Vargas had to help lessen the huge impact of the depression on Brazil. unprecedented case stirred worldwide controversy and galvanized human-rights Coffee prices plummeted in 1929. organizations in Chile. The United States and other countries were prompted to A minimum wage and other labor legislation were passed by Vargas release formerly classified documents concerning Chileans who had which greatly benefitted workers.. disappearedwere kidnapped and presumably killed by the Pinochet regime. One of his greatest accomplishments was building the country through The disclosures brought to light details of Operation Colombo, in which more the Great Depression and the polarization of the opposing far right and than 100 Chilean leftists had disappeared in 1975, and Operation Condor, in far left political parties. which several South American military governments coordinated their efforts to He emphasized industry and oversaw the nationalization of oil and systematically eliminate opponents in the 1970s and 80s. In January 2000 steel mill. Pinochet was allowed to return home after a British court ruled that he was The 1934 Constitution strengthened executive powers, improved physically unfit to stand trial. Nevertheless, he continued to face investigations workers rights and restricted unions, allowed the nationalization of by Chilean authorities. industries, and permitted the military police to violently repress Later in 2000 Pinochet was stripped of his immunity from prosecutionwhich unauthorized strikes. It was very liberal and reflected a transition in he had enjoyed as a former presidentand ordered to stand trial on charges of the country. It helped alleviate the chaos of several rebellions. human-rights abuses (in Chile immunity is lifted on a case-by-case basis). The In 1934, Vargas established a Social Security system for Brazil. charges were dropped in 2002, however, after Chiles Supreme Court upheld a In 1937, Vargas dissolves Congress and assumes dictatorial powers. ruling that he was mentally incapable of defending himself in court. Soon This new regime was called Estado Novo. The communist plan that afterward Pinochet resigned his post as a senator-for-life. In 2005 he was again intended to murder some politicians created fear and gave an excuse for stripped of immunity and ordered to stand trial on charges stemming from Vargas total control. Estado Novo Operation Colombo and on separate charges relating to tax evasion. The Administrative Department of Public Service (DASP) was created At the beginning of his time in office, Pinochet endorsed a group of economists to modernize civil service. known as the Chicago Boys, nicknamed for their devotion to University of An election should have taken place in 1943; however, Vargas extended Chicago economist Milton Friedmans free-market theories. The group practice his term until 1944 due to instability brought about by WWII. Although economic shock therapy on the country, and although their extreme version of he refused to leave in 1944, the people were becoming dissatisfies with laissez faire produced initial results, the country also experienced high inflation him and wanted a democracy. Vargas left the position of president in and growing unemployment in the 1980s after a series of bad investments. The 1945 in order to avoid a coup. policies of the Chicago Boys were also thought to increase the already Vargas return as president was largely unsuccessful because the substantial income disparity in Chile between the upper and lower classes. previous leaders left huge debts and foreign trade had slowed. Despite these drawbacks, though, the Chicago Boys policies founded the Vargas joined the Western powers in WWII and benefitted prosperous, Americanized urban sprawl, which, for better or for worse, economically from increased trade. characterizes modern Chilean cities. The Chicago Boys achieved an annual Vargas placed high tariffs on incoming goods in order to promote economic growth rate of seven percent, a figure three times the overall Latin Brazilian goods. He utilized Import Substitute Industrialization (ISI) American average. By offering generous incentives to foreign investors and during his presidency to encourage domestic goods by placing subsidies privatizing business, Pinochets g
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