Posts tagged Chile

globalvoices:

In the video above by Open Society Foundations, Giorgio Jackson, former student leader and newly elected parliamentarian in Chile, discusses the education system in his country and what it means to have an “open society.”
Toward a Fair and Inclusive Education System in Chile

globalvoices:

In the video above by Open Society Foundations, Giorgio Jackson, former student leader and newly elected parliamentarian in Chile, discusses the education system in his country and what it means to have an “open society.”

Toward a Fair and Inclusive Education System in Chile

Via globalvoices:

The online version of Chilean newspaper La Tercera released an interactive, multimedia special on the 40th anniversary of the coup against Salvador Allende.
Chile Coup Recounted Through Interactive Storytelling

This looks like a fantastic resource for teaching about Chile’s 1973 coup. Especially since the interactive site is in Spanish and English. 

Via globalvoices:

The online version of Chilean newspaper La Tercera released an interactive, multimedia special on the 40th anniversary of the coup against Salvador Allende.

Chile Coup Recounted Through Interactive Storytelling

This looks like a fantastic resource for teaching about Chile’s 1973 coup. Especially since the interactive site is in Spanish and English. 

40 years after Chile’s 9/11

From aljazeera:

Feature: Former and current student activists reflect on General Augusto Pinochet’s lasting legacy.

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Chile’s military junta, led by General Augusto Pinochet, overthrew the democratically elected government of President Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973. What followed was one of the most brutal dictatorships in Latin American history.

More than 3,000 were killed or simply disappeared without a trace. Thousands were tortured and a million were exiled. But in the midst of repression, a social movement emerged that fought to bring the dictatorship down.

In 1988, the movement campaigned to vote “No to Pinochet” in a plebiscite that many thought would be afait accompli. They were wrong. Chile listened and in 1990 democracy began.

Today, 40 years after the US-backed coup, thousands of students plan to take to the streets to mark a day they never lived - but whose legacy has inspired their own political struggle. A new generation has emerged demanding free education and an overhaul of the socioeconomic system set up by the dictatorship. They have walked alongside the student activists who risked their lives then, and who feel betrayed by the system now.

Al Jazeera talks to two former students who risked their lives back then and another who continues the fight about their political demands, a democracy that failed to live up to their expectations, and protest movements worldwide.

Click here to read more.

Particularly with the recent whitewashing of Pinochet’s regime in many circles, it’s important to remember this.

But the 1973 Chilean coup also could serve as a warning (as it did for many political scientists at the time) that democracies can collapse due to increasingly polarized, uncompromising, ideology-driven politics. In the end, a lot of blame for the causes of the collapse of Chile’s democracy can be spread around (the left and the right both shared blame, as did the centrists)—as recounted in Arturo Valenzuela’s classic The Breakdown of Democratic Regimes: Chile (part of a series of monographs that covered other democratic breakdowns, such as Weimar Germany’s).

Of course none of that excuses the sheer brutality of the Pinochet regime. 

Sadly, many today seem willing to excuse Pinochet because they believe he did what was “necessary” to save Chilean democracy. Often they do so based on falsehoods about the Allende regime. But even if these were true, it betrays a sense that violence and brutality are excusable to prevent a Marxist dictatorship. The irony that this is the very logic of totalitarian regimes (fascist and communist) before seems utterly lost on such people.

From pritheworld:

The United States wants to encourage startups. But foreign-born entrepreneurs say the visa system here makes it extremely difficult for them to do that. They’re pressing for a “startup” visa that would let them stay here and set up shop. The World’s Monica Campbell reports. http://ow.ly/iT46M 

Chile has such a program. It’s called Start-Up Chile. They also give you $40,000 seed money.
BTW, Chile also allows non-citizen residents to vote (after five years). Because, you know, no taxation without representation. 

From pritheworld:

The United States wants to encourage startups. But foreign-born entrepreneurs say the visa system here makes it extremely difficult for them to do that. They’re pressing for a “startup” visa that would let them stay here and set up shop. The World’s Monica Campbell reports. http://ow.ly/iT46M 

Chile has such a program. It’s called Start-Up Chile. They also give you $40,000 seed money.

BTW, Chile also allows non-citizen residents to vote (after five years). Because, you know, no taxation without representation. 

Politicalprof: Crowd sourcing a revolution ...

From politicalprof:

So, at the risk of drawing the ire of the FBI, a question:

—can anyone name a single case in which a stable liberal democracy degenerated into an authoritarian dictatorship (the kind always invoked by the gun loonies when insisting that taking away assault rifles will make it easy for the government to impose a dictatorship on America)?

Here’s a hint: Weimar doesn’t count. It wasn’t stable, and it wasn’t politically legitimate having been imposed on Germany by the victorious powers in WWI and then abandoned. I’m talking real, established, legitimate democracies here (and no, that there is no such thing as a perfect democracy isn’t really an answer, either). We’re talking real world, not survivalist fan fiction.

Go ahead. Find one. I dare you. Heck, I double dog dare you.

I can think of at least two, but they don’t necessarily confirm the “gun rights” perspective. In 1973 both Chile and Uruguay (both generally considered “stable democracies” prior to that) were overthrown in military coups. As far as I know, Allende didn’t make any efforts to limit gun rights prior to the coup (the subject’s never mentioned in any of the literature I’m familiar with). I’m also not sure that Pinochet changed any of the gun laws after the coup.

The 1973 Chilean coup was the product of increasing political polarization between the left and right, and preceded by growing threats (and activity) by armed militants on both sides. In particular, radical elements of the left (which supported the Socialist president, Salvador Allende) formed a few militias (MIR, in particular). It’s worth noting that when Pinochet launched his coup, the full weight of the army and air force obliterated whatever resistance these forces offered. Again, like with Chile, I don’t know of any evidence that gun laws were changed prior to or after the coup.

The 1973 coup in Uruguay came in a slightly different fashion. By then, inspired by the Cuban Revolution, radical leftists (known as Tupamaros) had been waging a guerrilla insurgency and/or terrorism campaign (depending on who you ask) against the established regime. In 1973, the Uruguay military decided to step in and seize power.

Obviously, both regimes were brutal in their repression against dissidents. But, on the whole, their focus was on restricting civil liberties (freedoms of the press, speech, assembly, etc.) rather than gun rights. 

Talking about Chile’s party system today in INST 318 (a Croft seminar on “political parties in new democracies”). I like to show campaign adds from time to time. They seem to make the political systems more “real” to students. Here’s an ad from Michelle Bachelet’s presidential campaign.

The ad was called “Bachelet Estoy Contigo” and uses a diverse cast of Chileans to give a campaign speech.

Here’s a link to a campaign ad for Sebastian Piñera, Bachelet’s opponent in the 2005-06 election, who went on to win in 2009-10 (both elections went to a second round). Piñera was the first candidate from the right to win since the end of the Pinochet dictatorship. In his ad, Piñera proclaims the need to move forward, and to set aside the past (“nostalgia”).

Both ads are from the same 2005-06 presidential contest.

adam-wola:

“Shock,” Ana Tijoux’s tribute to Chile’s burgeoning student protest movement. See also the video for “Sacar la Voz.”

I was actually going to use this in class today while we discussed Chile’s unique binominal electoral system.

The unique electoral system—which uses two-seat districts with an open-list PR formula—is a legacy of the Pinochet era. It was consciously designed to ensure that conservatives (about 1/3 of the electorate) could ensure nearly 50% of the seats.

Two decades after the transition to democracy, many Chileans (particularly younger ones with little or no memory of the Pinochet dictatorship) are demanding reforms to the Pinochet-imposed institutional framework.

BTW, you should check out Ana Tijoux’s autobiographical “1977”.

All citizens of Chile as well as foreigners legally residing in Chile for at least five years, who are 18 years of age or older on the day of the election, are eligible to vote. Enrollment in Chile is automatic for those aged 17 and older and voting is voluntary.

Elections in Chile | Wikipedia

There’s a lot of talk lately about the Chilean economic model (apparently it’s chic to admire Pinochet these days). If we’re going to adopt Chile’s economic model (privatized social security, public education, etc.), why not also consider their suffrage laws, which allow all citizens and non-citizen resident aliens to vote (no taxation without representation, right)? While we’re at it, let’s also automatically register everyone to vote, too.

If you don’t trust Wikipedia, here’s a link to Chile’s constitutional provisions regarding voting. The suffrage rule regarding non-citizen resident aliens is Article 14.

BTW, the one part of the economic model no one ever mentions, is that Chile also has mandated universal health care. Not only are all citizens required to purchase health care coverage, the price is set at 7% of their wages. Those too poor are, however, automatically covered.

Proposal to reform [Chile's] binomial system

Greg Weeks has an update on his previous post about possible reforms to Chile’s binomial electoral system, which I also discussed.

He outlines a joint proposal by the (centrist) Christian Democratic Party and the (center-right) Renovación Nacional:

  1. The president can dissolve the legislature
  2. The president chooses a prime minister who must be approved by a majority in the legislature
  3. Proportional representation in the legislature (with specifics to be worked out later)
  4. Term limits for all positions
  5. System of primaries
  6. Public financing of political parties

I agree with Greg: This is a radical departure for Chile. Personally, I would prefer Chile return to its pre-1973 “parliamentarized presidential” system (in which the legislature selects the president in the event no candidate wins a majority). Although I like the idea of greater “parliamentarization” by giving the president the power to call for new elections (though I would also like the legislature to have that power, as in parliamentary systems).

I’m not particularly a fan of semi-presidential systems. But it seems what is being discussed here is not a semi-presidential system, if Greg’s right that the prime minister (as in Peru) would be merely window dressing. 

However, one virtue of the existing Chilean system is that it encourages (or, some might say, forces) coalition governments. For better or worse, the binomial system has neatly divided Chile into two blocks: Christian Democrats and Socialists vs. Conservatives. I would worry that a list-PR electoral system combined with presidentialism would produce either weak executives or "delegative" executives.

Parliamentarized presidentialism worked well in Bolivia. It diffused extreme polarization in the 1980s and allowed for broad coalition governments that could govern effectively. It broke down in the late 1990s. Partly (as many journalistic observers argue) because of broad rejection of neoliberalism and/or lack of faith in the traditional (or “systemic”) parties. However, as I argue in my work (expanded upon in my dissertation), a major contributing factor was the adoption of a mixed-member electoral system.

Chile should reform its system, which his not fairly representative. But it should retain institutional levers that encourage coalition formation—especially if it allows for coalition-building to be more fluid than it currently is.

Piñera and [Chile's] binomial system

Greg Weeks at Two Weeks Notice comments on the possibility that Chile’s president, Sebastian Piñera, may be joining the (growing?) bandwagon for electoral system reform in Chile.

It’s only inevitable, I suppose, that electoral system reform fever would reach Chile. I’m partly sad, because Chile’s binomial system—a platypus of an electoral system made for interesting teaching (as did Uruguay’s ley de lemas, or double simultaneous voting, system).

Obviously, the binomial system is just a holdover from the Pinochet era, when the outgoing dictatorship sought to safeguard its policies and virtually ensure a (slim) conservative majority. That system has outlived its use, and electoral volatility and voter antipathy is already eroding the party system tied to the binomial system, making it increasingly unwieldy. But what would replace it? And what would its effects be on the party system—and on governance—in Chile?

(I ask these questions with an eye to my INST 316 seminar on electoral systems and party systems, in which Chile is one of our case studies.)