Deep Dive into Current Affairs in Latin America

The class that I will be discussing is my Current Affairs in Latin America course. The class is in its third week and is briefly covering history in Chile because it is crucial to know the past to understand the present.
The first topic that we have discussed was Salvador Allende Gossen. He was the first Marxist to be elected to the National Presidency of a liberal democracy. During his time as president, he pursued a policy called “The Chilean Way to Socialism”. The first main idea is a leftist view that large scale industries should be nationalized and controlled by the government. In Chile’s case, this meant the Copper industry, health care system, land distribution, and education. The US Mining Ops in Chile was one company that was fully nationalized. While he received widespread support in Chilean congress, problems began to arise. The first was that his policies had strong opposition from different interest groups. Another issue Allende encountered was that his coalition was not united. The Socialist Party, Communist Party, Radical left, and Christian left all had different ideologies as how to improve the social economical welfare of Chile’s lowest class of citizens. While Chile saw beneficial outcomes at first, more problems soon followed. The Chilean government’s fiscal deficit soared while foreign reserves declined, which lead to a rise in black markets. The price of copper had also fallen. Furthermore, the Christian Democrats, who were once part of Allende’s coalition, opposed Allende’s social programs. As confrontational strikes began in 1972, political life became incredibly polarized under Allende. Congress then began to pass a resolution against Allende’s government. In short, a variety of problems led to political unrest during Allende’s presidency, especially a lack of unity within Chile.
After Salvador Allende Gossen’s presidency, Chile began a series of economic transformations under the military government. The justification for the military government was that Allende’s government was unconstitutional. Its main objectives were to “rescue Chile from Communism” through social, economic and political means to start reconstruction of the country. Through this, the government had goals to: Re-establish law and order of the country, reconstruct the economic and social order, and to establish and study a new institution. This was not the case, because there were multiple issues under Pinochet’s military government. Many citizens died in urban combat, as well as numerous human rights abuses. The Secret Police operated against opposition groups and violated the human rights of Chilean citizens while they used national security as an excuse. The country also went through a depression with no foreign reserves and a rapidly falling GDP. In short, the military government did not improve the quality of life for its citizens after overthrowing Allende. Instead, it used fear to manipulate and harm its citizens from having free thoughts that may oppose the government.
We have only recently begun to talk about current events that have happened. I am very excited for these upcoming topics because I feel well prepared to talk about them. All in all, the class is going very well and has had plenty to offer.

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