With a policy of terrorism, violence and oppression marking his rise to power and especially his early years, why was Pinochet able to maintain power? It seems most likely because he implemented policies that “worked” and whenever there was some sort of issue, he could crack on dissenters and ride out the storm that was prevailing. He did this during the money crisis Chile faced in the early 1980’s and was able to continually improve the economy. Pinochet also used a group of advisers termed “The Chicago Boys” to revolutionize Chile’s economy and bring about robust change within the private and public sectors. By handing over policy to seasoned experts, Pinochet hedged his bets somewhat as he could control opponents and unrest using violence and terrorism, while actual economic experts implemented well thought out and successful policies leading to the “Miracle of Chile”. Pinochet was a military man that came to power and ruled through the force of military might and terrorism when necessary, but was also far sighted enough to allow actual economic and political experts to craft and implement policies.
Would it have been possible to keep Chile free of Communism without extensive state sponsored violence?
Despite Pinochet’s success, his support of terrorism and the negative effects it had on Chile set the country back for decades and forced the introduction of free elections and a new political system. In 1988, it became apparent that the country of Chile wanted democratic representation and an actual say in their government. By refusing to allow his countrymen and women some sort of function in the country, Chile was set back because they could not focus on proper economic and political development and instead lost much of the progress that the “Chicago Boys” developed. Using terrorism, violence and repression may help prop up a regime and even implement some success, but it never ends well.
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