Ultimately, a stable, independent and prosperous democracy in Santiago will prove a sounder ally than either a beholden client state or a mercurial anticommunist dictatorship. But to his supporters he was the perfect candidate, embodying the regime's proudest achievements but untainted by its abuses, and projecting a youthful, independent image to young, upwardly mobile voters. The unity and discipline marshalled by Aylwin's coalition in order to defeat Pinochet are bound to weaken as his transitional team moves toward the elections of 1994. The commanders of the navy, air force and national police, jealous of army dominance, had even less reason to condone electoral intervention, and with the concurrence of key army officers, they made it clear on voting night that they would insist on respect for the results.

Yet the murder of Letelier and his assistant was too blatant a case of state-sponsored terror for U.S. officials to drop the issue now. Thus, an Aylwin presidency can offer foreign business a far greater guarantee of political stability than Büchi. That election should set U.S.-Chilean relations, plagued by a history of intervention and mistrust, on a more constructive, cooperative course.


An introspective loner, he loathed public speaking and preferred hiking in the mountains to negotiating in smoke-filled rooms. Even then, democratic leaders continued to fantasize that somehow Pinochet would fall.

Santiago was flooded with posters, decals and radio spots urging "Büchi's return." If the nation's new leaders can maintain macroeconomic stability while addressing social needs, then Chile can be legitimately invoked as an important example of economic and public policy reform worthy of emulation in the rest of Latin America and the Third World. 1 The match was abandoned in the 67th minute with Brazil leading 1–0 after Chile walked off the field when a firecracker thrown from the crowd supposedly hit goalkeeper Roberto Rojas in the head, leaving him bloodied and having to be carried from the pitch on a stretcher; a subsequent FIFA investigation found that Rojas's injury was self-inflicted, using a razor blade concealed in his glove. Another troubling issue is the disarray of the political right. Party leaders have warned these groups repeatedly that social demands must be toned down if democracy is to survive, and social activists have responded by pledging to support an Aylwin government as long as it keeps their problems on the national agenda.

But there is an overriding reason for confidence in Chile's future stability: the paradoxical fact that the transition falls far short of the ideal sought by each major political actor. By midyear the parties managed to agree on a single nationwide list, but added several regional lists that included candidates outside the Aylwin coalition. On 3 September 1989, a World Cup qualifier between Brazil and Chile was halted after Chile's goalkeeper, Roberto Rojas, appeared to be struck by a flare thrown from the stands and fell to the ground bleeding.

The business elite has also not forgiven the Americans for turning against Pinochet, and its pique was vividly illustrated early this year, when prominent businessmen claimed that the poisoning of a shipment of Chilean grapes and the subsequent U.S. decision to temporarily ban the import of Chilean fruit was part of a plot by the Central Intelligence Agency. With the Communist Party isolated from the political mainstream and the opposition likely to win power, Washington has little reason to fear a resurgence of an insurrectionary threat or extreme anti-Americanism. J. Despite its physical remoteness and lack of strategic significance, Chile has played a prominent role in U.S. foreign policy since the 1960s, when the Kennedy and Johnson administrations poured covert aid into the Christian Democratic party as a counterweight to the appeal of communism. The military's views on all these issues would clash sharply with an Aylwin administration.

Pinochet's staff toyed desperately with suspending the vote count, hoping to provoke opposition violence and justify military intervention in the election.

Despite international condemnation, military officials believe repression was the necessary price for eliminating subversion and are vehemently unrepentant over charges of torture, execution and the disappearance of more than six hundred prisoners. Chile's transition to civilian rule has been remarkably smooth, despite several anxious moments. Many influential businessmen, who had profited handsomely from regime policies of privatization and export promotion, felt Jarpa was insufficiently committed to those policies because he had pushed the regime to ease its rigid free market stance during the political crisis of 1983, when he served as Pinochet's interior minister.

Chile's socialist left, on the other hand, has moderated its anti-American stance significantly in recent years, aided both by U.S. criticism of human rights abuses and a renewed political outlook of its own. The Pinochet regime has repeatedly denied U.S. requests to extradite General Manuel Contreras, the former secret police chief. The voters, displaying enormous civic maturity and patience, turned out in record numbers (90 percent of eligible voters) and quietly handed Pinochet a 55-43 percent defeat. On 3 September 1989, a World Cup qualifier between Brazil and Chile was halted after Chile's goalkeeper, Roberto Rojas, appeared to be struck by a flare thrown from the stands and fell to the ground bleeding. Washington's stated neutrality in the December election is a far more appropriate policy than the meddling of 1964 and 1970 that contributed to the breakdown of Chile's 150-year-old democracy.
After 16 years in power, the military no longer sees itself as the servant of elected leaders, but as a fourth branch of government. But the military regime's expertise in strategic planning was undermined by the self-defeating logic of authoritarianism: officials were deaf to bad news and unwilling to report it up the chain of command. The credit goes not so much to Pinochet, who had become as addicted to power as Noriega or Duvalier, and had every intention of remaining in office for a quarter-century. They are determined to avoid the errors of new democratic governments in Argentina and Peru, which rushed to improve wages and social services, only to find fiscal deficits and inflation forcing them into steep recessions. Renovación was also viewed with suspicion by the Union Democrática Independiente, a movement of current and former regime officials fanatically committed to Chile's neoconservative economic experiment, which feared Renovación would be too willing to compromise it.

Its likely defeat in the presidential and most congressional races would leave conservatives weak and tempted to resort to nondemocratic measures. The list receiving the highest number of votes earns one seat, and the next list to receive at least half of those votes earns the second seat. The dictator conceded his defeat, opening the way for presidential and congressional elections, rather than clinging to power by force. Elections Be Judged by Other Democracies? Aylwin, on the other hand, is a seasoned politician who has successfully negotiated with opponents across Chile's broad ideological spectrum. The plebiscite was equally devastating to Chile's Communist Party, a significant force in Chilean politics since the 1920s. Voters ignored calls for a boycott or violent disruption of the plebiscite, and both the new moderate stance of socialist leader Clodomiro Almeyda and the formation of the Party for Democracy led by Ricardo Lagos enabled the 17-party coalition to mount a credible, unified challenge.


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