Chile Geopolitics (2016)

By | December 1, 2021

After 17 difficult years of military dictatorship led by General Augusto Pinochet, Chile, starting from the 1990s, was able to resume the path taken before 1973, the year of the coup: that of a solid representative democracy, in which the presidential regime finds an effective counterweight in a parliament that enjoys popular legitimacy, and the judiciary can exercise its role independently.

Chilean democracy is a stable democracy, able to transition smoothly from the long domination of the post-Pinochet center-left coalition called ‘Concordancia’ to that of the right, now freed from the legacy of the dictatorship and came to power with Sebastián Piñera in the 2010 elections Victory of the socialist Michelle Bachelet, in his second term, at the end of 2013, he reconfirmed the alternation. The Chilean history of the last decades has also been characterized by robust and constant economic growth, based both on an extremely open and competitive economy on international markets and on attention to macroeconomic balances. A series of political scandals between 2014 and 2015 slowed its growth, but did not contract it. The achievements and the high degree of reliability that Chile has gained globally have not been dented in its foundations, ensuring that it can continue to enjoy far greater regional and international influence than its small size and international influence would suggest. its geographical position. For Chile government and politics, please check

Chile is part of the Alianza del Pacífico (a pan-regional economic integration project with Peru, Colombia and Mexico) and has strong trade links with almost all Latin American countries. However, tensions persist with some of them, such as Argentina (for the supply of natural gas reserves), Bolivia (due to a long-standing territorial dispute) and Peru, due to a dispute over a maritime border. resolved with a verdict of the Hague Court in favor of Lima. Beyond the region to which it belongs, Chile also takes great care of the links with the major economies that can support its economic growth based on exports, such as the USAand China, and plans to expand its vast network of free trade agreements with Malaysia, Vietnam and India. It is therefore no coincidence that Santiago is among the main promoters of the free trade area between Asia and America called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (Tpp).

Defense and security

The strong economic growth, the corporate weight exerted by the armed forces and the chronic hostilities with neighbors explain the fact that the military budget of Chile (equal to over 5.4 billion dollars and with an incidence on GDP equal to 2%) it is relatively high, lower (in absolute terms) in South America only than that of Brazil, the largest regional power, and that of Colombia, which for decades has been engaged in an internal armed conflict.

The Chilean air force (about 8000 units), in particular, today represents a formidable security tool. The significant modernization of the armed forces has raised fears among the governments of neighboring countries, which are unable to keep pace with Chile due to budgetary constraints. Nonetheless, a sort of regional arms race has been triggered. In turn, the Chilean governments and armed forces have always claimed that they have no aggressive intentions and that they have limited themselves to renewing an obsolete security apparatus. However, the fact remains that Chile enjoys a clear military superiority over its Andean neighbors and in many respects even the much larger Argentina.

The importance of the America’s Cup in football

For the first time in its history, on 4 July 2015 Chile won the America’s Cup by beating the most popular Argentina on penalties in a match that was particularly popular with the Chilean people. In fact, in addition to being a very popular sport in South America, in the past it has repeatedly been able to restore pride and dignity to Latin American nations which, for different reasons, have gone through delicate moments (think, for example,, at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina). The Chileans, who have historical rivalry with the Argentines, had placed particular hope in the football competition organized for the occasion in Chile, both for sentimental reasons and for reasons of image and economic. On the eve of the kick-off of the competition, in a national survey conducted by the Fundación Imagen de Chile, it was found that the America’s Cup was seen by Chileans as an important tool to promote the country abroad by making it attractive for activities vital to the economy, first of all tourism. An opinion shared by the government of Santiago which, in the person of the Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism, Luis Felipe Céspedes, later announced that the international event brought about fifty million dollars of additional revenue into the coffers of the country spent by over seventy thousand foreigners (other estimates speak of a hundred thousand) who went there to attend the games. In particular, the hotel and restaurant sectors saw profits grow by 20% and 10% respectively compared to the usual average. The one benefited most from the sporting event, however, was the retail trade, which increased earnings by about a third. In total, compared to the same period of the previous year, in the weeks of the America’s Cup, Chile recorded a 30% increase in the flow of tourists and over thirty newspapers, television and radio stations broadcast the images of the country involved in a considerable organizational effort.

Chile Geopolitics (2016)