February 19, 2009

Que Ocurrió en Chile

Here's an interesting little horror story.


XYZ is a country in the western hemisphere with a problem. Actually, a lot of problems. Even though it has a democratic government, a number of factors, the aftereffects of recent world politics not excluded, have rendered its economy in a state of crisis, and left various social issues in a state of disrepair.

In XYZ's next election, two men run for office. One cries out charismatically for change, presents great plans to help the economy, and feeds the people's dreams. Many worship him as a messiah. His name even means savior, to some. He ends up winning over the conservative candidate in an extremely close race.

Once in office, this President does indeed bring change to XYZ. He nationalizes the healthcare system, and many large-scale industries. He encourages industrial jobs, giving displaced workers hope, and increasing the demand for generated goods. He even redistributes some land. Along this “peaceful path to socialism,” for a little while XYZ shows signs of hope.

After about two years, though, many people are disillusioned. The President can't fix all their problems, whether they expected him to or not. Many things that he promised never happen. Many things that happen, they never wanted. Laws become harder to enforce- especially because the President isn't sure if the military is loyal anymore. It comes to a crisis, which he proposes to fix with a plebiscite. Nothing is getting any better. In the midst of the socialist turmoil he has wreaked, the President placidly insists that XYZ has never been a more democratic country than during his reign.

Suddenly, the XYZ military holds a coup d'etat. The President commits suicide. The General of the army seizes control, and for the next almost twenty years, XYZ is a nightmare in which human rights are suspended. But- the economy gets fixed. Actually, the economy does really, really well. The rest of the world considers it an economic miracle. And thousands of people die, and thousands upon thousands of hearts are broken, and centuries cannot make amends for the things that happen there.


No, this isn't a fabrication predicting dire fortunes for America. It's a very condensed account of what happened in Chile less than 40 years ago. My history profesor brought it to my attention, not necessarily intending to parallel it to the current situation in this country (it being a Latin American history course). Told by a chileno who was a political prisoner and tortured under the Pinochet regime, the harrowing details remained with me, and the similarities stuck out glaringly.

I wish I could point out more of the details of Salvador Allende's plan, but since I am not well-versed in presenting economics, I am hesitant to attempt to explain them myself. Any number of books on Chile can provide you with more coherent details than I, and if even I can see parallels to our present situation, someone more knowledgeable on the topic should be proportionately more uneasy.

I am not trying to be a prophet, but seriously- one of these days, a generation should really learn from history...

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Blogger Courtney said...

Wow, that's all I can say.

February 22, 2009 10:15 PM  

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