1. (Homonym: chili, chilly).
2. A republic in southern South America on the western slopes of the Andes.
South American country, bounded N by Peru and Bolivia, E by Argentina, and S and W by the Pacific Ocean.
The 1981 constitution, amended 1989, is described as “a transition to democracy”. It provides for a president, elected for an eight-year, nonrenewable term, and a bicameral legislature consisting of a senate with 38 elected and nine appointed members and a chamber of deputies with 120 elected members. Members of the senate serve for eight years and deputies for four.
The area now known as Chile was originally occupied by the Araucanian Indians and invaded by the Incas in the 15th century. The first European to reach it was Ferdinand Magellan, who in 1520 sailed through the strait now named for him. A Spanish expedition under Pedro de Valdivia founded Santiago 1541, and Chile was subsequently colonized by Spanish settlers who established an agricultural society, although the Indians continued to rebel until the late 19th century. Becoming independent from Spain 1818, Chile went to war with Peru and Bolivia 1879 and gained considerable territory from them.
Most of the 20th century has been characterized by left-versus right-wing struggles. The Christian Democrats under Eduardo Frei held power 1964–70, followed by a left-wing coalition led by Dr Salvador Allende, the first democratically elected Marxist head of state. He promised social justice by constitutional means and began nationalizing industries, including US-owned copper mines.
The US Central Intelligence Agency painted Allende as a pro-Cuban communist and encouraged opposition to him. In 1973 the army, led by General Augusto Pinochet, overthrew the government. Allende was killed or, as the new regime claimed, committed suicide. Pinochet became president, and his opponents were tortured, imprisoned, or just “disappeared”. In 1976 Pinochet proclaimed an “authoritarian democracy” and in 1977 banned all political parties. His policies were “endorsed” by a referendum 1978.
opposition to government.
In 1980 a “transition to democracy” by 1989 was announced, but imprisonment and torture continued. By 1983 opposition to Pinochet had increased, with demands for a return to democratic government. He attempted to placate opposition by initiating public works. In 1984 an antigovernment bombing campaign began, aimed mainly at electricity installations, resulting in a 90-day state of emergency, followed by a 90-day state of siege. In 1985, as opposition grew within the Catholic church and the army as well as among the public, another state of emergency was declared, but the bombings continued, as did the state terror.
In Oct 1988 Pinochet's proposal to remain in office for another eight-year term was rejected in a plebiscite. Another plebiscite Aug 1989 approved constitutional changes leading to a return to pluralist politics, and in Dec the moderate Christian Democratic Party (PDC) candidate, Patricio Aylwin, was elected president, his term of office beginning March 1990.
human rights abuses investigated.
In Jan 1990, the junta approved the disbanding of the secret police of the National Information Center (CNI). A government commission was set up Sept 1990 to investigate some 2,000 political executions 1973–78, 500 political murders 1978–90, and 700 disappearances. In the same month the formerly discredited Salvador Allende was officially recognized by being buried in a marked grave, and President Aylwin censured General Pinochet for trying to return to active politics. In 1991 the official report for President Aylwin revealed 2,279 deaths during Pinochet's term, of which over 2,115 were executions carried out by the secret police.
The ruling coalition was successful in the Dec 1993 general election. PDC leader and former president Eduardo Frei was chosen to succeed Aylwin and sworn in as president March 1994.
ETYM Spanish chili, chile.
(Homonym: Chile, chilly).
1. Very hot and finely tapering pepper of special pungency; SYN. chili pepper, chilli, chilly, chile.
2. (Mexican) Ground beef and chili peppers or chili powder often with tomatoes and kidney beans; SYN. chili con carne.
The pod, or powder made from the pod, of a variety of capsicum, Capsicum frutescens, a hot, red pepper. It is widely used in cooking.