Chile President Sebastián Piñera visits Queen Elizabeth II, Oct. 2010
President Piñera: ‘When you are poor, you worry about food and shelter. As you grow richer, other things become important: education, health, the environment’
Over the past 20 years, Chile has gained a reputation for stability. Once the poorest “Captaincy General” of Spain’s colonial possessions, last year it joined the rich countries’ club, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
It has come to be known for having South America’s best managed economy, and has undergone a largely peaceful transition to democracy after the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet ended in 1990.
But over the past few months, a country sometimes known as the “Switzerland of Latin America” has started to behave more like protest-engulfed Greece or Spain.
On August 25, more than 100,000 students took part in a march in Santiago demanding free education and other reforms. This degenerated into pitched battles with the police, who then doused the capital’s streets with tear gas.
In this report:
- Economy | Steady demand insulates the home front
- Politics | Both left and right face a battle to court young, disenchanted voters
- Astronomy | Sterile desert is an ideal spot to search for life
- Metals market | Country’s confidence is etched in copper
- Power generation | Energy plans require PR and fat purses
- Innovation | Incentives to support ideas
- … and much more
(c) Financial Times