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Chile President Sebastián Piñera visits Queen Elizabeth II

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

Download: CHILE Special Report

(c) Financial Times