During the 1990s, the country enacted widespread economic reforms, and in recent years it has enjoyed rapid growth. Chile is a major producer of copper.
On September 11, 1973, the democratically elected government of Socialist Salvador Allende was overthrown in a military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet that was supported by the Nixon administration and U.S. business interests with investments in Chile. Until that moment Chile had the oldest established liberal democratic regime in Latin America. The "liberal" press in the United States failed to express appropriate outrage of a liberal democratic regime helping to overthrow a liberal democratic regime. This historic defeat for the democratic left is described as comparable to the Spanish Civil War for the generation of progessives coming of age in the 1960s. Pinochet's military regime killed and tortured thousands and drove tens of thousands into exile.
Over the previous decade, Chile experienced a democratic opening, the General Pinochet and some of his senior associates have faced charges for their crimes.
Chile has a presidential political system. Presidents are elected in a majority run-off electoral system. In 2006, it was won by Michelle Bachelet, who became Chile's first woman president. The president is the billionaire Sebastian Pinera Echenique, elected in March 2010.
- Pilar Aguilera & Ricardo Fredes. 2006. Chile: The Other September 11. Ocean Press. ISBN 1920888446.