With the accession of Ricardo Lagos to the presidency in 2000, Chile's Concertacion coalition drew together the country's two major historical antagonists, the Socialists and the Christian Democrats. Borzutzky and Oppenheim bring together American and Chilean scholars to provide the first overall assessment of this coalition's history and achievements. With a special emphasis on the Lagos government, the contributors measure the impact of three consecutive administrations on the crucial issues of human rights, civil-military relations, the nature of a political party system, the transformation of church-state relations, foreign and economic policies, social security, and health policies. These are new and important insights into the challenges facing Chile as a model democracy. Among the central questions they ask: How do postauthoritarian administrations deal with the troubling legacy of such regimes? To what extent do unresolved human rights violations and military power constitute an obstacle to democracy? How has the Chilean Catholic Church influenced the evolution of democratic institutions? Scholars of Latin American, political, and economic studies will welcome this comprehensive but concisely written volume.
Silvia Borzutzky is director of the political science program at Carnegie Mellon University and the author of Vital Connections: Politics, Social Security, and Inequality in Chile. Lois Hecht Oppenheim is professor of political science at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, and the author of Politics in Chile: Democracy, Authoritarianism and the Search for Development.