International Criminology World

World : South America : Chile

About 10,000 years ago, migrating Indians settled in fertile valleys and along the coast of what is now Chile. The Incas briefly extended their empire into what is now northern Chile, but the area's remoteness prevented extensive settlement. The first Europeans to arrive in Chile were Diego de Almagro and his band of Spanish conquistadors in 1541, who came from Peru in 1535 seeking gold. The Spanish encountered hundreds of thousands of Indians from various cultures in the area that modern Chile now occupies. These cultures supported themselves principally through slash-and-burn agriculture and hunting. The conquest of Chile was carried out in 1550 by Pedro de Valdivia, one of Francisco Pizarro's lieutenants. Although the Spanish did not find the extensive gold and silver they sought, they recognized the agricultural potential of Chile's central valley, and Chile became part of the Viceroyalty of Peru.

The drive for independence from Spain was precipitated by usurpation of the Spanish throne by Napoleon's brother Joseph. A national junta in the name of Ferdinand--heir to the deposed king--was formed on September 18, 1810. The junta proclaimed Chile an autonomous republic within the Spanish monarchy. A movement for total independence soon won a wide following. Spanish attempts to reimpose arbitrary rule during what was called the Reconquista led to a prolonged struggle. Intermittent warfare continued until 1817, when an army led by Bernardo O'Higgins, Chile's most renowned patriot, and José San Martín, hero of Argentine independence, crossed the Andes into Chile and defeated the royalists. On February 12, 1818, Chile was proclaimed an independent republic under O'Higgins' leadership. The political revolt brought little social change, however, and 19th century Chilean society preserved the essence of the stratified colonial social structure, which was greatly influenced by family politics and the Roman Catholic Church. The system of presidential absolutism eventually predominated, but wealthy landowners continued to control Chile. Toward the end of the 19th century, the government in Santiago consolidated its position in the south by ruthlessly suppressing the Mapuche Indians. In 1881, it signed a treaty with Argentina confirming Chilean sovereignty over the Strait of Magellan. As a result of the War of the Pacific with Peru and Bolivia (1879-83), Chile expanded its territory northward by almost one-third and acquired valuable nitrate deposits, the exploitation of which led to an era of national affluence.

Chile established a parliamentary style democracy in the late 19th century, but degenerated into a system protecting the interests of the ruling oligarchy. By the 1920s, the emerging middle and working classes were powerful enough to elect a reformist president, whose program was frustrated by a conservative congress. In the 1920s, Marxist groups with strong popular support arose. Continuing political and economic instability resulted under the rule of the quasidictatorial Gen. Carlos Ibanez (1924-32). When constitutional rule was restored in 1932, a strong middle-class party, the Radicals, emerged. It became the key force in coalition governments for the next 20 years. During the period of Radical Party dominance (1932-52), the state increased its role in the economy. The 1964 presidential election of Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei-Montalva by an absolute majority initiated a period of major reform. Under the slogan "Revolution in Liberty," the Frei administration embarked on far-reaching social and economic programs, particularly in education, housing, and agrarian reform, including rural unionization of agricultural workers. By 1967, however, Frei encountered increasing opposition from leftists, who charged that his reforms were inadequate, and from conservatives, who found them excessive. At the end of his term, Frei had accomplished many noteworthy objectives, but he had not fully achieved his party's ambitious goals.

In 1970, Senator Salvador Allende, a Marxist and member of Chile's Socialist Party, who headed the "Popular Unity" (UP) coalition of socialists, communists, radicals, and dissident Christian Democrats, won a plurality of votes in a three-way contest and was named President by the Chilean Congress. His program included the nationalization of most remaining private industries and banks, massive land expropriation, and collectivization. Allende's proposal also included the nationalization of U.S. interests in Chile's major copper mines. Elected with only 36% of the vote and by a plurality of only 36,000 votes, Allende never enjoyed majority support in the Chilean Congress or broad popular support. Domestic production declined; severe shortages of consumer goods, food, and manufactured products were widespread; and inflation reached 1,000% per annum. Mass demonstrations, recurring strikes, violence by both government supporters and opponents, and widespread rural unrest ensued in response to the general deterioration of the economy. By 1973, Chilean society had split into two hostile camps. A military coup overthrew Allende on September 11, 1973. As the armed Forces bombarded the presidential palace, Allende reportedly committed suicide. A military government, led by General Augusto Pinochet, took over control of the country. The first years of the regime were marked by serious human rights violations. A new constitution was approved by a plebiscite on September 11, 1980, and General Pinochet became President of the Republic for an 8-year term. In its later years, the regime gradually permitted greater freedom of assembly, speech, and association, to include trade union activity. In contrast to its authoritarian political rule, the military government pursued decidedly laissez-faire economic policies. During its 16 years in power, Chile moved away from economic statism toward a largely free market economy that fostered an increase in domestic and foreign private investment. In a plebiscite on October 5, 1988, General Pinochet was denied a second 8-year term as president. Chileans voted for elections to choose a new president and the majority of members of a two-chamber congress. On December 14, 1989, Christian Democrat Patricio Aylwin, the candidate of a coalition of 17 political parties called the Concertacion, received an absolute majority of votes. President Aylwin served from 1990 to 1994. In December 1993, Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle (son of the previous President), leading the Concertacion coalition, was elected President with an absolute majority of votes, for a 6-year term. President Frei's administration was inaugurated in March 1994. A presidential election was held on a December 12, 1999, but none of the six candidates obtained a majority, which led to an unprecedented runoff election on January 16, 2000. Ricardo Lagos Escobar of the Socialist Party and the Party for Democracy led the Concertacion coalition to a narrow victory, with 51.32% of the votes. He was sworn in March 11, 2000, for a 6-year term.

Today, Chile is a multiparty democracy with a constitution that provides for a strong executive, a bicameral legislature, and a separate judiciary. Approved by referendum in 1980 and amended in 1989, the Constitution was written under the former military government and retains certain institutional limits on popular rule. In the 2000 election Ricardo Lagos of the Socialist Party was elected as president in a free and fair runoff election.


The Criminal Code of Chile, first drafted in 1870 after two unsuccessful attempts, was promulgated in 1874 and modified in 1928. Its models were the criminal codes of Austria, Belgium, France, and Spain. In 1930 extensive modifications were made, including the abolition of the death penalty, although capital punishment was reinstituted for certain crimes in 1937. The Criminal Code is divided into general and special sections. The former enumerates the general principles of criminal law relating to jurisdiction, the concept of crime, attempted crime, second party participation in the commission of crime, habitual criminals, penalties, circumstances that exclude criminal responsibility, and circumstances that extinguish criminal responsibility. The latter section defines specific offenses and their appropriate penalties. In this respect, the courts are charged with ensuring that the penalty is not merely appropriate to the crime but that it is also appropriate to the criminal's ability to discharge it.

Crimes in Chile are divided into three basic categories: serious crimes (crímenes), minor crimes (delitos), and misdemeanors (faultas). Crime is defined as a voluntary act or omission for which the law imposes punishment. Criminal responsibility is specifically excluded in cases in which defendants are insane or less than ten years of age. The responsibility of minors ten to sixteen years of age is also excluded unless it can be proven that they acted with full understanding of their acts. Criminal responsibility is also excluded for violent acts committed in the defense of one's own person, property, or rights and in defense of those of one's spouse or those of a third party. Also excluded are violent acts committed accidentally in the exercise of a legal act, violent acts committed in the exercise of public duty, violent acts committed under duress or fear, and the killing or wounding of the accomplice of an adulterous spouse. Criminal responsibility is also excluded in the case of crimes of omission owing to a legal or irresistible cause. Suicide and attempted suicide are specifically decriminalized.


Crime rates in the early 1990s remained far below those of the United States. However, the notion that common crime was rare in Chile until the 1970s and 1980s is a myth. Chile's rural areas were plagued with outlaw gangs in the early nineteenth century. The most notorious gang, Los Pincheira, operated during the 1817-32 period, purportedly in defense of the cause of the king of Spain. Based in the Andes and the heights of Chillán, the four brothers who headed the gang--Antonio, Santos, Pablo, and José Pincheira--wreaked death and destruction in the provinces of Ñuble and Concepción. Nineteenth-century historian Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna described their rural terror, and Los Pincheira became the subject of novels as well. The gang grew to the size of an army, requiring the government of Joaquín Prieto Vial (1831-36, 1836-41) to mobilize the army to eradicate the group. General Manuel Bulnes was put in charge of combating Los Pincheira in its own territory. At the command of 1,000 soldiers, Bulnes surprised Los Pincheira near the Palaquén lagoons, killing more than 200 bandits in a pitched battle. With the defeat of Los Pincheira in 1832, the government was able to establish its authority in all of the national territory.

The crime situation was confusing to analyze under the military regime in the 1970s and 1980s because the government and media tended to lump ordinary criminal behavior together with dissident violence. In the early 1980s, officials were prone to attribute bank robberies, assassinations, and shootouts with police to leftwing extremist organizations, although skeptics often pointed to rightist provocateurs or to government agents themselves as being responsible for at least some of the incidents. Figures on crime and criminals released by the National Statistics Institute (Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas--INE) are not very enlightening as to the actual status of crime in the country. There are no breakdowns of figures according to gender in either the juvenile or the adult category, and there are no statistics on prison populations.

News media have also contributed to a perception that crime had increased in the early 1990s, but crime statistics are still difficult to obtain. Few, if any, published sources provide general crime statistics, with the main exception of figures for arrests, readily available in the INE's Compendio estadístico. According to sociologist J. Samuel Valenzuela, the general crime pattern did not appear to have changed markedly in 1992 from 1980- 91. However, violent crime was reported to have increased, and the average age of those committing crimes had declined.

Available figures for 1980-91 show a mixed picture because some forms of crime remained stable or declined, while others had increased. Of those that had increased, the biggest jump occurred in the mid-1980s. Crime during the period of democratic transition from 1989 to 1991 did not fall into a single pattern. The biggest jump in the rate of robberies occurred in the mid-1980s. The average rate increased by 82.5 percent between 1986 and 1988, compared with the first three years of the decade. Between 1989 and 1991, the rate increased by 7 percent over the average in the previous three years. The trend between 1989 and 1991, however, was steadily upward. There was no overall increase or decrease in the rate of burglaries. The average for the 1980-91 years was a 17 percent decrease over 1986-88. However, the rate of burglaries was higher between 1989 and 1991 than it was between 1980 and 1982. Like robberies, murders had increased significantly in the mid-1980s. In 1986-88 the average rate increased by 27 percent over the 1980-82 years. In 1989-91 the average rate was a 9.1 percent increase over the previous three years.

A poll conducted by the Center for Public Studies (Centro de Estudios Públicos--CEP) and the Adimark Company in March 1993 in Osorno reveals the existence of a very real fear of crime in the country. According to the CEP/Adimark survey, 59 percent of those polled perceived more crime than a year earlier. Only 13 percent felt that crime had dropped. Moreover, 76 percent said that crime was more violent, whereas only 8 percent said it was less violent. In a retrospective analysis, the study revealed that citizen concern about crime rose sharply between December 1989 and March 1991, with the figure approaching 65 percent in 1991. The study also reveals that 59 percent of those polled thought that the Carabineros provided the needed assistance. Nevertheless, some 43.3 percent said they were dissatisfied with police protection in their neighborhood; only 37.2 percent were satisfied.

Today, the crime rate in Chile is moderate to high for violent crime and burglary, but low for larceny and auto theft, compared to industrialized countries. An analysis was done using INTERPOL data for Chile. For purpose of comparison, data were drawn for the seven offenses used to compute the United States FBI's Index of crime. Index offenses include murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. The combined total of these offenses constitutes the Index used for trend calculation purposes in the United States. Chile will be compared with Japan (country with a low crime rate) and USA (country with a high crime rate). According to the INTERPOL data, for murder, the rate in year 2000 was 4.89 for Chile, 1.10 for Japan, and 5.51 for USA. For rape, the rate in 2000 was 12.11 for Chile, compared with 1.78 for Japan and 32.05 for USA. For robbery, the rate in 2000 was 119.25 for Chile, 4.08 for Japan, and 144.92 for USA. For aggravated assault, the rate in 2000 was 94.98 for Chile, 23.78 for Japan, and 323.62 for USA. For burglary, the rate in 2000 was 541.49 for Chile, 233.60 for Japan, and 728.42 for USA. The rate of larceny for 2000 was 43.22 for Chile, 1401.26 for Japan, and 2475.27 for USA. The rate for motor vehicle theft in 2000 was 3.14 for Chile, compared with 44.28 for Japan and 414.17 for USA. The rate for all index offenses combined was 819.08 for Chile, compared with 1709.88 for Japan and 4123.97 for USA.


Complete data reporting to INTERPOL on all UCR Index crimes for Chile did not begin until 1988. Between 1998 and 2000, according to INTERPOL data, the rate of murder increased from 3.51 to 4.89, an increase of 39.3%. The rate for rape increased from 10.63 to 12.11, an increase of 13.9%. The rate of robbery increased from 77.62 to 119.25, an increase of 53.6%. The rate for aggravated assault decreased from 104.93 to 94.98 per 100,000, a decrease of 9.5%. The rate for burglary increased from 464.64 to 541.49, an increase of 16.5%. The rate of larceny increased from 0.14 to 43.22, an increase of 30771.4%. The rate of motor vehicle theft decreased from 12.87 to 3.14, a decrease of 75.6%. The rate of total index offenses increased from 674.34 to 819.08, an increase of 21.5%. It seems likely that the unusual trends in larceny and motor vehicle theft may reflect developing recording keeping rather than actual change in the incidence of these offenses; however, the property crime rates may in fact be genuinely low, possibly reflecting lack of availability of property to steal as is the case in many developing countries.


The 1980 constitution establishes the independence of the judiciary from the executive and legislative arms of government. Although the Republic of Chile's founders drew on the example of the United States in designing the institutions of government, they drew on Roman law and Spanish and French traditions, particularly the Napoleonic Code, in designing the country's judicial system. The judicial system soon acquired a reputation for independence, impartiality, and probity. However, the judiciary fell into some disrepute during the Parliamentary Republic (1891- 1925), when it became part of the logrolling and patronage politics of the era. There is no provision for trial by jury, and heavy reliance is placed on police evidence in criminal cases. Judges are required to be qualified not only in law but also in criminology and psychology. There is provision for an annual review by the Supreme Court of the fitness of the members of the judiciary to continue to hold office.


In Chile, the Carabineros (the uniformed national police) have primary responsibility for public order, safety, and border security. The civilian Investigations Police are responsible for criminal investigations and immigration control. Both organizations are under operational control of the Ministry of Interior. Under the 1980 constitution, the police are referred to as the Forces of Order and Public Security, their role being defined as the maintenance of law and order. The Carabineros constitute a national police force that forms a potential reserve for the army and has a paramilitary organization. The Investigations Police is a national plainclothes organization comparable in some respects to the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

During the colonial period, there existed a fifty-man police unit known as the Queen's Dragoons, which was responsible for law enforcement in the Santiago area. This force changed its name to Dragons of Chile (Dragones de Chile) in the early years of the republic and, by 1850, had increased in strength to 300. It was subsequently incorporated into the army as a cavalry regiment. By that time, civil police forces had also been set up in the major population centers. In 1881 the Rural Police Law created a separate rural police force in each province, and six years later each municipality was authorized to set up its own local police force.

In 1902 four of the army's seven cavalry regiments were ordered to detach a squadron apiece to form a new entity to be known as the Border Police (Gendarmes de la Frontera) and to be engaged primarily in the suppression of banditry in the less developed regions of the country. Despite being administratively and operationally subordinate to the Ministry of Interior, this unit remained ultimately under the jurisdiction of the minister of war. Five years later, it acquired a larger establishment and changed its name to the Carabineros Regiment (Regimiento de Carabineros).

Although still lacking a formal permanent institutional existence, in 1909 the Carabineros established an Institute of Instruction and Education, which admitted its first class of police cadets in August of that year. Five years later, the responsibilities of the force were extended to railroad security. Finally, in 1919, the force acquired a formal independent existence under the Ministry of Interior, and its title was changed again to the Carabineros Corps (Cuerpo de Carabineros). Six years later, by which time the corps consisted of 204 officers and 3,760 enlisted personnel, the Carabineros acquired a new organization that combined their various independent squadrons into five Rural Service Regiments, together with a Railway Regiment, Training Regiment, and Customs Squadron, the latter based at Valparaíso.

The strength, resources, and qualities of the various municipal and rural police forces varied enormously. In 1924, in an effort to provide a degree of uniformity, the country was divided into five police zones, with their headquarters at Antofagasta, Valparaíso, Santiago, Talca, and Concepción. The same law divided the police functionally into three divisions: the Public Order Division, entrusted with general peacekeeping on a relatively passive level; the Security Division, with a role of active law enforcement; and the Identification Division, which embraced record keeping and general crime detection. This arrangement provided for the coordination of the activities of the various existing law enforcement agencies, on a zonal basis, with the General Directorate of Police (Dirección General de Policía) at the national level. At that time, in the mid-1920s, the various police forces numbered 728 officers and 8,628 enlisted personnel.

Although now downgraded in importance, the provinces and the municipalities continued to maintain their individual police forces. Only the municipal police of Santiago and Valparaíso seem to have been effective, however, and in 1927 all law enforcement agencies were incorporated in a single national force, the Carabineros of Chile. The force had a total strength of 1,123 officers and 15,420 enlisted personnel in 1929.

In 1993 the Carabineros numbered 31,000, including officers, noncommissioned officers (NCOs), and a significant women's element. Although normally under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Interior, the Carabineros were put under the Ministry of Defense during the period of national emergency following the overthrow of the Allende regime. Despite the return of civilian government in 1990, the Carabineros remain subordinate to the Ministry of Defense, but their operations are coordinated by the Ministry of Interior. The Aylwin administration authorized an increase in strength of 1,100 annually over the 1991-94 period.

The Carabineros are commanded by a director general and organized geographically into three main zones--the Northern Zone, the Central Zone, and the Southern Zone. Each of these zones is in turn subdivided into prefectures (prefecturas), subprefectures (subprefecturas), commissariats (comisarías), subcommissariats (subcomisarías), lieutenancies (tenencias), reserves (retenes), and outposts (puestos avanzados).

The Carabineros also include marine and air sections. The Air Police, which ranks as a separate prefecture, dates from 1946, when it was formed with a single Aeronca Champion aircraft. The Air Police acquired its first helicopter in 1968; by 1993 its inventory of helicopters had increased to fourteen.

Operationally, the Carabineros are divided into seventeen departments: analysis and evaluation, armaments and munitions, borders and boundaries, civic action, data processing, drug control and prevention of offenses, finance, forestry, internal security, legal, minors, police services, public relations, social action, supply, traffic control, and transport. In addition to their normal law enforcement and allied functions, the Carabineros perform extensive civic action, including the provision of medical and dental services to the populations of the less developed regions of the country and the protection of forests and wildlife. The Carabineros are also responsible for customs control and the Presidential Guard. Separate prefectures deal with the Air Police, the Radio Patrol, and the Special Forces.

The largest single concentration of Carabineros is in Santiago, where apart from headquarters and administrative personnel, the schools, and the Presidential Guard, there are five geographical prefectures: the Central Prefecture, North Prefecture, South Prefecture , East Prefecture, and West Prefecture. These are in turn subdivided into twenty-six territorial and nine operational commissariats. Service in the Carabineros is voluntary, and admission standards are high. Applicants are required to have completed secondary school and to have passed exacting physical examinations and psychological tests. A highly professional organization, the Carabineros have enjoyed a prestige and universal respect that are almost unique among Latin American police forces. The force's principal problem at the beginning of the 1990s was the lack of adequate resources to combat crime. Although budget appropriations for the Carabineros had risen steadily in the early 1990s (from US$37 million in 1990 to US$78 million in 1993), low pay and even inadequate clothing were a source of discontent within the ranks. The force has its own cadet, NCO, and staff officer schools, in addition to a specialists' training center, all of which are located in Los Cerrillos, Santiago.

The Carabineros wear an olive-drab uniform with green trim, a high-crowned cap with brown leather visor, and brown leather apparel. Motorcycle police wear white crash helmets and gauntlets with the standard service uniform. Riot helmets and shields are used by special units. Female members wear a version of the male uniform with skirt and hard-crowned, kepi-type cap. Officers' rank insignia are identical to these of the army but are worn on silver rather than gold shoulder straps and plaits. NCO rank insignia are in silver lace and worn on the upper sleeve.

The Investigations Police, numbering about 4,000, is a plainclothes civilian agency engaged primarily in the detection and investigation of crime. Headquartered in Santiago, the force has seven substations in other parts of Chile. It functions throughout the country in support of the Carabineros. Operationally, its chain of command runs from the director general through a deputy director to the inspectors in charge of the provincial substations. Functionally, it is divided into a number of departments, including administration, foreign and internal police, health, justice, personnel, and welfare. The force also includes the Air Police Brigade, responsible for airport surveillance; the National Identification Bureau, which keeps records of all adult citizens and foreign residents and issues identification cards that must be carried at all times; and the Forensic Medicine Laboratory. In addition, the Special Units Prefecture comprises six brigades dealing with fraud, murder, robberies, vehicle theft, vice, and women's affairs.

The Investigations Police functions in close collaboration with the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) and with the intelligence services of the army, navy, and air force. During the military government, some Investigations Police agents became involved in criminal activities. By early 1992, its new director, Horácio Toro, a retired army general appointed by the Aylwin government, had withdrawn more than 200 officers from duty because of their alleged involvement in drug trafficking.

In the immediate aftermath of the 1973 coup, a semiformal umbrella group, the National Intelligence Directorate (Dirección Nacional de Inteligencia--DINA), was formed, ostensibly to coordinate the activities of the intelligence services of the army, navy, air force, Carabineros, and Investigations Police. From the beginning, DINA functioned as a secret police and was engaged in the repression of dissidence within the state and the exaction of revenge on its enemies without. So notorious were its activities that of 957 identified "disappearances" of enemies of the Pinochet regime, DINA was blamed by the Rettig Commission on human rights abuses for perpetrating 392.

DINA has also been linked by prosecutors in the United States, Italy, Argentina, and Chile to the murder of General Carlos Prats, the former commander in chief of the army, in Buenos Aires in 1974; the attempted murder of Bernardo Leighton, the Christian Democratic leader, in Rome in 1974; and the assassination of Orlando Letelier, a former member of the Allende administration and ambassador to the United States under the Popular Unity (Unidad Popular) regime, in Washington in 1976. DINA was abolished in 1977 and replaced by a new organization known as the National Information Center (Centro Nacional de Información--CNI).

The functions of the CNI combined those functions carried out by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), FBI, and Secret Service. Although human rights abuses abated significantly after the abolition of DINA, its successor continued to draw criticism and was disbanded upon the return of civilian government in 1990. Most of its approximately 2,000 operatives were absorbed either by army intelligence or by a new coordinating body for military intelligence, operating under the aegis of the National Defense Staff and known as the Directorate of National Defense Intelligence (Dirección de Inteligencia de la Defensa Nacional-- DIDN). The DIDN concerns itself primarily with defense rather than with internal intelligence.

The Aylwin government relied mainly on the Investigations Police to combat terrorist groups. Technical assistance has been obtained from Italy and Germany. The Carabineras created a new countersubversive intelligence body in May 1990, the Directorate of Carabineros Political Intelligence (Dirección de Inteligencia de Carabineros--Dipolcar). Its previous unit was implicated in human rights violations. In early 1993, the government was finally able to enact new legislation, after more than a year of congressional delays in approving the project, creating the Directorate of Public Security and Information (Dirección de Seguridad Pública e Informaciones). The new directorate is under the Ministry of Interior and allows the ministry to coordinate the intelligence and anticrime and antiterrorist activities of the Carabineros and Investigations Police.


The Constitution forbids the use of excessive pressure on detainees; however, the Corporation for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights of the People (CODEPU) has received reports of abuse and mistreatment by both the Carabineros and the Investigations Police. When requested by other human rights organizations or family members, CODEPU lawyers visit detainees during the interrogation and represent some suspected terrorists in court. The CODEPU continues to investigate alleged use of excessive force against detainees. The Minister of Interior asks the courts to conduct independent investigations of credible complaints of police abuse, but such investigations often do not result in arrests, due in part to the reluctance of judges to pursue the issue vigorously.

The law provides that if a member of the police force uses "torture or unlawful coercion," either physical or mental, or orders them to be applied, or commits them against a person under arrest or detention, the officer would be sentenced to imprisonment. Officers who know about the abuse and have the "necessary power and authority" to prevent or stop it also would be considered accessories to the crime if they fail to do so. The CODEPU has found that this law had an important impact on the conduct of the Investigative Police, but less so in the case of the Carabineros.

In August, 2000, the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO) published a report on complaints filed in the courts of police violence in the country. The report indicates that reports of police violence which have come before the courts have more than doubled over the last decade. The author speculates that some, but not all, of the increase may be attributable to an increased willingness on the part of citizens to report police mistreatment and the rise in arrests for certain types of crimes.

The authorities generally respect constitutional provisions for arrest and detention; however, detainees often are not advised promptly of charges against them nor granted a timely hearing before a judge. The Constitution allows civilian and military courts to order detention for up to 5 days without arraignment and to extend the detention of alleged terrorists for up to 10 days. The law affords detainees 30 minutes of immediate and subsequent daily access to a lawyer (in the presence of a prison guard) and to a doctor to verify their physical condition. The law does not permit a judge to deny such access; police authorities generally observe these requirements.

In practice many detainees are not advised promptly of charges against them, and they are not granted a timely hearing before a judge. The most recent statistics available showed that at the end of 1999, 8 percent of the general prison population of 24,791 was under investigation but not charged with a crime; 45 percent were charged with an offense and were awaiting trial or had been convicted and were awaiting sentencing; and 48 percent were serving sentences.

The law requires police to inform those detained of their rights, to expedite notification of the detention to family members, and eliminates the ability of police to demand identification from or stop persons based solely on suspicion. The law also prohibits physical abuse by police against detained persons. The Constitution allows judges to set bail.

An amnesty law that went into effect on July 19 allows for the commutation of sentences for invalids suffering a grave and incurable illness that prevents them from moving about by their own means. In the case of those convicted of crimes of terrorism, their sentence is to be commuted to exile if another country agrees to accept them.


The 1925 constitution introduced reforms aimed at depoliticizing and improving the judicial system by guaranteeing judicial independence. Chile's justice system established itself as one of the best on the South American continent, despite a serious lack of resources and inadequate attention to the needs of the nation's poorest citizens.

During the Popular Unity government, the Supreme Court repeatedly clashed with the president and his associates. The Allende government viewed the court as a conservative and inflexible power, obsessed with a literal definition of a law designed to protect the privileges of private property against the new logic of a revolutionary time. The Supreme Court retorted vehemently that its task was simply to follow the dictates of the law, not to change it to suit some other objective.

The courts had much less difficulty dealing with the military regime, which left the court system virtually intact. As soon as the courts accepted the legitimacy of the military junta as the new executive and legislative power, they worked diligently to adjudicate matters in conformity with the new decree laws, even when the latter violated the spirit and letter of the constitution. In particular, the courts did nothing to address the serious issue of human rights violations, continuously deferring to the military and security services. The Supreme Court saw its own jurisdiction severely eroded as the military justice system expanded to encompass a wide range of national security matters that went far beyond institutional concerns.

According to the 1925 constitution, modified somewhat by the 1980 document, the Supreme Court can declare a particular law, decree law, or international treaty "inapplicable because of unconstitutionality." This does not invalidate the statute or measure for all cases, only for the one under consideration. Another important function of the Supreme Court is the administration of the court system. The organization and jurisdiction of Chile's courts were established in the Organic Code of the Tribunals (Law 7,241) adopted in 1943. This law was modified on several occasions; two recent instances are the organic constitutional Law 18,969 of March 10, 1990, and Law 19,124 of February 2, 1992. Chile's ordinary courts consist of the Supreme Court, the appellate courts (cortes de apelación), major claims courts, and various local courts (juzgados de letras). There is also a series of special courts, such as the juvenile courts, labor courts, and military courts in time of peace. The local courts consist of one or more tribunals specifically assigned to each of the country's communes, Chile's smallest administrative units. In larger jurisdictions, the local courts may specialize in criminal cases or civil cases, as defined by law.

Chile has sixteen appellate courts, each with jurisdiction over one or more provinces. The majority of the courts have four members, although the two largest courts have thirteen members, and Santiago's Appellate Court (Corte de Apelación) has twenty-five. The Supreme Court consists of seventeen members, who select a president from their number for a three-year term. The Supreme Court carries out its functions with separate chambers consisting of at least five judges each, presided over by the most senior member or the president of the court.

Members and prosecutors of the Supreme Court are appointed by the president of the republic, who selects them from a slate of five persons proposed by the court itself. At least two must be senior judges on an appellate court. The others can include candidates from outside the judicial system. The justices and prosecutors of each appellate court are also appointed by the president from a slate of three candidates submitted by the Supreme Court, only one of whom can be from outside the judicial system. In order to be appointed, ordinary judges at the local level are appointed by the president from a slate of three persons submitted by a court of appeals. They must be lawyers, must be at least twenty-five years old, and must have judicial experience. Ministers of the appeals courts must be at least thirty-two years old, and Supreme Court ministers must be at least thirty-six years old, with a specified number of years of judicial or legal experience. Judges serve for life and cannot be removed except for inappropriate behavior.

The relationship between the Aylwin administration and the Supreme Court was tense. Pinochet offered extraordinary retirement bonuses to the eldest court members to ensure the appointment of relatively young judges who were friends of the outgoing regime. The parties of the CPD were highly critical of these appointments and made no secret of their strong disapproval of the Supreme Court's behavior under the military government, particularly its complete disregard for the massive violations of human rights. Responding to these concerns, the Aylwin administration introduced constitutional reform legislation that would overhaul the nomination procedure for Supreme Court ministers, create a separate administrative structure for the judicial branch, and obligate the Supreme Court to take a more vigilant role in the protection of human rights. These reform efforts failed because the parties of the right refused to go along with change in the face of strong opposition from the Supreme Court, which was fearful that it would lose its prerogatives and concerned that the judicial system would become "politicized." Still pending as Aylwin's term neared its end were reforms of the military justice system with its authority to try civilians in areas of national security and to judge military personnel even when charged with a criminal or civil crime against civilians.

Today, the Constitution provides for a judicial system independent of the other branches of government, and continued turnover in the court system has reduced greatly the number and influence of military-era appointees over the judiciary.

Cases decided in the lower courts can be referred to appeals courts and ultimately to the Supreme Court. Criminal court judges are appointed for life. Constitutional reforms set 75 as the age limit for Supreme Court justices, gave the Senate the right to approve or disapprove presidential nominations to the Court, and increased court membership from 17 to 21. Of the 21 justices on the Supreme Court, 2 were appointed under the military regime. The Supreme Court prepares lists of nominees for the Supreme Court and appeals courts, from which the President makes nominations. The Supreme Court continues to work with the other branches of government on broad judicial reform.

If formal charges are filed in civilian courts against a member of the military, including the Carabineros the military prosecutor asks for jurisdiction, which the Supreme Court sometimes has granted. This is of particular consequence in human rights cases from the period covered by the Amnesty Law. In addition, military courts have the authority to charge and try civilians for terrorist acts, defamation of military personnel, and sedition. Rulings by military tribunals may be appealed to the Supreme Court. Persons accused of terrorist acts and persons arrested during demonstrations for assaulting a police officer are brought before military tribunals.

Civilians prosecuted in military courts have the same legal protections as those prosecuted in civilian courts. They are entitled to counsel, the charges are public, the sentencing guidelines are the same (with the exception that the death penalty can be imposed in a military court but not in a civilian court) and appeals ultimately may be heard by the Supreme Court. The primary difference in the middle court system is that the initial investigation and charges are brought by a military prosecutor and the first instance of appeal is in a Court Martial, composed of two civilian and three military judges.

A 1997 judicial reform law created the post of Attorney General, with a 10-year term, and a related ministry office that is expected to be in full operation by 2002. An office of Public Defender also was established to provide professional legal counsel to anyone who should seek such assistance. The judicial reform law, which applies to criminal cases, provides that national and regional prosecutors investigate crimes and formulate charges, leaving judges and magistrates the narrower function of judging the merits of evidence presented to them. Training and administrative setup began in 1999, and implementation began in December 2000, with oral trials in 2 of the 13 political regions. In October three additional regions began implementing the reform. Initial reports indicate that the reform has resulted in a more transparent process, greater respect for defendants' rights, and speedier trials.

The preexisting criminal justice system does not provide for trial by jury. In those regions where the judicial reform law has yet to be implemented, criminal proceedings are inquisitorial rather than adversarial. The Constitution provides for the right to legal counsel, but indigent defendants, who account for the majority of the cases, have not always received effective legal representation. They are usually represented by someone from the Government's legal assistance corporation, often a law student finishing his/her studies and doing a mandatory internship. On occasion, the court may appoint a lawyer.

There have been no reports of political prisoners, although inmates in Santiago's maximum-security prison who have been convicted of terrorist acts routinely claim to be political prisoners.


The penal system has been standardized since 1930, coming under the jurisdiction of the minister of justice. The system emphasizes the rehabilitation of the offender as its primary goal. The normal prison regime is humane; the degree of confinement is reduced progressively throughout the duration of the prisoner's sentence and ends, subject to good behavior, in conditional release for periods up to 50 percent of the total sentence. The lengths of the successive stages in the relaxation of the prison regime are varied and are implemented on the basis of semiannual judicial review, which takes into account behavior and perceived progress toward rehabilitation.

Under the Criminal Code, all persons sentenced for periods between sixty-one days and five years are obligated to work. Prisoners are remunerated for their work on a rising scale as they progress through the penal system and are eligible for the benefits of social insurance on the same basis as those in voluntary employment. However, a percentage of prisoners' earnings is deducted to cover their keep and the maintenance of the penal service and as a contribution toward the discharge of civil responsibility arising from their offenses. Work can be either directly for the state, on contract, or on lease. Examples of work for the state include manufacture of such items as road signs or automobile license plates, or public road construction and maintenance. Work on contract to private firms or individuals is still carried out within the penal institution, but with tools and materials supplied by the contractor. Work on lease differs inasmuch as the private contractor is responsible for the housing and maintenance of the prisoner in secure conditions. Prisoners may also undertake additional discretionary work of a gainful nature within certain limitations laid down by the prisons administration.

There are some 140 penal institutions of various types with a capacity for approximately 15,000 inmates. Of these about sixtyfive are intended to house short-term (sixty-day maximum) or remand prisoners; six are intended for long-term prisoners; twenty-three are correctional institutions for females and are supervised by a Catholic order of nuns; one is an open prison, located on Isla Santa María, southwest of Concepción; one is a special institution for juvenile offenders; and the remainder house prisoners serving sentences of between sixty-one days and five years. These are administered by the Gendarmerie, or Judicial Police of Chile (Gendarmería de Chile), which reports to the Ministry of Justice and numbers approximately 4,000 members.

A combination of social and political factors have inflated the prison population relative to its capacity; in 1990 it exceeded 25,000 inmates. Some 60 percent of these were on remand awaiting trial. After the riots of 1980, the military regime was widely condemned for crowding 1,800 inmates into Santiago's San Bernardo Prison. However, the same institution, designed to hold 800, housed 3,300 inmates during the third quarter of 1990.

Prisons are often overcrowded and antiquated. On May 20, 2000, a fire broke out in the prison in Iquique that led to the death of 26 prisoners. A police investigation into the circumstances surrounding the fire and the subsequent response by prison officials continued at year's end. The Ministry of Justice announced a $5 million (3 billion pesos) program in all prisons to develop contingency planning for emergencies and prevent such incidents from occurring in the future.

Overcrowding in prisons continues to be a focus of concern within the Government. The Ministry of Justice stated that in mid-October there were 34,335 prisoners in prisons designed to lodge 23,025 inmates. On October 17, the Ministry of Justice opened bids on 3 new prisons, to be completed in December 2003 and designed initially to house 4,800 prisoners. These prisons are part of a plan to construct 10 new prisons in the next several years, to house an initial population of 16,000 prisoners. Even with this ambitious construction program, the growing prison population is projected to continue to exceed the space available. Food meets minimal nutritional needs, and prisoners may supplement the diet by buying food. Those with sufficient funds often can rent space in a better wing of the prison.

Although most reports state that the guards generally behave responsibly and do not mistreat prisoners, prisoners have complained to CODEPU about beatings, and the courts have received numerous complaints of mistreatment of prisoners. Prison guards have been accused of using excessive force to stop attempted prison breaks. During the year, two prison guards were convicted of abusing prisoners in the "Alfa" unit of the Colina high security prison. Pretrial detainees generally are not held with convicted prisoners. Statistics on complaints of mistreatment and reliable reporting of such instances during the year were not available.

The CODEPU is particularly concerned about the treatment of prisoners in maximum-security prisons and prisoners with HIV/AIDS and mental deficiencies who often do not receive adequate medical attention.

Women generally are housed in separate facilities, which tend to be less crowded and with somewhat better conditions than men's prisons.

By law, juvenile offenders (those under the age of 18) are segregated from adult prisoners. According to the latest available figures, there were 422 minors in adult prisons at the end of 1998. The National Minors Service began construction of two juvenile detention centers during the year and two more are planned or under consideration for 2002.

The Government permits prison visits by independent human rights monitors.



Serious problems affecting women in Chile include sexual and domestic violence. The public is becoming increasingly aware of the extent of physical abuse of women. During the year 2000, the National Women's Service (SERNAM), which combats discrimination against women, conducted courses on the legal, medical, and psychological aspects of domestic violence for police officers and judicial and municipal authorities. A 1994 law specifically prohibits violence within the family. A study done in July by the University of Chile indicates that over half the women in the country have experienced violence in their relationship with their partner. The study calculates that 34 percent of women have been subject to physical violence (of which 14.9 percent was sexual violence) and another 16.3 percent have suffered psychological violence. Since the law on intrafamily violence went into effect, the number of cases presented in the courts has increased from 1,419 in 1994 to 73,559 in 1999. In July SERNAM and over 70 NGO's initiated a campaign that included prominently displayed posters and other activities designed to increase public awareness of the problem of violence against women and reduce its incidence.

The courts may order counseling for those involved in intrafamily violence. At the end of 2000, there were 12 government and 8 private centers to attend to victims of intrafamily violence; the Government opened 5 additional centers during the year.

In 1999 a law took effect increasing the penalties for sexual abuse. The legislation includes clauses to facilitate proof of the crime and to protect the privacy and safety of the person making the charge. The Citizens' Peace Foundation indicated that there were 1,250 cases of rape reported to the police in 2000, 1,297 in 1999, and 1,052 in 1998. Experts believe that a majority of rape cases go unreported.

Adult prostitution is not legal nor is it expressly illegal. Police habitually round up prostitutes (usually as a result of complaints by residents of the neighborhood) and accuse them of "offenses against morality" which can lead to a $75 (50,000 pesos) fine or 5 days in prison.

There are no laws against sexual harassment, although it is generally recognized as a problem in Chile.


Violence against children is a serious problem, although it appears to be declining. A survey of 8th grade students by UNICEF comparing the incidence of mistreatment in the years 1994 and 2000 showed that in 1994, 63 percent of children had been subject to some sort of physical violence compared to 54 percent at the end of the period. During the same period, those having suffered some sort of serious physical violence from their parents had fallen from 34 percent to 25 percent. Violence by the mother (21.3 percent) was almost twice as frequent as violence by the father (11.9 percent), and violence in low-income households (31 percent) almost double that in high-income households (16.3 percent).

A 1999 report by the National Minors Service (SENAME) noted that it had handled the cases of 5,453 mistreated children for the first 6 months of that year; 583 of these cases were judged severe enough to be presented to legal authorities. The SENAME reported that 9,723 cases of abuse were brought to its attention in 1998. From mid-1998 to December 1999, the SENAME brought to the courts 713 cases for child abuse, 314 for rape, 292 for sexual abuse, 79 for grave harm done to children, and 28 cases of homicide. Of the cases, 70 percent came to trial, of which 80 percent resulted in convictions. Beginning in 1997, the SENAME lawyers began receiving specialized training in child abuse cases, leading to a higher conviction rate of offenders according to the Director of the organization. A report from the La Morada Corporation for Women released in 1999 estimated that there are 20,000 cases of sexual abuse of children every year.

A 1996 UNICEF report stated that 34 percent of children under 12 years of age experience serious physical violence, although only 3.2 percent of the victims of intrafamily violence reported to the Carabineros family affairs unit were below the age of 18. A 1994 law on intrafamily violence was designed in part to address this problem. According to UNICEF, some form of corporal punishment is used by one or both parents in 62 percent of households.

There are legal sanctions for adults who are found to have induced children under the age of 18 to engage in commercial sex or engage them for the purposes of pornography. UNICEF estimated in 1999 that there were roughly 10,000 child prostitutes between the ages of 6 and 18. The age of consent is 12 years; the law is vague regarding child prostitution above this age unless force, fraud, or abuse of authority can be proven.

Police and social workers attempt to place child prostitutes found on the streets in juvenile homes.


There are no laws that specifically prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons; however, the law makes it a crime for anyone to promote or facilitate the entry to or exit from the country of persons for the purpose of facilitating prostitution. Sanctions are increased in cases in which the victim is a minor; in which violence or intimidation is used; if deception or abuse of authority is involved; if the victim is related or under the tutelage of the perpetrator; if advantage is taken of a victim's circumstances or handicap; or if the action is of a recurring nature. There were no reports that persons were trafficked to or from the country.

The Government employs various measures to help educate the general population on trafficking. For example, the Carabinero Public Relations Department has carried out lectures on prevention intended for children, adolescents, and adults with the purpose of preventing the disappearance of minors and adolescents as well as avoiding deception. Other organizations such as Mother's Centers (CEMA), and the National Service for Minors also offer support programs to prevent trafficking.

If cases of trafficking in persons were to arise, the police, Justice and Interior Ministries, SERNAM (if the cases involved women), or SENAME (if the cases involved children) would respond.


Chile long remained relatively unaffected either by drug trafficking or by extensive drug abuse. Some expansion, both of drug trafficking and of narcotics abuse, occurred during the late 1960s and early 1970s, reflecting an international trend. By the early 1970s, Chile had become an important regional center for cocaine processing. The problem had become sufficiently acute to occasion the passage of the country's first antinarcotics law by Allende's Popular Unity government early in 1973. Later that year, the military government formed a special narcotics unit within the Caribineros and began a big crackdown. This was highly effective, bringing the narcotics problem under control within a year. The Carabineros also pioneered the introduction of antinarcotics-oriented youth education programs. A pilot project was set up in 1976, eight years before any comparable program was initiated in the United States. Toward the end of the period of military rule, a new form of drug-related crime was noted in the northern Chilean provinces adjoining the Bolivian and Peruvian frontiers: the illicit exporting to Peru and Bolivia of chemicals used in the processing of cocaine.

Since the early 1980s, drug trafficking has been growing in Chile. The country has become more prone to drug trafficking not only because of its geographic configuration and location, bordering on the world's two leading producers of coca--Peru and Bolivia--but also because of its economic stability. With its openmarket economy and bank-secrecy laws, Chile is an attractive haven for money laundering. A number of drug traffickers who were expelled by the military regime after the 1973 coup cultivated contacts with drug-trafficking groups while living in exile in the United States and Europe. On returning to Chile to reside, these traffickers, acting as finance men and heads of operations, profited from their international contacts. Chile served as a good transit country also because of its booming export activities. In mid-1992 an operational director of the Carabineros reported that money obtained through drug trafficking was being laundered through the construction industry in central Chile and the fishing industry in the far south.

In order to enhance the country's antidrug capabilities, the Aylwin government signed several antidrug agreements in 1992, including one with Italy in October (which also included antiterrorist cooperation) and one with Bolivia in November. Chile's most serious drug-related problems by 1992 reportedly involved transit through the country along the northern corridor to Arica. In early 1993, a new cocaine/cocaine paste drug route reportedly came from Bolivia through the Azapa Valley, an area with a sizable Bolivian and Peruvian population located to the east of the city of Arica. At that time, the Investigations Police began implementing a new drug enforcement plan, with the aid of a turbo Cessna 206 for patrolling the area along the Bolivian and Peruvian borders, in coordination with motor vehicles and twenty powerful all-terrain Cagiva motorcycles, donated by Italy.

After 1989 drug-related crime increased dramatically, particularly in the northern part of the country, to the extent that police reportedly estimated in 1990 that 20 percent of the population of the city of Arica between the ages of fifteen and thirty-four were habitual drug users. Of 385 homicides (or 0.3 per 10,000) in Chile during 1990, nearly 20 percent were classified as drug related. By comparison, eight were classified as resulting from acts of terrorism. During 1990 about 30 percent of robberies were also said to be drug related. The size of drug seizures varied considerably. In 1991 some 220,000 kilograms of cocaine were seized, compared with 36,500 in 1988 and 798,000 in 1989. Police estimated that only 10 percent of the drug traffic was getting intercepted. Most of the cocaine seizures occurred in the northern port of Arica.


During the first five years of the Pinochet regime (1973-78), the armed forces and security forces successfully contained leftwing resistance against the government. Many members of Chile's oldest left-wing extremist group, the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (Movimiento de la Izquierda Revolucionaria--MIR), which was founded in 1965 and had close ties to Cuba, were killed or exiled. Nevertheless, the MIR remnants, under the leadership of the late Salvador Allende's nephew, Andrés Pascal Allende, continued to operate a small underground network in Chile. The MIR's principal leader, Miguel Enríquez, returned clandestinely to Chile in 1978 to revitalize the movement and organize for armed struggle and was soon joined by newly infiltrated cadres who had been trained in Cuba and Nicaragua. The security forces kept the MIR off balance, however, and Enríquez was killed in September 1983.

Several new left-wing terrorist groups emerged in the early 1980s. One was the United Popular Action Movement-Lautaro (Movimiento de Acción Popular Unitario-Lautaro--MAPU-L), a splinter of the United Popular Action Movement (Movimiento de Acción Popular Unitario--MAPU), a party founded in 1969 by a breakaway group from the Christian Democrats. Many MAPU leaders embraced Marxist positions, but the party was not a terrorist group. In December 1982, the MAPU-L established a youth group, the Lautaro Youth Movement (Movimiento de Juventud Lautaro--MJL), and a group dedicated to the overthrow of the military government, the Lautaro Popular Rebel Forces (Fuerzas Rebeldes Popular Lautaro--FRPL).

The Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front (Frente Patriótica Manuel Rodríguez--FPMR), an armed group affiliated with the Communist Party of Chile (Partido Comunista de Chile--PCCh), was formed in 1983. In response to increased armed attacks, the regime promulgated the 1984 Antiterrorist Law, which greatly expanded the list of crimes that could be categorized as terrorism.

In the second half of the 1980s, the FPMR became the dominant terrorist group, emerging as a sophisticated, well-trained, and well-supported terrorist organization. Just how strong it was became evident in August 1986 when the security forces captured a huge FPMR arms cache that was traced to Cuba. That September FPMR commandos nearly succeeded in assassinating Pinochet with M-16 assault rifles and antitank rockets. In response to these two events, Pinochet declared a state of siege and mounted an offensive against the FPMR and MIR.

Intensified police and security-service pressure on the FPMR and MIR continued throughout 1987, inhibiting the groups' activities. That year the FPMR splintered as a result of the PCCh's denunciation of violence; the breakaway Maoist-oriented FPMRAutonomous (FPMR-Autónomo--FPMR-A) became the most active left-wing terrorist group, whereas the FPMR followed the PCCh's line and laid down its arms after the restoration of democracy in 1990. Mainly as a result of FPMR-A activities, terrorist attacks increased in the late 1980s.

Meanwhile, the security forces failed to apprehend any members of right-wing extremist groups, such as the Chilean Anti-Communist Action Group (Acción Chilena Anticomunista--AChA) and the Nationalist Combat Front (Frente Nacionalista de Combate--FNC). The ability of these groups to operate with apparent impunity led to speculation in the late 1980s that their actions were unofficially sanctioned by some officials in the security forces.

The rationale for continued left-wing subversion and right-wing counterterror effectively vanished with the return of civilian government in 1990. Many left-wing extremists who had fled the country following the 1973 coup were allowed to return in 1990. Nevertheless, left-wing terrorism did not disappear. Within a few months after President Aylwin's accession to power, the FPMR-A and MJL showed that they remained committed to armed struggle and were responsible for most of the increased number of terrorist incidents in the early 1990s. The total number of documented terrorist actions during the first year of the Aylwin government was 207 (including 148 attacks on buildings and other properties), compared with 465 similar actions during 1984 and 401 in 1985--two peak years for terrorist activity during the latter half of the period of military rule.

The Aylwin government's attempts to control terrorism were quite successful. In 1991 it expanded training and increased efforts by the Investigations Police and the Carabineros. Police improved their counterterrorism capabilities, surpassing the effectiveness of the military government. This was made evident by their success in arresting numerous leaders and in uncovering several safe houses and training sites used by Chilean terrorists. By early 1993, more than 200 terrorist militants were under indictment. The capture of many top leaders of the MAPU-L and FPMRA crippled these organizations, and terrorist incidents declined. The Aylwin government appointed special investigating judges to try the more serious cases of terrorism, such as the assassination of Senator Jaime Guzmán Errázuriz on April 1, 1991.

Neither terrorism nor foreign military aggression posed a significant threat to Chilean national security in early 1994. The establishment of democratic governments in both Argentina and Chile has resulted in unprecedented economic, political, and even military cooperation between the two countries. By early 1994, both countries had ratified the Tlatelolco Treaty, which bans the development of nuclear weapons.

Nevertheless, many Chileans believe there is a constant threat from neighboring countries. Consequently, Chile is attempting to maintain a credible deterrent force. Occasional border disputes still occur, so Argentina, Chile, and Peru attempt to be prepared to use military force, if necessary, in defense of their perceived national interests. The overall situation of the Chilean Armed Forces in early 1994 was positive, but modernization of their forces had become a priority. Despite the lifting of the arms embargo, modernization was continuing to a significant extent within the framework of the national arms industry and indigenous technology. At the same time, the armed forces were looking to the European and United States arms markets for more advanced equipment to compete, for example, with the sale of thirty-six United Statesmade A-4M Skyhawk bombers to Argentina. It would be ironic, however, if the democratic governments in Argentina and Chile were to become involved in an arms race over mutual fears that the other side had a slight military supremacy.


Internet research assisted by Marie Xochitl Huerta

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