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    A Quick Way to Ruin A Good Country



    By Sigrid Weidenweber

    On September 4, 1970 the Marxist Salvador Allende was elected President of Chile by a bloc of Socialists, Communists and Radicals. Allende was a life-long Marxist/Communist who founded a socialist party at university where he studied for a medical degree in 1932. As soon as he attained power, he confiscated U.S.-owned copper companies without compensation. This expropriation cost him foreign investments and the confidence of the business community. He coerced the owners of large agricultural estates to sell their land, greatly undervalued, to the government for the use of peasant co-operatives. He authorized, and thereby forced, large wage increases and froze the prices of goods—redistributing wealth. Furthermore, to pay for his land deals and other industrial purchases, he had large amounts of currency printed—unsupported by any form of collateral. Of course, his closest foreign allies were China and Cuba.

    By 1972 Chile was ruined. Stagnant production, decreased exports, few money reserves, widespread strikes, inflation, and food shortages with riots were the result of his one-and-one-half year reign with a centralized, planned economy. Why am I boring you with old history? I am only pointing out that quickly forgotten history repeats itself.

    In 1973 an army coup ended the Allende regime. Allende chose to commit suicide to escape being held responsible for the many illegalities of his government. However, his Socialist associates promoted for years the myth of his demise that the army had killed him. The coup d’état established general Augusto Pinochet as president of a military government that immediately began to institute a decentralized, business friendly economy. Soon, the military promulgated the people-friendly Chilean Constitution of 1980, which the country adopted by plebiscite. In 1988 Pinochet lost a constitutionally mandated vote and, henceforth, regular democratic elections were the rule. For a period of about twenty years Chile was the envy of South America. It had the best, ever-growing economy and highest living standard among its neighbors.

    However, since the Allende regime’s old communists and socialists never rested. They compared Chile’s economy to the economy of the U.S. Since it did not measure up, they declared the government corrupt. They implanted the idea that Chile should have the same life-style the U. S. had achieved in a period of eighty years. Well, the socialist terror has begun. The demonstrations have started in favor of overturning the constitution that had granted Chile a stable, fairly successful period since 1980. The demonstrations are violent—the criminal elements are looting businesses, burning stores and warehouses. In the Friday, December 20, 2019 edition of the Wall Street Journal a report by Ryon Dube is featured together with the picture of a looted, burned-to-the-ground Walmart store. It is a frightening, sobering sight. As if by war, it displays an enormous area horrifically destroyed.

    This act of terror against a form of government happened in the remote desert town of Arica. Mr. Dube explains that the destroyed Walmart as an anchor tenant, held together a small community of other businesses that thrived. Well, they seem to have suffered too, and now the remote community has lost its only well-stocked shopping place. Now all is dead and subdued.

    What were the radical Marxists thinking will happen to the poor people in this area? They never think about the people, as I well remember. They only think of what will advance their agenda. In other areas, hotels were set on fire, restaurants vandalized, and subway stations demolished, causing $370 million in damage to a modern efficiently run metro. Who will be hurt? Those needing the metro to reach their jobs. The violent protests, the burning and looting, and the change in the constitution will accomplish two things, it will give power to the left and an immediate decline of economic growth and living standard to the population. The government has granted that a referendum on the constitution be held in April 2020. Leftists, once again seek to extinguish free-market economic models, to supplant them with central economic control and a purse held by a Socialist oligarchy.

    In the meantime, the destructive leftist forces are ruining the country. Mr. Dube reports that the unrests paralyze the economy—it contracted by 3.4% in October, the worst since 2009. The central bank had projected a 2.75% to 3.75 rise. Now the prediction is 1%, down from 4% in 2018. 85% of business leaders put investments on hold. 61% of executives brace for recession and higher unemployment. The government says that, in total, 14,800 business were damaged and 100,000 jobs were lost in the last two months. Some business leaders think that the billions of lost dollars will make recovery very difficult.

    The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.

     Sigrid Weidenweber grew up in communist East Berlin, escaping it using a French passport. Ms. Weidenweber holds a degree in medical technology as well as psychology and has course work in Anthropology.  She is co-founder of Aid for Afghans.  Weidenweber has traveled the world and lived with Pakistani Muslims, learning about the culture and religion. She is a published author and lecturer. You can find her books on

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