The people of Chile held celebrations on Monday (18 September) to mark the end of the military government's fifth year in power.
The people of Chile held celebrations on Monday (18 September) to mark the end of the military government's fifth year in power. And it was perhaps indicative of the government's turbulent period of office, that the anniversary activities were postponed for a week because of a crippling national strike.
SYNOPSIS: The celebrations were led by President Augusto Pinochet, who began the day by attending a special mass in Santiago Cathedral, accompanied by members of the ruling military junta, and diplomatic corps officials. The President stayed for the duration of the service, taken by Cardinal Silva Henriquez, before leading the official party through the streets of the capital to visit various displays of popular dancing and folklore.
The day's festivities were in sharp contrast to recent scenes of violence in the city brought on by a month-long strike by mine workers. So unsettled was the country on the actual anniversary day, September the eleventh, that all celebrations were postponed, and instead, President Pinochet gave a national radio broadcast announcing there would be no general elections in Chile for another six years. But despite international criticism of the governments rule, it has managed to cut inflation dramatically, and has put the country back on a stable economic footing.