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Yearbook 1996

Chile. According to, Chile became an associate member of the Mercosur Common Market on October 1. The Presidents of the four Member States of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay approved the entry at its tenth summit on June 25 in San Luis, Argentina, where Chile and Bolivia's presidents also participated. The decision gave Chile access to a market of just over 200 million consumers, but did not bind the country to Mercosur's customs rules against the outside world. Already during preparatory negotiations in March, the country gave up its opposition to the rapid settlement of customs duties, especially on agricultural products. In return, Mercosur's Member States gained access to the Chilean market, considered the region's most developed, and to the Pacific ports, which are important for trade with Asia.

1996 Chile

President Eduardo Frei's proposal for constitutional reform was slowed in the Senate by two votes in April. To go through, the proposals had required the support of 31 Senate members, but the votes cast 25 votes in favor and 21 against. This also led to one of the Senate committees not finding it meaningful to submit a supplemental bill that would speed up judicial investigations of crimes committed by military and security forces during the military dictatorship 1973-90. The President reformed the government on September 27. The president's secretary general, Genaro Arriagada, had to leave the government after fierce public criticism for his opposition to the reform proposals aimed at reducing the military's power. The Socialist Party (Partido Socialista, PS) again occupied the Ministry of Planning, and other new members were taken from the President-affiliated Christian Democratic Party (Partido Demˇcrata Cristiano, PDC). On the anniversary of the military coup 1973, September 11, close to 10,000 people gathered for a demonstration in Santiago against the coup. During police attacks against the protesters, 38 people were injured, twelve of them policemen, while 224 were arrested.

US Ambassador Gabriel Guerra-Mondragon announced July 22 that it was doubtful whether the United States would lift the export ban on modern weapons to Chile, "because the armed forces are not fully controlled by the civilian authorities."

Cuban leader Fidel Castro attended the Iberian-US Summit in Santiago in November.

In early December, Chile was visited by the Swedish royal couple and Minister of Industry Anders Sundstr÷m.

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