Cultural Revolutions

Glasnost in Chile?

Glasnost in Chile? Pinochet is getting no credit for it. Yet at the same time General Secretary (and now also President) Gorbachev's policies are being hailed as major breakthroughs, departures from the previous (Brezhnev) era. They are deemed to hold out great promise for the people of the Soviet Union, if only they can succeed. Glasnost (openness) and perestroika (reconstruction) are widely praised by commentators as major moves to advance the Soviet Union toward a better society. There are some skeptics, of course—David Satter (in The New Republic) doubts that glasnost. can work. But on the whole, writers in The Nation, The New Yorker, and other prominent publications express basic respect for Mikhail Gorbachev's intentions and efforts.

In contrast, there is no one who likes General Pinochet. The question is, why? While he has been a ruthless opponent of political freedom in Chile for almost as long as he has been in power, in 1980 he helped forge a new constitution for that country that paves the way to full-scale political democracy. We have just witnessed one major result of this constitutional reform an initial election in Chile deciding whether Pinochet may serve for another full term or whether he has to step down within a year after his term expires. It looks like the general intends to abide by the outcome, and in March 1990 elections will be held...

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