Sunday, March 05, 2017

Fires and Politics in Chile

An article in the Guardian says Augusto Pinochet's deregulation was partially responsible for the devastating wildfires.

Activists say that the seeds of the problem were sown decades ago, when Chile’s forestry industry was established in the early years of the Pinochet dictatorship. A 1974 government decree subsidised 70% of plantation costs, and over the next 40 years – and after the return to democracy – the sector received around $ 800m in taxpayers’ money. Three-quarters of the cash went to the two companies that dominate the industry: Arauco and CMPC.

Something critical is missing from this picture, namely the 20+ years of Concertación/Nueva Mayoría governments in power after the dictatorship. Yes, of course, Pinochet got all this deregulation going. But continued lack of regulation falls squarely on the shoulders of the center-left, which accepted the inherited model and left much of it untouched.


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