"Following a violent coup against democratically elected Marxist President Salvador Allende in 1973, Chile experienced 17 years of military rule under General Augusto Pinochet before reestablishing democratic rule in 1990. A center-left coalition of parties known as the Concertación has governed Chile over the two decades since the end of the dictatorship. In addition to addressing human rights violations from the Pinochet era, the coalition has enacted a number of constitutional changes designed to strengthen civilian democracy. Chile has made significant economic progress under the Concertación's free market economic policies and moderate social programs, which have produced notable economic growth and considerable reductions in poverty. Current President Michele Bachelet enjoys widespread popular support despite having faced a number of challenges since taking office in 2006. Throughout her term, Bachelet has been confronted by student demonstrations against the education system, increased militancy by indigenous groups, and opposition control of the legislature. The global financial crisis is President Bachelet's latest challenge, though the government's timely decision to save recent fiscal surpluses has allowed Chile to pursue counter-cyclical policies and minimize the effects of the economic downturn. […] This report provides a brief historical background of Chile, examines recent political and economic developments, and addresses issues in U.S.-Chilean relations"
CRS Report for Congress, R40126
U.S. Department of State: http://www.state.gov/