Much has been written in the popular press and elsewhere about what has become known as “The Chilean Miracle.” It is widely assumed by those who read about this “miracle” that what they’re reading is based on fact.
The reality is that much of what they are reading, is, in fact, true. Unfortunately, however, it is also largely a half-truth, that does not reflect the actual experience of ordinary Chileans on the ground.
I uncovered this reality a number of years ago when investigating what has happened in Chile since the coup against Salvadore Allende and the rise of Augusto Pinochet. I was interested simply because I had heard so much radically conflicting testimony, truly passionate testimony, on both sides. Such passion, amidst such contradiction, stirred my curiosity. I felt like I had to know what really happened in order to form a valid opinion, and to know what it really meant.
What I discovered is that the reality of Chile today is two-fold. The experience of what happened in Chile is strongly influenced by who you are: the realites of the poor and working class are vastly different than those of the upper classes and the upper middle class. Who benefitted and why from the Pinochet years has strongly influenced what has been written about that epochal time in Chilean, and Latin American, history.