The World Factbook (1990)/Chile

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The World Factbook (1990)
United States Central Intelligence Agency

pages 61–62


World Factbook (1990) Chile.jpg

 See regional map IV


Total area: 756,950 km²; land area: 748,800 km²; includes Isla de Pascua (Easter Island) and Isla Sala y Gómez

Comparative area: slightly smaller than twice the size of Montana

Land boundaries: 6,171 km total; Argentina 5,150 km, Bolivia 861 km, Peru 160 km

Coastline: 6,435 km

Maritime claims:

Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Continental shelf: 200 nm
Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Disputes: short section of the southern boundary with Argentina is indefinite; Bolivia has wanted a sovereign corridor to the South Pacific Ocean since the Atacama area was lost to Chile in 1884; dispute with Bolivia over Río Lauca water rights; territorial claim in Antarctica (Chilean Antarctic Territory) partially overlaps Argentine claim

Climate: temperate; desert in north; cool and damp in south

Terrain: low coastal mountains; fertile central valley; rugged Andes in east

Natural resources: copper, timber, iron ore, nitrates, precious metals, molybdenum

Land use: 7% arable land; NEGL% permanent crops; 16% meadows and pastures; 21% forest and woodland; 56% other; includes 2% irrigated

Environment: subject to severe earthquakes, active volcanism, tsunami; Atacama Desert one of world's driest regions; desertification

Note: strategic location relative to sea lanes between Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage)


Population: 13,082,842 (July 1990), growth rate 1.6% (1990)

Birth rate: 21 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 6 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 18 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 70 years male, 77 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 2.5 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Chilean(s); adjective—Chilean

Ethnic divisions: 95% European and European-Indian, 3% Indian, 2% other

Religion: 89% Roman Catholic, 11% Protestant, and small Jewish population

Language: Spanish

Literacy: 94%

Labor force: 3,840,000; 38.6% services (including 12% government), 31.3% industry and commerce; 15.9% agriculture, forestry, and fishing; 8.7% mining; 4.4% construction (1985)

Organized labor: 10% of labor force (1989)


Long-form name: Republic of Chile

Type: republic

Capital: Santiago

Administrative divisions: 13 region (regiones, singular—región); Aisén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo, Antofagasta, Araucania, Atacama, Bíobío, Coquimbo, Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins, Los Lagos, Magallanes y Antártica Chilena, Maule, Región Metropolitana, Tarapacá, Valparaiso

Independence: 18 September 1810 (from Spain)

Constitution: 11 September 1980, effective 11 March 1981; amended 30 July 1989

Legal system: based on Code of 1857 derived from Spanish law and subsequent codes influenced by French and Austrian law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

National holiday: Independence Day, 18 September (1810)

Executive branch: president, Cabinet

Legislative branch: bicameral National Congress (Congreso Nacional) consisting of an upper house or Senate and a lower house or Chamber of Deputies

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Corte Suprema)

Leaders: Chief of State and Head of Government—President Patricio AYLWIN (since 11 March 1990)

Political parties and leaders: National Renovation (RN), Sergio Jarpa, president; Radical Party (PR), Enrique Silva Cimma; Social Democratic Party (PSD), Eugenio Velasco; Christian Democratic Party (PDC), Andrés Zaldivar; Party for Democracy, Ricardo Lagos; Socialist Party, Clodomiro Almeyda; other parties are Movement of United Popular Action (MAPU), Victor Barrueto; Christian Left (IC), Luis Maira; Communist Party of Chile (PCCh), Volodia Teitelboim; Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR) is splintered, no single leader; several leftist and far left parties formed a new coalition in November 1988 with Luis Maira as president; the 17-party Concertation of Parties for Democracy backed Patricio Aylwin's presidential candidacy in December 1989

Suffrage: universal and compulsory at age 18

Elections: President—last held 14 December 1989 (next to be held December 1993 or January 1994); results—Patricio Aylwin 55.2%, Hernan Büchi 29.4%, other 15.4%;

Senate—last held 14 December 1989 (next to be held December 1993 or January 1994); seats—(47 total, 38 elected) 17-party Concertation of Parties for Democracy 22;

Chamber of Deputies—last held 14 December 1989 (next to be held December 1993 or January 1994); seats—(120 total) Concertation of Parties for Democracy 69

Communists: 120,000 when PCCh was legal in 1973; 50,000 (est.) active militants

Other political or pressure groups: revitalized university student federations at all major universities dominated by opposition political groups; labor—United Labor Central (CUT) includes trade unionists from the country's five-largest labor confederations; Roman Catholic Church


Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Octavio ERRAZURIZ; Chancery at 1732 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20036; telephone (202) 785-1746; there are Chilean Consulates General in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco; US—Ambassador Charles A. GILLESPIE, Jr.; Embassy at Codina Building, 1343 Agustinas, Santiago (mailing address is APO Miami 34033); telephone [56](2) 710133 or 710190, 710326, 710375

Flag: two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red; there is a blue square the same height as the white band at the hoist-side end of the white band; the square bears a white five-pointed star in the center; design was based on the US flag


Overview: In 1989 the economy grew at the rate of 9.9%, reflecting substantial growth in industry, agriculture, and construction. Copper accounts for nearly 50% of export revenues; Chile's economic well-being thus remains highly dependent on international copper prices. Unemployment and inflation rates have declined from their peaks in 1982 to 5.3% and 21.4%, respectively, in 1989. The major long-term economic problem is how to sustain growth in the face of political uncertainties.

GDP: $25.3 billion, per capita $1,970; real growth rate 9.9% (1989)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 21.4% (1989)

Unemployment rate: 5.3% (1989)

Budget: revenues $4.9 billion; expenditures $5.1 billion, including capital expenditures of $0.6 billion (1986)

Exports: $7.0 billion (f.o.b., 1988); commodities—copper 48%, industrial products 33%, molybdenum, iron ore, wood pulp, fishmeal, fruits; partners—EC 34%, US 22%, Japan 10%, Brazil 7%

Imports: $4.7 billion (f.o.b., 1988); commodities—petroleum, wheat, capital goods, spare parts, raw materials; partners—EC 23%, US 20%, Japan 10%, Brazil 9%

External debt: $16.3 billion (December 1989)

Industrial production: growth rate 7.4% (1989)

Electricity: 4,044,000 kW capacity; 17,710 million kWh produced, 1,380 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: copper, other minerals, foodstuffs, fish processing, iron and steel, wood and wood products

Agriculture: accounts for about 8% of GDP (including fishing and forestry); major exporter of fruit, fish, and timber products; major crops—wheat, corn, grapes, beans, sugar beets, potatoes, deciduous fruit; livestock products—beef, poultry, wool; self-sufficient in most foods; 1986 fish catch of 5.6 million metric tons net agricultural importer

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-88), $521 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $1.3 billion; Communist countries (1970-88), $386 million

Currency: Chilean peso (plural—pesos); 1 Chilean peso (Ch$) = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: Chilean pesos (Ch$) per US$1—296.68 (January 1990), 267.16 (1989), 245.05 (1988), 219.54 (1987), 193.02 (1986), 161.08 (1985)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 8,613 km total; 4,257 km 1.676-meter gauge, 135 km 1.435-meter standard gauge, 4,221 km 1.000-meter gauge; electrification, 1,578 km 1.676-meter gauge, 76 km 1.000-meter gauge

Highways: 79,025 km total; 9,913 km paved, 33,140 km gravel, 35,972 km improved and unimproved earth (1984)

Inland waterways: 725 km

Pipelines: crude oil, 755 km; refined products, 785 km; natural gas, 320 km

Ports: Antofagasta, Iquique, Puerto Montt, Punta Arenas, Valparaiso, San Antonio, Talcahuano, Arica

Merchant marine: 35 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 498,354 GRT/804,809 DWT; includes 13 cargo, 1 refrigerated cargo, 3 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 2 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 1 chemical tanker, 2 liquefied gas, 3 combination ore/oil, 10 bulk; note—in addition, 1 naval tanker and 1 military transport are sometimes used commercially

Civil air: 22 major transport aircraft

Airports: 392 total, 352 usable; 49 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 11 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 57 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: modern telephone system based on extensive radio relay facilities; 768,000 telephones; stations—159 AM, no FM, 131 TV, 11 shortwave; satellite stations—2 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT and 3 domestic

Defense Forces

Branches: Army of the Nation, National Navy, Air Force of the Nation, Carabineros of Chile

Military manpower: males 15-49, 3,491,854; 2,610,048 fit for military service; 118,569 reach military age (19) annually

Defense expenditures: 4.0% of GDP (1987)