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The Pinochet Regime

Carlos Huneeus, translated from the Spanish by Lake Sagaris
The Pinochet Regime
ISBN: 978-1-58826-406-0
ISBN: 978-1-62637-158-3
2007/559 pages/LC: 2006020884
A related title: Chile, Pinochet, and the Caravan of Death  by Patricia Verdugo and The Politics of Memory in Chile by Cath Collins, Katherine Hite, and Aflredo Joignant
"Destined to become a canonical source on the subject."—Javier A. Couso, Journal of Latin American Studies

"A reader of The Pinochet Regime may develop a perverse appreciation for the ruthlessness and cunning that enabled Pinochet to stay in or near power."—Paul E. Sigmund, Americas Quarterly

"The Pinochet Regime is rigorous and systematic. It stands indeed as a model for those who want to analyse the characteristics of dictatorships, especially sophisticated dictatorships such as that of Pinochet.”—Jean Blondel, Japanese Journal of Political Science

“A meticulously researched, masterful analysis.... Each argument is documented in ways that enrich and often challenge conventional wisdom.”—Katherine Hite, Latin American Politics and Society

 "[A] comprehensive, authoritative analysis based on decades of research.... Informed by a deep comparative perspective.... The research is completely up-to-date, and the book contains a useful chronology of events from the coup in 1973 to Pinochet's death in 2006."—Choice

"A unique and outstanding work... one of the very few studies available of just how an authoritarian regime exercises and maintains power."—Juan Linz, Yale University

"This is the best book available on the Pinochet regime.... a definitive work.... It should also be obligatory reading for anyone interested in authoritarian regimes and transitions to democracy." —J. Samuel Valenzuela, University of Notre Dame


This seminal book was inspired by a series of questions: What explains the endurance of Augusto Pinochet's authoritarian regime in Chile, a country with a lengthy democratic tradition? What mechanisms secured the regime's political stability and broad-based support? What role did neoliberal ideas play in authoritarian discourse and policy? How could two such opposite forces as political coercion and economic freedom coexist? And why the fascination with Pinochet's personality and leadership among elites and lower-income sectors alike?

Carlos Huneeus's authoritative work explores and reveals the very nature of the Pinochet regime, examining its structures, its policies, and the complex of factors that made its lengthy duration possible. At the same time, it sheds welcome light on the nature of Chilean democracy today.


Carlos Huneeus is associate professor in the Institute of International Studies at the University of Chile and executive director of CERC. His many publications in Spanish include Chile, un país dividido, and La UCD y la transición a la democracia en España.


  • Introduction.
  • The Many Faces of the Pinochet Regime.
  • Installing the Authoritarian Regime.
  • Pinochet's Leadership: The Bases of Power.
  • The Role of the Military.
  • The Legitimation Strategy.
  • The Organization of Political Power.
  • Jaime Guzmán and the Gremialista Movement.
  • The Chicago Boys: Legitimation Through Economic Success.
  • Privatization: The Economic Policy of Authoritarian Regime.
  • The 1982-1983 Economic Crisis and the Politics of Apertura.
  • Pinochet's Defeat and the Issue of Succession.
  • The Limits of the New Democracy.
  • The Consolidation of Democracy.
  • Conclusion.