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Nonviolent RevolutionsCivil Resistance in the Late 20th Century$
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Sharon Erickson Nepstad

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199778201

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199778201.001.0001

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Ousting General Pinochet

Ousting General Pinochet

(p.75) Chapter 5 Ousting General Pinochet
Nonviolent Revolutions

Sharon Erickson Nepstad

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyzes the civilian uprising that ended Chile’s 16-year-long military dictatorship headed by General Augusto Pinochet. In the mid-1980s, citizens formed the Democratic Alliance to help restore Chilean democracy. After a few failed campaigns, the movement decided to focus on a plebiscite vote scheduled for 1988. Although the plebiscite was designed to give Pinochet the appearance of legitimacy, the movement seized this opportunity to expose the regime’s illegitimacy. Activists undertook massive efforts to ensure an accurate, independent vote count, which indicated that the population opposed Pinochet’s rule. Angered by the plebiscite outcome, Pinochet ordered senior military officers to alter the results and declare martial law. The officers refused and sided with the opposition. Without any power to steal the election or impose sanctions, Pinochet was forced to accept the outcome and allow free elections to proceed.

Keywords:   Chile, Augusto Pinochet, military junta, Democratic Alliance, plebiscite

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