What Does Chile Mean: An Analysis of Events in the Health Sector before, during, and after Allende’s Administration

An analysis is made of the events in Chile before, during, and after the Allende administration, through the mirror of the Chilean health sector. The paper is divided into three sections. The first shows how the underdevelopment of Chile and the country’s concomitant maldistribution of health resources are brought about precisely because of the existence of factors which make up the Rostowian assumptions for development, i.e., (1) the cultural, technological, and economic dependency of Chile, and (2) the economic and political control of resources by specific interests and social groups, the national lumpenbourgeoisie and its foreign counterparts. Moreover, these two factors bring about the so-called dual economy in Chile, with an urban, technologically based economy, and a rural, underdeveloped one. The second section describes and analyzes the three main policies of Allende’s government in the health sector. These policies were (1) to change the priorities in the health sector to emphasize community and rural medicine, (2) to democratize the health institutions with citizens’ and workers’ control of those institutions, and (3) to establish a classless health service. The third section deals with an analysis of the events that led to the downfall of the Allende government and describes the policies instituted by the junta, which represents the interests, both within and outside the health sector, of those classes and groups whose behavior determines and explains not only the underdevelopment of health in Chile but also the sickness of underdevelopment.

Author(s): Vicente Navarro

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Volume 52, Issue 2 (pages 93–130)
Published in 1974