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 Chile [Country Flag of Chile]
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Chile]

Chile

Geography

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Location: Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean and South Pacific Ocean, between Argentina and Peru

Geographic coordinates: 30 00 S, 71 00 W

Map references: South America

Area:
total: 756,950 sq km
land: 748,800 sq km
water: 8,150 sq km
note: includes Easter Island (Isla de Pascua) and Isla Sala y Gomez

Area—comparative: slightly smaller than twice the size of Montana

Land boundaries:
total: 6,171 km
border countries: 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 economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

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

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

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Cerro Aconcagua 6,962 m

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

Land use:
arable land: 5%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 18%
forests and woodland: 22%
other: 55% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 12,650 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: severe earthquakes; active volcanism; tsunamis

Environment—current issues: air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage; deforestation contributing to loss of biodiversity; soil erosion; desertification

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography—note: strategic location relative to sea lanes between Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage); Atacama Desert is one of world's driest regions

People

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Population: 14,787,781 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 28% (male 2,134,701; female 2,043,112)
15-64 years: 65% (male 4,768,366; female 4,811,403)
65 years and over: 7% (male 426,924; female 603,275) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.27% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 18.28 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 5.55 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 10.39 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.16 years
male: 72.01 years
female: 78.48 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.3 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Chilean(s)
adjective: Chilean

Ethnic groups: white and white-Amerindian 95%, Amerindian 3%, other 2%

Religions: Roman Catholic 89%, Protestant 11%, Jewish

Languages: Spanish

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 95.2%
male: 95.4%
female: 95% (1995 est.)

Government

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Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Chile
conventional short form: Chile
local long form: Republica de Chile
local short form: Chile

Data code: CI

Government type: republic

National capital: Santiago

Administrative divisions: 13 regions (regiones, singular—region); Aisen del General Carlos Ibanez del Campo, Antofagasta, Araucania, Atacama, Bio-Bio, Coquimbo, Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins, Los Lagos, Magallanes y de la Antartica Chilena, Maule, Region Metropolitana, Tarapaca, Valparaiso
note: the US does not recognize claims to Antarctica

Independence: 18 September 1810 (from Spain)

National holiday: Independence Day, 18 September (1810)

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; does not accept compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Eduardo FREI Ruiz-Tagle (since 11 March 1994); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Eduardo FREI Ruiz-Tagle (since 11 March 1994); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term; election last held 11 December 1993 (next to be held NA December 1999)
election results: Eduardo FREI Ruiz-Tagle elected president; percent of vote—Eduardo FREI Ruiz-Tagle (PDC) 58%, Arturo ALESSANDRI 24.4%, other 17.6%

Legislative branch: bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of the Senate or Senado (48 seats, 38 elected by popular vote; members serve eight-year terms—one-half elected every four years) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (120 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate—last held 11 December 1997 (next to be held NA December 2001); Chamber of Deputies—last held 11 December 1997 (next to be held NA December 2001)
election results: Senate—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—Coalition of Parties for Democracy 20 (PDC 14, PS 4, PPD 2), Union for the Progress of Chile 17 (RN 7, UDI 10), independent 10; Chamber of Deputies—percent of vote by party—Coalition of Parties for Democracy 50.55% (PDC 22.98%, PS 11.10%, PPD 12.55%, PRSD 3.13%), Union for the Progress of Chile 36.23% (RN 16.78%, UDI 14.43%); seats by party—Coalition of Parties for Democracy 70 (PDC 39, PPD 16, PRSD 4, PS 11), Union for the Progress of Chile 46 (RN 24, UDI 21, Party of the South 1), right-wing independents 4

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Corte Suprema), judges are appointed by the president and ratified by the Senate from lists of candidates provided by the court itself; the president of the Supreme Court is elected by the 21-member court

Political parties and leaders: Coalition of Parties for Democracy or CPD consists mainly of: Christian Democratic Party or PDC [Enrique KRAUSS]; Socialist Party or PS [Camilo ESCALONA]; Party for Democracy or PPD [Sergio BITAR]; Radical Social Democratic Party or PRSD [Anselmo SULE]; Union for the Progress of Chile or UPP consists mainly of two parties: National Renewal or RN [Alberto ESPINA]; Independent Democratic Union or UDI [Jovino NOVOA]

Political pressure groups and leaders: revitalized university student federations at all major universities; United Labor Central or CUT includes trade unionists from the country's five largest labor confederations; Roman Catholic Church

International organization participation: APEC, CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G-11, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMIBH, UNMOGIP, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador John BIEHL Del Rios
chancery: 1732 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 785-1746
FAX: [1] (202) 887-5579
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and San Juan (Puerto Rico)

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Gabriel GUERRA-MONDRAGON
embassy: Avenida Andres Bello 2800, Santiago
mailing address: APO AA 34033
telephone: [56] (2) 232-2600
FAX: [56] (2) 330-3710

Flag description: 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

Economy

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Economy—overview: Chile has a prosperous, essentially free market economy. Civilian governments - which took over from the military in March 1990—have continued to reduce the government's role in the economy while shifting the emphasis of public spending toward social programs. Growth in real GDP averaged more than 7.0% in 1991-1997, and inflation is nearing a 40-year low. Chile's currency and foreign reserves also are strong, as sustained foreign capital inflows—including significant direct investment—have more than offset current account deficits and public debt buybacks. President FREI, who took office in March 1994, has placed improving Chile's education system and developing foreign export markets at the top of his economic agenda. Despite this progress, the Chilean economy remains largely dependent on a few sectors—particularly copper mining, fishing, and forestry. Success in meeting the government's goal of sustained annual economic growth of 5% depends largely on world prices for these commodities, continued foreign investor confidence, and the government's ability to maintain a conservative fiscal stance. In 1996, Chile became an associate member of Mercosur and concluded a Free Trade Agreement with Canada.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$168.5 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 7.1% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$11,600 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 8%
industry: 33%
services: 59% (1995 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 6% (1997)

Labor force:
total: 5.7 million (1997 est.)
by occupation: services 38.3% (includes government 12%), industry and commerce 33.8%, agriculture, forestry, and fishing 19.2%, mining 2.3%, construction 6.4% (1990)

Unemployment rate: 6.1% (1997)

Budget:
revenues: $17 billion
expenditures: $17 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1996 est.)

Industries: copper, other minerals, foodstuffs, fish processing, iron and steel, wood and wood products, transport equipment, cement, textiles

Industrial production growth rate: 4.2% (1997)

Electricity—capacity: 5.504 million kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 24.5 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 1,730 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: wheat, corn, grapes, beans, sugar beets, potatoes, fruit; beef, poultry, wool; timber; 1991 fish catch of 6.6 million metric tons

Exports:
total value: $16.9 billion (f.o.b., 1997)
commodities: copper 37%, other metals and minerals 8.2%, wood products 7.1%, fish and fishmeal 9.8%, fruits 8.4% (1994)
partners: EU 25%, US 15%, Asia 34%, Latin America 20% (1995 est.)

Imports:
total value: $18.2 billion (f.o.b., 1997)
commodities: capital goods 25.2%, spare parts 24.8%, raw materials 15.4%, petroleum 10%, foodstuffs 5.7% (1994)
partners: EU 18%, US 25%, Asia 16%, Latin America 26% (1995 est.)

Debt—external: $26.7 billion (1997 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $50.3 million (1996 est.)

Currency: 1 Chilean peso (Ch$) = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: Chilean pesos (Ch$) per US$1—452.60 (January 1998), 419.30 (1997), 412.27 (1996), 396.78 (1995), 420.08 (1994), 404.35 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year

Communications

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Telephones: 1.5 million (1994 est.)

Telephone system: modern system based on extensive microwave radio relay facilities
domestic: extensive microwave radio relay links; domestic satellite system with 3 earth stations
international: satellite earth stations—2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 179, FM 614, shortwave 11

Radios: NA

Television broadcast stations: 11

Televisions: 2.85 million (1992 est.)

Transportation

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Railways:
total: 6,782 km
broad gauge: 3,743 km 1.676-m gauge (1,653 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 116 km 1.067-m gauge; 2,923 km 1.000-m gauge (40 km electrified) (1995)

Highways:
total: 79,800 km
paved: 11,012 km
unpaved: 68,788 km (1996 est.)

Waterways: 725 km

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

Ports and harbors: Antofagasta, Arica, Chanaral, Coquimbo, Iquique, Puerto Montt, Punta Arenas, San Antonio, San Vicente, Talcahuano, Valparaiso

Merchant marine:
total: 39 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 473,173 GRT/770,619 DWT
ships by type: bulk 12, cargo 9, chemical tanker 4, container 2, liquefied gas tanker 1, oil tanker 4, passenger 2, roll-on/roll-off cargo 3, vehicle carrier 2 (1997 est.)

Airports: 380 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 52
over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 18
914 to 1,523 m: 18
under 914 m: 6 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 328
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 15
914 to 1,523 m: 74
under 914 m: 234 (1997 est.)

Military

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Military branches: Army of the Nation, National Navy (includes Naval Air, Coast Guard, and Marines), Air Force of the Nation, Carabineros of Chile (National Police), Investigations Police

Military manpower—military age: 19 years of age

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 3,919,465 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 2,909,927 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—reaching military age annually:
males: 128,442 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $2.8 billion (1997); note—includes earnings from CODELCO Company; probably includes costs of pensions and internal security

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 3.5% (1997)

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: short section of the southeastern 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 Rio Lauca water rights; territorial claim in Antarctica (Chilean Antarctic Territory) partially overlaps Argentine and British claims

Illicit drugs: a minor transshipment country for cocaine destined for the US and Europe; booming economy has made it more attractive to traffickers seeking to launder drug profits