Chileans clamor for civilian rule
As the 10th anniversary of Chile's military government approaches, there are fresh calls for a return to civilian rule. ''We need change now,'' Christian Democratic leader Gabriel Valdes Subercaseaux told Monitor correspondent James Nelson Goodsell. ''It is an immediate necessity.''
But he and other political opponents of military rule say that despite promises from Gen. Augusto Pinochet Ugarte to move in the direction of civilian rule, ''all we are getting is words, talk, and nothing else.''
Meanwhile, there is worry that planned demonstrations today against military rule could erupt in violence. Already, clashes between police and demonstrators have put more than 40 people in jail this week. Union leader Rodolfo Seguel was reported to have been jailed again for ''making anti-Pinochet comments,'' according to a government spokesman.
Behind the demonstrations and political comment, there is an unmistakable clamor on the part of Chileans for a return to civilian rule. There is also a national awareness that there is real movement in this direction - albeit in fits and starts. Its eventual shape, however, is unclear. Many Chileans believe that the military senses that it must yield an increasing degree of power, but does not quite know how to go about it.