National Geographic : 1988 Jul
resources from foreign hands, especially U. S. firms with a choke hold on copper, Chile's main export. The state took over most mines, many fac tories and banks. Wages jumped, but inflation skyrocketed. Hoarders and government blun ders emptied food stores. A feeble land reform begun in the 1960s spun out of control as urban radicals led peasants in tomas, seizures- often at gunpoint-of farms and ranches. "Landowners were labeled criminals," said Tomas. "I planned to take my family out to Argentina if things got too bad." Expropri ation whittled his estancia to a fraction of his grandfather's 22,000 hectares (54,400 acres) and 8,000 sheep, most still unrecovered. Pinochet quelled the disorder-sown in part by CIA aid to Allende's opponents - but not to restore political stability as most Chileans understood it. The new regime dissolved con gress, outlawed the Communist Party, sus pended even non-Marxist parties and labor unions. Troops swept up as many as 90,000 avowed and suspected leftists-one in every 125 Chilean adults. Many were purged from job or classroom, others tortured, perhaps 5,000 killed. Nearly 700 vanished without trace. Thousands were exiled or confined in concentration camps like one, now closed, on Dawson Island in the strait, actually a part of the Andes trailing into the sea. I1 OST CHILEANS are surprised when I tell them that at least 400,000 of us are Ma puche," said Carlos Aldunate, direc tor of the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art in Santiago. The only Indians in the Amer icas to resist the Spaniards successfully throughout the colonial period, the Mapuche today are vitally interested in cultural surviv al. With each passing decade, the "people of the land" lose more of it. Had he realized that they knew no word for tribute, conquistador Pedro de Valdivia might have hesitated before trekking from Peru across a searing desert into Chile's fertile Cen tral Valley, where in 1541 he proclaimed Span ish rule, founded Santiago, and demanded land and gold of the Mapuche and related tribes, collectively called Araucanians. They killed him 12 years later and overwhelmed most of the towns south of Santiago in an up rising beginning in 1598. The rebellion ignited three centuries of sporadic frontier battles. When the "Araucanian War" finally ended in 1883, the Mapuche recognized but did not sur render to the Chilean government and were compensated by partial restoration of collec tive farmlands in south-central Chile. This long conflict, its compromise con clusion, and above all the melding of its Business and billiards click at Santia go's Club de la Uni6n, haven of Chile's old money. One of Chile's new entrepre neurs, Carlos Cardoen (top, with family and friends) parlayed his explosives com pany into the country's largest privately owned arms manufacturer. He exports more than 100 million dollars' worth of armament a year, chiefly to Iraq.