Carlos Ibáñez


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(b. 3 Nov. 1877, d. 28 Apr. 1960).

Chilean President 1927–31, 1952–8 Of wealthy parents, he had a successful career in the army and in 1924 took part in a military coup against President Arturo Alessandri. When Alessandri briefly returned to power he became his Minister of War before seizing power himself in 1925. Elected President in 1927, he at once imprisoned or exiled his political opponents. He initiated a series of reforms, notably of the police, and introduced public works. However, Chile's economy collapsed during the Great Depression, forcing his resignation. In 1937, he briefly returned from exile to lead a series of abortive Fascist uprisings. Against the background of widespread disillusionment with party politics, he was elected as the ‘general of hope’ in 1952. To everyone's surprise his regime was conciliatory, encouraging economic growth and seeking to end corruption. It won the support of the more progressive middle class and of the trade unions, promulgating a Labour Code. He was succeeded by Alessandri's son, José.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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