Chilean business and labour leaders stood side by side on the platform of a rally in Santiago for the first time on December 4 to denounce the economic policies of President Augusto Pinochet's government.
GV Large crowd in stadium with banners.
SV Rafael Cumsille, president of the National Federation of Commerce, at the podium, speaks. (Spanish SOT)
GV Crowd applauds.
CU Cumsille addressing rally; crowd applauds; Cumsille continues speaking. (Spanish SOT)
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Background: Chilean business and labour leaders stood side by side on the platform of a rally in Santiago for the first time on December 4 to denounce the economic policies of President Augusto Pinochet's government. Five thousand people, many of them labour union members, heard a speech by National Federation of Commerce President Rafael Cumsille in which he claimed Chile's commercial sector had never been so badly off as it was now. Cumsille announced that government policies encouraging imports were ruining Chile's own industries, had left half a million people unemployed, and brought the country's economy to its knees. He threatened a national strike unless those policies were changed and said that if President Pinochet did not sack Economy Minister Carlos Caceres he himself would kick him out of office. Cumsille confessed the biggest mistake he had made in his life was not to have joined forces with labour groups ten years ago. In 1973 Cumsille helped the military overthrow the government of former President Salvador Allende Gossens. Mass opposition to the government of President Pinochet has been growing over recent months. Centrist opposition parties of the Democratic Alliance have organised several large demonstrations to press demands for General Pinochet to resign and pave the way for democratic elections.