With its return to democracy in 1990, Chile became an active participant in the international political arena. It is an active member of the Rio Group, and it rejoined the Non-Aligned Movement. Chile was a driving force in the World Summit for Social Development held in Copenhagen in March 1995. Chile is an active member of the United Nations and the UN family of agencies, serving on the UN Security Council from 1995-97. Chile participates in UN peacekeeping activities.
The Chilean Government has diplomatic relations with most countries, including Cuba. Chile maintains only consular relations with Bolivia; Chile's acquisition of territory during the War of the Pacific (1879-83) continues adversely to influence its relations with Bolivia. Chile's association with the MERCOSUR countries in 1996 and its continuing interest in hemispheric free trade, as well as its membership in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation grouping, auger well for even closer international economic ties in the future. Politically, Chile has been one of the most active countries in supporting the Summit of the Americas process, hosting the second Summit of the Americas in Santiago, April 1998.
Principal Government Officials
President--Ricardo Lagos Escobar
Minister of Foreign Affairs--María Soledad Alvear Valenzuela
Ambassador to the United States--Andrés Bianchi Larre
Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS--Esteban Tomic Errazuriz
Ambassador to the United Nations--Juan Gabriel Valdes
Chile maintains an embassy in the United States at:
1140 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Disputes - international: 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; segment of border with Argentina, over southern glaciars (Campos de Hielo) still not delimited.
Illicit drugs: a growing transshipment country for cocaine destined for the United States and Europe; economic prosperity has made Chile more attractive to traffickers seeking to launder drug profits; imported precursors passed on to Bolivia; domestic cocaine consumption is rising