chapter  Chapter One
15 Pages

Popular Origins of Neighborhood Courts

ByJack Spence

This chapter analyzes the political conditions leading to the origins of neighborhood courts as an issue and details their institutional beginnings. It outlines the formation of the squatter settlement neighborhoods in which the courts were to function and the reactions of political parties to this phenomenon. Viewed by left and right opposition parties, Promocion Popular was an effort to rearrange traditional patron-client relationships between pobladores and the government, to centralize them and make clients aware that the Christian Democratic party through Promocion Popular was the benefactor. The great increase in squatter settlement land invasions began as the material support underlying the Christian Democratic housing strategies waned. The parties on the left, particularly the mass based Socialist Party and Communist Party was confronted with an unfavorable pattern of events in the mid-sixties. The election of Allende weakened the functions of the militias and also marked the beginning of the ebb of land invasions in Santiago.