Chile’s history, since the early days of Spanish colonization, is one of overcoming the isolation borne of its location at the end of the South American continent. This geographic isolation is made more complete by the Andes mountains that separate the country from Argentina to the east, and by the northern desert that is a natural barrier to easy communication with Peru and Bolivia. By the 1969 congressional and 1970 presidential elections, the centrifugal tendencies in Chilean political life meant that the Christian Democrats could no longer maintain their hold on political power. Chile under military rule underwent four broad, overarching phases. They are: the consolidation of power, 1973-76, which was marked by the rise of General Pinochet as the undisputed national leader; a period of political neutralization overshadowed by economic reforms inspired by the “Chicago Boys” from 1976-82 and the institutionalization of Pinochet’s “revolution”; an economic crash and political awakening, 1982-84; and an economic revitalization and political opening, 1984-88.