Lagos, Ricardo (1938–)

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Lagos, Ricardo (1938–)

Ricardo Lagos (b. 2 May 1938), a leader of Chile's moderately socialist Partido por la Democracia (PPD) and minister of education (1990–) in the government of President Patricio Aylwin Azcócar. Lagos studied law at the University of Chile and earned his doctorate in economics from Duke University in 1966. As a former member of the Radical Party, Lagos staunchly supported the Popular Unity government of Salvador Allende, who nominated him ambassador to the Soviet Union. However, Allende was overthrown by a military coup and ousted by dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1973, before Lagos could assume his post. Lagos then went into exile in the United States. In 1978, he accepted a position working for the United Nations.

In the early 1980s, Lagos returned to Chile. He was soon nominated president of the anti-Pinochet Democratic Alliance of political parties. In a television appearance early in 1987, he issued a direct challenge to General Pinochet that helped to launch the eventually successful plebiscite campaign. That same year, he was briefly jailed for his political activites. Afterward, he founded the Partido por la Democracia. Although he far outpolled all senatorial candidates in the 1989 general election except the Christian Democrat who was his running mate, Lagos was denied the second seat from Santiago because their combined totals fell just short of the requisite twothirds of the votes cast.

In 1999, Lagos was nominated for the presidency by Chile's Socialist Party, and in 2000 he took office as Chile's first socialist president since the ousted Allende. During his years in office, he refused to shelter Pinochet from prosecution. Chile's economy flourished, and many of his democratic reforms were sucessfully adopted. In 2006, Lagos was suceeded by another Socialist president, Michelle Bachelet, the first woman president in Chile's history.

See alsoChile: The Twentieth Century; Chile, Political Parties: Popular Unity; Chile, Political Parties: Socialist Party.


Partido por la Democracia (Chile) (1989), and Qué es el PPD: Documentos oficiales (1989); A. Cavallo et al., La historia oculta del regimen militar (Santiago, 1989).

P. Constable and A. Valenzuela, A Nation of Enemies (1991).

Additional Bibliography

Claude, Marcel. El retorno de Fausto: Ricardo Lagos y la concentraciÓn del poder econÓmico. Santiago: Ediciones Política y Utopía, 2006.

Funk, Robert L. El gobierno de Ricardo Lagos: La nueva vía chilena hacía el socialismo. Santiago: Ediciones Universidad Diego Portales, 2006.

Mares, David R., and Francisco Rojas Aravena. The United States and Chile: Coming in from the Cold. New York: Routledge, 2001.

                                        Michael Fleet

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Lagos, Ricardo (1938–)

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