Lagos Escobar, Ricardo

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Ricardo Lagos Escobar (rēkär´dō lä´gōs āskōbär´), 1938–, Chilean political leader. A lawyer and economist, he was an academic and served as secretary-general of the Univ. of Chile under President Allende, whom Lagos supported. After Allende's overthrow, Lagos taught abroad and was a UN economist (1978–84) in Chile. In the early 1980s he helped found the Alliance for Democracy and led it in 1983–84, becoming one of Chile's leading socialists and by 1988 a bluntly outspoken critic of President Pinochet, who had overthrown Allende. Lagos served as minister of education (1990–94) and public works (1994–99) after democracy was restored. The Socialist party candidate for president in 1999, he won the presidency after a runoff, becoming the first socialist to win it since Allende. As president (2000–2006) Lagos worked to liberalize Chilean society, Civilian control over the military and other constitutional reforms were passed, and human-rights offenses and other cases against Pinochet were pursued in the courts.