U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will visit Chile in April on what will be his first trip to Latin America as secretary. In an email interview, Gregory Weeks, an associate professor of political science at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, discussed U.S.-Chile Relations.
WPR: How have U.S.-Chile security relations evolved since Chile's return to democracy?
Gregory Weeks: In the years immediately after Chile’s political transition in 1990, the bilateral relationship focused very little on security, and even that was mostly centered on humanitarian missions as well as arms acquisitions, such as the purchase of F-16s. For the most part, security was subsumed by economic ties, since Pinochet-era reforms had opened Chile to a greater extent than any other country in the hemisphere.