Sergio Bitar is a member and non-resident senior fellow at the Inter-American Dialogue and president of Fundación por la Democracia in Chile. At the Dialogue, Bitar directs the Global Trends & Future Scenarios Project.
Bitar served as the Minister of Mining under President Salvador Allende in 1973 and was detained under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, imprisoned in Dawson Island, and then forced into exile until 1984, living in Venezuela and the United States. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Harvard Institute for International Development from 1974 to 1976, a Visiting Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution’s Latin American Program from 1982 to 1983. After his return to Chile, he was elected president of the Party for Democracy in three occasions (1992-1994, 1997-2000, and 2006-2008) and served as a Senator from 1994 to 2002. In addition, he served as the Minister of Education under President Ricardo Lagos and Minister of Public Works under President Michelle Bachelet. He also founded the Latin American Center for International Economics and Politics (CLEPI), serving as its president from 1987 to 1993.
Bitar has published dozens of books and articles, including Chile Mas Allá del Bicentenario (Editorial Planeta, Santiago, 2009), Educación Nuestra Riqueza, Chile Educa para el siglo XXI (Editorial El Mercurio- Aguilar, Santiago, 2005), and Chile 1970-1973 (Editorial Pehuén, Chile, 1996 and 2001). His recent books include: El Gobierno de Allende, 3rd edition, 2013; Chile, Bolivia, Peru. Un Futuro Común, 2011; Dawson Isla 10, 13 ed, 2010; y Chile Mas Allá del Bicentenario, 2009. In 2016, Bitar received the national honor of “Engineer of the Year” by the Chilean College of Engineers Guild Association.
“I was held at three concentration camps for more than one year; the key was to survive. Then I was expelled and I lived in exile for 10 years, barred from returning to the country. Many suffered much more than I did. […] During those years, I learned another lesson: If you allow yourself to sink into the justified bitterness and let your spirit to become contaminated with a negative animus, you cannot persuade and help mobilize others to build a better society. Therefore, the task was to build a new political and social force, and to battle for a better world, in liberty, without dictatorship.” Sergio Bitar receiving the Guillermo el O´Donnell Democracy Award and Lectureship 2017
“Pasé por tres campos de concentración durante más de un año; la clave fue sobrevivir. Y luego viví 10 años de exilio, con prohibición de reingreso al país. Muchos sufrieron harto más que yo, tantos desaparecieron, pero la mayoría mantuvo la resolución de luchar. […] Si uno se sume en la justificada amargura y deja que su espíritu se contamine con un ánimo negativo no puede convocar para construir una sociedad mejor. Decidí entonces dedicar mi vida a recuperar la democracia y la justicia. La tarea era construir una nueva fuerza política y social, y batallar por un mundo mejor, en libertad, sin dictadura.” Sergio Bitar al recibir el premio Guillermo el O´Donnell Democracy Award and Lectureship 2017.
Las exportaciones a China de América Latina pasaron de 6 mil millones a 140 mil millones de dólares, 23 veces entre esos años, cifras raramente vistas en el comercio internacional. Los efectos han sido sustanciales.