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  1. Chile Main Page
  2. President Pinochet Presides Over a Ruthless Regime
  3. Socialists Return to Power
  4. Earthquake Devastates Beginning of Right-Wing Rule
  5. Fate of Trapped Miners Rivets the Nation
  6. Plan for Hydroelectric Dams Causes Outrage
  7. Chilean Youth Call for Reform
  8. Bachelet Regains the Presidency
Plan for Hydroelectric Dams Causes Outrage

Immediately following the successful rescue of 33 miners in 2010, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera had an approval rating of 63 percent. By June 2011; however, Piñera had a disapproval rating of 56%, the highest of any Chilean president since democracy returned to the country in 1990. The main reason for the approval rating nosedive was Piñera's support for the Hidroaysén electricity project, a plan to build five dams on two rivers and flood over 14,000 acres of nature reserves in the Patagonia region.

A government environmental commission approved the $3.2 billion Hidroaysén project in May 2011, prompting a country-wide protest movement. The protests caused injuries to 28 police officers and over one hundred thousand dollars in property damage. One protest in early June involved 30,000 demonstrators marching to the presidential palace, with some protestors throwing stones and pieces of wood at police vehicles. The police fired back with water cannons. Since the commission's decision, the focus has turned to the yet to be approved transmission line for the project. Patagonia, considered by Chileans to be a national treasure with its breathtaking glaciers and lakes, attracts thousands of tourists each year.

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