Hernán Alberto Büchi Buc (born March 6, 1949) is a Chilean economist who served as minister of finance of the Pinochet dicatorship. In 1989 he ran unsuccessfully for president with support of Chilean right-wing parties.
Büchi was born into a Roman Catholic family of Swiss, German and Croatian descent arrival to Iquique. After receiving a diploma in mining at the University of Chile he went to the U.S. and earned an MBA from Columbia University in 1975. Despite this fact he is often mentioned together with the Chicago Boys who studied economics at the University of Chicago, because he represents similar neoliberal market positions. In 1975 Hernán Büchi began as a consultant of the Secretary of Economics, Pablo Baraona, as a Chair of the Board of Directors of the state owned sugar refiner Industria Azucarera Nacional as well as the state-owned telephone company Compañía de Teléfonos (since 1978).
Career under Pinochet
In 1979 he became Vice-Secretary of Economics (1979-1980) for the ministry of treasury. He worked with the Minister for Labor and Social Security José Piñera, who started the private pension system in Chile. In 1981 he was appointed Vice-Secretary of Health (1980-1983) where he prepared the privatization of health insurance. During the 1983 / 1984 recession in Chile he became Minister of Planning (1983-1984)(ODEPLAN) and Superintendent of Banks and Financial Institutions (1984-1985). He was Minister of Finance(the Treasury) between 1985 and 1989 and returned to the principles of monetarism. Büchi's appointment as Finance Minister, according to British historian Edwin Williamson
...marked the beginning of economic recovery. Büchi's strategy was to create the financial conditions for stable, export-led growth and to reorganize the productive structures of the export sector. Control of public spending, periodic devaluations, and incentives for domestic savings, foreign investment and the repatriation of capital gradually brought inflation down to 12 per cent by 1989, the lowest rate in Latin America. A vigorous campaign to sell parcels of the public debt to private investors in exchange for shares in Chilean industries reduced the nation's debt burden by over $4 billion...Economic growth averaged between 5 per cent and 6 per cent in 1985-8, the highest rate in the region.
After Pinochet stepped down 1990, Büchi founded the "Liberty and Development Institute" (Libertad y Desarrollo), where he currently is the Chairman of the "International Economy Center Council" and a Consultant. It has been funded by The Tinker Foundation, Atlas Economic Research Foundation, Center for International Private Enterprise, and the conservative German Hanns Seidel Foundation amongst others, per its website . Since 1990 he has been an adviser in several government bodies in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia. He has been a chairman and/or member of the board of several public companies.
Presidential Candidate 1989
During the 1989 Chilean presidential election Büchi stood for the centre-right Democracy and Progress PartyUnión Demócrata Independiente but was also supported by Renovación Nacional and Democracia Radical. Büchi's campaign hired a former public relations adviser to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Timothy Bell. Büchi came in second with 2,051,975 votes (29.40%) after Patricio Aylwin with 55.2%. However he "received more support from women than men in 59 of the 60 electoral districts, the exception being in southernmost district of Magallanes, where his support was about equal between the sexes".
1994 until present
Since 1994 Büchi has been the Chair of the Board of Directors the Chilean food company Lucchetti, which was owned by the late Andrónico Luksic and his Luksic group, Chile's first multinational corporation, where Büchi holds further positions. Lucchetti was acquired by Tresmontes, and Tresmontes Lucchetti S.A. was bought by the Columbian Grupo Nutresa S.A. in a deal to close October 2013.
Büchi has also been Chair of the Board of Directors of the Chilean Mining company, an Advisor to the Board of Directors of Banco de Chile since 2008, with an annual compensation of 79,900,000 CLP (2014 USD 143,000), and a Chairman of the Directive Council of Universidad del Desarrollo, and Adviser to the Instituto Libertad y Desarrollo.
He has acted as Member of the Board of Directors of the large holding company Quiñenco S.A. and Consorcio Nacional de Seguros, which is a large Chilean insurance company, and Falabella S.A..
In 1996, Büchi detailed his experience as Minister of the Treasury of Chile during 1985-1989, in a book called "The Economic Transformation of Chile: A Personal Account", where he discusses the liberalization of the Chilean economy, and the role he played in it. It was translated into English in 2009.
- Angell, Alan; Pollack, Benny (1990). "The Chilean Elections of 1989". Bulletin of Latin American Research. Society for Latin American Studies. 9 (1): 1–23.
- Edwin Williamson, The Penguin History of Latin America (Penguin Books, 1992), pp. 508-9.
- http://www.lyd.com/nosotros/que-es-lyd/ accessed 1-27-2014
- Latam Group Speaker profile http://www.labgbooth.org/conference/speakers/40, accessed 1-27-2014
- Andy Beckett, Pinochet in Piccadilly. Britain and Chile's Hidden History (Faber and Faber, 2002), p. 217.
- Paul H. Lewis, 'The 'Gender Gap' in Chile', Journal of Latin American Studies (2004), 36: 719-742.
- "Colombia's Nutresa Buys Chilean Tresmontes Lucchetti for $758 Million.". WSJ.com. July 18, 2013. Retrieved 2014-02-20.
- "Latam Group Speaker profile". Labgbooth.org. Retrieved 2014-01-27.
- "People: Banco de Chile (BCH): Buchi Buc, Hernan Alberto". reuters. Retrieved 2014-02-21.
- "Consorcio Seguros Generales". bnamericas.com.
- The road from Mont Pèlerin. The Making of the Neoliberal Thought Collective. Edited by Philip Mirowski and Dieter Plehwe, Harvard University Press Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2009. Table 9.2 page 393, accessible at http://ebookdig.biz/ebook/q/pdf/archive-totalism-org.html
- The Tinker Foundation http://www.tinker.org
Media related to Hernán Büchi at Wikimedia Commons
Luis Escobar Cerda
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Enrique Seguel Morel