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Joaquín José Lavín Infante (born 23 October 1953) is a Chilean politician and economist, best known for serving as President of Chile from 2006 to 2010 and has served as the Ambassador of Chile to the United States since November 2011. As leader of the right-wing Gremialist Union, he became the first hard-right President since the return to democracy, as the previous center-right Presidents (Aylwin and Alessandri Besa) were considerably closer to the center. As President, Lavín advocated economic policies based off of his theories derived from what he had learned at the University of Chicago.
During his Presidency, Chile enjoyed one of the world's fastest-growing economies and its healthiest economic output in a century. However, he was criticized by labor organizations, trade unions and secularists for his overtly conservative rhetoric and policies, feeling that he "over-politicized" the Presidency and was using his position to pursue economic policies that many Chileans would likely resent. Lavín reformed the education system to make it more competitive with other Latin American countries and placed great emphasis on connections between Chilean government and the Catholic Church.
Chilean political observers commented that he was probably the most conservative and firmly right-wing President since the end of the 19th century and that he benefitted greatly from a divided left.
|The Lavín Cabinet|
|President||Joaquín Lavín||UG||April 10, 2006–April 10, 2010|
|Interior||Pablo Longueira||UG||April 10, 2006–April 10, 2010|
|Defense||Evelyn Matthei||PN||April 10, 2006–April 10, 2010|
|Finance||Hernán Larraín||UG||April 10, 2006–September 16, 2009|
|Juan Andrés Fontaine||IND||September 16, 2009–April 10, 2010|
|Education||Mónica Jiménez||DC||April 10, 2006–April 10, 2010|
|Labor||Ignacio Pérez Walker||RL||April 10, 2006–April 10, 2010|
|Public Works||Pablo Piñera Echenique||DC||April 10, 2006–September 25, 2007|
|Pedro Santos||DC||September 25, 2007–April 10, 2010|
|Health||Jaime Mañalich||IND||April 10, 2006–April 10, 2010|
|Agriculture||Horacio Matta||PN||April 10, 2006–July 2, 2008|
|Pablo Misael Rodriguez||UG||July 2, 2008–April 10, 2010|
|Energy||Fernando Echeverría||RL||April 10, 2006–April 10, 2010|
Minister and Ambassador
After leaving the Presidency, Lavín was appointed Minister of Education in the Piñera administration, a position he held until July of 2011, when he abruptly resigned after months of protests over unpopular education reforms. On November 18, 2011, he replaced Alejandro Schmidt as the Chilean Ambassador to the United States.