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Pinochet---good riddance « Previous | |Next »
December 13, 2006

At long last. Gen. Augusto Pinochet, who overthrew Chile's democratically elected Marxist president, Salvador Allende in 1973 in a coup and then ruled Chile as a dictator during the 1970s and 1980s, has gone. That is cause for celebration, but not state funerals. Pinochet's regime was a one-party state, backed by the Nixon administration in a CIA-engineered military coup. If the regime was not a mini copy of European fascism 1930s style, then it sure was a brutal, authoritarian regime. The shadow cast by Pinochet's counter-revolution was a long one.

Peter Brookes

Pinochet reckoned that he had blasted away democracy to save Chile and that he had rescued Chile from a Soviet takeover. The country was at war against foreign aggression, and this justified the use of any and all military means. However, Allende's socialist government was an elected democracy, not a dictatorship. Pinochet was the brutal dictator who instituted a program of repression, political persecution, mass arrests, summary trials, systematic torture and "disappearances," secret executions and detention by death squads. During Pinochet’s 17-year rule, some 3,000 people were executed (after being brutally tortured) and some 30,000 brutally torture--most of these were left-wing workers, students and intellectuals.

It was Pinochet who used a military dictatorship to transform Chile from a third world democracy into a globalized free market economy with a traumatized population.This is not to argue that monetarism (or neo-liberalism) is inherently fascist because it can only be imposed by state repression. All that is being stated is that a dictatorship was used to introduce "economic liberty" and that this destroyed political liberty. It is not to argue that the denial of political liberty is both necessary and sufficient in order to create (and preserve) "free market" capitalism?

Others--business types--do argue that people need economic security first and only when they have that can they afford to focus on democracy and human rights. Others argue that Pinochet's regime was justified by Chile's economic miracle.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:02 PM | | Comments (2)


Indeed. I am forever grateful to Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek for bringing the human side of the Chilean political travesty and evil behaviour to a human dimension.

I don't know about them---how did they bring the human side of the Chilean political travesty and evil behaviour to a human dimension? Through film? Which ones?

Ariel Dorfman writes in an op-ed in yesterdays Australian about the spectre of Pinochet in Chile:

For those who were celebrating (most of them young), it was as if something had been definitely, gloriously shattered when Pinochet's bleak and unrepentant heart ceased beating. They had spent their lives, as I had spent mine, awaiting this moment, this day when the darkness receded, this December when our country would be purged, ready to start over again. This moment when we need to grow up and stop blaming Pinochet for everything that goes wrong, everything that went wrong, this moment when he disappears from our horizon.

Dorfman then asks:
Has the general really died? Will he stop contaminating every schizophrenic mirror of our life? Will Chile cease to be a divided nation? Or was she right, that mother-to-be, seven months pregnant, who jumped for joy in the centre of Santiago, was she right when she shouted to the seven winds that from now on everything would be different, that her child would be born in a Chile from which Pinochet had forever vanished?

Maybe a new Chile will be born?