Pinochet - hero or villain?

Bergen

ADC
Interestingly 9/11 2003 was the thirtieth anniversary of Pinochet's coup and the take-over of the Chilean Government by the military junta that he headed. I was in Punta Arenas in Patagonian Chile where there was a huge and mournful parade being held. There was no doubt in my mind that the Chileanos were glad to see the back of him and the junta but everyone that I spoke with put the primary blame on the USA who had engineered the takeover to get rid of Allende who they considered to be too much of a leftist; even though he had been democratically elected.

On a morbid note; I visited the Chilean sail training ship "Esmeralda" and later I talked with some locals including a retired Chilean naval officer. I was told that the junta had used Esmeralda as a torture center and that it was widely believed that many of the disappeared were dropped overboard from her into the Pacific. She never looked the same to me after that.

RM
 
However revolting his methods, he did get rid of communism and turned Chile into a Democratic and prosperous country, he also helped out in the Falklands, compared to Mugabe and the like, he does`nt come too badly out of it, though i imagine quite a few will disagree.
 
A

angrydoc

Guest
My knowledge of matters South American is not great, but I thought there were a lot worse dictators in that part of the world than Pinochet? I could be wrong...
 

slim

War Hero
angrydoc said:
My knowledge of matters South American is not great, but I thought there were a lot worse dictators in that part of the world than Pinochet? I could be wrong...

We could start with Mr Mugabe. I think we should also apologise to Mr Ian Smith for interfering with his country (Rhodesia) in the 60s. He was right and we were wrong. Another African country screwed up by tribalism and corruption.
 

Seadog

War Hero
Moderator
Margret Beckett's statement seemed to give the 'economic miracle' credit to the post Pinochet administration. A bit false even allowing for the fact that the FCO/MoD can't really say 'deep sadness, he had his good points-fly flags at half mast'. Well not in public anyway. I'd be interested to know if the Union Flag was at half mast on the British embassy and consulates in Chile yesterday not to mention the ensigns of any visiting war canoes and auxiliaries.

I seem to remember flying the White Ensign at half mast for Hirihito.
 

XROEW

MIA
It is a pretty safe bet I think to declare your country democratic only after you have offed the opposition...Take your point though about the other dictators of this world, hav'nt we always been a little selective in that regard ?
 

Seadog

War Hero
Moderator
Independent

Baroness Thatcher was tonight said to be "greatly saddened" by the death of General Augusto Pinochet, the one-time ruthless right-wing dictator of Chile.

No mention of there of
much wailing and gnashing of teeth from that Thatcher woman
finknottle. Got a link to a contrary report?

Are you grateful finknottle, for General Pinochet's support in Corporate? An answer in the affirmative needn't mean support for his domestic policies.
 

Bergen

ADC
Before anyone gets too dewy-eyed over Chilean help during Corporate, it's probably worthwhile setting out a timeline of Pinochet's rise to power and how it was achieved. Helps if you look at what went on in the context of the 1970's and remember who the real players were:

1970 Democratic elections put Salvadore Allende into power in Chile. In the USA Richard Millhouse Nixon orders the CIA to prevent his inauguration.
National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger supervises the set-up of Track II; a plan to get rid of Allende. Allocation of $10m to finance the plan whilst formally insulating the US embassy in Santiago from any involvement.

1972 Under sustained US economic pressure the Chilean economy is contracting with inflation running at 500% PA.

1973 The CIA finances general strikes throughout Chile and is heavily implicated in the sabotage of public infrastructure. US embassy has doubled in size with a third of diplomatic staff direct CIA employees.

August 1973 - Augustus Pinochet, a CIA asset is promoted CinC after assuring Allende that he will remain politically neutral.

September 1973 - Long planned and extremely violent coup d'etat takes place. Unions are banned. 250,000 people are arrested. 1,000,000 Chileanos flee the country into exile.

Torture becomes commonplace......Chilean army officers are being trained by US at The School of the Americas [torture central]. Men, women and children are disappearing.

December 2006 - Augustus Pinochet shuffles off this mortal coil; mindfull one hopes that a special circle of hell is reserved for him.

RM
 
Bergen said:
Before anyone gets too dewy-eyed over Chilean help during Corporate, it's probably worthwhile setting out a timeline of Pinochet's rise to power and how it was achieved. Helps if you look at what went on in the context of the 1970's and remember who the real players were:

1970 Democratic elections put Salvadore Allende into power in Chile. In the USA Richard Millhouse Nixon orders the CIA to prevent his inauguration.
National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger supervises the set-up of Track II; a plan to get rid of Allende. Allocation of $10m to finance the plan whilst formally insulating the US embassy in Santiago from any involvement.

1972 Under sustained US economic pressure the Chilean economy is contracting with inflation running at 500% PA.

1973 The CIA finances general strikes throughout Chile and is heavily implicated in the sabotage of public infrastructure. US embassy has doubled in size with a third of diplomatic staff direct CIA employees.

August 1973 - Augustus Pinochet, a CIA asset is promoted CinC after assuring Allende that he will remain politically neutral.

September 1973 - Long planned and extremely violent coup d'etat takes place. Unions are banned. 250,000 people are arrested. 1,000,000 Chileanos flee the country into exile.

Torture becomes commonplace......Chilean army officers are being trained by US at The School of the Americas [torture central]. Men, women and children are disappearing.

December 2006 - Augustus Pinochet shuffles off this mortal coil; mindfull one hopes that a special circle of hell is reserved for him.

RM

Whilst I wont try to dispute any of the above, Allende was not the innocent socialist many would like him to be seen as. He was terrorising his own people and the rampant inflation was a tool to destroy the wealth and influence of the middle classes and to encourage the working class to support his violent suppression of any opposition. Allende may have been elected, but he was intent on ensuring that he and his successors would not have to be concerned about losing future elections.

Peter
 
XROEW said:
......an evil, self serving little b*****d with a strange fetish .......

But aren't all Heads of Government ?
See ours for a prime example of self serving - fine he may not have personally despatched anyone (that we know of - yet :wink: ) but there probably are skeletons somewhere.......!?
 

Seadog

War Hero
Moderator
Bergen wrote
Before anyone gets too dewy-eyed over Chilean help during Corporate,............

Seadog had written
An answer in the affirmative needn't mean support for his domestic policies.

The question stands. Dewy eyes do not mean support for torture and murder.

As Peter says, Allende was no saint though leftists worldwide might say otherwise. If Pinochet ends up in hell, he'll not be as close to the flames as
Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein (place reserved), Pol Pot, Joe Stalin (at the front), Adolf Hilter, Heinrich Himmler (next to Joe) and all those African-stand fast Amin- and even Latin American dictators whose names are forgotten (if ever known). Who is yer man in Sudan? The left seems quiet about Mugabe.

Had Allende been a right winger and Pinochet a Marxist general and the butcher's bill was the same, Guardianistas would now be dewy eyed.
 

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