30th President of Chile
17 December 1974 – 11 March 1990
|Preceded by||Salvador Allende|
|Succeeded by||Patricio Aylwin|
President of the Government Junta of Chile
11 September 1973 – 17 December 1974
|Succeeded by||José Toribio Merino|
|Born||25 November 1915(1915-11-25)|
|Died||10 December 2006 (aged 91)|
in the Military Hospital
|Political party||None (Military)|
Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte[note 1] (25 November 1915 – 10 December 2006) was a Chilean army general who was brought to power as president by a coup d' etat. Among his titles, he was the Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean army from 1973 to 1998, president of the Government Junta of Chile from 1973 to 1974 and President of the Republic from 1974 until he reinstalled a democratic system in 1990.
At the beginning of 1972, he was appointed General Chief of Staff of the Army. In August 1973, he was appointed as Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army by president Salvador Allende. On 11 September 1973, Pinochet led a coup d'état which put an end to Allende's democratically-elected government. In December 1974, the military junta appointed Pinochet as President by a joint decree, with which Air Force General Gustavo Leigh disagreed. From the beginning, the government implemented harsh measures against its political opponents. According to various reports and investigations 1,200-3,200 people were killed, 80,000 were interned, and up to 30,000 were tortured by his regime. Professor Clive Foss, in The Tyrants: 2500 years of Absolute Power and Corruption (Quercus Publishing 2006), estimates that 1,500 Chileans were killed or disappeared during the Pinochet regime. Another 200,000 people went into exile, particularly to Argentina and Peru, and applied for political asylum or received further guerrilla training in camps in Cuba, East Germany and elsewhere; however, some key individuals were followed in their exile by the DINA secret police, in the framework of Operation Condor, which linked military South American governments together against political opponents.
The new government also implemented economic reforms, including the privatization of several state-controlled industries and the rollback of many state welfare institutions. These policies produced what has been referred to as the "miracle of Chile", but the government policies dramatically increased economic inequality and some attribute the devastating effect of the 1982 monetary crisis in the Chilean economy precisely to these policies. Pinochet's economic policies were continued and strengthened by successive governments after 1990.
Pinochet's presidency was given a legal framework through a highly controversial plebiscite in 1980, which approved a new Constitution drafted by a government-appointed commission. A plebiscite in 1988 (which saw 56% vote against continuing his presidency) led to democratic elections for the Presidency and Parliament. After peacefully stepping down in 1990, Pinochet continued to serve as Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army until 10 March 1998, when he retired and became a senator-for-life in accordance with the 1980 Constitution. In 2004, Chilean Judge Juan Guzmán Tapia ruled that Pinochet was medically fit to stand trial and placed him under house arrest. At the time of his death in 10 December 2006, around 300 criminal charges were still pending against him in Chile for various human rights violations, tax evasion and embezzlement under his rule and afterwards. Pinochet was accused of having corruptly amassed a wealth of US$28 million or more while ruler of Chile.
Pinochet was an intensely polarizing figure at home and abroad. His policies were vehemently opposed by leftists and many moderates who attacked his human rights abuses and claimed that he favored elite interests, while many rightists saw him as a bulwark against Marxism and chaos and believed that he led Chile to become one of the most prosperous and developed countries in Latin America.
Early life and career
Pinochet was born in Valparaíso on 25 November 1915 to Augusto Pinochet Vera, descendant of a Breton immigrant from Lamballe, and Avelina Ugarte Martínez. He went to primary and secondary school at the San Rafael Seminary of Valparaíso, the Rafael Ariztía Institute (Marist Brothers) in Quillota, the French Fathers' School of Valparaíso, and then to the Military School in Santiago, which he entered in 1931. After four years of study, in 1935 he graduated with the rank of alférez (Second Lieutenant) in the infantry.
In September 1937, he was assigned to the "Chacabuco" Regiment, in Concepción. Two years later, in 1939, then with the rank of Sub-lieutenant, he moved to the "Maipo" Regiment, garrisoned in Valparaíso. He returned to Infantry School in 1940. On January 30, 1943, he married Lucía Hiriart Rodríguez, with whom he had five children: three daughters (Inés Lucía, María Verónica, Jacqueline Marie) and two sons (Augusto Osvaldo and Marco Antonio).
At the end of 1945, he was assigned to the "Carampangue" Regiment in the northern city of Iquique. Three years later, he entered the War Academy, but he had to postpone his studies because, being the youngest officer, he had to carry out a service mission in the coal zone of Lota. The following year he returned to his studies in the Academy, and after obtaining the title of Officer Chief of Staff, in 1951, he returned to teach at the Military School. At the same time, he worked as a teachers' aide at the War Academy, giving military geography and geopolitics classes. In addition to this, he was active as editor of the institutional magazine Cien Águilas ("One Hundred Eagles"). At the beginning of 1953, with the rank of Major, he was sent for two years to the "Rancagua" Regiment in Arica. While there, he was appointed professor of the Chilean War Academy, and he returned to Santiago to take up his new position.
In 1956, Pinochet and a group of young officers were chosen to form a military mission that would collaborate in the organization of the War Academy of Ecuador in Quito, which forced him to suspend his law studies. He remained with the Quito mission for three-and-a-half years, during which time he dedicated himself to the study of geopolitics, military geography and intelligence. It's been recently alleged that while in Quito Pinochet had a romance with Piedad Noe, and fathered a boy called Juan.
At the end of 1959, he returned to Chile and was sent to General Headquarters of the 1st Army Division, based in Antofagasta. The following year, he was appointed Commander of the "Esmeralda" Regiment. Due to his success in this position, he was appointed Sub-director of the War Academy in 1963. In 1968, he was named Chief of Staff of the 2nd Army Division, based in Santiago, and at the end of that year, he was promoted to Brigadier General and Commander in Chief of the 6th Division, garrisoned in Iquique. In his new function, he was also appointed Intendant of the Tarapacá Province.
In January 1971, Pinochet rose to Division General, and was named General Commander of the Santiago Army Garrison. At the beginning of 1972, he was appointed General Chief of Staff of the Army. With rising domestic strife in Chile, after General Prats resigned his position, Pinochet was appointed Commander in Chief of the Army on August 23, 1973 by President Salvador Allende just the day after the Chamber of Deputies of Chile approved a resolution asserting that the government was not respecting the Constitution. Less than a month later, the Chilean military deposed Allende.
Military coup of 1973
On 11 September 1973, the combined Chilean Armed Forces (the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Carabineros) overthrew Allende's government in a coup, during which the presidential palace, La Moneda, was shelled and Allende died. The cause of his death is disputed.
In his memoirs, Pinochet affirmed that he was the leading plotter of the coup, and used his position as Commander-in-chief of the Army to coordinate a far-reaching scheme with the other two branches of the military and the national police. In later years, however, high military officials from the time have said that Pinochet reluctantly got involved only a few days before it was scheduled to occur and followed the lead of the other branches (especially the Navy, under Merino) as they triggered the coup.
In the months that followed the coup, the junta, with authoring work by historian Gonzalo Vial and admiral Patricio Carvajal, published a book titled El Libro Blanco del cambio de gobierno en Chile (commonly known as El Libro Blanco, "The White Book of the Change of Government in Chile"), where they attempted to justify the coup by claiming that they were in fact anticipating a self-coup (the alleged Plan Zeta, or Plan Z) that Allende's government and/or its associates were purportedly preparing. United States intelligence agencies believed the plan to be simple propaganda. Although later discredited and officially recognized as the product of political propaganda, some Chilean historians have pointed to the similarities between the alleged Plan Z and other existing paramilitary plans of the Popular Unity parties in support of its legitimacy.
A military junta was established immediately following the coup, made up of General Pinochet representing the Army, Admiral José Toribio Merino representing the Navy, General Gustavo Leigh representing the Air Force, and General César Mendoza representing the Carabineros (national police). As established the junta exercised both executive and legislative functions of the government, suspended the Constitution and the Congress, imposed strict censorship and curfew, banned all parties and halted all political activities. This military junta held the executive role until 17 December 1974, after which it remained strictly as a legislative body, the executive powers being transferred to Pinochet with the title of President.
The junta members originally planned for the presidency to rotate among the commanders-in-chief of the four military branches. However, Pinochet soon consolidated his control, first retaining sole chairmanship of the military junta, and then proclaiming himself "Supreme Chief of the Nation" (de facto provisional president) on 27 June 1974. He officially changed his title to "President" on 17 December 1974. General Leigh, head of the Air Force, became increasingly opposed to Pinochet's policies and was forced into retirement on 24 July 1978, after contradicting Pinochet on that year's plebiscite (officially called Consulta Nacional, or National Consultation, in response to a UN resolution condemning Pinochet's government). He would be replaced by General Fernando Matthei.
Pinochet organized a plebiscite on September 11, 1980. The Chilean people were asked to ratify a new Constitution, replacing the 1925 Constitution drafted during Arturo Alessandri's presidency. The new Constitution, partly drafted by Jaime Guzmán, a close adviser to Pinochet and future founder of the right-wing party Independent Democrat Union (UDI), gave the position of President of the Republic, held by Pinochet, a large amount of power. It created some new institutions, such as the Constitutional Tribunal and the controversial National Security Council (COSENA). It also prescribed an 8-year presidential period, and a single-candidate presidential referendum in 1988, where a candidate nominated by the Junta would be approved or rejected for another 8-year period. The 1980 referendum was approved by 67.04% against 30.19%, although the opposition denounced extensive irregularities. Headed by ex-president Eduardo Frei Montalva, they argued that this result did not tally with electoral records. One objection was that voters cast their vote using as identification only their own ID cards, without any official records, and were only marked with ink on the thumb, which came off rapidly, making electoral fraud easy. These criticisms were rejected by the Scrutiny Association, and the Constitution was promulgated on October 21, 1980, taking effect on March 11, 1981. Pinochet was replaced as President of the Junta that day by Admiral Merino.
In a massive operation spearheaded by Chilean Army Para-Commandos, security forces involving some 2,000 troops., were deployed in the mountains of Neltume from June to November, where they destroyed two MIR bases, seizing large caches of munitions and killing a number of guerrillas.
In a 1985 report, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights stated that it hoped that "the case now under way will lead to the identification and punishment of the persons responsible for the execution of so culpable an act." Eventually, six members of the police secret service were given life sentences.
In September, weapons from the same source were used in an unsuccessful assassination attempt against Pinochet by the FPMR. Taken by surprise, five of his military bodyguards were killed. Although Pinochet's Mercedes Benz bullet proof vehicle was struck by a rocket, it did not explode, and Pinochet suffered only minor injuries, managing to escape.
Allegations of fascism
Pinochet and his regime have been characterised as fascist. However, he and his regime are generally excluded from academic typologies of fascism. Roger Griffin included Pinochet in a group of pseudo-populist despots distinct from fascism and including the likes of Saddam Hussein, Nicolae Ceauşescu, Pol Pot, Suharto and Ferdinand Marcos. He argues that such regimes may be considered populist ultra-nationalism but lack the palingenesis necessary to make them conform to the model of palingenetic ultranationalism. Robert Paxton meanwhile compared Pinochet's regime to that of Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire, arguing that both were merely client states that lacked popular acclaim and the ability to expand. He further argued that had Pinochet attempted to build true fascism, the regime would likely have been toppled or at least been forced to alter its relationship to the United States. Anna Cento Bull also excluded Pinochet from fascism, although she has argued that his regime belongs to a strand of Cold War anti-communism that was happy to accommodate neo-fascist elements within its activity. World Fascism: a Historical encyclopedia notes:
Although he was authoritarian and ruled dictatorially, Pinochet's support of neoliberal economic policies and his unwillingness to support national businesses distinguished him from classical fascists.
This view is implicitly rejected by those who have argued that the Chilean economy revived under Pinochet only when the regime adopted corporatist economic policies as opposed to neoliberal ones of the Chicago School (Gregory Palast "Inside corporate America' column The Observer UK newspaper business news section 22/11/1998).
Suppression of opposition
|“||He shut down parliament, suffocated political life, banned trade unions, and made Chile his sultanate. His government disappeared 3,000 opponents, arrested 30,000 (torturing thousands of them) ... Pinochet's name will forever be linked to the Desaparecidos, the Caravan of Death, and the institutionalized torture that took place in the Villa Grimaldi complex.||”|
Almost immediately after the military's seizure of power, the junta banned all the leftist parties that had constituted Allende's UP coalition. All other parties were placed in "indefinite recess," and were later banned outright. The government's violence was directed not only against dissidents, but also against their families and other civilians.
The Rettig Report concluded 2,279 persons who disappeared during the military government were killed for political reasons or as a result of political violence, and approximately 31,947 tortured according to the later Valech Report, while 1,312 were exiled. The latter were chased all over the world by the intelligence agencies. In Latin America, this was made in the frame of Operation Condor, a cooperation plan between the various intelligence agencies of South American countries, assisted by a United States CIA communication base in Panama. Pinochet believed these operations were necessary in order to "save the country from communism".
Some political scientists have ascribed the relative bloodiness of the coup to the stability of the existing democratic system, which required extreme action to overturn. Some of the most famous cases of human rights violation occurred during the early period: in October 1973, at least 70 people were killed throughout the country by the Caravan of Death. Charles Horman, a US journalist, "disappeared", as did Víctor Olea Alegría, a member of the Socialist Party, and many others, in 1973.
Furthermore, many other important officials of Allende's government were tracked down by the DINA in the frame of Operation Condor. Thus, General Carlos Prats, Pinochet's predecessor and army commander under Allende, who had resigned rather than support the moves against Allende's government, was assassinated in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1974. A year later, the murder of 119 opponents abroad was disguised as an internal conflict, the DINA setting up a propaganda campaign to accredit this thesis (Operation Colombo), campaign that received diffusion by the leading newspaper in Chile, El Mercurio.
Other victims of Condor included, among hundreds of less famous persons, Juan José Torres, the former President of Bolivia, assassinated in Buenos Aires on 2 June 1976; Carmelo Soria, a UN diplomat working for the CEPAL, assassinated in July 1976; Orlando Letelier, a former Chilean ambassador to the United States and minister in Allende's cabinet, assassinated after his release from internment and exile in Washington, D.C. by a car bomb on 21 September 1976. This led to strained relations with the US and to the extradition of Michael Townley, a US citizen who worked for the DINA and had organized Letelier's assassination. Other targeted victims, who escaped assassination, included Christian-Democrat Bernardo Leighton, who escaped an assassination attempt in Rome in 1975 by the Italian terrorist Stefano delle Chiaie; Carlos Altamirano, the leader of the Chilean Socialist Party, targeted for murder in 1975 by Pinochet, along with Volodia Teitelboim, member of the Communist Party; Pascal Allende, the nephew of Salvador Allende and president of the MIR, who escaped an assassination attempt in Costa Rica in March 1976; US Congressman Edward Koch, who became aware in 2001 of relations between death threats and his denunciation of Operation Condor, etc. Furthermore, according to current investigations, Eduardo Frei Montalva, the Christian Democrat President of Chile from 1964 to 1970, may have been poisoned in 1982 by toxin produced by DINA biochemist Eugenio Berrios.
Protests continued, however, during the 1980s, leading to several scandals. In March 1985, the savage murder of three Communist Party members led to the resignation of César Mendoza, head of the Carabineros and member of the junta since its formation. During a 1986 protest against Pinochet, 21 year old American photographer Rodrigo Rojas DeNegri and 18 year old student Carmen Gloria Quintana were burnt alive, with only Carmen surviving.
In August 1989, Marcelo Barrios Andres, a 21 year-old member of the FPMR (the armed wing of the PCC, created in 1983, which had attempted to assassinate Pinochet on September 7, 1986), was assassinated by a group of military personnel who were supposed to arrest him on orders of Valparaíso's public prosecutor. However, they simply executed him; this case was included in the Rettig Report. Among the killed and disappeared during the military regime were 440 MIR guerrillas.
In 1973, the Chilean economy was deeply hurt by several reasons, including the economic sanctions imposed by the Nixon administration, inflation was hundreds of percents, the country had no foreign reserves, and GDP was falling. By mid 1975, the government set forth an economic policy of free-market reforms which attempted to stop inflation and collapse. He declared that he wanted "to make Chile not a nation of proletarians, but a nation of proprietors." To formulate the economic rescue, the government relied on the so-called Chicago Boys.
The economic policies espoused by the Chicago Boys and implemented by the junta initially caused several economic indicators to decline for Chile's lower classes. Between 1973 and 1989 , there were large cuts to incomes and social services. Wages decreased by 8%. Family allowances in 1989 were 28% of what they had been in 1970 and the budgets for education, health and housing had dropped by over 20% on average The junta relied on the middle class, the oligarchy, huge foreign corporations, and foreign loans to maintain itself. The oligarchy recovered most of its lost industrial and agricultural holdings, for the junta sold to private buyers most of the industries expropriated by Allende's Popular Unity government. This period saw the expansion of monopolies and widespread speculation.
Financial conglomerates became major beneficiaries of the liberalized economy and the flood of foreign bank loans. Large foreign banks reinstated the credit cycle, as the Junta saw that the basic state obligations, such as resuming payment of principal and interest installments, were honored. International lending organizations such as the World Bank, the IMF, and the Inter-American Development Bank lent vast sums anew. Many foreign multinational corporations such as International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT), Dow Chemical, and Firestone, all expropriated by Allende, returned to Chile. Pinochet's policies eventually led to substantial GDP growth, in contrast to the negative growth seen in the early years of his administration. Foreign debt also grew substantially under Pinochet, rising 300% between 1974 and 1988.
His government implemented an economic model that had three main objectives: economic liberalization, privatization of state owned companies, and stabilization of inflation. In 1985, the government started with a second round of privatization, it revised previously introduced tariff increases and gave a greater supervisory role for the Central Bank. Pinochet's market liberalizations have continued after his death, led by Patricio Aylwin.
1988 referendum and transition to democracy
According to the transitional provisions of the 1980 Constitution, a referendum was scheduled for October 5, 1988, to vote on a new eight-year presidential term for Pinochet. Confronted with increasing opposition, notably at the international level, Pinochet legalized political parties in 1987 and called for a plebiscite to determine whether or not he would remain in power until 1997. If the "YES" won, Pinochet would have to implement the dispositions of the 1980 Constitution, mainly the call for general elections, while he would himself remain in power as President. If the "NO" won, Pinochet would remain President for another year, and a joint Presidential and Parliamentary election would be scheduled.
Another reason of Pinochet's decision to call for elections was the April 1987 visit of Pope John Paul II to Chile. According to the US Catholic author George Weigel, he held a meeting with Pinochet during which they discussed a return to democracy. John Paul II allegedly pushed Pinochet to accept a democratic opening of the regime, and even called for his resignation.
Political advertising was legalized on 5 September 1987, as a necessary element for the campaign for the "NO" to the referendum, which countered the official campaign which presaged a return to a Popular Unity government in case of a defeat of Pinochet. The Opposition, gathered into the Concertación de Partidos por el NO ("Coalition of Parties for NO"), organized a colorful and cheerful campaign under the slogan La alegría ya viene ("Joy is coming"). It was formed by the Christian Democracy, the Socialist Party and the Radical Party, gathered in the Alianza Democrática (Democratic Alliance). In 1988, several more parties, including the Humanist Party, the Ecologist Party, the Social Democrats, and several Socialist Party splinter groups added their support.
On 5 October 1988, the "NO" option won with 55.99% of the votes, against 44.1% of "YES" votes. Pinochet complied, so the ensuing Constitutional process led to presidential and legislative elections the following year.
The Coalition changed its name to Concertación de Partidos por la Democracia (Coalition of Parties for Democracy) and put forward Patricio Aylwin, a Christian Democrat who had opposed Allende, as presidential candidate, and also proposed a list of candidates for the parliamentary elections. The opposition and the Pinochet government made several negotiations to amend the Constitution and agreed to 54 modifications. These amendments changed the way the Constitution would be modified in the future, added restrictions to state of emergency dispositions, the affirmation of political pluralism, and enhanced constitutional rights as well as the democratic principle and participation to political life. In July 1989, a referendum on the proposed changes took place, supported by all the parties except the right-wing Avanzada Nacional. The Constitutional changes were approved by 91.25% of the voters.
Thereafter, Aylwin won the December 1989 presidential election with 55% of the votes, against less than 30% for the right-wing candidate, Hernan Buchi, who had been Pinochet's Minister of Finances since 1985 (there was also a third-party candidate, Francisco Javier Errázuriz, a wealthy aristocrat that represented the extreme economical right, who garnered the remaining 15%). Pinochet thus left the presidency on 11 March 1990 and transferred power to the new democratically elected president.
The Concertación also won the majority of votes for the Parliament. However, due to the "binominal" representation system included in the constitution, the elected senators did not achieve a complete majority in Parliament, a situation that would last for over 15 years. This forced them to negotiate all law projects with the Alliance for Chile (originally called "Democracy and Progress" and then "Union for Chile"), a center-right coalition involving the Unión Demócrata Independiente (UDI) and Renovación Nacional (RN), parties composed mainly of Pinochet's supporters.
Due to the transitional provisions of the constitution, Pinochet remained as Commander-in-Chief of the Army until March 1998. He was then sworn in as a senator-for-life, a privilege granted by the 1980 constitution to former presidents with at least six years in office. His senatorship and consequent immunity from prosecution protected him from legal action. These were only possible in Chile after Pinochet was arrested in 1998 in the United Kingdom, on an extradition request issued by Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón —allegations of abuses had been made numerous times before his arrest, but never acted upon.
Relationship with UK
Chile was officially neutral during the Falklands War, but the Chilean Westinghouse long range radar deployed in southern Chile gave the British task force early warning of Argentinian air attacks, which allowed British ships and troops in the war zone to take defensive action. Margaret Thatcher has said that the day the radar was taken out of service for overdue maintenance was the day Argentinian fighter-bombers bombed the troopships Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram landing ships, leaving 53 dead. According to Chilean Junta and former Air Force commander Fernando Matthei, Chilean support included military intelligence gathering, radar surveillance, British aircraft operating with Chilean colours and the safe return of British special forces, among other things. In April and May 1982, a squadron of British mothballed Hawker Hunter fighter-bombers departed for Chile, arriving on 22 May and allowing the Chilean Air Force to reform the No. 9 "Las Panteras Negras" Squadron. A further consignment of three frontier surveillance and shipping reconnaissance Canberras left for Chile in October. Some authors suggest that Argentina might have won the war had she been allowed to employ the elite VIth and VIIIth Mountain Brigades which remained sitting up in the Andes mountain chain guarding against Chile. Pinochet subsequently visited Margaret Thatcher for tea on more than one occasion. Pinochet's controversial relationship with Thatcher led Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair to mock Thatcher's Conservatives as "the party of Pinochet" in 1999.
Arrest and trial in Britain
After having been placed under house arrest in Britain and initiating a judicial and public relations battle, the latter run by Thatcherite political operative Patrick Robertson, he was eventually released in March 2000 on medical grounds by the Home Secretary Jack Straw without facing trial.
Return to Chile
Pinochet returned to Chile on 3 March 2000. His first act when landing in Santiago's airport was to triumphantly get up from his wheelchair to the acclaim of his supporters. He was first greeted by his successor as head of the Chilean armed forces, General Ricardo Izurieta. President Ricardo Lagos, who had just sworn in on March 11, said the retired general's televised arrival had damaged the image of Chile, while thousands demonstrated against him.
In March 2000, the Congress approved a constitutional amendment creating the status of "ex-president," which granted its owner immunity from prosecution and guaranteed him a financial allowance. In exchange, it required him to resign from his seat of senator-for-life. 111 legislators voted for, and 29 (mostly, if not all, from the Left) against.
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Juan Guzmán's request on August 2000, and Pinochet was indicted on 1 December 2000 for the "kidnapping" of 75 opponents in the Caravan of Death case—Guzmán advanced the charge of "kidnapping" as they were officially "disappeared": even though they were all most likely dead, the absence of their corpses made any charge of "homicide" difficult.
However, in July 2002, the Supreme Court dismissed Pinochet's indictment in the various human rights abuse cases, for medical reasons (vascular dementia). The debate concerned Pinochet's mental faculties, his legal team claiming that he was senile and could not remember, while others (including several physicians) claimed that he was only physically affected but retained all control of his faculties. The same year, the prosecuting attorney Hugo Guttierez, in charge of the Caravan of Death case, declared that "Our country has the degree of justice that the political transition permits us to have."
Pinochet resigned from his senatorial seat shortly after the Supreme Court's July 2002 ruling. In May 2004, the Supreme Court overturned its precedent decision, and ruled that he was capable of standing trial. In arguing their case, the prosecution presented a recent TV interview Pinochet had given for a Miami-based television network, which raised doubts about his alleged mental incapacity. He was charged with several crimes in December of that year (including the 1974 assassination of General Prats, the Operation Colombo case (119 dead), etc.) and again placed under house arrest, on the eve of his 90th birthday. Questioned by his judges in order to know if, as President, he was the direct head of DINA, he answered: "I don't remember, but it's not true. And if it were true, I don't remember."
In January 2005, the Chilean Army accepted institutional responsibility for past human rights abuses.
Furthermore, Pinochet was indicted in 2006 for kidnappings and tortures at Villa Grimaldi detention center by the judge Alejandro Madrid (Guzmán's successor), as well as for the 1995 assassination of the DINA biochemist Eugenio Berrios (himself involved in the Letelier case). Berrios, who had worked with Michael Townley, had produced sarin gas, anthrax and botulism in the Bacteriological War Army Laboratory for Pinochet (used against political opponents). The DINA biochemist was also alleged of having created black cocaine, which Pinochet then sold in Europe and the United States. The money for the drug trade was allegedly put directly into Pinochet's bank accounts. Pinochet's son Marco Antonio, who had been accused of participating in the drug trade, has denied claims of drug trafficking in his father's administration and announced a lawsuit for libel against Manuel Contreras, who had also claimed Pinochet sold cocaine.
On 25 November 2006, Pinochet marked his 91st birthday by having his wife read a statement written by him, and read to his admirers present for his birthday: "I assume the political responsibility of all that has been done." Two days later, he was again ordered to house arrest for the kidnapping and murder of two bodyguards of Salvador Allende who were arrested the day of the 1973 coup and executed by a firing squad during the Caravan of Death episode.
However, Pinochet died a few days later, on 10 December 2006, without having been convicted of any of the many serious crimes of which he was accused.
Secret bank accounts, tax evasion and arms deal
In 2004, a United States Senate money laundering investigation led by Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and Norm Coleman (R-MN)—ordered in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks—uncovered a network of over 125 securities and bank accounts at Riggs Bank and other U.S. financial institutions used by Pinochet and his associates for twenty-five years to secretly move millions of dollars. Though the subcommittee was charged only with investigating compliance of financial institutions under the USA PATRIOT Act, and not the Pinochet regime, Senator Coleman noted:
This is a sad, sordid tale of money laundering involving Pinochet accounts at multiple financial institutions using alias names, offshore accounts, and close associates. As a former General and President of Chile, Pinochet was a well-known human rights violator and violent dictator.
Over several months in 2005, Chilean judge Sergio Muñoz indicted Augusto Pinochet's wife, Lucia Hiriart; four of his children—Marco Antonio, Jacqueline, Veronica and Lucia Pinochet; as well as his personal secretary, Monica Ananias, and former aide Oscar Aitken on tax evasion and falsification charges stemming from the Riggs Bank investigation. In January 2006, daughter Lucia Pinochet was detained at Washington DC-Dulles airport and subsequently deported while attempting to evade the tax charges in Chile. In January 2007, the Santiago Court of Appeals revoked most of the indictment from Judge Carlos Cerda against the Pinochet family. But Pinochet's five children, his wife Lucia Hiriart, and 17 other persons (including two generals, one of his ex-lawyer and his ex-secretary) were arrested in October 2007 on charges of embezzlement and use of false passports. They are accused of having illegally transferred $27m (£13.2m) to foreign bank accounts during Pinochet's rule.
In September 2005, a joint-investigation by The Guardian and La Tercera revealed that the British arms firm BAE Systems had been identified as paying more than £1m to Pinochet, through a front company in the British Virgin Islands, which BAE has used to channel commission on arms deals. The payments began in 1997 and lasted until 2004.
Furthermore, in 2007, fifteen years of investigation led to the conclusion that the 1992 assassination of DINA Colonel Gerardo Huber was most probably related to various illegal arms traffic carried out, after Pinochet's resignation from power, by military circles very close to himself. Huber had been assassinated a short time before he was due to testify in the case concerning the 1991 illegal export of weapons to Croatian army. The deal involved 370 tons of weapons, sold to Croatia by Chile on 7 December 1991, when the former country was under a United Nations' embargo because of the support for Croatian neo-nazists or Neo-Ustashe in civil war in Yugoslavia. In January 1992, the judge Hernán Correa de la Cerda wanted to hear Gerardo Huber in this case, but the latter may have been silenced to avoid implicating Pinochet in this new case—although the latter was not anymore President, he remained at the time Commander-in-Chief of the Army. Pinochet was at the center of this illegal arms trade, receiving money through various offshores and front companies, including the Banco Coutts International in Miami.
Pinochet was stripped of his parliamentary immunity in August 2000 by the Supreme Court, and indicted by judge Juan Guzmán Tapia. Guzmán had ordered in 1999 the arrest of five militarists, including General Pedro Espinoza Bravo of the DINA, for their role in the Caravan of Death following the 11 September coup. Arguing that the bodies of the "disappeared" were still missing, he made jurisprudence which had as effect to lift any prescription on the crimes committed by the military. Pinochet's trial continued until his death on December 10, 2006, with an alternation of indictments for specific cases, lifting of immunities by the Supreme Court or to the contrary immunity from prosecution, with his health a main argument for, or against, his prosecution. The Supreme Court affirmed in March 2005 Pinochet's immunity concerning the 1974 assassination of General Carlos Prats in Buenos Aires, which had taken place in the frame of Operation Condor. However, he was deemed fit to stand trial for Operation Colombo, during which 119 political opponents were "disappeared" in Argentina. The Chilean justice also lifted his immunity on the Villa Grimaldi case, a detention and torture center in the outskirts of Santiago. Pinochet, who still benefited from a reputation of righteousness from his supporters, lost legitimacy when he was put under house arrest on tax fraud and passport forgery, following the publication by the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of a report concerning the Riggs Bank in July 2004. The report was a consequence of investigations on financial funding of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the US. The bank controlled between USD $4 million and $8 million of Pinochet's assets, who lived in Santiago in a modest house, dissimulating his wealth. According to the report, Riggs participated in money laundering for Pinochet, setting up offshore shell corporations (referring to Pinochet as only "a former public official"), and hiding his accounts from regulatory agencies. Related to Pinochet's and his family secret bank accounts in United States and in Caraïbs islands, this tax fraud filing for an amount of 27 million dollars shocked the conservative sectors who still supported him. Ninety percent of these funds would have been raised between 1990 and 1998, when Pinochet was chief of the Chilean armies, and would essentially have come from weapons traffic (when purchasing Belgian 'Mirage' air-fighters in 1994, Dutch 'Léopard' tanks, Swiss 'Mowag' tanks or by illegal sales of weapons to Croatia, in the middle of the Balkans war.) His wife, Lucía Hiriart, and his son, Marco Antonio Pinochet, were also sued for complicity. For the fourth time in seven years, Pinochet was indicted by the Chilean justice.
Human rights violations
Pinochet is alleged to be responsible for various human rights abuses during his reign including usage of torture against political opponents. According to a government report that included testimony from more than 30,000 people, Pinochet's government killed at least 3,197 people and tortured about 29,000. Two-thirds of the cases listed in the report happened in 1973. However, The Age newspaper (Melbourne, Australia) has reported that the real number of people killed or reported missing and presumed dead are 1,183 people and that their names appear on a special memorial at the General Cemetery of Santiago. Professor Clive Foss, in The Tyrants: 2500 years of Absolute Power and Corruption (Quercus Publishing 2006), estimates that 1,500 Chileans were killed or disappeared during the Pinochet regime. Among the killed and disappeared during the military regime were at least 663 MIR guerrillas. The Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front admitted 49 FPMR guerrillas were killed and hundreds tortured.
Pinochet suffered a heart attack on the morning of December 3, 2006, and subsequently the same day he was given the last rites. On December 4, 2006, the Chilean Court of Appeals ordered the release of his house arrest. On December 10, 2006 at 13:30 local time (16:30 UTC) he was taken to the intensive care unit. He died of congestive heart failure and pulmonary edema, surrounded by family members, at the Military Hospital at 14:15 local time (17:15 UTC).
Massive spontaneous street demonstrations broke out throughout the country upon the learning of his death. In Santiago, opponents celebrated at the Alameda avenue, while supporters grieved outside the Military Hospital. Pinochet's remains were publicly exhibited on December 11, 2006 at the Military Academy in Las Condes. During this ceremony Francisco Cuadrado Prats, the grandson of Carlos Prats, a former Commander in Chief of the Army in Allende's Government, murdered by Pinochet's secret police, spat on the coffin, and was quickly surrounded by supporters of Pinochet, who kicked and insulted him. Pinochet's funeral took place the following day at the same venue before a gathering of 60,000 supporters.
In a government decision, he was not granted a state funeral, an honor bestowed upon constitutionally elected Chilean presidents, but a military funeral as former commander-in-chief of the Army appointed by President Salvador Allende. The government also refused to declare an official national day of mourning, but it did authorize flags at military barracks to fly at half staff. Pinochet's coffin was also allowed to be draped in a Chilean flag. Socialist President Michelle Bachelet, whose father Alberto was temporarily imprisoned and tortured after the 1973 coup, dying shortly after from heart complications, said it would be "a violation of [her] conscience" to attend a state funeral for Pinochet. The only government authority present at the public funeral was the Defense Minister, Vivianne Blanlot.
Pinochet's body was cremated in "Parque del Mar" cemetery, Concón on December 12, 2006, on his request to "avoid vandalism of his tomb," according to his son Marco Antonio. His ashes were delivered to his family later that day, and are deposited in one of his personal residences. The armed forces refused to allow his ashes to be deposited on any military grounds.
Chile under Pinochet
On 11 September 1973 Pinochet assumed power and ended Salvador Allende's democratically elected Popular Unity government. Pinochet established a military dictatorship marked by severe human rights violations that ruled Chile until 1990.
Rise to power
On August 22, 1973 the Chamber of Deputies of Chile passed, by a vote of 81 to 47, a resolution calling for President Allende's to respect the constitution. The measure failed to obtain the two-thirds vote in the Senate constitutionally required to convict the president of abuse of power, but represented a challenge to Allende's legitimacy.
The military seized on the widespread discontent and the Chamber's resolution to launch the September 11, 1973 coup d'état (see 1973 coup in Chile) and install themselves in power as a Military Government Junta, composed of the heads of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Carabineros (police).
Once the Junta was in power, General Augusto Pinochet soon consolidated his control over the government. Since he was the commander-in-chief of the oldest branch of the military forces (the Army), he was made the titular head of the junta, and soon after President of Chile.
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This article is part of a series
|Conquest of Chile|
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|1829 Civil War|
|War of the Confederation|
|War of the Pacific|
|Chilean Civil War|
|1924 coup d'état|
|1925 coup d'état|
|Chile under Allende|
|1973 coup d'état|
|Chile under Pinochet|
|Present day Chile|
|Transition to democracy|
|Politics of Chile|
|Chilean coup d'état|
Following their takeover of power, the Government Junta formally banned the socialist, Marxist and other leftist parties that had constituted former President Allende's Popular Unity coalition. On September 13, the junta dissolved the Congress and outlawed or suspended all political parties. All dissident leaders were suspended. All political activity was declared in "recess".
Pinochet expressed contempt for the Christian Democratic Party's call for a quick return to civilian democracy. However, he did not ban the party. Eduardo Frei, Allende's Christian Democratic predecessor as president, initially supported the coup along with other Christian Democratic leaders. Later, they assumed the role of a loyal opposition to the military rulers, but soon lost most of their influence.
Meanwhile, left-wing Christian Democratic leaders like Radomiro Tomic were jailed or forced into exile. The Catholic Church, which at first expressed its gratitude to the armed forces for saving the country from the danger of a "Marxist dictatorship" became, under the leadership of Raúl Cardinal Silva Henríquez, the most outspoken critic of the regime's social and economic policies. Nonetheless, even Pope John Paul II has been criticized for his perceived leniency towards the Pinochet regime.
The military junta began to change during the late 1970s. Due to problems with General Pinochet, General Gustavo Leigh was expelled from the junta in 1978 and replaced by General Fernando Matthei. In 1985 due to the Caso Degollados scandal ("case of the slit throats"), General César Mendoza resigned and was replaced by General Rodolfo Stange.
Constitution of 1980
Chile's new constitution was approved in a national plebiscite held in September 11, 1980. The constitution was approved by 66% of voters under a process which has been described as "highly irregular and undemocratic." The constitution came into force on March 11, 1981.
Economy and free market reforms
After the military took over the government in 1973, a period of dramatic economic changes began. The Chilean economy was still faltering in the months following the coup. As the military junta itself was not particularly skilled in remedying the persistent economic difficulties, it appointed a group of Chilean economists who had been educated in the United States at the University of Chicago. Given financial and ideological support from Pinochet, the U.S., and international financial institutions, the Chicago Boys advocated laissez-faire, free-market, neoliberal, and fiscally conservative policies, in stark contrast to the extensive nationalization and centrally-planned economic programs supported by Allende. Chile was drastically transformed from an economy isolated from the rest of the world, with strong government intervention, into a liberalized, world-integrated economy, where market forces were left free to guide most of the economy's decisions. 
Many of these reforms have been continued to this day, and according to the 2009 Index of Economic Freedom, which ranks nations according to tax burden, state control and other factors, Chile is currently the 11th most economically free nation in the world and the most free in Latin America. The resulting effect of these policies on the economy is clear from the figure (below right) showing the growth of GDP per capita since the 1973 overthrow of Salvador Allende and his socialist government. Currently, Chile is the most economically prosperous nation in Latin America according to GDP per capita. Some economists, however, argue that the short-term effects of the change to a free market system in the mid 1970's proved incredibly harmful to the Chilean economy. Instead of a sharp drop in inflation that was expected by the Chicago school economists, inflation reached 375% by conservative estimates. From an economic point of view, the era can be divided into two periods. The first, from 1973 to 1982, corresponds to the period when most of the reforms were implemented. The period ended with the international debt crisis and the collapse of the Chilean economy. At that point, unemployment was extremely high, above 20 percent, and a large proportion of the banking sector had become bankrupt. But this was a worldwide crisis, and as shown in the graph showing growth in GDP per capita did not have a long lasting effect on the Chilean economy. During that first period, an economic policy that emphasized export expansion and growth was implemented. While some economists argue that the economic recovery of the second period, from 1982 to 1990, was due to an about-face turn around of Pinochet's free market policy and the fact that, in 1982, he nationalized many of the same industries that were nationalized under Allende and fired the Chicago Boys from their government posts; it is quite clear that Chile's economy remained free and market driven and that this in turn led to its current prosperity, particularly relative to the rest of Latin America which employed big-government schemes and centralized control.
Pinochet's policies were lauded internationally for transforming the Chilean economy and bringing about an "economic miracle". British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher credited him with bringing about a thriving, free-enterprise economy, while at the same time downplaying the Junta's human rights record, condemning an "organised international Left who are bent on revenge." Pinochet certainly did achieve macroeconomic success with his reforms, hindered somewhat by recession in the early 1980s. GDP growth remained steady, and Chile began a process of integration into the international economy. However, as discussed below, many social costs were paid by the lower strata of Chilean society during his experimentation with economic shock.
The economic policies espoused by the Chicago Boys and implemented by the junta "initially" caused several economic indicators to decline for Chile's lower classes. Between 1970 and 1989 , there were large cuts to incomes and social services. Wages decreased by 8%. Family allowances in 1989 were 28% of what they had been in 1970 and the budgets for education, health and housing had dropped by over 20% on average. The massive increases in military spending and cuts in funding to public services coincided with falling wages and steady rises in unemployment, which averaged 26% during the worldwide economic slump of 1982–1985  and eventually peaked at 30%.
"Overall, the impact of neoliberal policies has reduced the total proportion of students in both public and private institutions in relation to the entire population, from 30 per cent in 1974 down to 25 per cent in 1990, and up only to 27 per cent today. If falling birth rates have made it possible today to attain full coverage at primary and secondary levels, the country has fallen seriously behind at tertiary level, where coverage, although now growing, is still only 32 per cent of the age group. The figure was twice as much in neighbouring Argentina and Uruguay, and even higher in developed countries—South Korea attaining a record 98 per cent coverage. Significantly, tertiary education for the upper-income fifth of the Chilean population, many of whom study in the new private universities, also reaches above 70 per cent."
The junta relied on the middle class, the oligarchy, huge foreign corporations, and foreign loans to maintain itself. Under Pinochet, funding of military and internal defence spending rose 120% from 1974 to 1979. Citation for both of these claims covered under Remmer, 1989--> Due to the reduction in public spending, tens of thousands of employees were fired from other state-sector jobs. The oligarchy recovered most of its lost industrial and agricultural holdings, for the junta sold to private buyers most of the industries expropriated by Allende's Popular Unity government. This period saw the expansion of monopolies and widespread speculation.
Financial conglomerates became major beneficiaries of the liberalized economy and the flood of foreign bank loans. Large foreign banks reinstated the credit cycle, as the Junta saw that the basic state obligations, such as resuming payment of principal and interest installments, were honored. International lending organizations such as the World Bank, the IMF, and the Inter-American Development Bank lent vast sums anew. Many foreign multinational corporations such as International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT), Dow Chemical, and Firestone, all expropriated by Allende, returned to Chile.
After the coup, left-wing organizations tried to set up groups of resistance fighters against the regime. Some of them, known as the GAP (Grupo de Amigos Personales), had previously served as bodyguards of President Allende. Many activists created groups of resistance groups from refugees abroad. The Lautaro Youth Movement (MJL) was formed in December 1982 and the Communist Party of Chile set up an armed wing, which became in 1983 the FPMR (Frente Patriótico Manuel Rodríguez). The main guerrilla group, known as the MIR (Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria), suffered heavy casualties in the coup's immediate aftermath, and most of its members fled the country. Andreas Pascal Allende, a nephew of President Allende led the MIR from 1974–1976, then made his way to Cuba. Nevertheless, in the first three months of military rule, the Chilean forces recorded 162 military deaths. A total of 756 servicemen and police are reported to have been killed or wounded in clashes with guerrillas in the 1970s. Among the killed and disappeared during the military regime were 440 MIR guerrillas. Many guerrillas confessed under torture and several hundred other young men and women, sympathetic to the guerrillas, were detained and tortured and often killed. Nearly 700 civilians disappeared in the 1974-1977 period, after being detained by the Chilean military and police.
On February 19, 1975, four captured MIR commanders went on national television to urge their guerrillas to lay down their arms. According to them, the MIR leadership was in ruins: of the 52 commanders of the MIR, nine had been killed, 24 were prisoners, ten were in exile, one had been expulsed from the group, and eight were still at large. On 18 November 1975, MIR guerrillas killed a 19-year-old army conscript (Private Hernán Patricio Salinas Calderón). On 24 February 1976, MIR guerrillas in a gunbattle with Chilean secret police, shot and killed a 41-year-old carabinero sergeant (Tulio Pereira Pereira). The Chilean secret police on this occasion were met with a hail of automatic weapons fire, killing a carabinero and a girl. On 28 April 1976, MIR guerrillas shot and killed a 29-year-old carabineros corporal (Bernardo Arturo Alcayaga Cerda) while he was walking home in the Santiago suburb of Pudahuel. In 1978 the MIR sought to reestablish a presence in Chile and launched "Operation Return" which involved clandestine entry, recruitment, bombings and bank robberies in Santiago that briefly shook the military regime. In February, 1979 MIR guerrillas bombed the US-Chile Cultural Institute in Santiago, causing considerable damage. On July 15, 1980 three guerrillas in blue overalls and yellow hardhats ambushed the car of lieutenant-colonel Roger Vergara Campos, director of the Chilean Army Intelligence School, and killed him and wounded his driver in a barrage of bullets from automatic rifles.
In a message sent to Santiago press agencies in February 1981 the MIR claimed to have carried out more than 100 attacks during 1980, among them the bombing of electricity pylons in Santiago and Valparaiso on November 11 which caused widespread blackouts, and bomb attacks on three banks in Santiago on December 30 in which one carabinero was killed and three people wounded. In November, 1981, MIR guerrillas killed three member of the Investigative Police as they stood in front of the home of the chief minister of the presidential staff. In sweeps carried out from June to November 1981, security forces destroyed two MIR bases in the mountains of Neltume, seizing large caches of munitions and killing a number guerrillas. MIR guerrillas retaliated and carried out twenty-six bomb attacks during March and April 1983.
Leftist guerrillas, waiting in a yellow pick-up truck, ambushed on August 30, 1983 the governor of Santiago, retired major-general Carol Urzua Ibáñez as he left his home, killing him and two of his bodyguards (army corporals Carlos Riveros Bequiarelli and José Domingo Aguayo Franco) in a hail of submachine-gun fire. In October and November 1983, MIR guerrillas bombed four US-associated targets. Guerrillas killed two policemen (carabinieri Francisco Javier Pérez Brito and sergeant Manuel Jesús Valenzuela Loyola) on December 28, 1983.
On March 31, 1984 a police bus in downtown Santiago was destroyed with a bomb, killing a carabinero and injuring at least 11. On 29 April 1984, MIR guerrillas exploded 11 bombs, derailing a subway train in Santiago and injuring 22 passengers, including seven children. On 5 September 1984, guerrillas shot and killed 27-year-old army lieutenant Julio Briones Rayo in Copiapó. On November 2, 1984 a bus carrying carabineros was attacked with a grenade during Chile's national cycling championship; four carabineros were killed. On November 4, 1984 five guerrillas riding in a van hurled bombs and fired automatic weapons at a suburban Santiago police station, killing two carabineros and wounded three more. A month later, another carabinero was killed in a similar attack. On 25 March 1985, MIR guerrillas planted a bomb in Hotel Araucano in Concepcion that killed marine sergeant René Osvaldo Lara Arriagada and army sergeant Alejandro del Carmen Avendaño Sánchez, who were attempting to defuse the bomb. On December 6, 1985 a carabinero was shot to death by four guerrillas who opened fire on him with submachine-guns as he walked home. The total number of documented terrorist actions during 1984 and 1985 was 866.
In February 1986 a car bomb destroyed a bus filled with riot police, mutilating 16 policemen. One carabinero later died of his wounds. The MIR claimed responsibility for the bombing. In May 1986 MIR guerrillas threw sulphuric acid into a bus, seriously injuring six people, including two children. On July 25, 1986 a bomb planted in a trash can exploded at a crowded bus stop a few yards from the presidential palace, wounding at least 24 people. On September 7, 1986, about 30 FPMR guerrillas attempted to kill Pinochet. Pinochet narrowly escaped the assassination attempt on his motorcade, but five army corporals were killed and eleven soldiers and carabineros were wounded in the ambush. This failed operation led to an internal crisis of the group, many of its leading members being arrested by the security forces. In October, 1986 MIR guerrillas attacked a police station in Limache with gunfire, seriously wounding five policemen. One carabinero later died of his wounds. On November 5, 1986 guerrillas threw an incendiary bomb into a bus in Viña del Mar, seriously injuring three women (Rosa Rivera Fierro, Sonia Ramírez Salinas and Marta Sepúlveda Contreras). Rosa Rivera Fierro, later died of her wounds. On 28 November 1986, MIR guerrillas after having been stopped by a police vehicles, shot and killed 31-year-old Carabinero Lieutenant Jaime Luis Sáenz Neira
On September 11, 1987 a police vehicle was completely destroyed in a bomb attack in Santiago, killing two carabineros. On January 20, 1988 a bomb planted by MIR guerrillas in the Capredena Medical Center in Valparaiso killed a 65-year-old female pensioner (Berta Rosa Pardo Muñoz) and wounded 15 others females. On January 26, MIR guerrillas planted a bomb in a house in La Cisterna that killed 42-year-old Major Julio Eladio Benimeli Ruz, commander of the carabineros special operations group. In June, 1988 MIR guerrillas conducted a series of bombings in Santiago, at various banks. FPMR guerrillas that month killed 43-year-old Lieutenant-Colonel Miguel Eduardo Rojas Lobos of the Chilean Army, after he had parked his car in the Santiago suburb of San Joaquín. On 10 July 1989, 26-year-old Carabineros corporal Patricio Rubén Canihuante Astudillo was shot in the head at point-blank range as he guarded a building in Viña del Mar.
The election of a civilian government in Chile did not end guerrilla activities. Within a few months after President Patricio Aylwin's accession to power, leftist militants showed that they remained committed to armed struggle and were responsible for a number of terrorist incidents. On May 10, 1990, two guerrillas wearing school uniforms assassinated carabineros Colonel Luis Fontaine, a former head of the antiterrorist department of the carabineros, Chile's national police force. Two policemen were killed on August 10, 1990 in a working-class Santiago suburb and two more were injured in an attack on a bus. On November 14, 1990, gendarmes transferred Marco Ariel Antonioletti, a senior MJL leader from jail to hospital for treatment. MJL guerrillas fought their way into the Sótero del Río Hospital but were forced to withdraw, after having killed four gendarmes and one carabinero. Chile's Investigations Police later shot Antonioletti in the forehead, killing him. On January 24, 1991 MJL guerrillas ambushed and killed two carabineros. On February 28, 1991 a carabinero policeman died in a shoot-out in Santiago with leftist guerrillas of the Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front. On April 1, FPMR guerrillas assassinated right-wing senator Jaime Guzman, killing him as he left a university campus in Santiago. On September 9 three guerrillas kidnapped Cristian Edwards, whose family run El Mercurio newspaper. After his family paid $1 million in ransom, the FPMR freed him. On September 11, 1998 three police stations—La Pincoya, La Granja and La Victoria—were attacked with firearms, incendiary bombs and rocks and 36 were carabineros were wounded in violence related to the 25th anniversary commemorations of the military coup. In 2006, on the 33rd anniversary of the September 11, 1973 military coup, 79 carabineros were wounded in clashes with rioters. The following year, a carabinero policeman was killed after being shot in the face and around 40 were wounded during clashes with protesters marking the 34th anniversary of the military coup. In clashes with protesters commemorating the 35th anniversary of the military coup, 29 carabineros were wounded in September 2008. In September 2009, 19 Carabineros were wounded in clashes with protestors marking the 36th anniversary of the coup.
Pinochet's policies eventually led to substantial GDP growth, in contrast to the negative growth seen in the early years of his administration under the advice of the Chicago boys. The upper 20% of income earners ultimately benefitted the most from such growth, receiving 85% of the increase. Foreign debt also grew substantially under Pinochet, rising 300% between 1974 and 1988.
Under these new policies, the rate of inflation grew to twice what it was at the peak of Allende's presidency It was not until Pinochet reversed these policies and returned to the developmentalist style economy in the mid 1980's did the economy begin to turn around.
Chile's main industry, copper mining, remained in government hands, with the 1980 Constitution declaring them "inalienable,"  but new mineral deposits were open to private investment. It was this abstention from complete privatization that kept the economy afloat during the Chicago Boy years. Capitalist involvement was increased, the Chilean pension system and healthcare were privatized, and Superior Education was also placed in private hands. One of the junta's economic moves was fixing the exchange rate in the early 1980s, leading to a boom in imports and a collapse of domestic industrial production; this together with a world recession caused a serious economic crisis in 1982, where GDP plummeted by 14%, and unemployment reached 33%. At the same time, a series of massive protests were organized, trying to cause the fall of the regime, which were efficiently repressed.
Inflation was a significant factor plaguing the Chilean economy during and after the Allende years. Between September 1973 and October 1975, the consumer price index rose over 3,000%. In order to combat this persistent problem and pave the way for economic growth, the Chicago Boys recommended dramatic cuts in social services. The junta put the group's recommendations into effect, and cumulative cuts in health funding totaled 60% between 1973 and 1988.
The cuts caused a significant rise in many preventable diseases and mental health problems. These included rises in typhoid (121%,) viral hepatitis, and an increase in the frequency and seriousness of mental ailments among the unemployed.
Exchange rate depreciations and cutbacks in government spending produced a depression. Industrial and agricultural production declined. Massive unemployment, estimated at 25% in 1977 (it was only 3% in 1972), and inflation eroded the living standard of workers and many members of the middle class to subsistence levels. The under-employed informal sector also mushroomed in size.
After the economic crisis of 1982, Hernan Buchi became Minister of Finance from 1985 to 1989. He allowed the peso to float and reinstated restrictions on the movement of capital in and out of the country. He introduced banking legislation, simplified and reduced the corporate tax. Chile pressed ahead with privatizations, including public utilities plus the re-privatization of companies that had returned to the government during the 1982–1983 crisis.
Pinochet with his Argentine counterpart, Jorge Rafael Videla
Having come to power with the self-proclaimed mission of fighting communism, Pinochet found common cause with the military dictatorships of Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and later, Argentina. The six countries eventually formulated a plan that became known as Operation Condor, in which one country's security forces would target active Marxist subversives, guerrillas, and their alleged sympathizers in the allied countries. Pinochet's government received tacit approval and material support from the United States. The exact nature and extent of this support is disputed. (See U.S. role in 1973 Coup, U.S. intervention in Chile and Operation Condor for more details.) It is known, however, that the American Secretary of State at the time, Henry Kissinger, practiced a policy of supporting coups in nations which the United States viewed as leaning toward Communism.
The new junta quickly broke off the diplomatic relations with Cuba that had been established under the Allende government. Shortly after the junta came to power, several communist countries, including the Soviet Union, North Korea, North Vietnam, East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia, severed diplomatic relations with Chile (however, Romania and the People's Republic of China both continued to maintain diplomatic relations with Chile). The government broke diplomatic relations with Cambodia in January 1974 and renewed ties with South Korea in October 1973 and with South Vietnam in March 1974. Pinochet attended the funeral of General Francisco Franco, dictator of Spain from 1936–1975, in late 1975.
Chile was on the brink of being invaded by Argentina (also ruled by a military government) as the Argentina Junta started the Operation Soberania on 22 December 1978 because of the strategic Picton, Lennox and Nueva islands at the southern tip of South America on the Beagle Canal. A full-scale war was prevented only by the call off of the operation by Argentina due to military and political reasons. But the relations remained tense as Argentina invaded the Falklands (Operation Rosario). Chile along with Colombia, were the only countries in South America criticized the use of force by Argentina in its war with the U.K. over the Falkland Islands. Chile actually helped the United Kingdom during the war. The two countries (Chile and Argentina) finally agreed to papal mediation over the Beagle canal that finally ended in the Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1984 between Chile and Argentina (Tratado de Paz y Amistad). Chilean sovereignty over the islands and Argentinian east of the surrounding sea is now undisputed.
Relationship with the U.S.
The U.S. provided material support to the military regime after the coup, although criticizing it in public. A document released by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 2000, titled "CIA Activities in Chile", revealed that the CIA actively supported the military junta after the overthrow of Allende and that it made many of Pinochet's officers into paid contacts of the CIA or U.S. military, even though some were known to be involved in human rights abuses.
The U.S. was significantly friendlier with Pinochet than it had been with Allende, and continued to give the junta substantial economic support between the years 1973–1979, while simultaneously expressing opposition to the junta's repression in international forums such as the United Nations. The U.S. went beyond verbal condemnation in 1976, after the murder of Orlando Letelier in Washington D.C., when it placed an embargo on arms sales to Chile that remained in effect until the restoration of democracy in 1989. Presumably, with international concerns over Chilean internal repression and previous American hostility and intervention regarding the Allende government, the U.S. did not want to be seen as an accomplice in the junta's "security" activities. Prominent U.S. allies Britain, France, and West Germany did not block arms sales to Pinochet, benefitting from the lack of American competition.
Relationship with the U.K.
Chile was officially neutral during the conflict, but the Chilean Westinghouse long range radar deployed in southern Chile gave the British task force early warning of Argentinian air attacks, which allowed British ships and troops in the war zone to take defensive action. Margaret Thatcher has said that the day the radar was taken out of service for overdue maintenance was the day Argentinian figher-bombers bombed the troopships Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram landing ships, leaving 53 dead. According to Chilean Junta and former Air Force commander Fernando Matthei, Chilean support included military intelligence gathering, radar surveillance, British aircraft operating with Chilean colours and the safe return of British special forces, among other things. In April and May 1982, a squadron of Hawker Hunter fighter bombers departed for Chile, arriving on 22 May and allowing the Chilean Air Force to reform the No. 9 "Las Panteras Negras" Squadron. A further consignment of three frontier surveillance and shipping reconnaissance Canberras left for Chile in October. Some authors suggest that Argentina might have won the war had she been allowed to employ the VIth and VIIIth Mountain Brigades which remained sitting up in the Andes mountain chain. Pinochet subsequently visited Margaret Thatcher for tea on more than one occasion. Pinochet's controversial relationship with Thatcher led Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair to mock Thatcher's Conservatives as "the party of Pinochet" in 1999.
Although France received many Chilean political refugees, it also secretly collaborated with Pinochet. French journalist Marie-Monique Robin has shown how Valéry Giscard d'Estaing's government secretly collaborated with Videla's junta in Argentina and with Augusto Pinochet's regime in Chile.
Green deputies Noël Mamère, Martine Billard and Yves Cochet on September 10, 2003 requested a Parliamentary Commission on the "role of France in the support of military regimes in Latin America from 1973 to 1984" before the Foreign Affairs Commission of the National Assembly, presided by Edouard Balladur. Apart of Le Monde, newspapers remained silent about this request. However, deputy Roland Blum, in charge of the Commission, refused to hear Marie-Monique Robin, and published in December 2003 a 12 pages report qualified by Robin as the summum of bad faith. It claimed that no agreement had been signed, despite the agreement found by Robin in the Quai d'Orsay 
The previous drop in foreign aid during the Allende years was immediately reversed following Pinochet's ascension; Chile received USD $322.8 million in loans and credits in the year following the coup. There was considerable international condemnation of the military regime's human rights record, a matter that the United States expressed concern over as well after Orlando Letelier's 1976 assassination in Washington DC.(Kennedy Amendment, later International Security Assistance and Arms Export Control Act of 1976).
Human rights violations
|“||He shut down parliament, suffocated political life, banned trade unions, and made Chile his sultanate. His government disappeared 3,200 opponents, arrested 30,000 (torturing thousands of them) ... Pinochet’s name will forever be linked to the Desaparecidos, the Caravan of Death, and the institutionalized torture that took place in the Villa Grimaldi complex."||”|
The military rule was characterized by systematic suppression of all political dissidence, which led some to speak of a "politicide" (or "political genocide"). Steve J. Stern spoke of a politicide to describe "a systematic project to destroy an entire way of doing and understanding politics and governance."
The worst violence occurred in the first three months of the coup's aftermath, with the number of suspected leftists killed or "disappeared" (desaparecidos) soon reaching into the thousands. In the days immediately following the coup, the National Stadium was used as a concentration camp holding 40,000 prisoners. Some of the most famous cases of "desaparecidos" are Charles Horman, a U.S. citizen who was killed during the coup itself, Chilean songwriter Víctor Jara, and the October 1973 Caravan of Death (Caravana de la Muerte) where at least 70 persons were killed. Other operations include Operation Colombo during which hundreds of left-wing activists were murdered and Operation Condor, carried out with the security services of other Latin American dictatorships.
Following Pinochet's defeat in the 1988 plebiscite, the 1991 Rettig Commission, a multipartisan effort from the Aylwin administration to discover the truth about the human-rights violations, listed a number of torture and detention centers (such as Colonia Dignidad, the ship Esmeralda or Víctor Jara Stadium), and found that at least 3,200 people were killed or disappeared by the regime.
A later report, the Valech Report (published in November 2004), confirmed the figure of 3,200 deaths but dramatically reduced the alleged cases of disappearances. It tells of some 28,000 arrests in which the majority of those detained were incarcerated and in a great many cases tortured. Many were exiled and received abroad, in particular in Argentina, as political refugees; however, they were followed in their exile by the DINA secret police, in the frame of Operation Condor which linked South-American dictatorships together against political opponents.
Critics of the Valech Report claim that families are falsely claiming that their relatives went missing during the 1973-1990 military regime, following recent reports that four people listed as killed or missing, were in fact alive or had died in unrelated circumstances. The cases have raised questions about the system of verification of dictatorship victims. The Australian The Age newspaper has claimed that the real number of people killed or reported missing and presumed dead are 1,183 people and that their names appear on a special memorial at the General Cemetery of Santiago. In October 1979 the New York Times reported that Amnesty International had documented the disappearance of approximately 1,500 Chileans since 1973. Professor Clive Foss, in The Tyrants: 2500 years of Absolute Power and Corruption (Quercus Publishing 2006) , estimates that 1,500 Chileans were killed or disappeared during the Pinochet regime.
During the period between the September 11, 1973 to March 11, 1990, left-wing terrorist incidents cost the lives of about 530 Chileans. Three-hundred of these victims were civilians. They were killed in bomb attacks, and in selective assassinations. All the others killed were members of the security forces, the police, and the military. In the first three months of military rule, the Chilean forces recorded 162 military deaths. The leftist guerrilla groups and their sympathizers were also hit hard during the military regime. Among the killed and disappeared during the military regime were at least 663 MIR guerrillas. The Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front admitted 49 FPMR guerrillas were killed and hundreds tortured. Many guerrillas confessed under torture and several hundred other young men and women, sympathetic to the guerrillas, were detained and tortured and often killed. Nearly 700 civilians disappeared in the 1974-1977 period, after being detained by the Chilean military and police.
According to the Latin American Institute on Mental Health and Human Rights (ILAS), "situations of extreme trauma" affected about 200,000 persons; this figure includes individuals killed, tortured (following the UN definition of torture), or exiled and their immediate relatives. While more radical groups such as the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR) were staunch advocates of a Marxist revolution, it is currently accepted that the junta deliberately targeted nonviolent political opponents as well
A court in Chile sentenced, on March 19, 2008, 24 former police officers in cases of kidnapping, torture and murder that happened just after a U.S.-backed coup overthrew President Salvador Allende, a Socialist, on September 11, 1973.
Plebiscite and return to civilian rule
According to the transitional provisions of the 1980 Constitution, a plebiscite was scheduled for October 5, 1988, to vote on a new eight-year presidential term for Pinochet. The Constitutional Tribunal ruled that the plebiscite should be carried out as stipulated by the Law of Elections. That included an "Electoral Space" during which all positions, in this case two, Sí (yes), and No, would have two free slots of equal and uninterrupted TV time, simultaneously broadcast by all TV channels, with no political advertising outside those spots. The allotment was scheduled in two off-prime time slots: one before the afternoon news and the other before the late-night news, from 22:45 to 23:15 each night (the evening news was from 20:30 to 21:30, and prime time from 21:30 to 22:30). The opposition No campaign, headed by Ricardo Lagos, produced colorful, upbeat programs, telling the Chilean people to vote against the extension of the presidential term. Lagos, in a TV interview, pointed his index finger towards the camera and directly called on Pinochet to account for all the "disappeared" persons. The Sí campaign did not argue for the advantages of extension, but was instead negative, claiming that voting "no" was equivalent to voting for a return to the chaos of the UP government.
Pinochet lost the 1988 referendum, where 55% of the votes rejected the extension of the presidential term, against 43% for "Sí", and, following the constitutional provisions, he stayed as President for one more year. Open presidential elections were held on December 1989, at the same time as congressional elections that would have taken place in either case. Pinochet left the presidency on March 11, 1990 and transferred power to political opponent Patricio Aylwin, the new democratically elected president. Due to the same transitional provisions of the constitution, Pinochet remained as Commander-in-Chief of the Army, until March 1998.
Following the restoration of Chilean democracy and during the successive administrations that followed Pinochet, the Chilean economy has prospered, and today the country is considered a Latin American success story. Unemployment stands at 7% as of 2007, with poverty estimated at 18.2% for the same year, both relatively low for the region. 
Supporters of Pinochet's economic policies contend that the three successive administrations following him contributed to this success by maintaining and continuing the reforms initiated by the junta, but opponents have criticized the neoliberal policies enacted by the junta.
The "Chilean Variation" has been seen as a potential model for nations that fail to achieve significant economic growth. The latest is Russia, for whom David Christian warned in 1991 that "dictatorial government presiding over a transition to capitalism seems one of the more plausible scenarios, even if it does so at a high cost in human rights violations."
On his 91st birthday in 2006, in a public statement to supporters, Pinochet for the first time claimed to accept "political responsibility" for what happened in Chile under his regime, though he still defended his 1973 coup against Salvador Allende. In a statement read by his wife Lucia Hiriart, he said, Today, near the end of my days, I want to say that I harbour no rancour against anybody, that I love my fatherland above all. ... I take political responsibility for everything that was done. Despite this statement, Pinochet always refused to be confronted to Chilean justice, claiming that he was senile. He died in 2006 while indicted on human rights and corruption charges, but without having been sentenced.
Allegations of State Terrorism
Prof. Michael Stohl, and Prof. George A. López have accused US of State Terrorism for having instigated the coup d’état against elected Socialist President Salvador Allende of Chile.
In The State as Terrorist: The Dynamics of Governmental Violence and Repression, Prof. Michael Stohl writes:
In addition to non-terroristic strategies . . . the United States embarked on a program to create economic and political chaos in Chile . . . After the failure to prevent Allende from taking office, efforts shifted to obtaining his removal. Money for the CIA's destabilization of Chilean society, included, financing and assisting opposition groups and right-wing terrorist paramilitary groups such as Patria y Libertad (Fatherland and Liberty)
Prof. Gareau writes:
Washington's training of thousands of military personnel from Chile, who later committed state terrorism, again makes Washington eligible for the charge of accessory before the fact to state terrorism. The CIA’s close relationship, during the height of the terror to Contreras, Chile's chief terrorist (with the possible exception of Pinochet himself), lays Washington open to the charge of accessory during the fact
Prof. Gareau argues that the fuller extent involved the U.S. co-ordinating counterinsurgency warfare among all Latin American countries:
Washington's service as the overall co-ordinator of state terrorism in Latin America demonstrates the enthusiasm with which Washington played its role as an accomplice to state terrorism in the region. It was not a reluctant player. Rather it not only trained Latin American governments in terrorism and financed the means to commit terrorism; it also encouraged them to apply the lessons learned to put down what it called “the communist threat”. Its enthusiasm extended to co-ordinating efforts to apprehend those wanted by terrorist states who had fled to other countries in the region . . . The evidence available leads to the conclusion that Washington’s influence over the decision to commit these acts was considerable. Given that they knew about the terrorism of this régime, what did the élites in Washington during the Nixon and Ford administrations do about it? The élites in Washington reacted by increasing U.S. military assistance and sales to the state terrorists, by covering up their terrorism, by urging U.S. diplomats to do so also, and by assuring the terrorists of their support, thereby becoming accessories to state terrorism before, during, and after the fact
Thomas Wright identifies Chile as an example of open State Terrorism without a civilian governance façade. In State Terrorism and Latin America: Chile, Argentina, and International Human Rights, history professor Thomas Wright argues:
Unlike their Brazilian counterparts, they did not embrace state terrorism as a last recourse; they launched a wave of terrorism on the day of the coup. In contrast to the Brazilians and Uruguayans, the Chileans were very public about their objectives and their methods; there was nothing subtle about rounding up thousands of prisoners, the extensive use of torture, executions following sham court-marshal, and shootings in cold blood. After the initial wave of open terrorism, the Chilean armed forces constructed a sophisticated apparatus for the secret application of state terrorism that lasted until the dictatorship’s end . . . The impact of the Chilean coup reached far beyond the country’s borders. Through their aid in the overthrow of Allende and their support of the Pinochet dictatorship, President Richard Nixon and his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, sent a clear signal to all of Latin America that anti-revolutionary régimes employing repression, even state terrorism, could count on the support of the United States. The U.S. government, in effect, gave a green light to Latin America’s right wing and its armed forces to eradicate the Left, and use repression to erase the advances that workers — and in some countries, campesinos — had made through decades of struggle. This ‘September 11 effect’ was soon felt around the hemisphere
Prof. Gareau concludes:
The message for the populations of Latin American nations, and particularly the Left opposition, was clear: the United States would not permit the continuation of a Socialist government, even if it came to power in a democratic election and continued to uphold the basic democratic structure of that society.
* POSTERS NOTE: The last comment by Prof. Gareau has been disproved in the last 20 years by the communist led governments supposed free elections in Nicaragua, Venezuela and Brazil.