What was General Pinochet like as a person?

Apr 2015
58
UK
Obviously no one on this forum knew him personally, but from books, articles, documentaries, what do we know about this dictator as an individual? How does he compare to other dictators of history?

Thanks
 

Menshevik

Ad Honorem
Dec 2012
9,392
here
Is the implication that there's room for discussion, interest in or research into Pinochet's personal life? Are you trying to tell me that besides his politics and actions as head of state, there's anything worthwhile to discuss? No, sorry, no room for nuance here. ;-)

An interesting question actually. I'm interested in hearing some answers from folks. I came across a poster/meme a while back that I thought was funny. While maybe not pertinent, I appreciated it, I thought others might too.

 
Sep 2019
385
Slovenia
Former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher thought Augusto Pinochet was loyal ally of UK and defended him against persecution when he was arrested in Britain pointing out he was a political prisoner of labour governament:


We can understand this better now Chile's support for the British campaign in Falklands war had been rumoured for many years, and was confirmed by the 2012 release of government documents under the 30 year rule. At Chilean airport on the island of San Felix several British planes were stationed, disguised in Chilean colours. Chile also gave UK early warnings about aerial attacks.

 
Sep 2019
385
Slovenia
Othervise i agree with this article about Pinochet written by mr. Carlos Sabino.


In 1970, Salvador Allende won the presidential elections with barely 37 percent of the votes, on a platform that promised to turn Chile into a socialist paradise. Instead, it soon became a nightmare. After a year of a public spending bonanza, the economy slumped: shortages and lines resulted, and workers’ quality of life visibly worsened.

The Allende administration fomented a climate of confrontation and political tension while ignoring laws or applying them arbitrarily. Groups of socialist hardliners were preparing to attain absolute power through violence. In 1973, Chilean society became even more polarized, and intense conflicts arose after the governing coalition failed to win legislative elections. The perceived alternatives at the time were reduced to just two: an uprising from the radical left, or a nationalistic military coup d’état to prevent Chile from descending into communism.

Even the Chilean Congress encouraged the army to step in to preserve freedoms and the Constitution, for the military were the only ones with enough power to prevent chaos. General Pinochet was the head of the Chilean army, which until then had obeyed the government’s orders. But pressure to spur into action augmented with every passing day, and in September, supported by the Chilean navy and air force, Pinochet joined the plotters of the coup d’état. The attack was not bloodless, but it achieved the fundamental goal demanded by most Chileans: ending the communist threat.

During Pinochet’s coup d’état and his long period in power, violations of human rights undoubtedly took place. The excesses committed during the crackdown of opponents cannot be waved away, but they need to be considered in their historical context.
While we should condemn the brutality of that period, we have to consider two of Pinochet’s most important merits: his handling of the economy and the way he finally stepped down.The Pinochet government respected the economic liberties of its citizens, freed an economy trapped by a socialist model, and boosted the country’s growth, reducing poverty like never before. Pinochet, unlike Fidel Castro, was also wise enough to hand over power voluntarily. He wasn’t motivated by personal ambition, and while he did help orchestrate a coup against an elected government, the majority of Chilean society then were ready to accept any solution to prevent communism from taking over.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,757
Former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher thought Augusto Pinochet was loyal ally of UK and defended him against persecution when he was arrested in Britain pointing out he was a political prisoner of labour governament:


We can understand this better now Chile's support for the British campaign in Falklands war had been rumoured for many years, and was confirmed by the 2012 release of government documents under the 30 year rule. At Chilean airport on the island of San Felix several British planes were stationed, disguised in Chilean colours. Chile also gave UK early warnings about aerial attacks.

Persecution? Is that protected him from justice for the crimes he committed,
 
Sep 2019
385
Slovenia
That under marxist Allende Chile was without a reasonable doubt going in to the direction of totalitarian marxism we can see also from the following facts about MIR. Already in 1965 a group of radical revolutionaries called MIR was established in Chile. They clearly advocated Marxist-Leninist model of revolution and its aftermath. Because of its terrorist activities and plans governament banned MIR. The organization however continued with its terrorist activities doing many bank robberies. Allende removed the ban against MIR and their violence just increased. According to police figures submitted to the Chilean senate, 1,458 farms were illegally occupied between November 1970 and December 1971. They killed also many policemen and some political opponents in this time. They were more than ready to use violence against political opponents who were demonstrating against Allende.

Before the coup against Allende they tried to infiltrate the Chielean armed forces and discussed plans to replace the existing police and military with a socialist militia. Their armed rebellion continued also in 70's and 80's. For example in 1979, about 40 bombings were blamed on MIR guerrillas. Several police, military and civilians caught in the crossfire and bomb blasts were killed in the renewed MIR attacks in the Chilean capital and at least 70 soldiers and policemen were wounded battling the marxist guerrillas.

But what is even worse. Even when Chile returned to democracy in 1990 they continued with terror.

On May 10, 1990, two guerrillas wearing school uniforms killed carabineros Colonel Luis Fontaine, a former head of the antiterrorist unit of the carabiniers, 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. In September 1990, leftist militants detonate 53 bombs that kill or wound 83 Chileans. On November 14, 1990, gendarmes transferred Marco Ariel Antonioletti, a senior MJL leader from jail to a 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. In retaliation, Chile's Investigations Police execute Antonioletti with a shot in the forehead. 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 22 January 1992, two FPMR guerrillas were killed trying to rob a Prosegur cash delivery armoured van at the Pontifical Catholic University in Santiago. 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.


 
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Sep 2019
385
Slovenia
@Dayton Lavon Kitchens i should say i agree. Around 3000 deaths were confirmed after investigations the number includes the deaths which were result of fighting during the military coup. Majority was killed in the first phase. Many were also exlied or imprisoned and tortured. Leftists tried to attribute 30.000 or even more deaths to Pinochet. In communist purges thousands of people were often killed in one day.
 
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