Archive for Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Former Chilean dictator Pinochet as divisive in death as in life

December 12, 2006


— Thousands of mourners honored Gen. Augusto Pinochet on Monday, many weeping openly as they kissed his glass-topped casket in a military ceremony that exposed deep divisions over the legacy of his 17-year dictatorship.

The ceremony followed a violent night of clashes that left 43 police officers injured and 99 demonstrators arrested. The scattered fights between Pinochet's supporters and opponents capped a jubilant evening for thousands of Chileans who took to the streets to celebrate his death Sunday at age 91.

This is a time "to pray for the soul of Gen. Pinochet, but also for the soul of Chile," Santiago Archbishop Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz said.

Waiting for hours to view his coffin inside the Santiago Military Academy, the crowd sang the national anthem and criticized President Michelle Bachelet for denying Pinochet a national mourning period and full state funeral befitting a former president.

Bachelet relegated the former army commander to his military past by ordering flags flown at half-staff only at military barracks, and sending her defense minister to the ceremony in her stead.

"Chile cannot forget," Bachelet said in her first public comments about Pinochet's death. "Only then will we have a constructive vision of our future, guaranteeing respect for the fundamental rights of all Chileans."

Like tens of thousands of other Chileans, Bachelet was herself a victim of the Pinochet security state. Her father died after being tortured by Pinochet's forces. She and her mother were jailed, mistreated and forced into exile.

"Pinochet is not a figure who encourages national unity," said Interior Minister Belisario Velasco. History will view him as "a classic right-wing dictator who gravely violated human rights and who enriched himself - that's the pattern of right-wing dictators in Latin America."

Government officials said Pinochet did not deserve the state funeral because he took power by force and was never elected.

The general's followers called the government's stance mean-spirited.

"Pinochet was a real president, not what we have now," said retiree Jose Erazo, after viewing the open coffin.

Sergio Melnick, a minister under Pinochet, said "the government has lost a chance to show some greatness."

Pinochet's family, however, does not want anybody from the current socialist government to attend his funeral today.

"I do not want any hypocritical acts," said his younger son, Marco Antonio. "My father has not been forgotten and is a man who is loved," he added, referring to the thousands filing by his coffin Monday.

Many of the retired general's loyalists praised Pinochet for toppling elected Marxist President Salvador Allende in 1973 and ruling Chile with a firm hand in the years that followed.

"This man rescued us from anarchy," said one mourner, Alicia MejÃ-a, 76.

But Pinochet's fervent supporters represent a dwindling minority in Chile. Many who endorsed his firm hand against communism turned against him after learning that his family allegedly spirited $28 million into foreign bank accounts.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 5 months ago

"The general's followers called the government's stance mean-spirited."

Maybe the government should have thrown his body into the ocean, which is what his torturers did with many of those that they tortured and murdered.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 5 months ago

"Take them home and put them in the freezer?"

Only if they asked themselves, "What would Marion do?"

Can we have a look in your freezer, Marion?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 5 months ago

I don't have any dictators and never did-- too bad so many of your Republican heroes did.

prioress 11 years, 5 months ago

An interesting tidbit about BUSHCO and the dictator:

Pinochet's Death Spares Bush Family By Robert Parry Consortium News

Tuesday 12 December 2006

Gen. Augusto Pinochet's death on Dec. 10 means the Bush Family can breathe a little bit easier, knowing that criminal proceedings against Chile's notorious dictator can no longer implicate his longtime friend and protector, former President George H.W. Bush.

Although Chilean investigations against other defendants may continue, the cases against Pinochet end with his death of a heart attack at the age of 91. Pinochet's death from natural causes also marks a victory for world leaders, including George H.W. and George W. Bush, who shielded Pinochet from justice over the past three decades. . . .

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 5 months ago

Did you actually read the article you linked, Marion?

This article is a couple of years old, but it sums up pretty much everything I've been saying, and refutes pretty much everything you've been saying (as hard as that often is to determine.)

BOE 11 years, 5 months ago

Posted by Marion on December 12, 2006 at 1:35 p.m.

" Dictators are a necessary evil in the corrupt atmosphere of the Third Wrold in the interst of overal world stability. "


Pinochet was highly unnecessary evil.

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