Augusto Pinochet

Augusto Pinochet

name=Augusto Pinochet

birth_date=birth date|1915|11|25|mf=y
death_date=death date and age|2006|12|10|1915|11|25|mf=y
death_place=Santiago, Chile
in the Military Hospital
spouse=Lucía Hiriart
party=None (Military)
religion=Roman Catholic
order2=President of Government Junta of Chile
term_start2=September 11, 1973
term_end2=March 11, 1981
successor2=José Toribio Merino
order=Dictator of Chile
term_start=December 17, 1974
term_end=March 11, 1990
predecessor=Salvador Allende
successor=Patricio Aylwin

Augusto José Ramón PinochetPinochet pronounced his name with a silent t (although it is not uncommon for the t to be pronounced by local Spanish speakers). ] Ugarte(November 25, 1915 - December 10, 2006) was a Chilean military officer and dictator. He was the leader of the Government Junta of Chile from 1973 to 1974 and President of Chile from 1974 until the return of democratic rule in 1990.

From the beginning, the military government led by Pinochet implemented harsh measures against its political opponents, which included systematic violations of civil liberties and human rights and for which he faced several criminal processes until his death in 2006.

The military government also implemented economic reforms, including the privatization of several state controlled industries and the rollback of many state welfare institutions. These policies were initially very successful in recovering economic growth, and are often called "el milagro económico" ("the economic miracle") of the military regime in Chile, but they dramatically increased inequalityFact|date=September 2008 and some attribute the devastating effect of the 1982 monetary crisis in the Chilean economy to these policies [cite news | last =Leight | first =Jessica | title =Chile: No todo es como parece | publisher =COHA | date =January 3, 2005 | url = | accessdate = 2008-05-05] .


On September 11, 1973, Pinochet, who twenty days before had been appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army by socialist President Salvador Allende, led a coup d'état which put an end to Allende's government, and, along with the Navy, Air Force and Carabineros (a national police force), established a military dictatorship. With active support from the CIA [ [ - CIA acknowledges involvement in Allende's overthrow, Pinochet's rise - September 19, 2000 ] ] [ [ CIA Acknowledges Ties to Pinochet’s Repression ] ] Pinochet implemented a series of military operations in which (according to the 1993 Rettig Report) over 3,200 people were killed [ [ English translation] of the Rettig Report] , while (according to the 2004 Valech Report) at least 80,000 were incarcerated without trials and subjected to torture. [ [ 2004 Commission on Torture] (Valech Report) es icon] Another 200,000 people went into exile, particularly in Argentina and Peru, and applied 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.

In December 1974, the "junta" appointed Pinochet as President by a joint decree, to which Air Force General Gustavo Leigh disagreed. [Cavallo, Ascanio et al. "La Historia Oculta del Régimen Militar", Grijalbo, Santiago, 1997.] The legality of this appointment was confirmed by a highly controversial plebiscite in 1980, which approved a new Constitution drafted by a government-appointed commission. He remained in power until 1990, after his attempt to stay in power was defeated in the 1988 plebiscite. After stepping down, he continued to serve as Commander in Chief of the Chilean Army until March 10, 1998, when he retired and became a senator-for-life in accordance to the 1980 Constitution.

At the time of his death in December 2006, around 300 criminal charges were still pending against him in Chile for human rights abuses (torture, forced disappearance, assassination, etc.), tax evasion and embezzlement under his rule and afterwards [cite news | last =Chang | first =Jack | coauthors =Yulkowski, Lisa | title =Vocal minority praises Pinochet at his funeral | publisher =Bradenton Herald | date =December 13, 2006 | url = | accessdate = 2006-12-19] — in 2006, Pinochet's total wealth was estimated to be at least US$28 million Larry Rohter, [ Colonel's Death Gives Clues to Pinochet Arms Deals] , "The New York Times", 19 June 2006 en icon] .

Early career

Augusto Pinochet was born in Valparaíso on November 25, 1915, the son of Augusto Pinochet Vera (descendant of Breton immigrants who arrived in Chile during the 18th century) 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 to the Military School, which he entered in 1933. After four years of study, in 1937 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) Fact|date=September 2007.

At the end of 1945, he was assigned to the "Carampangue" Regiment in the northern city of Iquique. In 1948, 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. 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 War Academy, and he returned to Santiago to take up his new position.

In 1956, Pinochet was chosen, together with a group of other young officers, 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. During his time there, he was known in diplomatic circles as an exceptional poker player.Fact|date=March 2008

At the end of 1959, he returned to Chile and was sent to General Headquarters of the I 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 II Army Division, based in Santiago, and at the end of that year, he was promoted to Brigadier General and Commander in Chief of the VI 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, Pinochet was appointed Army Commander in Chief on August 23, 1973 by President Salvador Allende just the day after the Chamber of Deputies of Chile approved the asserting that Allende was not respecting the Constitution. Less than a month later, the Chilean military deposed Allende.

Military coup of 1973

On September 11, 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 perished. The coup put an end to the second "presidencialista" period of Chile, started with the 1925 constitution.

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 recent 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 other branches (especially the Navy, under Merino) as they triggered the coup. There is some doubt as to whether Pinochet's declarations are true, because they give rise to the question as to why Pinochet was at first reluctant to become supreme head of the junta if, as he claimed, he was one of the main characters who planned itFact|date=March 2008.

In the months that followed the coup, the "junta" 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 [ [ El fin de un mito en Chile: el Plan Zeta] , "Clarin", 5 July 1999 es icon] . Although later discredited and officially recognized as the product of political propaganda [ Comisión Nacional sobre Prisión Política y Tortura CAPÍTULO III Contexto] .] , some Chilean historians still point to the similarities between the alleged Plan Z and other existing paramilitary plans of the Popular Unity parties in support of its legitimacy. [cite news
last = Vial Correa
first = Gonzalo
coauthors =
title = Carlos Altamirano, el Plan Z y la "Operación Blanqueo"
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = La Segunda
date = 2003-09-23
url =
accessdate =

Military junta

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 as executive and legislative branch of the government, suspended the Constitution and the Congress, imposed strict censorship and curfew, proscribed the left-wing parties and halted all political activities. This military junta governed until December 17, 1974, after which it functioned strictly as a legislative body.

President of Chile

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 June 27, 1974. He officially changed his title to "President" on December 17, 1974. General Leigh, head of the Air Force, became increasingly opposed to Pinochet's policies and was forced into retirement on July 24, 1978. He was 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 by President Arturo Alessandri. The new Constitution, partly drafted by Jaime Guzmán, a close adviser to Pinochet and future founder of the right-wing 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 a single-candidate presidential referendum in 1988, and a return to civilian rule in 1990. The referendum was approved by 67.04% against 30.19% Hudson, Rex A., ed. "Chile: A Country Study". GPO for the Library of Congress. 1995. March 20, 2005] , although the Opposition denounced various irregularities. Headed by the ex-senator Patricio Aylwin and more than 46 others, they argued that this result did not tally with electoral records. One objection was that voters were only marked by 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 Adm. Merino.

This same year, Pinochet was promoted to the rank of Captain General previously borne by colonial governors and by Bernardo O'Higgins, a hero of Chile's war of independence. The rank has been subsequently reserved only for those who were simultaneously heads of Government and of the Army.

In May 1983, the opposition and labor movements began to organize demonstrations and strikes against the regime, provoking violent responses from government officials. The beheading of professor José Manuel Parada, journalist Manuel Guerrero, and Santiago Nattino by the uniformed police "(carabineros)" led to the resignation of junta member General César Mendoza in 1985 ("Caso Degollados", or Slit Throat Case). 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.” [ [ Inter-American Commission on human rights Report 1986] ] Eventually, six members of the police secret service were given life sentences.

In 1986, security forces discovered 80 tons of weapons at the tiny fishing harbor of Carrizal Bajo, smuggled into the country by the Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front (FPMR)Fact|date=May 2008, the armed branch of the outlawed Communist Party, created in 1983Fact|date=May 2008. The shipment of Carrizal Bajo included C-4 plastic explosives, RPG-7 and M72 LAW rocket launchers as well as more than three thousand M-16 riflesFact|date=May 2008. The operation was overseen by Cuban intelligence, and also involved East Germany and the Soviet UnionFact|date=May 2008.

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 armored car was struck by a rocket, it did not explode, and Pinochet suffered only minor injuries, managing to escape [ [ Flash presentation depicting the September 1986 assassination attempt] es icon]

uppression of opposition

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 dictatorship's violence was directed not only against dissidents, but also against their families and other civilians.

The Rettig Report concluded that 2,279 persons who disappeared during the military government were killed for political reasons, and approximately 30,000 tortured according to the later Valech Report, while several thousand were exiled. The latter were chased all over the world in the frame of Operation Condor, a cooperation plan between the various intelligence agencies of South American countries, assisted by a US communication base in Panama. Pinochet believed these operations were necessary in order to "save the country from communism" [ Eduardo Gallardo, [ Pinochet Was Unrepentant to the End] , ABC News (Associated Press), December 11, 2006 en icon ] .

Some political scientists have ascribed the relative bloodiness of the coup to the stability of the existing democratic systemFact|date=March 2008, 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 by the Caravan of Death, to which Manuel Contreras, later head of the DINA intelligence service, participated. 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).

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 September 21, 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 [ [ Ex-Chilean leader 'was murdered'] , BBC, 23 January 2007] .

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 years-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 militaries 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 [ Capítulos desconocidos de los mercenarios chilenos en Honduras camino de Iraq] , "La Nación", September 25, 2005 - URL accessed on February 14, 2007 es icon] .

Further scandals emerged after the return to democracy, such as the allegations that an ex-Nazi, Paul Schäfer, who had set up in Pinochet's Chile an enclave, Colonia Dignidad, had worked with the DINA. Except that the Colonia Libertad was founded before Allende and was controversial from day one.

Economic policy

By mid 1975, Pinochet set forth an economic policy of free-market reform. He declared that he wanted "to make Chile not a nation of proletarians, but a nation of proprietors." [ [ Augusto Pinochet biography data. Chilean coup d'etat. Pinochet human rights violations ] ] To formulate his economic policy, Pinochet relied on the so-called Chicago Boys, who were economists trained at the University of Chicago and heavily influenced by the monetarist ideas of Milton Friedman, Arnold Harberger, and Friedrich Hayek.

Pinochet launched an era of deregulation of business and privatization. To accomplish these objectives, his government abolished the minimum wage, removed artificially lowered food prices, rescinded trade union rights, privatized the pension system, and reprivatized state-owned industries, and banks, and lowered taxes on income and profits. However, the large copper industry, nationalized mainly by Allende, remained under control of the government owned enterprise Codelco. Parts of its benefits were assigned by a specific law to the Chilean Armed Forces' budget.

Supporters of these policies (most notably the late Nobel laureate from the University of Chicago School of Economics, Milton Friedman himself), have dubbed them "The Miracle of Chile," due to the country's sustained economic growth since the late 1980s.

While the 1980s have been described as the "lost decade" in terms of economic development for the rest of Latin America, since global recession in the early 1980s Chile's economy under Pinochet has enjoyed a sustained strong expansion. His government implemented an economic model that had three main objectives: economic liberalization, privatization of state owned companies, and stabilization of inflation. However, these reforms came with high transitional cost and in the mid-1980s 45 percent of population was still living under poverty level. 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. By 1992 the unemployment had declined to below 5 percent and the growth of GDP averaged 6.2 percent a year. [Barry Bosworth, Rudiger Dornbusch, Raúl Labán. "The Chilean Economy: Policy Lessons and Challenges". Brookings Institution Press. 1994. ISBN 0815710453 p.1-3, 9] Pinochet's market-oriented economic policies were continued and strengthened after he stepped down. [Thomas M. Leonard. "Encyclopedia Of The Developing World." Routledge. ISBN 1579583881 p. 322]

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. [ George Weigel, "Biografía de Juan Pablo II - Testigo de Esperanza", Editorial Plaza & Janés (2003), ISBN 8401013046 ]

Political advertising was legalized on September 5, 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 October 5, 1988, the "NO" option won with 55.99% [ Tribunal Calificador] , Chilean governmental website es icon] 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 55.17% 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 March 11, 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 [ See Juan Guzmán Tapia's autobiography ] .

Relationship with UK

Pinochet allowed British planes to refuel in Chile during the Falklands War and thus cemented an alliance with the UK and the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He subsequently visited Margaret Thatcher for "tea" on more than one occasion [] .

Arrest and trial in Britain

Pinochet's regime has been accused of systematic and widespread human rights violations both in Chile and abroad, including mass-murder, torture, kidnapping, illegal detention, and censorship of the press. At the end of his life, he was also accused of using his position to enrich himself and his family — a facet previously unknown to the general public, as he had always presented a rather modest lifestyle.

On October 17, 1998, while visiting the United Kingdom for medical treatment, Pinochet was arrested on a Spanish provisional warrant for the murder in Chile of Spanish citizens while he was president. [Amnesty International: "Universal Jurisdiction and Absence of Immunity for Crimes Against Humanity," Report, 1 January 1999] Five days later, Pinochet was served with a second provisional arrest warrant from the Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón, charging him with systematic torture, murder, illegal detention, and forced disappearances. The case was a watershed event in judicial history, as it was the first time that a dictator was arrested on the principle of universal jurisdiction (See " for further details.)

After having been placed under house arrest in Britain and initiating a judicial battle, he was eventually released in March 2000 on medical grounds by the then Home Secretary Jack Straw without facing trial [ [ Pinochet set free] , "BBC", 2 March 2000 en icon] .

Henceforth, on 3 March 2000, Pinochet returned to Chile. His first act when landing in Santiago de Chile's airport was to triumphally get up from his chair to the acclaim of his supporters [Alex Bellos and Jonathan Franklin, [,,190560,00.html Pinochet receives a hero's welcome on his return] , "The Guardian", 4 March, 2000 en icon] . He was first greeted by his successor as head of the Chilean armed forces, General Ricardo Izurieta [ Pinochet arrives in Chile] , "BBC", 3 March 2000 en icon] . 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. [ [ Thousands march against Pinochet] , "BBC", March 4, 2000 ]

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 [ Chile offers Pinochet new immunity] , "BBC", 25 March 2000 en icon] .

Nevertheless, judge Juan Guzmán Tapia (who had been a supporter of Pinochet during his dictatorship) initiated a procedure against him, requesting the suspension of his parliamentary immunity three days after his return to Chile. Pinochet's legal team was headed by Pablo Rodríguez, the former leader of the rightist paramilitary movement Patria y Libertad ("Fatherland and Liberty").

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Juan Guzmán's request on August 2000, and Pinochet was indicted on December 1, 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 [ Pinochet charged with kidnapping] , "BBC", 1st December 2000 en icon] .

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. [ "The Appeals Court Ruling Is Negotiated Out for Pinochet"] , Interview with Attorney Hugo Gutierrez, by "Memoria y Justicia", February 21, 2002 en icon] "

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." [ 16 November 2005. Spanish: "No me acuerdo, pero no es cierto. Y si es cierto, no me acuerdo". Quoted in [ Las frases para el bronce de Pinochet] , "La Nacion", 11 December 2006 es icon]

In January 2005, the Chilean Army accepted institutional responsibility for past human rights abusesFact|date=February 2008. Other institutions also accepted that abuses took place, but blamed them on individuals, rather than official policy. Lucía Pinochet Hiriart, Augusto Pinochet's eldest daughter, said the use of torture during his 1973–90 regime was "barbaric and without justification", after seeing the Valech Report Fact|date=September 2007. Most of the torture was carried out at secret prison facilities like Villa Grimaldi, Chacabuco, and Pisagua.

The same year, the US revealed that Pinochet had a large network of secret bank accounts abroad ("See below"). On November 22, 2005, he was indicted on tax evasion charges and placed again under house arrest for an alleged $27 million hidden in secret accounts under false names. That figure was later reduced to $11 million.

Furthermore, Pinochet was indicted in 2006 for kidnappings and tortures at Villa Grimaldi detention center by the judge Alejandro Madrid (Guzmán's successor) [ Court 'lifts Pinochet immunity'] , BBC, September 8, 2006.] , as well as for the 1995 assassination of the DINA biochemist Eugenio Berrios (himself involved in the Letelier case) [,,3341806,00-levee-immunite-pinochet-pour-meurtre-chimiste-.html Levée de l'immunité de Pinochet pour le meurtre d'un chimiste] , news agency cable, 12 October 2006 fr icon] . 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 Jonathan Franklin, [,,1818137,00.html Pinochet 'sold cocaine to Europe and US'] , "The Guardian", July 11, 2006 en icon] . The money for the drug trade was allegedly put directly into Pinochet's bank accounts [ General (r) Manuel Contreras: Eugenio Berríos está vivo] , "Radio Cooperativa", 10 July 2006 es icon ] . 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 [ [ Hijo de Pinochet acusa de "mentiroso y canalla" a ex jefe DINA] , "Los Tiempos", 10 July 2006es icon] .

On October 30, 2006, Pinochet was charged with 36 counts of kidnapping, 23 counts of torture, and one of murder for the torture and disappearance of opponents of his regime at Villa Grimaldi.

On November 25, 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 what has been done." [ Las frases para el bronce de Pinochet] , "La Nacion, 11 December 2006 es icon] 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. [Eduardo Gallardo: "Pinochet indicted for 1973 executions," [ Associated Press] , 27 November 2006.] [ Procesan a Pinochet y ordenan su arresto por los secuestros y homicidios de la "Caravana de la Muerte"] , "20minutos", 28 November 2006.]

However, Pinochet died a few days later, on 10 December, 2006, without having been convicted of any crimes committed during his dictatorship.

Secret bank accounts, tax evasion and arms deal

In 2004, a United States Senate money laundering investigation led by Sen. 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.United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Governmental Affairs: "Levin-Coleman Staff Report Discloses Web of Secret Accounts Used by Pinochet", Press Release. US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, March 16, 2005] Though the subcommittee was charged only with investigating compliance of financial institutions under the USA PATRIOT Act, and not the Pinochet regime, Sen. Coleman noted:

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. ["U.S. Sends Back Pinochet Daughter," CNN, 28 January 2006] In January 2007, the Santiago Court of Appeals revoked most of the indictment from Judge Carlos Cerda against the Pinochet family [ [ Corte revoca mayoría de procesamientos en caso Riggs] , "El Mercurio", 3 January 2007 es icon] . 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 [ [ Pinochet family arrested in Chile] , "BBC", 4 October 2007 en icon] [ [ Cobertura Especial: Detienen a familia y principales colaboradores de Pinochet] , "La Tercera", 4 October 2007 es icon] .

In September 2005, a joint-investigation by "The Guardian" and "La Tercera" revealed that the British arms firms 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 David Leigh and Rob Evans, [,13755,1570335,00.html Revealed: BAE's secret £1m to Pinochet] , "The Guardian", 15 September 2005 en icon] . The payments began in 1997 and lasted until 2004 David Leigh, Jonathan Franklin and Rob Evans, [,13755,1570165,00.html Detective story that linked £1m Pinochet cash to BAE] , "The Guardian", 15 September 2005 en icon] .

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. Larry Rohter, [ Colonel's Death Gives Clues to Pinochet Arms Deals] , "The New York Times", 19 June 2006 en icon] . 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 paramilitaries. 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 war against Serbia. [ Biographical notice] on "Memoria viva" NGO website es icon] . 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 Jorge Molina Sanhueza, [ Gerardo Huber sabía demasiado, pero no alcanzó a contarlo. El coronel que le pena al ejército] , "La Nación", 25 September 2005 es icon] Andrea Chaparro, [ CDE insiste en unir caso Huber con tráfico de armas a Croacia] , "La Nación", 15 August 2005 es icon] — 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 [ Andrea Chaparro Solís, [ Generales (R) y civiles de Famae procesados en caso armas a Croacia] , "La Nación", 13 June 2006 es icon] .

Death and funeral

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. [ [ Muere el ex dictador Chileno Augusto Pinochet] "EFE"] He died of congestive heart failure and pulmonary edema, [ [ Augusto Pinochet falleció en el Hospital Militar tras sufrir recaída] "; El Mercurio"] surrounded by family members, at the Military Hospital at 14:15 local time (17:15 UTC). [ [ Chile's General Pinochet 'dead'] "BBC News"] His last word was "Lucy", the name of his wife (Lucia Hiriart). 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, and attended by thousands of people. During this ceremony, 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 followers of the dead dictator, who kicked and insulted him. Pinochet's funeral took place the following day at the same venue.

In a government decision, he was not granted a state funeral, as is normally given to former presidents, but a military funeral, as former commander-in-chief of the Army. 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. Socialist President Michelle Bachelet, whose father Alberto Bachelet 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. ["Clashes Break out after Pinochet's death", Yahoo!News, 11 December 2006 ] The only government authority present at the 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. [ [ Family Wants Pinochet Cremation] ] His remains 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 in any military grounds [ [ Pedregoso camino para que cenizas de Pinochet llegaran a Los Boldos] , La Nación 26 de diciembre del 2006.] .

ee also

*History of Chile
*1970 Chilean presidential election
* [ CIA backing of Pinochet]
* [ CIA Involvement, CNN]
*Government Junta of Chile (1973)
*Chile under Pinochet
*Operation Condor
*Augusto Pinochet's arrest and trial
*U.S. intervention in Chile
*"Missing", film based on the life of U.S. journalist Charles Horman, who disappeared in the aftermath of the Pinochet coup

Footnotes and references

External links

* [ France 24 coverage] – Augusto Pinochet's Necrology on France 24
* [ BBC coverage] (special report)
* [ Documentary Film on Chilean Concentration Camp from Pinochet's Regime: Chacabuco]
* [ Chile under Allende and Pinochet]
* [ Human rights violation under Pinochet]
* [,,60-2497858,00.html The Times obituary]
* [ Analysis of economic policy under Pinochet] by economist Jim Cypher in Dollars & Sense magazine
* [ Chile: The Price of Democracy] "New English Review"
* [ What Pinochet Did for Chile] "Hoover Digest (2007 No. 1)"

succession box
title=President of Chile
before=Salvador Allende
after=Patricio Aylwin
years=1974 - 1990
succession box
title=Army Commander-in-chief
before=Carlos Prats
after=Ricardo Izurieta
years=1973 - 1998
Template group
title = History of Chile
list =

NAME=Pinochet, Augusto
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Pinochet Ugarte, Augusto José Ramón (full name)
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Chilean General and Politician
DATE OF BIRTH=birth date|1915|11|25|df=y
PLACE OF BIRTH=Valparaíso, Chile
DATE OF DEATH=death date|2006|12|10|df=y
PLACE OF DEATH=Santiago de Chile

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