Augusto Pinochet
Overview
Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte, more commonly known as Augusto Pinochet (auˈɣusto pinoˈtʃet), (25 November 1915 – 10 December 2006) was a Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

an army
Chilean Army
The Chilean Army is the land arm of the Military of Chile. This 45,000-person army is organized into seven divisions, a special operations brigade and an air brigade....

 general and dictator who assumed power in a coup d'état on 11 September 1973. He was the Commander-in-Chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

 of the Chilean army from 1973 to 1990, president of the Government Junta of Chile
Government Junta of Chile (1973)
Government Junta of Chile was the military junta established to rule Chile during the military dictatorship that followed the overthrow of President Salvador Allende in the 1973 Chilean coup d'état. It was the executive and legislative branch of government until December 17, 1974...

 from 1973 to 1974 and President of the Republic from 1974 until transferring power to a democratically elected president
Patricio Aylwin
Patricio Aylwin Azócar was the first president of Chile after its return to democratic rule in 1990, following the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.- Early life :...

 in 1990.

By early 1972 Pinochet was General Chief of Staff of the Army.
Encyclopedia
Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte, more commonly known as Augusto Pinochet (auˈɣusto pinoˈtʃet), (25 November 1915 – 10 December 2006) was a Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

an army
Chilean Army
The Chilean Army is the land arm of the Military of Chile. This 45,000-person army is organized into seven divisions, a special operations brigade and an air brigade....

 general and dictator who assumed power in a coup d'état on 11 September 1973. He was the Commander-in-Chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

 of the Chilean army from 1973 to 1990, president of the Government Junta of Chile
Government Junta of Chile (1973)
Government Junta of Chile was the military junta established to rule Chile during the military dictatorship that followed the overthrow of President Salvador Allende in the 1973 Chilean coup d'état. It was the executive and legislative branch of government until December 17, 1974...

 from 1973 to 1974 and President of the Republic from 1974 until transferring power to a democratically elected president
Patricio Aylwin
Patricio Aylwin Azócar was the first president of Chile after its return to democratic rule in 1990, following the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.- Early life :...

 in 1990.

By early 1972 Pinochet was General Chief of Staff of the Army. In 23 August 1973 he was promoted to Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army by president Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende Gossens was a Chilean physician and politician who is generally considered the first democratically elected Marxist to become president of a country in Latin America....

. On 11 September 1973 Pinochet led a coup d'état
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

 which overthrew Allende's democratically elected
Election
An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy operates since the 17th century. Elections may fill offices in the legislature, sometimes in the...

 socialist government. In December 1974 the military junta
Military junta
A junta or military junta is a government led by a committee of military leaders. The term derives from the Spanish language junta meaning committee, specifically a board of directors...

 appointed Pinochet as President by a joint decree
Decree
A decree is a rule of law issued by a head of state , according to certain procedures . It has the force of law...

, with which Air Force General Gustavo Leigh
Gustavo Leigh
Air General Gustavo Leigh Guzmán was a Chilean general, who represented the Air Force in the 1973 Chilean coup d'état and, for a time, in the ruling junta that followed. Leigh was forced out of the military government in 1978.-Biography:Leigh was born in Santiago, son of Hernán Leigh Bañados and...

 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, up to 80,000 were interned, and up to 30,000 were tortured by his regime including women and children. Under the influence of the free market-oriented libertarian
Libertarian
Libertarian may refer to:*A proponent of libertarianism, a political philosophy that upholds individual liberty, especially freedom of expression and action*A member of a libertarian political party; including:**Libertarian Party...

 Chicago Boys
Chicago Boys
The Chicago Boys were a group of young Chilean economists most of whom trained at the University of Chicago under Milton Friedman and Arnold Harberger, or at its affiliate in the economics department at the Catholic University of Chile...

, the new government also implemented economic reforms, including currency stabilization, tariff cutting, opening Chile's markets to global trade, curbing union power, privatizing social security, and the privatization
Privatization
Privatization is the incidence or process of transferring ownership of a business, enterprise, agency or public service from the public sector to the private sector or to private non-profit organizations...

 of hundreds of state-controlled industries. These policies produced what has been referred to as the "miracle of Chile
Miracle of Chile
The "Miracle of Chile" was a term used by free market Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman to describe liberal and free market reorientation of the economy of Chile in the 1980s, 1990s and the purported benefits of his style of economic liberalism...

", but leftists claim the government policies dramatically increased economic inequality
Economic inequality
Economic inequality comprises all disparities in the distribution of economic assets and income. The term typically refers to inequality among individuals and groups within a society, but can also refer to inequality among countries. The issue of economic inequality is related to the ideas of...

. But the devastating effect of the 1982 monetary crisis
Early 1980s recession
The early 1980s recession describes the severe global economic recession affecting much of the developed world in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The United States and Japan exited recession relatively early, but high unemployment would continue to affect other OECD nations through at least 1985...

 in the Chilean economy can be attributed to the Finance Minister Sergio De Castro's decision to peg Chile's currency to the U.S. dollar - to align Chile's high inflation rate with the U.S. inflation rate, but triggered a tremendous devaluation when the U.S. dollar fell, and set off a bank crisis. Economist Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman was an American economist, statistician, academic, and author who taught at the University of Chicago for more than three decades...

, whose ideas influenced the Chicago Boys, criticized De Castro for his decision as it distorted markets. Pinochet's economic policies were continued and strengthened by successive governments after he gave up power and returned the country to democracy in 1990. Chile is now the best-performing economy in Latin America, though academics continue to dispute the legacy of Pinochet's reforms.

Pinochet's regime was given a legal framework through a highly controversial plebiscite in 1980
Chilean National Plebiscite, 1980
The National Plebiscite in 1980 in Chile was a referendum held on September 11, 1980 to approve the 1980 Political Constitution of the Republic of Chile as a replacement for Chile's 1925 constitution. The result was 4,204,897 votes in favor and 1,893,420 votes against ratification...

, which approved a new Constitution drafted by a government-appointed commission. A plebiscite in 1988
Chilean national plebiscite, 1988
The 1988 Chilean national plebiscite was a national referendum held to determine whether or not dictator Augusto Pinochet would extend his rule for another eight-year term in office. It was held on October 5, 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
Constitution of Chile
In its temporary dispositions, the document ordered the transition from the former military government, with Augusto Pinochet as President of the Republic, and the Legislative Power of the Military Junta , to a civil one, with a time frame of eight...

. In 2004, Chilean Judge Juan Guzmán Tapia
Juan Guzmán Tapia
Juan Salvador Guzmán Tapia is a retired Chilean judge who gained international recognition for being the first judge to prosecute former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet on human rights charges, after Pinochet's return to Chile following more than a year of house arrest in London, in...

 ruled that Pinochet was medically fit to stand trial and placed him under house arrest. By the time of his death on 10 December 2006, about 300 criminal charges
Augusto Pinochet's arrest and trial
General Augusto Pinochet was indicted for human rights violations committed in his native Chile by Spanish magistrate Baltasar Garzón on 10 October 1998. He was arrested in London six days later and finally released by the British government in March 2000...

 were still pending against him in Chile for numerous human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 violations, tax evasion
Tax evasion
Tax evasion is the general term for efforts by individuals, corporations, trusts and other entities to evade taxes by illegal means. Tax evasion usually entails taxpayers deliberately misrepresenting or concealing the true state of their affairs to the tax authorities to reduce their tax liability,...

 and embezzlement
Embezzlement
Embezzlement is the act of dishonestly appropriating or secreting assets by one or more individuals to whom such assets have been entrusted....

 during his 17-year rule and afterwards. Pinochet was accused of having corruptly
Political corruption
Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by...

 amassed a wealth of US$28 million or more.

Early life and military career

Pinochet was born in Valparaíso
Valparaíso
Valparaíso is a city and commune of Chile, center of its third largest conurbation and one of the country's most important seaports and an increasing cultural center in the Southwest Pacific hemisphere. The city is the capital of the Valparaíso Province and the Valparaíso Region...

 to Augusto Pinochet Vera, descendant of a Breton
Breton people
The Bretons are an ethnic group located in the region of Brittany in France. They trace much of their heritage to groups of Brythonic speakers who emigrated from southwestern Great Britain in waves from the 3rd to 6th century into the Armorican peninsula, subsequently named Brittany after them.The...

 immigrant from Lamballe
Lamballe
Lamballe is a commune in the Côtes-d'Armor department in Brittany in northwestern France.It lies on the Gouessant east-southeast of Saint-Brieuc by rail.- History :...

, and Avelina Ugarte Martínez, woman of Spanish
Spanish Chilean
Spanish Chileans are Chileans, of Spanish origin, even though most of the original colonial settlers have mixed with the other Europeans that have settled in the country after Independence up to the 20th century....

 descent. He went to primary and secondary school at the San Rafael Seminary of Valparaíso, the Rafael Ariztía Institute (Marist Brothers
Marist Brothers
The Marist Brothers, or Little Brothers of Mary, are a Catholic religious order of brothers and affiliated lay people. The order was founded in France, at La Valla-en-Gier near Lyon in 1817 by Saint Marcellin Champagnat, a young French priest of the Society of Mary...

) in Quillota
Quillota
Quillota is a city and commune located in the Aconcagua River valley of central Chile's Valparaíso Region. It is the capital and largest city of the Quillota Province where many inhabitants live in the surrounding farm areas of San Isidro, La Palma, Pocochay, and San Pedro...

, the French Fathers' School of Valparaíso, and then to the Military School in Santiago, which he entered in 1931. In 1935, after four years of study, he graduated with the rank of alférez (Second Lieutenant
Second Lieutenant
Second lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer military rank in many armed forces.- United Kingdom and Commonwealth :The rank second lieutenant was introduced throughout the British Army in 1871 to replace the rank of ensign , although it had long been used in the Royal Artillery, Royal...

) in the infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

. In September 1937, Pinochet was assigned to the "Chacabuco" Regiment, in Concepción
Concepción, Chile
Concepción is a city in Chile, capital of Concepción Province and of the Biobío Region or Region VIII. Greater Concepción is the second-largest conurbation in the country, with 889,725 inhabitants...

. 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 30 January 1943, he married Lucía Hiriart Rodríguez, with whom he has five children: Inés Lucía
Lucía Pinochet
Inés Lucía Pinochet Hiriart is the eldest daughter of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and Lucía Hiriart de Pinochet....

, María Verónica, Jacqueline Marie, Augusto Osvaldo, and Marco Antonio.

By late 1945, Pinochet was assigned to the "Carampangue" Regiment in the northern city of Iquique
Iquique
Iquique is a port city and commune in northern Chile, capital of both the Iquique Province and Tarapacá Region. It lies on the Pacific coast, west of the Atacama Desert and the Pampa del Tamarugal. It had a population of 216,419 as of the 2002 census...

. 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
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

 zone of Lota
Lota, Chile
Lota is a city and commune located in the center of the Chile on the Gulf of Arauco. It lies within the Concepción Province of the Biobío Region.-History:...

. 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
Arica, Chile
Arica is a commune and a port city with a population of 185,269 in the Arica Province of northern Chile's Arica and Parinacota Region, located only south of the border with Peru. The city is the capital of both the Arica Province and the Arica and Parinacota Region...

. While there, he was appointed professor of the Chilean War Academy, and he returned to Santiago
Santiago, Chile
Santiago , also known as Santiago de Chile, is the capital and largest city of Chile, and the center of its largest conurbation . It is located in the country's central valley, at an elevation of above mean sea level...

 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
Ecuador
Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

 in Quito
Quito
San Francisco de Quito, most often called Quito , is the capital city of Ecuador in northwestern South America. It is located in north-central Ecuador in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of Pichincha, an active stratovolcano in the Andes mountains...

, 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
Geopolitics
Geopolitics, from Greek Γη and Πολιτική in broad terms, is a theory that describes the relation between politics and territory whether on local or international scale....

, military geography
Military geography
Military geography is a sub-field of geography that is used by, not only the military, but also academics and politicians to understand the geopolitical sphere through the militaristic lens...

 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
Santiago, Chile
Santiago , also known as Santiago de Chile, is the capital and largest city of Chile, and the center of its largest conurbation . It is located in the country's central valley, at an elevation of above mean sea level...

, 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
Tarapacá Region
The I Tarapacá Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions. It borders the Chilean Arica and Parinacota Region to the north, Bolivia's Oruro Department on the east, the Antofagasta Region on the south and the Pacific Ocean on the west. The port city of Iquique The I 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 23 August 1973 by President Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende Gossens was a Chilean physician and politician who is generally considered the first democratically elected Marxist to become president of a country in Latin America....

 just the day after the Chamber of Deputies of Chile
Chamber of Deputies of Chile
The Chamber of Deputies of the Republic of Chile is the lower house of Chile's bicameral Congress. Its organisation and its powers and duties are defined in articles 42 to 59 of Chile's current constitution....

 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
Carabineros de Chile
thumb|250px|Carabineros de Chile, patrolling a street in [[Santiago, Chile|Santiago]]The Carabiniers of Chile, are the uniformed Chilean national police force and gendarmerie, created on April 27, 1927. Their mission is to maintain order and create public respect for the laws of the country...

) overthrew Allende's government in a coup, during which the presidential palace, La Moneda, was shelled and Allende committed suicide.

In his memoirs Pinochet said 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 became 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 executed the coup.

The new government rounded up thousands of people and held them in the national stadium, where many were killed, setting the stage for decades of brutal repression that followed. As many as 3,000 people may have died during Pinochet's years in power, and more than 1,000 are still missing.

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 or its associates were purportedly preparing. United States intelligence agencies believed the plan to be untrue propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

. Although later discredited and officially recognized as the product of political propaganda, some Chilean historians pointed to the similarities between the alleged Plan Z and other existing paramilitary plans of the Popular Unity parties in support of its legitimacy.

Canadian Jean Charpentier
Jean Charpentier
Jean Charpentier was a Canadian journalist who served as the press secretary for Pierre Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, from 1975 until 1979...

 of Télévision de Radio-Canada
Télévision de Radio-Canada
Télévision de Radio-Canada is a Canadian French language television network. It is owned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, known in French as Société Radio-Canada. Headquarters are at Maison Radio-Canada in Montreal, which is also home to the network's flagship station, CBFT-DT...

 was the first foreign journalist
Journalist
A journalist collects and distributes news and other information. A journalist's work is referred to as journalism.A reporter is a type of journalist who researchs, writes, and reports on information to be presented in mass media, including print media , electronic media , and digital media A...

 to interview General Pinochet following the coup.

U.S. backing of the coup

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
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 (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. Perhaps most infamously, the CIA maintained contacts among the Chilean DINA intelligence service while DINA leaders, under Pinochet's direct command, led the multinational "anti-communism campaign" known as Operation Condor
Operation Condor
Operation Condor , was a campaign of political repression involving assassination and intelligence operations officially implemented in 1975 by the right-wing dictatorships of the Southern Cone of South America...

, resulting in assassinations of prominent politicians and activists of the legal left in various Latin American countries, in Washington, D.C., and in Europe (see section below). In particular, CIA contact with the head DINA, Manuel Contreras
Manuel Contreras
Juan Manuel Guillermo Contreras Sepúlveda is a Chilean military officer and the former head of DINA, Chile's secret police during the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. As head of DINA he was the most powerful and feared man in the country, after Pinochet...

, was established soon after the coup (in 1974, during the Junta period prior to official transfer of Presidential powers to Pinochet); in 1975, the CIA reviewed a warning that keeping Contreras as an asset
Asset (intelligence)
In intelligence, assets are persons within organizations or countries that are being spied upon who provide information for an outside spy.There are different categories of assets, including people...

 might trouble the maintenance of human rights in the region, yet they chose to keep him as an asset anyhow and even made him a paid asset at one point. In addition to the CIA's maintaining of assets in DINA beginning soon after the coup, several CIA assets, such as CORU Cuban exile
Cuban exile
The term "Cuban exile" refers to the many Cubans who have sought alternative political or economic conditions outside the island, dating back to the Ten Years' War and the struggle for Cuban independence during the 19th century...

 militants Orlando Bosch
Orlando Bosch
Orlando Bosch Ávila was a Cuban exile militant, former Central Intelligence Agency-backed operative, and head of Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations, which the FBI has described as "an anti-Castro terrorist umbrella organization". Former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh called...

 and Guillermo Novo, collaborated in DINA operations under the Condor Plan in the early years of Pinochet's presidency.

While the U.S. certainly supported the Pinochet regime after the 1973 coup, there is no evidence that the US was directly involved in the coup. However, the Church Report
Church Committee
The Church Committee is the common term referring to the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, a U.S. Senate committee chaired by Senator Frank Church in 1975. A precursor to the U.S...

 concluded that, while the US had not directly participated in the 1973 coup, it had supported an attempted coup in 1970, and had directed money to anti-Allende elements, including possibly terrorist groups, during the period 1970–1973. The armed forces under Pinochet's command had strong enough coordination and military resources, and sufficient motivation, to undertake the coup on their own, as evidenced by their earlier coup attempt known as the Tanquetazo
Tanquetazo
El Tanquetazo or El Tancazo of 29 June 1973 are the names used to refer to the failed coup attempt in Chile led by Army Lieutenant Colonel Roberto Souper against the government of Socialist president Salvador Allende. It is called such because the rebelling officers primarily used tanks...

. Many historians have noted the role of US economic policy towards Chile in creating the conditions that led to the coup; in Kissinger's own words, the US intended to "make the [Chilean] economy scream" and, after the coup, US Secretary of State
Secretary of State
Secretary of State or State Secretary is a commonly used title for a senior or mid-level post in governments around the world. The role varies between countries, and in some cases there are multiple Secretaries of State in the Government....

 Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

 remarked to US President Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 that despite the lack of direct US involvement, "we helped them... created the conditions as great as possible."

Military junta

A military junta
Military junta
A junta or military junta is a government led by a committee of military leaders. The term derives from the Spanish language junta meaning committee, specifically a board of directors...

 was established immediately following the coup, made up of General Pinochet representing the Army
Chilean Army
The Chilean Army is the land arm of the Military of Chile. This 45,000-person army is organized into seven divisions, a special operations brigade and an air brigade....

, Admiral José Toribio Merino
José Toribio Merino
José Toribio Merino Castro was one of the principal coup leaders of the 1973 Chilean coup d'état, along with General Augusto Pinochet of the Army, General Gustavo Leigh of the Air Force, and General Mendoza of the "Carabineros"...

 representing the Navy
Chilean Navy
-Independence Wars of Chile and Peru :The Chilean Navy dates back to 1817. A year before, following the Battle of Chacabuco, General Bernardo O'Higgins prophetically declared "this victory and another hundred shall be of no significance if we do not gain control of the sea".This led to the...

, General Gustavo Leigh
Gustavo Leigh
Air General Gustavo Leigh Guzmán was a Chilean general, who represented the Air Force in the 1973 Chilean coup d'état and, for a time, in the ruling junta that followed. Leigh was forced out of the military government in 1978.-Biography:Leigh was born in Santiago, son of Hernán Leigh Bañados and...

 representing the Air Force
Chilean Air Force
The Chilean Air Force is the air force of Chile, a branch of the Chilean military.-History:The first step towards the current FACh was taken by Teniente Coronel Pedro Pablo Dartnell, when he founded the Servicio de Aviación Militar de Chile on December 20, 1910, being trained as a pilot in France...

, and General César Mendoza
César Mendoza
General César Leonidas Mendoza Durán was a member of the Government Junta which ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990, representing the country-wide police force, the Carabineros de Chile....

 representing the Carabineros
Carabineros de Chile
thumb|250px|Carabineros de Chile, patrolling a street in [[Santiago, Chile|Santiago]]The Carabiniers of Chile, are the uniformed Chilean national police force and gendarmerie, created on April 27, 1927. Their mission is to maintain order and create public respect for the laws of the country...

(national police). As established the junta exercised both executive and legislative functions of the government, suspended the Constitution
State of emergency
A state of emergency is a governmental declaration that may suspend some normal functions of the executive, legislative and judicial powers, alert citizens to change their normal behaviours, or order government agencies to implement emergency preparedness plans. It can also be used as a rationale...

 and the Congress, imposed strict censorship
Censorship
thumb|[[Book burning]] following the [[1973 Chilean coup d'état|1973 coup]] that installed the [[Military government of Chile |Pinochet regime]] in Chile...

 and curfew
Curfew
A curfew is an order specifying a time after which certain regulations apply. Examples:# An order by a government for certain persons to return home daily before a certain time...

, 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.

Presidency

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
Fernando Matthei
Fernando Matthei Aubel is a retired Chilean Air Force General that was part of the military junta that ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990, after Gustavo Leigh was dismissed in 1978. Before he became a junta member, Matthei was Minister of Health of the military government...

.

Pinochet organized a plebiscite on 11 September 1980
Chilean National Plebiscite, 1980
The National Plebiscite in 1980 in Chile was a referendum held on September 11, 1980 to approve the 1980 Political Constitution of the Republic of Chile as a replacement for Chile's 1925 constitution. The result was 4,204,897 votes in favor and 1,893,420 votes against ratification...

. The Chilean people were asked to ratify a new Constitution
Constitution of Chile
In its temporary dispositions, the document ordered the transition from the former military government, with Augusto Pinochet as President of the Republic, and the Legislative Power of the Military Junta , to a civil one, with a time frame of eight...

, replacing the 1925 Constitution drafted during Arturo Alessandri
Arturo Alessandri
Arturo Fortunato Alessandri Palma was a Chilean political figure and reformer, who served twice as the President of Chile, first between 1920 and 1924, and then again in 1925, and finally from 1932 until 1938....

's presidency. The new Constitution, partly drafted by Jaime Guzmán
Jaime Guzmán
Jaime Jorge Guzmán Errázuriz was a Chilean lawyer and senator, member and doctrinal founder of the conservative Independent Democrat Union party. He opposed Marxist President Salvador Allende and later became a close advisor to dictator Augusto Pinochet. A professor of Constitutional Law, he...

, a close adviser to Pinochet and future founder of the right-wing party Independent Democrat Union
Independent Democrat Union
The Independent Democrat Union is a Chilean right-wing, conservative political party, founded in 1983. Its main inspirer was the lawyer, politician and law professor Jaime Guzmán, a former senator of the Republic of Chile from 1990 until his assassination on April 1, 1991.Its ideological origins...

 (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
Referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

 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
Eduardo Frei Montalva
Eduardo Frei Montalva was a Chilean political leader of world stature. In his long political career, he was Minister of Public Works, president of his Christian Democratic Party, senator, President of the Senate, and president of Chile from 1964 to 1970...

, 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
Electoral fraud
Electoral fraud is illegal interference with the process of an election. Acts of fraud affect vote counts to bring about an election result, whether by increasing the vote share of the favored candidate, depressing the vote share of the rival candidates or both...

 easy. These criticisms were rejected by the Scrutiny Association, and the Constitution was promulgated on 21 October 1980, taking effect on 11 March 1981. Pinochet was replaced as President of the Junta that day by Admiral Merino.

In a massive operation spearheaded by Chilean Army Para-Commandos, some 2,000 security forces troops were deployed in the mountains of Neltume from June to November, where they destroyed two MIR
Revolutionary Left Movement
Revolutionary Left Movement may refer to:*Revolutionary Left Movement *Revolutionary Left Movement *Revolutionary Left Movement *Revolutionary Left Movement...

 bases, seizing large caches of munitions and killing a number of guerrillas.

In a 1985 report, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is an autonomous organ of the Organization of American States .Along with the...

 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.

According to a book by Ozren Agnic Krstulovic, weapons including C-4 plastic explosive
Plastic explosive
Plastic explosive is a specialised form of explosive material. It is a soft and hand moldable solid material. Plastic explosives are properly known as putty explosives within the field of explosives engineering....

s, RPG-7
RPG-7
The RPG-7 is a widely-produced, portable, unguided, shoulder-launched, anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Originally the RPG-7 and its predecessor, the RPG-2, were designed by the Soviet Union, and now manufactured by the Bazalt company...

 and M72 LAW
M72 LAW
The M72 LAW is a portable one-shot 66 mm unguided anti-tank weapon, designed in the United States by Paul V. Choate, Charles B. Weeks, and Frank A. Spinale et al...

 rocket launchers as well as more than three thousand M-16 rifles were smuggled into the country by opponents of the government.

In September, weapons from the same source were used in an unsuccessful assassination
Assassination
To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...

 attempt against Pinochet by the FPMR. Taken by surprise, five of his military bodyguards were killed. Although Pinochet's Mercedes Benz bulletproof 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
Fascism
Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

. For example, author Samuel Chavkin, in his book Storm Over Chile: The Junta Under Siege, repeatedly characterizes both Pinochet himself and the military dictatorship as fascist. However, he and his regime are generally excluded from academic typologies of fascism.
Roger Griffin
Roger Griffin
Roger D. Griffin is a British academic political theorist at Oxford Brookes University, England. His recent efforts have focused on a definition and examination of fascism...

 included Pinochet in a group of pseudo-populist despot
Despot
Despot may refer to:* Despot , a Byzantine court title* Despotism, a form of government in which power is concentrated in the hands of an individual or a small groupPeople with the surname Despot:...

s distinct from fascism and including the likes of Hitler (to a certain extent since Pinochet was not fanatically violent), Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

, Suharto, and Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos, Sr. was a Filipino leader and an authoritarian President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. He was a lawyer, member of the Philippine House of Representatives and a member of the Philippine Senate...

. He argues that such regimes may be considered populist ultra-nationalism but lack the palingenesis
Palingenesis
Palingenesis is a concept of rebirth or re-creation, used in various contexts in philosophy, theology, politics, and biology. Its meaning stems from Greek palin, meaning again, and genesis, meaning birth....

 necessary to make them conform to the model of palingenetic ultranationalism
Palingenetic ultranationalism
Palingenetic ultranationalism is a theory concerning generic fascism formulated by British political theorist Roger Griffin. The key elements are that fascism can be defined by its core myth, namely that of "national rebirth" — palingenesis...

. Robert Paxton
Robert Paxton
Robert O. Paxton is an American political scientist and historian specializing in Vichy France, fascism and Europe during the World War II era...

 meanwhile compared Pinochet's regime to that of Mobutu Sese Seko
Mobutu Sese Seko
Mobutu Sese Seko Nkuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga , commonly known as Mobutu or Mobutu Sese Seko , born Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, was the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1965 to 1997...

 in the former Zaire
Zaire
The Republic of Zaire was the name of the present Democratic Republic of the Congo between 27 October 1971 and 17 May 1997. The name of Zaire derives from the , itself an adaptation of the Kongo word nzere or nzadi, or "the river that swallows all rivers".-Self-proclaimed Father of the Nation:In...

 (now Democratic Republic of Congo), arguing that both were merely client state
Client state
Client state is one of several terms used to describe the economic, political and/or military subordination of one state to a more powerful state in international affairs...

s 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
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 anti-communism
Anti-communism
Anti-communism is opposition to communism. Organized anti-communism developed in reaction to the rise of communism, especially after the 1917 October Revolution in Russia and the beginning of the Cold War in 1947.-Objections to communist theory:...

 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
Chicago school (economics)
The Chicago school of economics describes a neoclassical school of thought within the academic community of economists, with a strong focus around the faculty of The University of Chicago, some of whom have constructed and popularized its principles...

. The notion of Pinochet's "unwillingness to support national businesses" has been challenged by such critics, including Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" and...

; indeed, the copper industry remained nationalized throughout Pinochet's presidency and remains so to this day.

Jacobo Timerman
Jacobo Timerman
Jacobo Timerman was an Argentine publisher, journalist, and author who was persecuted and honored for confronting the atrocities of the Argentine military regime's Dirty War...

 has called the Chilean army under Pinochet “the last Prussian army in the world", suggesting a pre-Fascist origin to the model of Pinochet's military government.

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

The Rettig Report
Rettig Report
The Rettig Report, officially The National Commission for Truth and Reconciliation Report, is a 1991 report by a commission designated by then President Patricio Aylwin encompassing human rights abuses resulting in death or disappearance that occurred in Chile during the years of military rule...

 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
Valech Report
The Valech Report was a record of abuses committed in Chile between 1973 and 1990 by agents of Augusto Pinochet's military regime. The report was published on November 29, 2004 and detailed the results of a six-month investigation. A revised version was released on June 1, 2005...

, 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". In 2011, commission identified an additional 9,800 victims of political repression during the Pinochet regime. This led to the total number of victims being revised to approximately 40,018, including 3,065 killed.

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 infamous 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
Caravan of Death
The Caravan of Death was a Chilean Army death squad that, following the Chilean coup of 1973, flew by helicopters from south to north of Chile between September 30 and October 22, 1973. During this foray, members of the squad ordered or personally carried out the execution of at least 75...

. Charles Horman
Charles Horman
Charles Horman was an American journalist and was one of the victims of the 1973 Chilean coup d'état led by General Augusto Pinochet, that deposed the socialist president, Salvador Allende, after bombing the Chilean presidential palace on September 11, 1973...

, a US journalist, "disappeared
Forced disappearance
In international human rights law, a forced disappearance occurs when a person is secretly abducted or imprisoned by a state or political organization or by a third party with the authorization, support, or acquiescence of a state or political organization, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the...

", as did Víctor Olea Alegría
Víctor Olea Alegría
Víctor Olea Alegría was a member of Chile’s Partido Socialista.Olea lived in Santiago, Chile. He was detained by “security agents” on 11 September 1974, and became one of the "detenidos desaparecidos". Manuel Contreras was convicted in 2002 for his abduction.-External links:*...

, 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
Carlos Prats
General Carlos Prats González was a Chilean Army officer, a political figure, minister and Vice President of Chile during President Salvador Allende's government, and General Augusto Pinochet's predecessor as commander-in-chief of the Chilean Army...

, 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
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

, Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

, 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
Operation Colombo
Operation Colombo was an operation undertaken by the DINA in 1975. The operation involved the disappearance of political dissidents. At least 119 people are alleged to have been abducted and later killed by state forces in the secret operation...

), 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
Juan José Torres
Juan José Torres González was a Bolivian socialist politician and military leader. He served as President of Bolivia from October 7, 1970 to August 21, 1971. He was popularly known as "J.J."...

, the former President of Bolivia, assassinated in Buenos Aires on 2 June 1976; Carmelo Soria
Carmelo Soria
Carmelo Soria was a Spanish-Chilean United Nations diplomat. A member of the CEPAL in the 1970s, he was assassinated by Chile's DINA agents as a part of Operation Condor...

, a UN diplomat working for the CEPAL, assassinated in July 1976;
Orlando Letelier
Letelier case
The Letelier case refers to the killing in Washington, D.C. of Orlando Letelier, a Chilean political figure and later United States-based activist, along with his American assistant, Ronni Moffitt...

, 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.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 by a car bomb on 21 September 1976. This led to strained relations with the US and to the extradition of Michael Townley
Michael Townley
Michael Vernon Townley is a US citizen currently living in the United States under terms of the federal witness protection program. A Central Intelligence Agency agent and operative of the Chilean secret police, DINA, Townley confessed, was convicted, and served 62 months in prison in the United...

, 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
Bernardo Leighton
Bernardo Leighton Guzmán was a Chilean Christian Democrat who was targeted by Operation Condor.In 1937, President Arturo Alessandri Palma appointed him as Employment minister....

, who escaped an assassination attempt in Rome in 1975 by the Italian terrorist Stefano delle Chiaie
Stefano Delle Chiaie
Stefano Delle Chiaie is a neofascist Italian activist . He went on to become a wanted man worldwide, suspect to be involved in Italy's strategy of tension, but was acquitted. He was a friend of Licio Gelli, grandmaster of P2 masonic lodge...

; Carlos Altamirano
Carlos Altamirano
Carlos Altamirano Orrego is a lawyer and one of the most influential politicians of Chilean socialism. He was the general secretary of the Chilean Socialist Party between 1971 and 1979. Before that, he was deputy from 1961 to 1965 and senator from 1965 to 1973...

, the leader of the Chilean Socialist Party, targeted for murder in 1975 by Pinochet, along with Volodia Teitelboim
Volodia Teitelboim
Volodia Valentín Teitelboim Volosky was a Chilean lawyer, politician and author.Born in Chillán to Jewish immigrants , Teitelboim was interested in literature from an early age...

, member of the Communist Party; Pascal Allende, the nephew of Salvador Allende and president of the MIR
Revolutionary Left Movement (Chile)
Revolutionary Left Movement is a Chilean political party and former left-wing guerrilla organization founded on October 12, 1965...

, 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
Eduardo Frei Montalva
Eduardo Frei Montalva was a Chilean political leader of world stature. In his long political career, he was Minister of Public Works, president of his Christian Democratic Party, senator, President of the Senate, and president of Chile from 1964 to 1970...

, the Christian Democrat President of Chile from 1964 to 1970, may have been poisoned in 1982 by toxin produced by DINA biochemist Eugenio Berrios
Eugenio Berríos
Eugenio Berríos Sagredo was a Chilean biochemist who worked for the DINA intelligence agency.Berríos was charged with carrying outProyecto Andrea in which Pinochet ordered the production of sarin gas, a chemical weapon used by the DINA. Sarin gas leaves no trace and victims' deaths closely mimic...

.

Protests continued, however, during the 1980s, leading to several scandals. In March 1985, the savage murder of three Communist Party
Communist Party of Chile
The Communist Party of Chile is a Chilean political party inspired by the thoughts of Karl Marx and Lenin. It was founded in 1922, as the continuation of the Socialist Workers Party, and in 1934 it established its youth wing, the Communist Youth of Chile .In the last legislative elections in Chile...

 members led to the resignation of César Mendoza
César Mendoza
General César Leonidas Mendoza Durán was a member of the Government Junta which ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990, representing the country-wide police force, the Carabineros de Chile....

, head of the Carabineros
Carabineros de Chile
thumb|250px|Carabineros de Chile, patrolling a street in [[Santiago, Chile|Santiago]]The Carabiniers of Chile, are the uniformed Chilean national police force and gendarmerie, created on April 27, 1927. Their mission is to maintain order and create public respect for the laws of the country...

 and member of the junta since its formation. During a 1986 protest against Pinochet, 21 year old American photographer Rodrigo Rojas DeNegri
Rodrigo Rojas DeNegri
Rodrigo Andrés Rojas De Negri was a young photographer who was burned alive during a street demonstration against the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet in Chile.-Background:...

 and 18 year old student Carmen Gloria Quintana
Carmen Gloria Quintana
Carmen Gloria Quintana Arancibia is a Chilean woman who suffered severe, almost fatal burns in an incident where she and other youngsters were detained by an army patrol during a street demonstration against the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet...

 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 7 September 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.

Economic policy

In 1973, the Chilean economy was deeply hurt for several reasons, including the expropriation of 600 businesses by the Marxist Allende government, a tiered exchange rate that distorted markets, protectionism, and the economic sanctions imposed by the Nixon administration
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

, inflation was 1000%, 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. Pinochet 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
Chicago Boys
The Chicago Boys were a group of young Chilean economists most of whom trained at the University of Chicago under Milton Friedman and Arnold Harberger, or at its affiliate in the economics department at the Catholic University of Chile...

.

The economic policies espoused by the Chicago Boys and implemented by the junta caused several economic indicators to decline for Chile's lower classes. 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
Middle class
The middle class is any class of people in the middle of a societal hierarchy. In Weberian socio-economic terms, the middle class is the broad group of people in contemporary society who fall socio-economically between the working class and upper class....

, the oligarchy, huge foreign corporations, and foreign loans to maintain itself.
Businesses recovered most of their lost industrial and agricultural holdings, for the junta returned properties to original owners who had lost them during expropriations, and sold other industries expropriated by Allende's Popular Unity government to private buyers. This period saw the expansion of business 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
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

, the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

, and the Inter-American Development Bank
Inter-American Development Bank
The Inter-American Development Bank is the largest source of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean...

 lent vast sums anew.
Many foreign multinational corporations such as International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT), Dow Chemical, and Firestone
Firestone Tire and Rubber Company
The Firestone Tire and Rubber Company is an American tire company founded by Harvey Firestone in 1900 to supply pneumatic tires for wagons, buggies, and other forms of wheeled transportation common in the era. Firestone soon saw the huge potential for marketing tires for automobiles. The company...

, all expropriated by Allende, returned to Chile.
Pinochet's policies eventually led to substantial GDP
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

 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
Patricio Aylwin
Patricio Aylwin Azócar was the first president of Chile after its return to democratic rule in 1990, following the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.- Early life :...

.

1988 referendum and transition to democracy

According to the transitional provisions of the 1980 Constitution
Constitution of Chile
In its temporary dispositions, the document ordered the transition from the former military government, with Augusto Pinochet as President of the Republic, and the Legislative Power of the Military Junta , to a civil one, with a time frame of eight...

, a referendum was scheduled for 5 October 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
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

 to Chile. According to the US Catholic author George Weigel
George Weigel
George Weigel is an American author, and political and social activist. He currently serves as a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Weigel was the Founding President of the James Madison Foundation...

, 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 Democracy
The Concert of Parties for Democracy , more often known as the Concertación, is a coalition of center-left political parties in Chile, founded in 1988...

("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
Christian Democrat Party of Chile
The Christian Democratic Party is a political party in Chile and governs as part of the Coalition of Parties for Democracy coalition. In the 2009 election it won 19 congress seats and 9 senate seats....

, the Socialist Party
Socialist Party of Chile
The Socialist Party of Chile is a political party, that is part of the center-left Coalition of Parties for Democracy coalition. Its historical leader was the late President of Chile Salvador Allende Gossens, who was deposed by General Pinochet in 1973...

 and the Radical Party
Social Democrat Radical Party
The Social Democratic Radical Party is a social democratic party in Chile.The party is a member of Socialist International....

, gathered in the Alianza Democrática (Democratic Alliance). In 1988, several more parties, including the Humanist Party
Humanist Party (Chile)
The Humanist Party is a progressive left-wing political party in Chile, founded in 1984.In December 1990, Laura Rodríguez became the first elected representative of any Humanist Party in the world after winning a seat as part of the Concertación coalition, after Augusto Pinochet handed over...

, 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
Patricio Aylwin
Patricio Aylwin Azócar was the first president of Chile after its return to democratic rule in 1990, following the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.- Early life :...

, 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
State of emergency
A state of emergency is a governmental declaration that may suspend some normal functions of the executive, legislative and judicial powers, alert citizens to change their normal behaviours, or order government agencies to implement emergency preparedness plans. It can also be used as a rationale...

 dispositions, the affirmation of political pluralism, and enhanced constitutional rights as well as the democratic
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 principle and participation to political life. In July 1989, a referendum
Chilean referendum, 1989
The 1989 Chilean referendum was a national plebiscite held on 30 July 1989 to reform the constitution. The amendments were approved by 91.25% of the votes...

 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
Chilean presidential election, 1989
A presidential election was held in Chile on 14 December 1989. This was one of the key events in the conclusion of the military dictatorship.-Results:Source: . -See also:*Chilean coup of 1973*Salvador Allende - deposed by 1973 coup...

 with 55% of the votes, against less than 30% for the right-wing candidate, Hernan Buchi
Hernán Büchi
Hernán Büchi Buc is a Chilean economist and politician. He served as Minister of the Treasury under the government of Augusto Pinochet between 1985 and 1989.After the recession of the early 1980s, Büchi's appointment as Finance Minister in 1985:...

, 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 economic 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
Alliance for Chile
The Alliance for Chile , also known simply as The Alliance , was a coalition of right-wing Chilean political parties.The Alliance was replaced in 2009 by the Coalition for Change....

 (originally called "Democracy and Progress" and then "Union for Chile"), a center-right coalition involving the Unión Demócrata Independiente
Independent Democrat Union
The Independent Democrat Union is a Chilean right-wing, conservative political party, founded in 1983. Its main inspirer was the lawyer, politician and law professor Jaime Guzmán, a former senator of the Republic of Chile from 1990 until his assassination on April 1, 1991.Its ideological origins...

(UDI) and Renovación Nacional
National Renewal (Chile)
National Renewal , is a liberal conservative political party belonging to the Chilean right-wing political coalition Coalition for Change in conjunction with the Independent Democratic Union and the Chile First movement...

(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
Immunity from prosecution (international law)
Immunity from prosecution is a doctrine of international law that allows an accused to avoid prosecution for criminal offences. Immunities are of two types. The first is functional immunity, or immunity ratione materiae. This is an immunity granted to people who perform certain functions of...

 protected him from legal action. These were only possible in Chile after Pinochet was arrested in 1998 in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, on an extradition
Extradition
Extradition is the official process whereby one nation or state surrenders a suspected or convicted criminal to another nation or state. Between nation states, extradition is regulated by treaties...

 request issued by Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón
Baltasar Garzón
Baltasar Garzón Real is a Spanish jurist who served on Spain's central criminal court, the Audiencia Nacional. He was the examining magistrate of the Juzgado Central de Instrucción No...

 — allegations of abuses had been made numerous times before his arrest, but never acted upon. The extradition attempt was dramatised in the 2006 BBC television docudrama Pinochet in Suburbia
Pinochet in Suburbia
Pinochet in Suburbia is a 2006 docudrama about former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and the attempts to extradite him from Great Britain during his visit there in 1998 for medical treatment...

, with Pinochet played by Derek Jacobi
Derek Jacobi
Sir Derek George Jacobi, CBE is an English actor and film director.A "forceful, commanding stage presence", Jacobi has enjoyed a highly successful stage career, appearing in such stage productions as Hamlet, Uncle Vanya, and Oedipus the King. He received a Tony Award for his performance in...

.

Relationship with UK

Chile was officially neutral during the Falklands War
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

, but Chile's Westinghouse long range radar that was deployed in the south of the country gave the British task force early warning of Argentinian air attacks. This allowed British ships and troops in the war zone to take defensive action. Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

, the British prime minister at the time of the war, 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
Sir Tristram
For the Knight of the Round Table, see Tristan.For the ship of the same name see RFA Sir Tristram Sir Tristram was an Irish-bred Thoroughbred racehorse who stood at stud in New Zealand, where he sired an extraordinary 45 Group One winners, including three Melbourne Cup winners...

, leaving 53 dead and many injured. According to Chilean Junta and former Air Force commander Fernando Matthei, Chilean support included military intelligence gathering, radar surveillance, allowing British aircraft to operate with Chilean colours, and facilitating the safe return of British special forces, among other forms of assistance. In April and May 1982, a squadron of mothballed British Hawker Hunter
Hawker Hunter
The Hawker Hunter is a subsonic British jet aircraft developed in the 1950s. The single-seat Hunter entered service as a manoeuvrable fighter aircraft, and later operated in fighter-bomber and reconnaissance roles in numerous conflicts. Two-seat variants remained in use for training and secondary...

 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 have speculated that Argentina might have won the war had the military felt able to employ the elite VIth and VIIIth Mountain Brigades which remained sitting in the Andes
Andes
The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about long, about to wide , and of an average height of about .Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated...

 guarding against possible Chilean incursions. Pinochet subsequently visited Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

 for tea on more than one occasion. Pinochet's controversial relationship with Thatcher led Labour
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 Prime Minister Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

 to mock Thatcher's Conservatives
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 as "the party of Pinochet" in 1999.

Arrest and trial in Britain

The case was a watershed event in judicial history, as it was the first time that a former government head was arrested on the principle of universal jurisdiction
Universal jurisdiction
Universal jurisdiction or universality principle is a principle in public international law whereby states claim criminal jurisdiction over persons whose alleged crimes were committed outside the boundaries of the prosecuting state, regardless of nationality, country of residence, or any other...

.

After having been placed under house arrest
House arrest
In justice and law, house arrest is a measure by which a person is confined by the authorities to his or her residence. Travel is usually restricted, if allowed at all...

 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
Jack Straw
Jack Straw , British politician.Jack Straw may also refer to:* Jack Straw , English* "Jack Straw" , 1971 song by the Grateful Dead* Jack Straw by W...

 without facing trial.

Return to Chile

Pinochet returned to Chile on 3 March 2000. His first act when landing in Santiago's airport
Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport
Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport , also known as Pudahuel Airport and Santiago International Airport, located in Pudahuel, north-west of downtown Santiago, is Chile's largest aviation facility and the busiest international air passenger gateway to the country...

 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-elect
President-elect
An -elect is a political candidate who has been elected to an office but who has not yet been sworn in or officially taken office. These may include an incoming president, senator, representative, governor and mayor.Analogously, the term "designate" An -elect is a political candidate who has been...

 Ricardo Lagos
Ricardo Lagos
Ricardo Froilán Lagos Escobar is a lawyer, economist and social democrat politician, who served as president of Chile from 2000 to 2006. He won the 1999-2000 presidential election by a narrow margin in a runoff over Independent Democrat Union candidate Joaquín Lavín...

 said the retired general's televised arrival had damaged the image of Chile, while thousands demonstrated against him.

In March 2000 Congress approved a constitutional amendment
Constitution of Chile
In its temporary dispositions, the document ordered the transition from the former military government, with Augusto Pinochet as President of the Republic, and the Legislative Power of the Military Junta , to a civil one, with a time frame of eight...

 creating the status of "ex-president," which granted its holder immunity from prosecution and a financial allowance; this replaced Pinochet's senatorship-for-life. 111 legislators voted for, and 29 (mostly, if not all, from the Left) against.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of judge 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
Caravan of Death
The Caravan of Death was a Chilean Army death squad that, following the Chilean coup of 1973, flew by helicopters from south to north of Chile between September 30 and October 22, 1973. During this foray, members of the squad ordered or personally carried out the execution of at least 75...

 case. Guzmán advanced the charge of kidnapping as the 75 were officially "disappeared
Forced disappearance
In international human rights law, a forced disappearance occurs when a person is secretly abducted or imprisoned by a state or political organization or by a third party with the authorization, support, or acquiescence of a state or political organization, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the...

": 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
Dementia
Dementia is a serious loss of cognitive ability in a previously unimpaired person, beyond what might be expected from normal aging...

). 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
Carlos Prats
General Carlos Prats González was a Chilean Army officer, a political figure, minister and Vice President of Chile during President Salvador Allende's government, and General Augusto Pinochet's predecessor as commander-in-chief of the Chilean Army...

, and the Operation Colombo
Operation Colombo
Operation Colombo was an operation undertaken by the DINA in 1975. The operation involved the disappearance of political dissidents. At least 119 people are alleged to have been abducted and later killed by state forces in the secret operation...

 case in which 119 died) and was 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. In 2006 Pinochet was indicted for kidnappings and torture at the Villa Grimaldi
Villa Grimaldi
Villa Grimaldi was a complex of buildings used for the interrogation and torture of political prisoners by DINA, the Chilean secret police, during the government of Augusto Pinochet. The complex was located in Peñalolén, in the outskirts of Santiago, and was in operation from mid-1974 to mid-1978...

 detention center by the judge Alejandro Madrid (Guzmán's successor), as well as for the 1995 assassination of the DINA biochemist Eugenio Berrios
Eugenio Berríos
Eugenio Berríos Sagredo was a Chilean biochemist who worked for the DINA intelligence agency.Berríos was charged with carrying outProyecto Andrea in which Pinochet ordered the production of sarin gas, a chemical weapon used by the DINA. Sarin gas leaves no trace and victims' deaths closely mimic...

 (himself involved in the Letelier case
Letelier case
The Letelier case refers to the killing in Washington, D.C. of Orlando Letelier, a Chilean political figure and later United States-based activist, along with his American assistant, Ronni Moffitt...

). Berrios, who had worked with Michael Townley
Michael Townley
Michael Vernon Townley is a US citizen currently living in the United States under terms of the federal witness protection program. A Central Intelligence Agency agent and operative of the Chilean secret police, DINA, Townley confessed, was convicted, and served 62 months in prison in the United...

, had produced sarin gas, anthrax
Anthrax
Anthrax is an acute disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Most forms of the disease are lethal, and it affects both humans and other animals...

 and botulism
Botulism
Botulism also known as botulinus intoxication is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by botulinum toxin which is metabolic waste produced under anaerobic conditions by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, and affecting a wide range of mammals, birds and fish...

 in the Bacteriological War Army Laboratory for Pinochet; these materials were used against political opponents. The DINA biochemist was also alleged of having created black cocaine
Black cocaine
Black cocaine, also known as Coca Negra, is a mixture of regular cocaine base or cocaine hydrochloride with various other substances. These other substances are added* to camouflage the typical appearance Black cocaine, also known as Coca Negra, is a mixture of regular cocaine base or cocaine...

, which Pinochet then sold in Europe and the United States
Illegal drug trade
The illegal drug trade is a global black market, dedicated to cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of those substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws. Most jurisdictions prohibit trade, except under license, of many types of drugs by drug prohibition laws.A UN report said the...

. 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
Manuel Contreras
Juan Manuel Guillermo Contreras Sepúlveda is a Chilean military officer and the former head of DINA, Chile's secret police during the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. As head of DINA he was the most powerful and feared man in the country, after Pinochet...

, 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
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 money laundering
Money laundering
Money laundering is the process of disguising illegal sources of money so that it looks like it came from legal sources. The methods by which money may be laundered are varied and can range in sophistication. Many regulatory and governmental authorities quote estimates each year for the amount...

 investigation led by Senators Carl Levin
Carl Levin
Carl Milton Levin is a Jewish-American United States Senator from Michigan, serving since 1979. He is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services. He is a member of the Democratic Party....

 (D-MI) and Norm Coleman
Norm Coleman
Norman Bertram Coleman, Jr. is an American attorney and politician. He was a United States senator from Minnesota from 2003 to 2009. Coleman was elected in 2002 and served in the 108th, 109th, and 110th Congresses. Before becoming a senator, he was mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota, from 1994 to 2002...

 (R-MN)—ordered in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks—uncovered a network of over 125 securities and bank accounts at Riggs Bank
Riggs Bank
Riggs Bank was a Washington, D.C.-based commercial bank with branches located in the surrounding metropolitan area and offices around the world. For most of its history, it was the largest bank in the nation's capital. Riggs had been controlled by the Albritton family since the 1980s, but they lost...

 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
USA PATRIOT Act
The USA PATRIOT Act is an Act of the U.S. Congress that was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001...

, and not the Pinochet regime, Senator 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; his personal secretary, Monica Ananias; and his 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 and 17 other persons (including two generals, one of his former lawyer and former secretary) were arrested in October 2007 on charges of embezzlement
Embezzlement
Embezzlement is the act of dishonestly appropriating or secreting assets by one or more individuals to whom such assets have been entrusted....

 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
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

and La Tercera
La Tercera
La Tercera , formerly known as La Tercera de la Hora , is a daily newspaper published in Santiago, Chile and owned by Copesa. It is El Mercurios closest competitor....

revealed that the British arms firm BAE Systems
BAE Systems
BAE Systems plc is a British multinational defence, security and aerospace company headquartered in London, United Kingdom, that has global interests, particularly in North America through its subsidiary BAE Systems Inc. BAE is among the world's largest military contractors; in 2009 it was the...

 had been identified as paying more than £1m to Pinochet, through a front company in the British Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands, often called the British Virgin Islands , is a British overseas territory and overseas territory of the European Union, located in the Caribbean to the east of Puerto Rico. The islands make up part of the Virgin Islands archipelago, the remaining islands constituting the U.S...

, 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
Gerardo Huber
Gerardo Huber Olivares was a Chilean Army Colonel and agent of the DINA, Chile's intelligence agency. He was in charge of purchasing weapons abroad for the army...

 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 Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

n 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
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

' embargo
Embargo
An embargo is the partial or complete prohibition of commerce and trade with a particular country, in order to isolate it. Embargoes are considered strong diplomatic measures imposed in an effort, by the imposing country, to elicit a given national-interest result from the country on which it is...

 because of the support for Croatia
Croatian War of Independence
The Croatian War of Independence was fought from 1991 to 1995 between forces loyal to the government of Croatia—which had declared independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia —and the Serb-controlled Yugoslav People's Army and local Serb forces, with the JNA ending its combat...

 war in Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

. 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
Augusto Pinochet's arrest and trial
General Augusto Pinochet was indicted for human rights violations committed in his native Chile by Spanish magistrate Baltasar Garzón on 10 October 1998. He was arrested in London six days later and finally released by the British government in March 2000...

—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
Offshore company
The term offshore company is ambiguous. It may refer to either:# A company which is incorporated outside the jurisdiction of its primary operations regardless of whether that jurisdiction is an offshore financial centre i.e...

 and front companies, including the Banco Coutts International in Miami.

Pinochet was stripped of his parliamentary immunity
Parliamentary immunity
Parliamentary immunity, also known as legislative immunity, is a system in which members of the parliament or legislature are granted partial immunity from prosecution. Before prosecuting, it is necessary that the immunity be removed, usually by a superior court of justice or by the parliament itself...

 in August 2000 by the Supreme Court, and indicted by judge Juan Guzmán Tapia
Juan Guzmán Tapia
Juan Salvador Guzmán Tapia is a retired Chilean judge who gained international recognition for being the first judge to prosecute former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet on human rights charges, after Pinochet's return to Chile following more than a year of house arrest in London, in...

. 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
Caravan of Death
The Caravan of Death was a Chilean Army death squad that, following the Chilean coup of 1973, flew by helicopters from south to north of Chile between September 30 and October 22, 1973. During this foray, members of the squad ordered or personally carried out the execution of at least 75...

 following the 11 September coup. Arguing that the bodies of the "disappeared
Forced disappearance
In international human rights law, a forced disappearance occurs when a person is secretly abducted or imprisoned by a state or political organization or by a third party with the authorization, support, or acquiescence of a state or political organization, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the...

" were still missing, he made jurisprudence
Jurisprudence
Jurisprudence is the theory and philosophy of law. Scholars of jurisprudence, or legal theorists , hope to obtain a deeper understanding of the nature of law, of legal reasoning, legal systems and of legal institutions...

 which had as effect to lift any prescription on the crimes committed by the military. Pinochet's trial continued until his death on 10 December 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
Operation Colombo
Operation Colombo was an operation undertaken by the DINA in 1975. The operation involved the disappearance of political dissidents. At least 119 people are alleged to have been abducted and later killed by state forces in the secret operation...

, during which 119 political opponents were "disappeared" in Argentina. The Chilean justice also lifted his immunity on the Villa Grimaldi
Villa Grimaldi
Villa Grimaldi was a complex of buildings used for the interrogation and torture of political prisoners by DINA, the Chilean secret police, during the government of Augusto Pinochet. The complex was located in Peñalolén, in the outskirts of Santiago, and was in operation from mid-1974 to mid-1978...

 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
Riggs Bank
Riggs Bank was a Washington, D.C.-based commercial bank with branches located in the surrounding metropolitan area and offices around the world. For most of its history, it was the largest bank in the nation's capital. Riggs had been controlled by the Albritton family since the 1980s, but they lost...

 in July 2004. The report was a consequence of investigations on financial funding of the 11 September 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
Money laundering
Money laundering is the process of disguising illegal sources of money so that it looks like it came from legal sources. The methods by which money may be laundered are varied and can range in sophistication. Many regulatory and governmental authorities quote estimates each year for the amount...

 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 Caribbean 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
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

, 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's regime was responsible for various human rights abuses during its reign including murder and torture
Torture
Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing information or a confession, or simply as an act of cruelty. Throughout history, torture has often been used as a method of political re-education, interrogation, punishment, and coercion...

 of political opponents. According to a government commission 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.

Professor Clive Foss, in The Tyrants: 2500 Years of Absolute Power and Corruption (Quercus Publishing 2006), estimates that 1,500–2,000 Chileans were killed or disappeared
Forced disappearance
In international human rights law, a forced disappearance occurs when a person is secretly abducted or imprisoned by a state or political organization or by a third party with the authorization, support, or acquiescence of a state or political organization, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the...

 during the Pinochet regime. In October 1979, the New York Times reported that Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

 had documented the disappearance of approximately 1,500 Chileans since 1973. Among the killed and disappeared during the military regime were at least 663 Marxist MIR
Revolutionary Left Movement (Chile)
Revolutionary Left Movement is a Chilean political party and former left-wing guerrilla organization founded on October 12, 1965...

 guerrillas. The Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front, however, has stated that only 49 FPMR guerrillas were killed but hundreds detained and tortured. According to a study in Latin American Perspectives
Latin American Perspectives
Latin American Perspectives, A Journal on Capitalism and Socialism, is a peer-reviewed academic journal that publishes papers in the field of Latin American studies. The journal's editor-in-chief is Ronald Chilcote...

, at least 200,000 Chileans (about 2% of Chile's 1973 population) were forced to go into exile
Exile
Exile means to be away from one's home , while either being explicitly refused permission to return and/or being threatened with imprisonment or death upon return...

, and hundreds of thousands more left the country due to economic crises after the military coup. Some of the key individuals who fled because of political persecution were followed in their exile by the DINA secret police, in the framework of Operation Condor
Operation Condor
Operation Condor , was a campaign of political repression involving assassination and intelligence operations officially implemented in 1975 by the right-wing dictatorships of the Southern Cone of South America...

, which linked South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

n military dictatorship
Military dictatorship
A military dictatorship is a form of government where in the political power resides with the military. It is similar but not identical to a stratocracy, a state ruled directly by the military....

s together against political opponents.

Death

Pinochet suffered a heart attack
Myocardial infarction
Myocardial infarction or acute myocardial infarction , commonly known as a heart attack, results from the interruption of blood supply to a part of the heart, causing heart cells to die...

 on the morning of 3 December 2006, and subsequently the same day he was given the last rites
Last Rites
The Last Rites are the very last prayers and ministrations given to many Christians before death. The last rites go by various names and include different practices in different Christian traditions...

. On 4 December 2006, the Chilean Court of Appeals ordered the release of his house arrest. On 10 December 2006 at 13:30 local time (16:30 UTC) he was taken to the intensive care unit. He died of congestive heart failure
Congestive heart failure
Heart failure often called congestive heart failure is generally defined as the inability of the heart to supply sufficient blood flow to meet the needs of the body. Heart failure can cause a number of symptoms including shortness of breath, leg swelling, and exercise intolerance. The condition...

 and pulmonary edema
Pulmonary edema
Pulmonary edema , or oedema , is fluid accumulation in the air spaces and parenchyma of the lungs. It leads to impaired gas exchange and may cause respiratory failure...

, surrounded by family members, at the Military Hospital at 14:15 local time (17:15 UTC).

Demonstrations

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 11 December 2006 at the Military Academy in Las Condes
Las Condes
Las Condes is a commune of Chile located in Santiago Province, Santiago Metropolitan Region. The area is inhabited primarily by upper-mid to high income families...

. 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.

Funeral

In a government decision, he was not granted a state funeral
State funeral
A state funeral is a public funeral ceremony, observing the strict rules of protocol, held to honor heads of state or other important people of national significance. State funerals usually include much pomp and ceremony as well as religious overtones and distinctive elements of military tradition...

, an honor bestowed upon constitutionally elected Chilean presidents, but a military funeral
Military funeral
A military funeral is a specially orchestrated funeral given by a country's military for a soldier, sailor, marine or airman who died in battle, a veteran, or other prominent military figures or heads of state. A military funeral may feature guards of honor, the firing of volley shots as a salute,...

 as former commander-in-chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

 of the Army appointed by President Salvador Allende. The government also refused to declare an official national day of mourning
National day of mourning
A national day of mourning is a day marked by mourning and memorial activities observed among the majority of a country's populace. They are designated by that nation's government...

, 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
Michelle Bachelet
Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jeria is a Social Democrat politician who was President of Chile from 11 March 2006 to 11 March 2010. She was the first woman president of her country...

, whose father Alberto
Alberto Bachelet
Alberto Arturo Miguel Bachelet Martínez was a Brigadier General of the Chilean Air Force. He opposed the 1973 coup of General Augusto Pinochet, and was imprisoned and subject to torture for several months until his death in 1974 of heart problems at the hands of the dictatorship.Bachelet was born...

 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
Vivianne Blanlot
Vivianne Blanlot Soza is a Chilean economist and politician. She studied economics at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. In 2006 Michelle Bachelet appointed her as Minister of National Defense. She acted as government envoy at the funeral of Augusto Pinochet where she faced boos from...

.

Cremation

Pinochet's body was cremated
Cremation
Cremation is the process of reducing bodies to basic chemical compounds such as gasses and bone fragments. This is accomplished through high-temperature burning, vaporization and oxidation....

 in "Parque del Mar" cemetery
Cemetery
A cemetery is a place in which dead bodies and cremated remains are buried. The term "cemetery" implies that the land is specifically designated as a burying ground. Cemeteries in the Western world are where the final ceremonies of death are observed...

, Concón
Concón
Concón is a Chilean city and commune in Valparaíso Province, Valparaíso Region. It is known as the Gastronomical Capital of Chile and is a major tourist center known for its beaches, balnearios and night life.- Geography :...

 on 12 December 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.

Public image

Pinochet has different nicknames, some of them given to him by his opponents and some by his supporters. Supporters sometimes refer to him as mi general (Spanish for "my general") while opponents call him pinocho (Spanish for "Pinocchio"). Another common nickname used by both opponents and supporters is el tata (Spanish equivalent of "grampa"). After the Riggs Bank
Riggs Bank
Riggs Bank was a Washington, D.C.-based commercial bank with branches located in the surrounding metropolitan area and offices around the world. For most of its history, it was the largest bank in the nation's capital. Riggs had been controlled by the Albritton family since the 1980s, but they lost...

 scandal he has been referred sarcastically as Daniel López, one of his fake identities used to deposit money in that bank.

See also

  • Chilean presidential election, 1970
    Chilean presidential election, 1970
    A presidential election was held in Chile on 4 September 1970. A narrow plurality was secured by Salvador Allende, the candidate of the Popular Unity coalition of leftist parties...

  • History of Chile
    History of Chile
    The territory of Chile has been populated since at least 2,000 BC. By the 16th century, Spanish conquistadors began to subdue and colonize the region of present-day Chile, and the territory became a colony from 1540 to 1818, when it gained independence from Spain...

  • Missing
    Missing (film)
    Missing is a 1982 American drama film directed by Costa Gavras, and starring Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek, Melanie Mayron, John Shea, Charles Cioffi and Janice Rule...

    , a film based on the life of U.S. journalist Charles Horman
    Charles Horman
    Charles Horman was an American journalist and was one of the victims of the 1973 Chilean coup d'état led by General Augusto Pinochet, that deposed the socialist president, Salvador Allende, after bombing the Chilean presidential palace on September 11, 1973...

    , who disappeared in the aftermath of the Pinochet coup
  • United States intervention in Chile
    United States intervention in Chile
    The United States intervention in Chilean politics started during the War of Chilean Independence. The influence of the United States of America in both the economic and the political arenas of Chile has gradually increased over the almost two centuries since, and continues to be...

  • David H. Popper
    David H. Popper
    David Henry Popper was a diplomat and former United States Ambassador to Cyprus and Chile . He was a member and former President of the American Academy of Diplomacy.-Early Life:...

    , US ambassador to Chile (1974-77).

External links

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