Jan 8, 2007
Augusto Pinochet, who died on December 10, had prepared a letter to be distributed after his death. No one was surprised that the old Chilean dictator justified his coup d’etat of September 11, 1973, which overthrew Socialist President Salvador Allende. Pinochet justified the dictatorship he and his troops imposed on the Chilean population for 17 years. He presented himself as a savior who enabled Chile to avoid civil war.
Pinochet’s letter boasts: “I am proud of the huge action that we had to undertake to prevent Marxism-Leninism from reaching power and also in order that my dear country would be a great nation. This inspired the Junta from the beginning. I have never vacillated from such opinions.”
What was the price of Pinochet’s actions? More than 3,000 dead according to official figures, more than 40,000 tortured and 200,000 in exile. Such is the balance sheet of violence and atrocities carried out by military torturers and thugs under his orders.
But Pinochet didn’t pay for a single one of his crimes. Instead, he passed laws giving himself immunity from prosecution for what he did to thousands. Those who succeeded him never prosecuted him. In the other countries where he lived, he never had to answer for his crimes. And his last words doubtlessly also aimed at continuing to cover up for his murderous generals, known for the hideous crimes they committed during his dictatorship. Sixteen years after the end of the Pinochet regime, a number of those in charge of repression and torture still hold responsible positions in Chile.
Finally, U.S. imperialism fully backed Pinochet and his murderous repression. And U.S. corporations were major beneficiaries during his reign in Chile.