Your Lying Eyes

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11 December 2006

General Pinochet, RIP

General Augusto Pinochet died at age 91, sparing us all the spectacle of his trial. I pretty much agree with what Jerry Pournelle has to say on the man. I have no personal knowledge of his crimes, but do know that he is singularly responsible for Chile being the most functional and prosperous South American country, and he gave up power voluntarily. (Although the assassination of Orlando Letelier on U.S. soil was a bit beyond the pale).

Until about 20 years ago, military coups and dictatorships were pretty much de riguer in Latin America. Pinochet's was singled out for particular outrage only because its victim was a Marxist and the general became a champion of free-market economics. That Pinochet's fate is still a hot topic illuminates the soft-spot the left still holds in its heart for Marxism.

5 Comments:

Anonymous tom.m.yorkpa said...

Sorry, Mr Ziel, but I have to take exception with your generous assessment of Augusto Pinochet.

I had a family doctor years ago who was from Chile, and he and members of his family had been supporters of Allende (the supposed marxist that Pinochet knocked off). They, like most of Allende's supporters, were no doubt leftist types, but certainly not hardcore communists. Pinochet's secret police, D.I.N.A., arrested and tortured them, and the doctor had to flee the country.

By all accounts, D.I.N.A. was made up of sadists. One of their favorite "interrogation" methods was to strip a guy naked, rub raw meat on his groin, and toss him into a cell where a huge, deliberately starved Mastiff-type dog was kept. The D.I.N.A. goons would then watch the dog chew the poor slob's genitals off for their amusement. They also routinely raped and murdered women suspected of being marxists, or who just had the misfortune of being good-looking and easy to drag off.

Haven't you ever seen the movie "Missing"? I understand it was a pretty accurate depiction of events.

The fact that Pinochet was hand-selected to lead the coup in Chile by a scumbag like Henry Kissinger should tell you all you need to know about him.

I know that in the not-too-distant future, when the U.S. descends into economic and social chaos, there are going to be alot of people calling for a strongman to takeover this country and restore order. But i think we'd be better off with anarchy than some fascist goon like Pinochet running the country.

December 12, 2006 3:04 PM  
Anonymous erob said...

i think we'd be better off with anarchy than some fascist goon like Pinochet running the country.

Tom, it was perfect up until right there.

December 12, 2006 11:45 PM  
Anonymous daveg said...

I have been living in Spain and reading about history including Franco, and the sad fact is that these things are complicated. I would say that the people praising Pinochet are going a step to far. Still, he did step down, which is to his credit.

It seems that Spanish history repeats this pattern.

a) bad ruling class doesn't do enough to improve the economy and educate the public and the poor don't live well. They don't really do anything horrible, but they are just not committed to improving the standard of living of the people.

b) the people get their act together somewhat, and then WAY overshoot what they are able to do. They attack the few working institutions such as the church and try to take land/assets from the ruling class by force. They are not very organized and often things get worse, and typically some communist/totalitarian organization tries to muscle in on the action.

c) ruling class takes over with a military action and kills WAY to many people and does more horrible things than necessary.

Rinse and repeat.

Now that the communists don't really exist, I expect things too smooth out.

December 13, 2006 4:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(My Name is Marcelo, 2nd generation of Chilean, raised in Sweden, now living in HI).

Just to clarify: Pinochet did not step down. He was voted off after losing an election he himself allowed.

Much like in the US, the people in South America prefer freedom. Sadly, my continent has been the fighting grounds for extremism of both sides (left and right) where freedom of speech has always been set aside.

This makes it even more sad when I think of the example of Chile, where a government elected by the people (in real elections, not like in the Eastern Europe or Cuba) was replaced forcibly by a fascist regime - and now people are praising the director of that bloody event!?

True, the outcome of communism was not what Marx may have thought but the socialism of Chile was of a different kind, a more liberal kind where private ownership was not generally banned. Allende had ideas about reforming the agriculture (much like Pinochet
actually did) but distributing the wealth produced to the masses. Keep in mind that the economical explosion in Chile accured after Pinochet "stepped down" (Trust me I've seen it, and it's striking).

So what is then legacy of Gen. Pinochet? 3000+ killed, 1M+ exiled, 12M+ oppressed during his 16 years. The rest is merely speculations.

The only twist to this tale is that ironically Pinochet may have contributed to spread communism & socialism to the rest of the world, even to the US. ;-)

December 15, 2006 6:34 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

Yes, it's easy for someone like me, born and raised in the USA, to be indifferent to the brutality of a military government. But my main point is that Pinochet was not uniquely monstrous - military coups and brutal dictatorships happened all over Latin America. He is reviled because of the sentimental attachment many still hold for Marxism.

True, the outcome of communism was not what Marx may have thought but the socialism of Chile was of a different kind, a more liberal kind where private ownership was not generally banned.

But it was doomed - as socialism always is. Allende would have been disastrous for Chile. I understand that Pinochet was disastrous for many, but do you think Chile would today be better off had he not thrown Allende out? It's a tough call.

Anyway, thank you for your input - I love the fact that I can write something on Chile and be quickly taken to task by a Chilean - that's the truly fun part about blogging.

December 16, 2006 3:44 PM  

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