The Life of Augusto Pinochet
“‘Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile represented one of the most difficult periods in the nation’s history'” (Fratto in “Augusto Pinochet dies”).
Pinochet made the life for most Chileans impossible. Pinochet was born on November 25, 1915 in Valparaiso, Chile. He was the youngest of six. His father was a middle-class government worker. When Pinochet turned 18 he started military school and he graduated 4 years later as a sub lieutenant.
His military experience was soon to be exercised to help the CIA take Salvador Allende out of power. Being a major part of the coup d’etat of 1973, charged for tax fraud and murders, and finally his death. These were 3 of the biggest events in history for the people of Chile. Pinochet had one of the biggest advantages out of everyone alive. Allende had great trust in him so he left him as Commander in chief of the Chilean military. That why the CIA wanted his help.
“‘It is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup and it is imperative that these actions be implemented clandestinely and securely so that the United States Government and American hand be well hidden'”(CIA in Augusto Pinochet).Pinochet was The CIA’s secret weapon. In return the CIA would allow Pinochet to take control of the country. In 1972 Salvador Allende appointed Pinochet as commander in chief of the Chilean army. Allende was unaware of the coup d’etat that the CIA and Pinochet were planning to take him out of power.
In September of 1973, Pinochet and the Chilean army led a military coup against Allende’s government. Allende died in his presidential palace in Santiago, Chile during the fight. The CIA had done one of the worst things ever. They took a bad guy out of power and put an evil guy in charge. Pinochet immediately closed down the Chilean parliament, suspended the constitution, banned all political and trade union activity and took control of the media (Augusto Pinochet).
Anyone who used to have power and a say in the Chilean government were stripped of their power and say in the Chilean government. Like any other dictator Pinochet starts making people disappear and they are never found. Pinochet was also responsible for the thousands that were exiled and murdered. Over the next few years thousands of Allende’s supporters were also killed (Augusto Pinochet).In result of Pinochet’s policies after the coup the gap between the rich and the poor widened and drove the country into an economic crisis. Later on Pinochet get sick and he is yet to be seen by the public.
Pinochet was sick he suffered from arthritis, diabetes, and heart problems. In October of 1998 he visited the United Kingdom for medical reasons. When he got there he was apprehended by police and charges were brought against him in a Spanish court by his opponents (Biography of Augusto Pinochet).he was charged with murder, torture, and kidnapping. No one was surprised by the charges although what was surprising was that he was finally brought to justice at least that’s what most of the public thought.
The charges were dropped in 2002 for the reason that he was in his late 70’s and was medically unfit to stand trial (Biography of Augusto Pinochet). Most Chileans and citizens from other countries didn’t think that was a good enough reason. The majority of them said he should have been punished just like anybody else would have been for the crimes that he committed. He wasn’t seen as much as he used to be seen when he was in a better state of health. The only place the people of Chile saw him now was on the news and in their everyday lives on any form of media they would read but after he got sick never again in person. Not long before he died, $28 million U.
S. dollars were found in bank accounts in both the United States and in the Caribbean Islands (Augusto Pinochet Dies).Now that he was sick and being charged for crimes, Pinochet was no longer respected nor feared by the people of Chile as they were when he was strong and powerful. His death was soon to come then the country would celebrate their freedom. After being in power for 17 years, Pinochet’s life came to an end after suffering a stroke.
He died at the age of 91 on December 10, 2006 (Augusto Pinochet Dies). The streets of Santiago, Chile were full of celebration. Tears came to the eyes of the people of Chile, especially the youth. They were free and would no longer have to follow Pinochet’s policies. There were thousands of people waving flags, drinking champagne, and tossing confetti.
The police used water cannons and tear gas in order to hold the crowd back (Augusto Pinochet Dies). On the other hand, his supporter’s cried outside the hospital that Pinochet had died in. They stood there and insulted the cars that passed with celebrating people in them and sang Chile’s national anthem. There were controversial thoughts on both sides. “‘It may take several future generations for people to understand my father and give him the place in history he deserves………….
.. and recognize him as a great man who gave everything for his country'” (Pinochet’s son in Augusto Pinochet Dies). On the other hand, there were also some people who thought there was a need to celebrate his death which was mostly everyone. “‘He will go down in history alongside Caligula and Idi Amin as a byword for brutality and ignorance'” (Allende in Augusto Dies). After Pinochet’s death many things were questioned like were the $ 28 million dollars legitimate or tax fraud? It was taken to court for a debate to see if the money would go to his family or the country.
Later in 2006 the money was declared illegitimate and Pinochet only kept 7 million of the 28 million dollars after paying back debts and fines (Augusto Pinochet’s arrest and trial). In conclusion, he was one of the worst to ever govern Chile. There really isn’t anything positive to learn from Pinochet’s dictatorship except for preventing this from happening in your own country. One has to make sure that no one in their home country has absolute power. He helped organize the coup of 1973, he was charged for various crimes, and then he finally died. The moment that all of Chile was waiting for.
The significance of Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship was to both scare and teach everyone a lesson. The lesson to be learned is to be more involved in your country’s matters and speak out. Works Cited “Augusto Pinochet Killer File.” Moreorless: Heroes and Killers of the 20th Century. Moreorless.
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