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Augusto Pinochet Dies at 91

Obituaries Augusto Pinochet Dead at 91 Chile 2006

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#1 Vapor Trails

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 06:16 PM

Yahoo

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Gen. Augusto Pinochet, who terrorized his opponents for 17 years after taking power in a bloody coup, died Sunday, putting an end to a decade of intensifying efforts to bring him to trial for human rights abuses blamed on his regime. He was 91.

Supporters saw Pinochet as a Cold War hero for overthrowing democratically elected President Salvador Allende at a time when the U.S. was working to destabilize his Marxist government and keep Chile from exporting communism in Latin America.

But the world soon reacted in horror as Santiago's main soccer stadium filled with political prisoners to be tortured, shot, disappeared or forced into exile.

Pinochet's dictatorship laid the groundwork for South America's most stable economy, but his crackdown on dissent left a lasting legacy: His name has become a byword for the state terror, in many cases secretly supported by the United States, that retarded democratic change across the hemisphere.

Pinochet died with his family at his side at the Santiago Military Hospital on Sunday, a week after suffering a heart attack.

"This criminal has departed without ever being sentenced for all the acts he was responsible for during his dictatorship," lamented Hugo Gutierrez, a human rights lawyer involved in several lawsuits against Pinochet.

Thousands of Pinochet supporters gathered outside the hospital and elsewhere, weeping and trading insults with people in passing cars. Some shouted "Long Live Pinochet!" and sang Chile's national anthem.

Many other Chileans saw his death as reason for celebration. Hundreds of cheering, flag-waving people crowded a major plaza in the capital, drinking champagne and tossing confetti.

"Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship in Chile represented one of most difficult periods in that nation's history," said Tony Fratto, a White House spokesman. "Our thoughts today are with the victims of his reign and their families."

Chile's government says at least 3,197 people were killed for political reasons during Pinochet's rule, but courts allowed the aging general to escape hundreds of criminal complaints as his health declined.

The mustachioed Pinochet left no doubt about who was in charge after the Sept. 11, 1973 coup, when warplanes bombed the presidential palace and Allende committed suicide with a submachine gun Fidel Castro had given him.

"Not a leaf moves in this country if I'm not moving it," Pinochet said.

But he refused for years to take responsibility his regime's abuses, blaming subordinates for killings or tortures.

Only on his 91st birthday last month did he take "full political responsibility for everything that happened" during his long rule. But the statement made no reference to the rights abuses, and said he had to act to prevent Chile's economic and political disintegration.

Born Nov. 25, 1915, the son of a customs official in the port of Valparaiso, Pinochet was appointed army commander just 19 days before the coup by Allende, who mistakenly thought Pinochet would defend constitutional rule.

The CIA had worked for months to destabilize the Allende government, including financing a truckers strike that paralyzed the delivery of goods across Chile, but Washington denied having anything to do with the coup itself.

Soon after Pinochet's seizure of power, soldiers carried out mass arrests of leftists. Tanks rumbled through the streets of the capital, and many detainees were herded into the National Stadium, which became a torture and detention center. Other leftists were rounded up by death squads, and the "Caravan of Death" to Chile's forbidding Atacama desert left victims buried in unmarked mass graves.

Pinochet disbanded Congress, banned political activity and crushed dissent. In addition to the dead, more than 1,000 victims remain unaccounted for. Thousands more were arrested, tortured and forced into exile.

Pinochet defended his authoritarian rule as a crusade to build a society free of communism. He even claimed partial credit for the collapse of the Soviet bloc.

"I see myself as a good angel," he told a Miami Spanish-language television station in 2004.

He showed no mercy to his perceived enemies. When investigators uncovered coffins that had been stuffed with two bodies each in the aftermath of the coup, he dismissed it as a "a good cemetery space-saving measure."

Pinochet seized power at a time when Chile's economy was in near ruins, partly due to the CIA's covert destabilization efforts and partly to Allende's mismanagement.

He launched a radical free-market program that at first triggered a financial collapse and unprecedented joblessness. But it laid the basis for South America's healthiest economy, which has grown by 5 percent to 7 percent a year since 1984.

Pinochet lost an October 1988 referendum to extend his rule and was forced to call an election. He lost to Patricio Alywin, whose center-left coalition has ruled Chile since 1990.

Pinochet avoided prosecution for years after his presidency. He remained army commander for eight more years and then was a senator-for-life, a position guaranteed under the constitution his regime wrote.

It took a Spanish judge to remove Pinochet's cloak of invincibility, and inspire Chileans to make their own efforts to hold him to account. He was in London for back surgery in 1998 when the judge asked Britain to extradite him to Spain for human rights violations. British authorities ruled he was too ill to be tried, and sent him back to Chile, where ghosts of the past were coming forward.

More than 200 criminal complaints were filed against him and he was under house arrest at the time of his death, but courts repeatedly ruled he could not face trial because of poor physical and mental health.

Even longstanding Pinochet allies abandoned him in 2004, when a U.S. Senate investigative committee found Pinochet kept multimillion-dollar secret accounts at the Riggs Bank in Washington. Investigators said he had up to $17 million in foreign accounts, and owed $9.8 million in back taxes. He, his wife and several of his children were indicted on tax evasion charges.

During his final years, Pinochet lived in seclusion at heavily guarded Santiago mansion and his countryside residence.

He is survived by his wife, Lucia, two sons and three daughters.

The army said Pinochet will lay in state Monday and Tuesday at the Military Academy in Santiago. The government of President Michelle Bachelet whose father died in Pinochet's prisons said he would not receive the state funeral usually due former presidents.

His body was to be cremated. Pinochet's son Marco Antonio said his father feared a tomb would be desecrated by his enemies.

Good riddance.

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#2 G1223

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 06:38 PM

//Happy Dance// Oh why they did not give him to the people who would have torn him limb from limb? this is the sort of man who deserve to die.
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#3 Godeskian

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 07:03 PM

I know i've failed to understand this from you once before G, but he's dead. Doesn't that solve the problem?

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#4 SparkyCola

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 07:22 PM

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Pinochet's son Marco Antonio said his father feared a tomb would be desecrated by his enemies.

:(

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#5 G1223

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 07:30 PM

View PostGodeskian, on Dec 10 2006, 07:03 PM, said:

I know i've failed to understand this from you once before G, but he's dead. Doesn't that solve the problem?


It comes from his being allowed to escape justice. It comes years after thousands died at his command. It comes too late and will be forgotten with in a month. If someone ever deserved to have their dead body given to the birds after the crowd gets done with it it is this man.
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#6 G1223

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 07:34 PM

View PostSparkyCola, on Dec 10 2006, 07:22 PM, said:

Quote

Pinochet's son Marco Antonio said his father feared a tomb would be desecrated by his enemies.

:(

Sparky

He would deserve to have that tomb blown to bits. His father was a mass killer. His victims are too many to even be given names. That he should be cast to the deepest sea and that is no promise of being free of the wrath of the victims.

Now his family can think of him as a good man. But he did these acts and escaped justice.
If you encounter any Trolls. You really must not forget them.
And if you want to save these shores. For Pity sake Don't Trust them.
paraphrased from H. "Breaker" Morant

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If you voted for Obama then all the mistakes he makes are your fault and I will point this out to you every time he does mess up.

When the fall is all that remains. It matters a great deal.

All hail the clich's all emcompassing shadow.

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#7 SparkyCola

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 08:04 PM

They don't have to think of him as a good man to love him.

Again, G, it's not about him. It's about the family. The tomb is not for him, it's for his family. His family did nothing wrong.

I refuse to accept this mindset of yours that anyone but the perpetrator should be held accountable for their actions. no one should get punished but the perpetrator- it's not a crime to be someone's brother or son -it's nobody's fault - it doesn't make you guilty of THEIR crimes.

The son is his own person. Maybe he's a saint, maybe he's worse than his father - but judging him based on his father's actions is wrong, should you be held accountable or be punished for the actions of your forefathers G?

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#8 MuseZack

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 11:28 PM

Good riddance to bad rubbish.  Pinochet betrayed the elected government he swore to protect.  He may have thought he did it for the right reasons, but there's a reason why Dante put Judas, Brutus, and Cassius in the lowest level of hell.


So who's next in the "bad people who lived longer than they deserved to" hit parade?  Fidel Castro?  Saddam Hussein?  Henry Kissinger?
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#9 Godeskian

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 12:32 AM

My money is on Fidel.

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#10 SparkyCola

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 01:41 PM

^ yep, though I heard his brother was going to take over who is just as bad?

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#11 Godeskian

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 02:08 PM

I'd be surprised if his brother's reign lasted.

I explained in some detail a few weeks ago, but Cuba is imo held together by Fidel Castro's cult of personality. His brother could be the best thing to ever hit Cuba, but he isn't Fidel Castro, and never will be.

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#12 SparkyCola

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 02:58 PM

Well let's see how things go and hope for the best, as usual :)

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#13 Kosh

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 02:58 PM

View PostMuseZack, on Dec 10 2006, 11:28 PM, said:

Good riddance to bad rubbish.  Pinochet betrayed the elected government he swore to protect.  He may have thought he did it for the right reasons, but there's a reason why Dante put Judas, Brutus, and Cassius in the lowest level of hell.


So who's next in the "bad people who lived longer than they deserved to" hit parade?  Fidel Castro?  Saddam Hussein?  Henry Kissinger?



I think he's already dead, and the pictures we've seen are of Roul, filling in where ever he's needed. Office, hospitol room...
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#14 Godeskian

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 04:19 PM

http://newsvote.bbc....ics/6167351.stm

Quote

Former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher is "greatly saddened" by the death of Augusto Pinochet, said a spokesman.

Chile's former military leader, who has died aged 91 in hospital, backed the UK during the Falklands conflict.

Baroness Thatcher also pressed for his release after his arrest in London in 1998 over alleged human rights abuses.

Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett used the death to pay tribute to Chile's "remarkable progress" since General Pinochet left office.

Mrs Beckett said Chile had become "an open, stable and prosperous democracy" since 1990.

Trust lady Maggie to buck the trend.

Defy Gravity!


The Doctor: The universe is big. It's vast and complicated and ridiculous and sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles... and that's a theory. Nine hundred years and I've never seen one yet, but this will do me.




Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Obituaries, Augusto Pinochet, Dead at 91, Chile, 2006

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