Augusto Pinochet

Article

December 8, 2021

Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte (born 25 November 1915, died 10 December 2006) was a Chilean general and head of state. He ruled Chile from a coup in 1973 until 1990. He was also Chief of Defense in Chile from 1973 to 1998. Pinochet was appointed Chief of Defense by then-President Salvador Allende in 1973. On September 11, 1973, Pinochet's army led a military coup with the help of the United States (CIA), in which Allende's legally elected government was overthrown and Pinochet seized power. As a dictator, he was behind the brutal repression of opposition figures, and has been accused of state terrorism. Around 30,000 people were tortured under the Pinochet regime. Pinochet pursued a neoliberal policy under the influence of a group of economists inspired by Milton Friedman, known as "the Chicago Boys". Chile, which was in an economic crisis when Pinochet took power, experienced strong economic growth under Pinochet, although social divisions also increased. Friedman called the economic policies of Pinochet "the miracle of Chile." Friedman traveled to Chile and met Pinochet, who heard from Friedman that the only solution for Chile was the shock treatment proposed by the "Chicago Boys". It was primarily Friedman's students who were the connection to Pinochet, not Friedman himself. Friedman visited Chile twice and had a 45-minute meeting with Pinochet. Friedrich Hayek is said to have been positive towards Pinochet and stated that he preferred a dictator with a liberal economic policy to a democratic government without. In 1978, Hayek wrote in The Times that under certain historical conditions, an authoritarian government is preferable to preserve freedom in the long run ("may prove especially conducive to the long-run preservation of liberty"). In 1980, a new constitution was adopted after a referendum that has since been accused of widespread forgery and electoral fraud. This constitution still applies today. In 1988, a referendum was held on whether Pinochet should continue as president. 55.99% voted for Pinochet not to continue as president. Elections were held on December 14, 1989, and Pinochet resigned as president on March 11, 1990, following the election of his successor Patricio Aylwin. He continued as Chief of Defense until he retired in 1998, and was in line with the constitution then appointed senator for life. He left the Senate in 2002. Pinochet pursued a very Western-oriented foreign policy. He received support from the United States and other Western countries for his opposition to communism and socialism. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher thanked Pinochet "for bringing democracy to Chile". Surveys show that a majority of Chilean people have a negative view of Pinochet. In 2013, a survey showed that 55% considered Pinochet's regime "just bad", while only 9% saw it as "just good". Pinochet's reign was marked by widespread human rights violations. Political opponents were tormented, abducted and killed. However, parts of the right in Chile still have a positive view of Pinochet. They give him recognition for having contributed to economic development. Since the right did not like Chile's development in the socialist direction under Allende, the right also gives him recognition for having interrupted this development. Some believe that Pinochet's regime can be described as fascist, while others believe that Pinochet's liberal economic policies mean that the regime cannot be defined as fascist. On January 20, 2006, the Santiago Court of Appeals ruled that Pinochet could be prosecuted for 59 counts of torture and kidnapping. Only one ruling was missing in the Chilean Supreme Court before the old ex-president could be brought to justice. Pinochet, as Chile's former leader, had legal immunity, but had previously lost it in a total of five different court rulings, most of them in cases involving serious human rights violations during his regime. He was too

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