Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Augusto Pinochet


Sidebar: Bhupinder has an interesting post on Augusto Pinochet and India.

Rahul has a fine rant about a crazy right winger's column on the 'economic miracle' in Chile under Pinochet.

* * *

In a NYTimes column, Ariel Dorfman writes:

And yet, in spite of all these signs of General Pinochet’s continuing dominance from beyond death, I feel that something has in fact changed quite categorically with his demise. What convinced me were the thousands upon thousands of Chileans who spontaneously poured into the streets here to celebrate the news of his extinction. I tend to be wary of any attempt to turn the death of anyone, no matter how despicable, into an occasion for joy, but I realized that in this case it was not one man’s death that was being welcomed but rather the birth of a new nation.

Dancing under the mountains of Santiago there was one word they repeated over and over and it was the word shadow. “La sombra de Pinochet se fue,” one woman said, his shadow is gone, we have come out from under the general’s shadow. As if the demons of a thousand plagues had been washed from this land, as if we were never again to be afraid, never again the helicopter in the night, never again the air polluted by sorrow and violence.

And, this is from the Hindu editorial:

... By succumbing finally to sickness and old age on Sunday, Pinochet managed to escape the judgment of the courts. Rather than closing the file, however, the Chilean authorities must press ahead with the demand for truth and justice. The hangman is no more but those who supplied him the rope and gallows need to be exposed and held accountable to humanity.

The Hindu has more on the Chilean economic 'miracle' under Pinochet (a topic that led Rahul to write this short rant):

After ravaging the political opposition, Pinochet soon turned his sights on the economy. Here too his regime brought disaster. He set about dismantling the public health and education systems and introduced other `reforms' that hit his people's livelihood savagely. During the period of his dictatorship, the percentage of Chileans below the poverty line grew from 20 to 40. While the economy saw bouts of growth, Chile's per capita output in 1989, the year Pinochet was replaced by a civilian president, was barely at the 1970 level. ...

2 Comments:

  1. bhupinder said...

    Thanks for the link to Dorfman's op edit.

    and yes, Pinochet's death has indeed left so many of us in mourning :-)

  2. Anant said...

    On the subject of Pinochet, Rahul Mahajan has this to say on
    his blog :

    The Good Die Young

    Augusto Pinochet, 91. In the space of less than a month, Milton Friedman, Jeane Kirkpatrick, and Pinochet have died. Obviously, Someone is planning a reunion.

    Those of you who are religious, light a candle for Henry Kissinger, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney, so that they live long enough for us to give them the trial they so richly deserve (Bush will likely be found not competent to stand trial)