|Augusto Pinochet in 1990|
|30th President of Chile|
17 December 1974 – 11 March 1990
|Prime Minister||José Toribio Merino|
|Preceded by||Salvador Allende|
|Succeeded by||Patricio Aylwin|
|President of the
Government Junta of Chile
11 September 1973 – 11 March 1981
|Preceded by||Office established|
|Succeeded by||José Toribio Merino|
|58th Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army|
23 August 1973 – 11 March 1998
|Preceded by||Carlos Prats|
|Succeeded by||Ricardo Izurieta|
|Born||Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte
25 November 1915
|Died||10 December 2006
|Spouse(s)||Lucía Hiriart (1943-2006)|
|Children||Inés Lucía Pinochet
María Verónica Pinochet
Jacqueline Marie Pinochet
Augusto Osvaldo Pinochet
Marco Antonio Pinochet
|Alma mater||Chilean War Academy|
|Years of service||1931 - 1998|
1st Army Division
2nd Army Division
6th Army Division
Santiago Army Garrison
|Battles/wars||1973 Chilean coup d'état|
General Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte (November 25, 1915 – December 10, 2006) was a Chilean army general and president who led Chile from 1973 to 1990. He became leader after he overthrew Salvador Allende, a socialist president.
Pinochet was a high ranking general in the Chilean Army in the early 1970s. In 1970, Allende was narrowly elected in a close three way race. Western countries like the United States were concerned about Allende, who supported the Soviet Union. The Chilean economy was in bad shape by 1973, and it appeared that Allende was trying to become a permanent ruler of Chile.
On September 11th, 1973, the Chilean military led a coup d'etat against Allende in which they attacked the Presidential Palace in Santiago. Allende committed suicide, and Pinochet took power as the leader of a military council known as a junta. The junta began cracking down on Allende supporters.
About 3,000 Chilean people died because of Pinochet's rule and many other people were tortured. Many of the people that died during Pinochet's rule were communists, however, many of Pinochet's supporters died as well. The first days of his rule saw the most deaths, and in the weeks after the coup, Allende supporters were arrested and locked in a football stadium in Santiago. Most were released a few months later.
Pinochet introduced many neoliberal free market policies, bringing growth and great economic progress to Chile. He was influenced by the ideas of Milton Friedman. In 1980, a pebiscite was held and Pinochet was kept in power.
The coup d'état that was launched to overthrow Allende and put Pinochet in power was supported by the United States, as was Pinochet's regime. The US government has never admitted being involved, but they did support Pinochet while he was in power. The government of the United Kingdom was also pro-Pinochet.
In 1988, there was a plebiscite in Chile. The people were asked whether Pinochet should rule for another eight and a half years. About 56% of the people did not want that. Pinochet respected the wish of the people, and stepped down from power in 1990. Patricio Aylwin became the next president. Pinochet kept his responsibilities as head of the military until 1998. After this, he became a senator. He left the senate in 2002, but he was not arrested because the Supreme Court of Chile said he suffered from dementia. In May 2004, judges said that was not true. On December 13 he was placed under house arrest.
His legacy is very controversial. Some people think he was a murderous dictator who caused many people to lose their lives. Others support him and point out that Chile's economy improved greatly while he was in power.
Reference[change | change source]
- Chomsky, Noam (2006). Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy. Metropolitan Books. p. 111. . http://books.google.com/books?id=9p4A-omIdgYC&pg=PA111&dq=%22Failed+States%22+Pinochet#PPA111,M1. "Meanwhile, Washington firmly supported Pinochet's regime of violence and terror and had no slight role in its initial triumph."