General Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte (November 25, 1915 – December 10, 2006) was a Chilean army general and dictator who led Chile from 1973 to 1990. He became leader after he overthrew Salvador Allende, a socialist president.
Augusto Pinochet in 1990
|30th President (Dictator) 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|
Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte
25 November 1915
|Died||10 December 2006 (aged 91)|
|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|
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. There was discontent in Chile in 1973, with some groups trying to de-estabilize the government of Allende.
On September 11th, 1973, the Chilean military led a coup d'état 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. Most of the people that died during Pinochet's rule were communists. 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. Many were released a few months later, but some were imprisoned for years.
Pinochet introduced many neoliberal free market policies, which are seen by his supporters as the responsible of "bringing growth and great economic progress to Chile", while on the other hand, Pinochet's opposition say his reforms have made Chile an extremely unequal and unfair country for its citizens. In economic affairs, Pinochet's dictatorship was influenced by the ideas of Milton Friedman. In 1980, a controversial plebiscite (without electoral registries) 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 dictatorship. 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, under pressure from other countries and much to his dislike, was forced to accept the results, 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 for life, but had to leave senate in 2002. He was not arrested because the Supreme Court of Chile said he suffered from dementia, although this claim has been contested. In May 2004, judges said that was not true. On December 13 he was placed under house arrest. Judges in Spain tried to put him on trial for the many crimes against the human rights he committed while leader of Chile.
Pinochet died from congestive heart failure and pulmonary edema on December 10, 2006 in Santiago, Chile, a week after a heart attack, aged 91. His remains were later cremated (Pinochet's request) to avoid vandalism on his tomb.
- Chomsky, Noam (2006). Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy. Metropolitan Books. p. 111. ISBN 0-8050-7912-2.
Meanwhile, Washington firmly supported Pinochet's regime of violence and terror and had no slight role in its initial triumph.
- Muere el ex dictador Chileno Augusto Pinochet EFE
Media related to Augusto Pinochet at Wikimedia Commons
- Extensive bio by Fundación CIDOB (in Spanish)
- Augusto Pinochet (1915–2006) – A Biography
- France 24 coverage – Augusto Pinochet's Necrology on France 24
- BBC coverage (special report)
- Documentary Film on Chilean Concentration Camp from Pinochet's Regime: Chacabuco
- CIA Acknowledges Ties to Pinochet’s Repression from The National Security Archive
- Chile under Allende and Pinochet
- Human rights violation under Pinochet
- The Times obituary
- Analysis of economic pol