General Augusto Pinochet in Perspective
According to the collective wisdom of the Washington political classes, the media "experts," and the self-anointed champions of human rights, a great new day has dawned for the "rule of law". One of the most vicious villains of all time, they say, now awaits his day before the bar of justice. The verdict is already foreordained, it would seem, and virtually unanimous. Who would dare voice support for one universally accused and so obviously guilty of such heinous offences as genocide, murder, torture, terrorism and crimes against humanity?
We are speaking, of course, of General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, former President of Chile. According to reports by various anti-Pinochet activists, the Chilean strongman is guilty of the torture, murder, and/or disappearance of some three thousand persons during his seventeen-year rule, from 1973 to 1990. Very serious charges. And worthy of righteous outrage if true. But really, does it take a certified geopolitical genius to recognise that there is something terribly wrong with this picture?
Should not any reasonable, fair-minded person be asking: "Why is there such a blatantly disproportionate allotment of wrath focussed on this man? And why such intensity and depth of feeling on the part of his detractors?" After all, by world standards today, General Pinochet, it must be admitted (even by his harshest critics) does not qualify even for entry-level status to the rogues' gallery of butchers and terrorists who enjoy worldwide approbation and honour. Fidel Castro, Hun Sen, Yasser Arafat, Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin, and Red China's merciless Li Peng and Jiang Zemin all know they have little to fear from the "human rights" activists who prattle ceaselessly about Chile's uniquely odious record.
Even as Spanish authorities sought to extradite Pinochet, Spain was playing host to Cuba's Castro at the Ibero-American Summit. Comrade Fidel's Stalinist legacy includes an estimated one million refugees and tens of thousands of political prisoners in his brutal gaols. Survivors of those hellholes, like Armando Valladarez and Anthony Bryant, testify that sadistic torture is routine and systemic throughout the Cuban gulag. More than 60,000 of Castro's victims have drowned fleeing his "workers' paradise." According to Cuban scholar Dr. Armando Lago, Castro's régime has executed an estimated 30,000 opponents.
The "human rights" hypocrisy of the "liberal" political elite is shared (and is made politically acceptable) by the "liberal" media elite. A study of media reporting on human rights more than two decades ago found that in 1976 "The Washington Post" ran nine human rights articles on Cambodia, four on Cuba, one on North Korea and fifty-eight on Chile. "The New York Times" conditioned its readers with four human rights stories on Cambodia, three on Cuba, none on North Korea, and sixty-six on Chile! The same kind of grotesque imbalance held true for much of the rest of the media. And the same holds true today.
The incredible double standard operating here is candidly explained by Willy Meyer, a parliamentary spokesman for "Izquerida Unida" (United Left), Spain's renamed Communist Party. "We do not consider that Fidel Castro is a dictator," says Meyer. "We respect the Marxist-Leninist legality by whose definition political persecution, torture, and disappearances cannot exist in Cuba." "We are dividing the world between good guys and bad guys," Comrade Meyer declared. "There is a vacuum in the international enforcement of human rights and we realise that whoever seizes the initiative to punish violators wins the high ground."
Unfortunately, such candour is all too rare among the fanatical opponents of Pinochet. But it is easy to see that Meyer's explanation neatly fits the transparent double standard that is applied to Pinochet and all others "on the Right." A fair assessment of the facts in the case of Augusto Pinochet will reveal that the current round of demonisation is a continuation of the furious campaign launched against him in 1973 when he and the Chilean military overthrew the Marxist régime of Salvador Allende. He has never been forgiven by the Communists or the international Marxist Left for that heroic act, or for saving the economy that Allende had ruined and turning it into an economic showcase. For the past twenty-six years, the same international network of Communist and Marxist-Left organisations and their supporters the Institute for Policy Studies, the Washington Office on Latin America, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, et al and their political and media allies, has relentlessly attacked Pinochet and his remarkable achievements. They are the force behind the black propaganda of fensive aimed at Pinochet.
The truth, in short, is this:
· Salvador Allende and his Marxist-Socialist coalition party "Unidad Popular", employing massive electoral fraud and with financial backing from the Soviet Union, barely succeeded in obtaining a plurality of 36 per cent in Chile's 1970 presidential elections.
· With an army of some 14,000 foreign Communists, Allende began to transform Chile into a totalitarian dictatorship.
· Allende's administration was thoroughly packed with Cubans, Soviets, and other international Communists.
· In short order, the Allende forces had depleted the treasury, destroyed the economy, illegally expropriated thousands of private farms, homes, and businesses and unleashed a wave of terror.
· Chile's judiciary and legislature, as well as prominent leaders of all sectors of Chilean society, repeatedly condemned Allende's actions and called upon the military to intervene.
· The Pinochet-led coup was supported overwhelmingly by the Chilean people, who also voted to approve the new constitution offered by the junta.
· Documents and arms captured when Allende was overthrow, on 11 September 1973, proved that Allende was planning to stage his own coup on 19 September, and to kill large numbers of his opponents.
· The international Communist apparatus has continued an unceasing war of terrorism, subversion, and propaganda against Pinochet's Chile ever since.
· The Pinochet junta reacted with remarkable restraint toward its violent opponents.
· The Pinochet junta has never received credit for the peace and freedom it delivered to the Chilean people, or for the marvellous economic and social reforms it accomplished.
· President Pinochet, as he promised, voluntarily stepped down from power, returning the reins of government to civilian control, after establishing stability, security and constitutional reform.
Now, let us expand on the above points. General Pinochet's accusers always begin with the charge that his military junta overthrew the "democratically elected" government of President Allende. This seems to offer proof, right from the outset, of an autocratic, dictatorial bent that lends credibility to later, more ugly, charges. Some of the Allende champions will admit that their hero was "Marxist" (which carries a warmer, fuzzier, less threatening ring than "Communist"), but all of his camp followers deny that he intended to turn Chile into a Cuban-style dictatorship.
But Salvador Allende was no fuzzy "social reform" Marxist. His "Unidad Popular" and his government were filled with hard-core Communist revolutionaries like Luís Fernandez Oña, Orlando Letelier, Luís Corvalan, Daniel Vergara, Pedro Vuskovic, Jacques Conchol, Carlos Altamirano, Pablo Neruda, Hernan del Canto, Volodia Teitelboim, Eduardo Paredes, Carlos Toro, Valenti Rossi, Clodomiro Almeyda Medina, and Alfredo Joignant (to name but a few). Oña is particularly noteworthy, inasmuch as he not only was the second in command of Cuba's military intelligence, "G-2," but was married to the President's daughter, Beatriz Allende. Oña had been Castro's intelligence liaison to Che Guevara in Bolivia. It was Comrade Oña who organised Allende's personal Praetorian Guard, known as G.A.P., "Grupo de Amigos del Presidente" (Group of Friends of the President). Oña placed this group of armed thugs under the control of Max Joel Marambio, who was trained in Cuba.
Senator Luís Corvalan was Secretary-General of Chile's Communist Party and one of Allende's closest allies. Like Allende, he was no social reformer. As a disciplined, Moscow-controlled Communist he counselled Allende against the rash actions advocated by some of the hothead revolutionaries with itchy trigger-fingers. "We need time to prepare ourselves for the exigencies of a civil war," he warned.
One of the preparations involved obtaining funding from foreign Communist Parties. After the coup, a "Dear Comrade" letter of 21 March 1973 from Communist Party official Antonio Benedicto in Spain to Senator Corvalan was found. Benedicto was reporting on the progress of his negotiations for Allende for loans from the Communist Parties of France and Spain. He informed Corvalan that the best prospects for major loans might be through Interagra, the cash-rich export organisation of the French Union of Agricultural Cooperatives, "chaired by comrade Jean Doumeng." Benedicto noted that "Interagra is known as 'The Party Cashbox' because it is controlled by the French C.P. [Communist Party]." Comrade Benedicto opined to Corvalan that "it would be possible to obtain loans in the course of this year for about 150 million dollars, in France and Spain alone".
Cuban-trained Eduardo Paredes was the first to head the Investigations Department (I.D.), Chile's analogue to the F.B.I., under Allende. Photographs show Paredes instructing Allende in guerrilla warfare and the firing of automatic weapons. On 11 April 1972, Paredes returned to Chile from one of his frequent trips to Cuba. He brought with him 13 large crates that he refused to open for Chilean Customs officials. He insisted they contained only art objects, cigars, and mango-flavoured ice-cream all gifts from the Cuban people. After Allende was deposed, a huge arsenal of weapons was discovered in Allende's residence along with a bill of lading for the Cuban crates. The ice- cream and cigars turned out to be rifles and machine guns.
Paredes' Assistant Director of Investigations was Communist Party stalwart Carlos Toro. It was Paredes and Toro who headed the "investigations" concerning the terrorist group known as the People's Organised Vanguard (V.O.P.), responsible for the assassination of former Vice-President Edmundo Perez Zujovic and the murder of numerous civilians and policemen. It did not escape the notice of many observers that whenever the I.D. captured V.O.P. members, the assassins invariably ended up corpses before they could reveal who was the brains behind their campaign of terror; some evidence indicates it was either Paredes or Toro or both men who were covering their trail by liquidating their own liquidators.
Senator Carlos Altamirano, Secretary-General of the Socialist Party, was another Allende associate. The Chilean Socialist Party, it should be noted, was even more radical than the Communist Party and far less disciplined. It favoured immediate revolution. On 7 August 1973, a group of Communist sailors aboard the cruiser "Latorre" and the destroyer "Blanco" were arrested for a conspiracy to mutiny and assassinate their officers. The sailors were associated with M.I.R. (Movement of the Revolutionary Left), a Maoist group committed to revolutionary violence. Most outrageous was the discovery that two of Allende's top congressional allies, Altamirano and Oscar Garreton, were ringleaders in the conspiracy. Altamirano defiantly admitted that he had conspired to instigate the mutiny and said he would do it again to "defend" the Allende régime.
Senator Volodia Teitelboim, another key Allende supporter, was a member of the Communist Party Central Committee and a regular propagandist for the Chilean C.P. during the Allende years over Radio Moscow. Allende's Foreign Minister, Clodomiro Almeyda Medina, a self-described Maoist, befriended every Communist régime and facilitated the transformation of Santiago into an international Mecca for terrorists and Marxists of every hue.
Such were the "democratic" elements who helped bring Allende to power. But they did not fly their true colours so openly when they were pushing the Allende ticket in 1970. They carried the banner of moderation when campaigning before mainstream voters. Even so, they managed to persuade only 36 per cent of the electorate. Actually, it was significantly lower than that since the Allende forces had engaged in ballot- stuffing and other "irregular" practices.
Violations of the election laws escalated sharply under Allende's rule. According to the March 1973 report of a commission chaired by Jaime del Valle Alliende, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the Catholic University of Chile, Allende's "Unidad Popular" perpetrated massive electoral fraud in the March 1973 parliamentary elections. "This monstrous machinery aimed at destroying the genuine expression of majorities continues in force," said del Valle in a telecast on the University's Channel 13 (which Allende subsequently shut down). "Having discovered the easy road to fraud," the distinguished Dean of Law charged, "it is reasonable to assume that after the last election the volume of fraud has increased much more than we have seen. . . . Chilean men and women: our nation is the victim of infamy."
But Allende's 1970 election fraud was but a foretaste of more and bigger crimes to come. With only a plurality of 36 per cent (and fraudulent at that), Allende needed the support of the majority Christian Democrat Party, so that Congress would ratify his relative victory and confirm him as president of the republic. In order to obtain the Christian Democrats' support and allay their concerns about the heavy presence of Communists and other Marxist elements in his "Unidad Popular", he signed and publicly announced his complete agreement with a Statute of Constitutional Guarantees. This constitutional amendment reaffirmed freedom of the press, education, electoral process, and the non-involvement of the military in political matters. In typical Leninist fashion, however, he quickly showed that he considered his promise a mere pretence.
In an interview with the French Communist writer Regis Debray, published in "Punto Final" on 16 March 1971, Allende cynically confessed that his agreement to accept the Statute was merely "a tactical necessity". Moreover, he said, "At that time the main thing was to take over the government." He told his followers, "Santiago will be painted red with blood if I am not ratified as President."
However, Allende proceeded to paint Santiago red with blood even after he was ratified. In typical Communist style, he wasted no time in exercising power lethally. His armed G.A.P. assassins were just the start.
Award-winning journalist James R. Whelan, one of the few genuine U.S. experts on Chile, in his perceptive book "Allende: Death of a Marxist Dream" (1981), aptly described G.A.P. as a "Praetorian Guard of private gunslingers." Whelan observed: "Their trademarks were Fiat 125 automobiles (blue), sub-machineguns, and bullyboy manners. They had no precedent in Chilean history, and no place in Chilean law."
Fidel Castro landed in Chile in November 1971 and, with Allende's enthusiastic blessing, toured the country for twenty-five days, giving revolutionary speeches in favour of the Allende régime and pledging his support for the revolution.
Castro's number three man at the Cuban embassy in Santiago (which had swollen incredibly to 1,500 persons) was Juan Carreto Ibañez, a member of Cuba's G-2, who headed the Latin American Liberation Movement and ran a guerrilla training centre in Santiago.
On 29 July 1973, Castro dispatched Carlos Rafael Rodríguez, his number two man as Deputy Prime Minister, and Manuel Pineiro, chief of the Cuban secret service, on an unannounced mission to Santiago. Besides sending hundreds of his best agents, Castro had already established his "willingness to co-operate" by providing Allende with enough rifles, pistols, machine guns and other weapons to arm more than 20,000 guerrillas. In addition to the international terrorist brigades who flooded into Chile, the bulk of Allende's guerrilla army of conquest was recruited from the poblaciones, the instant slums, created by Allende's policies.
Only five months after Allende took office, daily reports from all parts of the country exploded with news of expropriations of farms, empty lots, buildings, and factories both by official action, and by the criminal acts of armed, revolutionary thugs. "Red Zones," controlled by Allende's Soviet/Cuban-directed cadres, became off-limits to the police, military, and other constitutionally authorised authorities. The purpose of this plan was unmistakably clear: the Allende forces were preparing to launch a full scale civil war, and the armed-and-occupied Red Zones were vital to their pincer strategy.
Dr. Susan Huck, who visited Chile a year after the overthrow of Allende, wrote in the November 1974 issue of "American Opinion":
"By September of 1973, over 5,800 farms had been expropriated, giving the Marxists control of 60 per cent of all irrigated land in the country and 30 per cent of the unirrigated arable land. By replacing farmers with Marxist ignoramuses, only 30 per cent of the arable land under government control was even planted."
Time after time, Chile's judicial officers, recognising the illegal, unconstitutional and immoral nature of the expropriations, ruled in favour of those whose property had been taken. Angelo Codevilla, Professor of International Relations at Boston University, commented that "Pinochet's critics, and the American media in general, have studiously ignored the hard fact that the Allende régime illegally ignored, violated, and refused to enforce more than 7,000 court rulings. His was a totally lawless government."
The Allende socialists used the insidious weapon of inflation to add to their programme of planned economic and financial chaos, wiping out personal savings and earnings with the power of the printing press. Lieutenant-Colonel Patrick J. Ryan (U.S.M.C.), in a 1976 monograph for the American Chilean Council, provided this summary:
"Upon its October 1970 stand-down, the Frei Government turned over an excess of U.S.$343 million in international reserves to the Allende Government. Less than three years later, in September 1973, Chile had a deficit of more than $300 million, or a net loss of approximately U.S.$650 million. The Allende Government's officially acknowledged rate of inflation was 508 per cent. Independent economists pegged the figure closer to 700 per cent either way, one of the highest inflation rates in the history of the world."
Allende's transparent lust for power was well recognised in Chile by the time of the 1973 coup. On 23 August 1973 the Chamber of Deputies, the equivalent of our House of Representatives, adopted a resolution charging: "It is a fact that the present Government of the Republic [the Allende administration], from its inception, has been bent on conquering total power, with the evident purpose of submitting all individuals to the strictest economic and political control by the State, thus achieving the establishment of a totalitarian system, absolutely contrary to the representative democratic system prescribed by the Constitution."
Earlier that month, on 8 August, the General Council of Chile's Bar Association issued a declaration charging that Allende's egregious violations of the Constitution threatened "collapse of the rule of law", and asserting that the "obvious fracturing of our legal structure can no longer be tolerated". Still earlier, on 26 May 1973, Chile's Supreme Court issued a unanimous resolution denouncing the Allende régime's "disruption of the legality of the nation" by its failure to uphold judicial decisions.
The total ruthlessness of the Allende drive for power was not fully realised until after he was overthrown. Then numerous documents were discovered revealing the bloodbath he and his foreign controllers had planned for Chile.
Allende had appointed Alfredo Joignant, an extreme radical of the Socialist Party, head of the Investigations Department, which was gradually transformed into a Gestapo. In Joignant's office safe were found a number of incriminating secret reports. The reports had been made by Joignant's communist agents who had infiltrated the military and the police, with extensive details about individual officers, including the personality and political leanings of each, his home, family, usual schedule and routes followed daily. The purpose of the reports was to identify those who were to be liquidated.
Similarly, a Communist Party document of 30 June 1973, intended for the inner core of the Communist hierarchy, stated: "In case of confrontation [civil war], a group belonging to the Communist Party which is highly specialised will physically eliminate the opposition leaders".
Further, a document entitled "Plan Z" was found in the presidential palace in the office safe of Daniel Vergara, Under-Secretary of the Interior. Plan Z provided detailed instructions for the intended massacre of a large percentage of Chile's officer corps, who would be gathered in Cousino Park on 19 September for an annual military celebration and review. Some 600 politicians, journalists, and conservative leaders were also slated for elimination.
However, if the Allende forces had prevailed, the blood-letting would not have stopped with those select targets. Opposition to the Allende programme was so widespread and vigorous, and Allende's forces were so ruthless, that a Communist-style bloodbath and a savage civil war seemed certain. In the final months of his reign, Chile was virtually paralysed, as truck-drivers, transportation workers, business owners, and professional groups went on strike.
It was the women who sparked the growing demonstrations of popular opposition with their famous "march of the empty pots". Chilean women by the thousands took to the streets, armed only with empty pots and pans as noisemakers, to march in defence of their homes, their families, their children and their security all of which were being assaulted by the Allendeites. Popular outrage against Allende intensified when his thugs wielding stones, clubs, chains, and bottles viciously attacked the women, who were legally, peacefully petitioning for redress of grievances.
It was at this crucial juncture, when utter disaster, despotism and bloody civil war threatened, that Augusto Pinochet and the military saved Chile. Importantly, one week after the coup, on 18 September, three former Presidents of Chile Gabriel Gonzalez Videla, Jorge Alessandri Rodríguez, and Eduardo Frei Montalva attended a ceremony at the Church of National Gratitude to say exactly that. Former President Videla said: "I have no words to thank the Armed Forces for having freed us from the clutches of Marxism." Moreover, he added, "they have saved us because the totalitarian apparatus that was prepared to destroy us has been itself destroyed." According to ex- President Frei, "The military has saved Chile and all of us. . . . A civil war was being well-prepared by the Marxists. And that is what the world does not know, refuses to know." This statement came from no right-winger, but a politician who was himself a Marxist.
The story of how Augusto Pinochet saved Chile is an inspiring story of dauntless courage, faith and honour. General Pinochet himself credits God with the success of the relatively bloodless coup, pointing to the many turns of "fate" that not only saved him and his fellow plotters from exposure and certain death, but also time and again opened doors for them, while closing doors for their enemies. Following the pattern of all Communist dictatorships, Allende had instituted an extensive spy network. So the greatest danger was that plans for the coup would be discovered before Pinochet could co-ordinate with the other Armed Services and deploy the Army units for a rapid, decisive blow that would oust the Allende forces without sparking a prolonged and bloody civil war.
On the morning of 11 September 1973, Pinochet's forces surrounded Allende in La Moneda, the fortress-like Ministry of Defence in Santiago. After the Air Force delivered a few well-aimed rockets into the building, the once-swaggering bullyboy revolutionaries surrendered. All except Allende, that is, who committed suicide ironically, with a machinegun that had been given to him as a present and bearing this engraved salutation on a goldplate: "To my good friend Salvador Allende. Fidel Castro".
The general's persuasive attributions to Divine Providence notwithstanding, much of the credit for the success of the coup must be given to Pinochet himself, for his brilliant strategy, methodical planning, prudent selection of officers, discretion and cool courage under pressure. The best accounts of the coup and the events leading up to it, are to be found in "Allende: Death of a Marxist Dream", by James Whelan, and "The Crucial Day" by Editorial Renacia- mento.
Contrary to the black propaganda which holds that General Pinochet is a "ruthless, iron-fisted dictator," an honest survey of the facts shows that he reacted with extraordinary restraint against the traitors and foreign intruders who sought to deliver Chile into totalitarian hands. He offered Allende safe passage from the country. Allende refused, preferring suicide. Those who accepted Pinochet's offer found he kept his word. Considering the egregious nature of the crimes they had committed and the vengeance they had planned for Chile, the thousands of foreigners who were deported received incredibly soft treatment, as did many Chilean citizens who were imprisoned for their treasonous acts. Many of these were soon sprung from jail, thanks to the intervention of Henry Kissinger and similar pressure from other American insiders of the pro-Marxist, pro-world- government Council on Foreign Relations (C.F.R.).
It was Kissinger's intercession, for instance, that brought about the release of Orlando Letelier, who served the Allende régime in a variety of posts, including ambassador to the United States and Minister of Defence. He also served the Soviet Union and Cuba, as an agent of influence for the K.G.B. and the D.G.I.. When Letelier was murdered by a car bomb in Washington, D.C. in 1976, he was catapulted to special sainthood status in the Communist martyrology by the C.F.R.-dominated U.S. media. Letelier was killed just as he was preparing to head for Cuba with a briefcase full of incriminating documents. Those "Letelier Papers" revealed a great deal about Soviet espionage-disinformation-strategic deception operations in America and the amazing network of professional radicals, politicians, government officials, and journalists who were (and in many cases, still are) aiding these operations. Letelier operated principally through the Institute for Policy Studies (I.P.S.), a Marxist front for Soviet-Cuban intelligence, and the I.P.S. spin-off known as the Transnational Institute.
The contents of Letelier's briefcase showed not only that he was regularly receiving and disbursing funds from Soviet and Cuban intelligence services, but that he also had good contacts on Capitol Hill and in the Executive Branch. His contacts included Senators Ted Kennedy, George McGovern, Hubert Humphrey, and James Abourezk; Representatives John Conyers, Bella Abzug, George Miller,and Toby Moffett; Assistant Secretary of State William D. Rogers (C.F.R.); and Sol Linowitz (C.F.R.), later head of the U.S. negotiating team for the treacherous Carter-Torrijos treaties on the Panama Canal.
Without an understanding of this ongoing network, it is impossible for Americans to understand the forces and motives behind the current campaign against Pinochet. Peter Kornbluh, for instance, heads a private (but official-sounding) outfit called the National Security Archive. He has received much attention lately for publicising documents released by the Clinton Administration purporting to show President Pinochet's culpability for various crimes with which he has been charged. What no one in the media has bothered to point out is that Kornbluh is a veteran apparatchik from the I.P.S.-Letelier network. It was Kornbluh who arranged the crucial meeting between the Sandinista junta leaders and Senators John Kerry and Tom Harkin, just eight hours before the congressional vote on aid to the Contras. The senators' trip provided a huge propaganda coup that is credited with stopping the aid.
Working with Kornbluh then was Reed Brody (C.F.R.), a former New York Assistant Attorney-General and member of the pro-Communist National Lawyers Guild. He is the author of the 1985 "Brody Report," which was published by the radical Washington Office on Latin America (W.O.L.A.), one of the I.P.S. network affiliates, as a propaganda gift to the Communist Sandinista régime in Managua. Brody now works at Human Rights Watch, which is prominent among those attacking Pinochet. Although he is often quoted by the major media, typically his left-wing pedigree and work for the Sandinista régime are never mentioned.
The governments of the United States, England and Spain still include alumni from the old I.P.S./Communist network. The most notorious of the I.P.S. veterans in the Clinton camp were Anthony Lake (C.F.R.) and Morton Halperin (C.F.R.), both of whom played key roles during the Carter Administration's "human rights" attacks on anti-Communist governments. Another Carter retread was I.P.S. cadre David L. Aaron (C.F.R.), a Marxist who worked with Letelier. He held various posts in the Clinton régime, such as ambassador to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Further, Karl F. Inderfurth (C.F.R.), a former staff member of Senator Frank Church's Select Committee on Intelligence, "briefed" by Communist agent Letelier in Letelier's home on multiple occasions, used this Soviet-supplied disinformation in attacks on U.S. intelligence, and was appointed by Clinton to the U.S. mission to the United Nations.
The leftist régime of Tony Blair includes his Home Secretary, Jack Straw, who was central to the decision to arrest Pinochet and had been a Marxist student agitator in the 1970s who organised demonstrations against Pinochet. Blair's former Trade and Industry minister Peter Mandelson is another whose motives and connections should be questioned. As Martin Argostegui pointed out in "Insight" magazine, some of the British press has revealed that "Mandelson, while chairman of the British Youth Council during his university years, organised a delegation to attend the 1978 Communist Youth Festival in Cuba, whose main acts were repudiating Pinochet while supporting Castro even while the Cuban régime was filling concentration camps, sending troops to garrison Soviet proxy states, and supporting terrorists throughout Latin America." Leonard Hoffmann, one of the British law lords who ruled against Pinochet's appeal, was a director of the fund-raising arm of Amnesty International, the group that has played a central role in the campaign to put Pinochet on trial.
"What is this about? It's not about human rights, that's for sure," noted Codevilla. "It's about using the colour of law and pseudo-judicial proceedings for private vengeance and for advancing an ideological agenda."
In short, the Marxist Left, and their softer allies including one-world internationalists, hate Pinochet not only because he led one of the few counter-revolutions that succeeded in ousting a Communist régime, but also because he is a Christian patriot who stands for everything they oppose. Their hatred has been augmented because he has so thoroughly exposed the bankruptcy economic, political, social, and moral of socialism with his free-market reforms. In just a few years, the Pinochet government transformed the devastated Chilean economy (collapsing under triple-digit inflation, wage and price controls, food shortages, rationing, nationalised industries, collectivised agriculture, expropriated properties, etc.) into a thriving, prosperous nation.
Under the guidance of economists schooled at the University of Chicago by Professor Milton Friedman, Chile's export base was diversified and the country's traditional reliance on copper exports declined from 80 per cent to under 40 per cent. Foreign capital flooded in and domestic savings and investment soared. Taxes were cut and government spending was drastically reduced. Wage and price controls, innumerable regulations, and union "closed shop" rules were all abolished. Social security was privatised, and hundreds of thousands of government bureaucrats and workers went back to work in the private sector.
But what of all those charges of murder, torture and disappearances? Of course, so far they are only charges. And considering the sources of those charges (as we have already noted) there are very good reasons for scepticism. As has happened so often in the past with disinformation operations against a besieged "right-wing" government, the liberal media have been treating the "human rights" charges as fact before they have been verified.
Undoubtedly, some people were murdered and tortured, and some disappeared. That began under Allende. And after his régime was overthrown in 1973, the terrorist war against Chile continued. In 1984 alone, there were 735 terrorist bombings. Responsibility for most of these acts was claimed by the Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front (M.R.P.F.), created by the Chilean Communist Party. Many Chilean officials have been assassinated by these terrorists, and Pinochet himself has been the target of several assassination attempts. On 7 September 1986 he and his ten-year-old grandson narrowly escaped death when their motorcade was ambushed by terrorists armed with automatic rifles, rocket launchers, bazookas and grenades. Five members of Pinochet's police and military escort were killed and eleven were wounded in the attack.
Chile has been the target of a sustained, murderous, international terrorist campaign for nearly thirty years. When terrorists are killed in clashes with the police or armed forces, their identities are often unknown. When no one claims the corpses, they are buried as "unknowns". This undoubtedly accounts for some of the "disappeareds". In any ongoing, bitter, desperate war of this type, extra-legal retribution and retaliation is almost inevitable. Individual private citizens, private militias or military or police units may take the law into their own hands, sometimes to avenge the murder of their relatives or fellow officers. And their aggression may be directed not only at actual terrorists, but at those whom they suspect of aiding the terrorists. Of course, this does not sustain the charges by Pinochet's enemies that he ordered, knew of, or approved of, any plan for the use of murder or torture against his political opponents.
President Pinochet, true to his word, voluntarily stepped down from power in 1990 after re-establishing order, justice, security, prosperity and the rule of law in his country. In 1988, in obedience to a national plebiscite, he called elections for a return to civilian rule, even though he had the full backing of the military and sufficient popular support to maintain his government's control. How rare such an occurrence is in history.
General Pinochet is a deeply religious man, a devout Roman Catholic who, reportedly, prays the Rosary daily and, when possible, attends daily Mass and receives Holy Communion. In an interview with London's "Daily Telegraph", General Pinochet was asked how he would like to be remembered. He answered: "I would like to be remembered as a man who served his country, who served Chile throughout his entire life on this earth. And what he did was always done thinking about the welfare of Chile, and never sacrificing his tradition to hand it over to other countries."
National Observer No. 49 - Winter 2001