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Pattaya Daily News

11 December 2006 :: 17:12:25 pm 32067

Pinochet, Chile’s former US-backed dictator, dead at 91

News of the death of Chile’s former military dictator Augusto Pinochet sparked spontaneous demonstrations in Santiago and other Chilean cities Sunday.
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            Thousands poured into the streets or drove in horn-honking caravans to celebrate the death of the 91-year-old retired army general, who came to power in a 1973 CIA-backed coup against the elected government of Socialist Party President Salvador Allende. 

            Santiago’s La Alameda Bernardo O’Higgins, the capital’s principal thoroughfare, was filled with people chanting slogans and waving banners and signs. In working class suburbs of the capital—which were the scene during the dictatorship of brutal and indiscriminate repression—residents erected barricades and set bonfires to mark the death of the hated ex-ruler. 

            Pinochet’s regime was responsible for the murder or disappearance of thousands of left-wing activists, trade unionists, students and others suspected of opposing the interests of the Chilean ruling class and foreign capital. Hundreds of thousands of others were imprisoned, tortured and forced into exile under his dictatorship. 

            The popular joy provoked by the death of the aged state criminal was tempered considerably by the fact that he died in impunity, receiving intensive medical care in Santiago’s Military Hospital, rather than ending his days in a jail cell. 

            At the time of his death, Pinochet was facing some 300 criminal complaints related to the murder, torture and kidnappings carried out by his regime. “The Caravan of Death,” “Operation Colombo,”” and “Operation Condor” were some of the murderous campaigns of repression for which he had been charged. 

            Both he and his family were also the object of criminal investigations related to the embezzlement of tens of millions of dollars in state funds that were funneled out of the country and into secret accounts at the Riggs Bank in Washington, DC, as well as other overseas financial institutions. 

                        The evidence of shameless corruption on the part of the ex-dictator had in recent years diminished his support among a layer of the Chilean right, which had long justified his policies of mass murder and repression in the name of the struggle against Marxism.”
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Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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