Posts Tagged ‘Augusto Pinochet’

Chile: Cambridge professor José Gabriel Palma on Bachelet’s second term

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

x Michelle_Bachelet“Small changes with nothing changed”

[Translation of an article from Página/12 of Buenos Aires for December 20, 2013. See original here.]

There is more and more activism on the streets of Chile. Analyst José Gabriel Palma wonders how long president elect Bachelet can “continue to appease the demands with this ‘gatopardismo .’”

By Marcelo Justo

The runoff was the easy, predictable part. Now Michelle Bachelet’s problems begin. Surveys show that an overwhelming majority of the people want deep changes to a model that for a while was the wonder of the world but that is now a disappointment to Chileans themselves. The constitutional legacy of dictator Augusto Pinochet is hampering their aspirations decisively. Despite her sizable victory at the polls, she does not have the majority in the Senate she needs to bring about a profound transformation. Página/12 spoke by telephone with José Gabriel Palma, a Chilean professor of economics at the University of Cambridge, who is in his country keeping track of political developments. (more…)

Chile: An economic plan drawn up 40 years ago

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

x chile copperNeoliberalism in the extreme

[Translation of an article from Punto Final for September 6, 2013, as republished in Clarín of Santiago on September 8. See original here.]

By Paul Walder

It’s been 40 years since the coup d’état. A period that has passed with the slowness of social paralysis, of frozen consciences. A period that has allowed for the installation by force of the most unbridled capitalism on the planet, a model that was later to be adjusted and perfected until its consolidation.

It has been four decades divided into two great stages, the first under the harshness of dictatorial violence, the second marked by the seductive pleasures of consumption. If in other places and other epochs those 40 years were long enough for several wars and revolutions, Chile after the coup and the repression fell into a heavy sleep that left the way clear for counter-revolution and the collapse of all its social and labor conquests. Chile, which at the beginning of the ‘70s of the last century passed through a singular revolutionary process without a shot being fired, began the next century with an economic and social structure more fitting to the 19th century. The oligarchy, made up of a few traditional families and other more recent arrivals, took possession of the country, of its natural resources and of the lives of millions of workers and consumers. (more…)

Thatcher, the legacy

Friday, April 12th, 2013

x thatcherpinochet[Translation of an article from El Clarín of Santiago, Chile, for April 9, 2013. See original here.]

by Pedro Miguel

The first instance of Thatcherism took place six years before Margaret Thatcher arrived at the head of the British government; specifically, it began on September 11, 1973, when a group of military men — urged on by Richard Nixon, his secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, then Vice President Gerald Ford and George Bush, senior, who was serving as Washington’s representative to the UN — destroyed Chilean democracy, assassinated thousands of citizens, kidnapped, jailed and tortured tens of thousands. Tens of thousands more were to leave in exile. Once installed, the dictatorship headed by Augusto Pinochet dissolved Congress, declared political parties illegal and, a couple of years later, handed economic management over to a small group of post-graduates from the University of Chicago, where Milton Friedman was teaching, hence the name Chicago Boys: Sergio de Castro, José Piñera, Jorge Cauas, Pablo Barahona… (more…)

Chile: Newly declassified files reveal details of Pinochet’s espionage network

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

[Translation of an article from El Mostrador of Santiago, Chile, for August 8, 2012. See original here.]

by Mauricio Weibel Barahona

Deceased General Augusto Pinochet’s secret police led an espionage network within and outside Chile that crossed paths with the Vatican, the FBI, Latin American dictatorships and the world press, according to thousands of previously unpublished secret files to which the German Press Agency (dpa — Deutsche Presse-Agentur) has gained access.

The documents, classified for decades, verify that Chilean repressive bodies, first DINA (Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional) and later CNI (Centro Nacional de Información), carried on almost daily correspondence with ministers and other authorities to coordinate operations throughout the world. (more…)

Chile: Amid angry protests, rightists honor Pinochet

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012


((El Clarín photo))

[Translations of two articles, the first by the Spanish news agency Efe as published in El Mostrador on June 9, 2012, the second from El Clarín for June 12. See originals here and here.]

Homage to Pinochet uncovers support for the dictatorship among influential groups

The homage to Augusto Pinochet planned for this Sunday reveals the support that a minority in Chilean society, but a significant and influential group, continues giving the dictatorship, whose crimes they minimize in favor of an institutional and economic structure that continues in effect.

Just five years after the death of the dictator, under whose rule, from 1973 to 1990, 3,200 people were killed and 38,000 suffered torture or political prison, two little known organizations have organized this event in a theater in the capital. (more…)

An interview with Gabriel Salazar of Chile: Burying Pinochet for good

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011


((Gabriel Salazar — Brasil de Fato photo by Fábio Nassif))

The movement for public education in Chile gains strength, urges new constitution to counter legacy of the dictatorship

[Translation of an interview from Brasil de Fato for September 23, 2011. See original here and related articles here.]

by Fábio Nassif

This was a different kind of September 11 for Chile. The same script was used again but this time in a political climate that stresses more forcefully the ideas of the government that was interrupted in 1973. The march organized by human rights groups brought out close to 5,000 people, who walked to the cemetery where the monument to the executed and the disappeared is located. The colors of the political organizations moved gradually to the immense mural where the names of those to be honored are listed. At former President Salvador Allende’s grave, flowers were placed, songs were sung and his presence was remembered. The same for the singer Víctor Jara.

At a certain moment in the activities, the police, faced with young people who were setting up barricades on the avenue leading to the cemetery, began their repression. And, as a form of physical and moral intimidation, they made an incursion into the cemetery with water cannons, horses and all their weapons. More than 20 cars made their way through the midst of the homage. (more…)

Transverse anger in Chile

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011


The student movement and citizen protests against exclusion, neoliberalism and the lack of democracy

[Translation of an article from SubVersiones for August 25, 2011. See original here and related articles here.]

“This is our moment and this is our position: Free, quality public education” — SubVersiones photo by Italo Retamal


by Claudia Villagrán Muñoz

Something changed in Chile on August 4. It was no longer only students who were mobilized but an important part of Chilean society actively joined in the students’ clear and concise demands: free, quality public education for all Chilean children and youths. The march, called by high-school and university students and by the professors, who on that day defied the authorities’ orders not to hold another march along the main avenue of Santiago, was brutally repressed by the Chilean police, who are under the command of the Ministry of the Interior.

There arose immediately a widespread indignation over the prohibition against the right to assemble freely to demonstrate, indignation against the police forces being used against minors who were not causing trouble, indignation over seeing downtown Santiago in a state of siege as in the worst days of the dictatorship, indignation because a just demand was not being listened to after three months of legitimate protest. When night fell, the most humble of the population, sectors of the middle class and even the well-to-do all over the country joined together for a cacerolazo [a noisy protest involving the banging of pots and pans] organized by the citizenry in a matter of hours, a massive spontaneous protest that had not been heard since protests across the country against the Pinochet dictatorship. (more…)

Chile: The neoliberal labyrinth

Monday, April 18th, 2011

[Translation of an article from Brasil de Fato of São Paulo for April 13, 2011. See original here.]

by Pedro Carrano

As though in a passage from Greek mythology, Chilean activists are in a labyrinth, trying to find their way by following the scattered threads of the popular and workers’ movement, almost forty years after the coup d’état and the coming to power of General Augusto Pinochet in 1973, an event that shattered President Salvador Allende’s Popular Unity and debilitated popular organizing in the areas around Santiago de Chile. It destroyed the sense of belonging to a class. With full force, it brought in neoliberalism.

Even when the dictatorship gave way to elections and the Pinochet era came to a close in 1988, the 23 years of government by the Concertación that followed did not lead the country out of the neoliberal labyrinth. The resources and the raw materials of the earth were handed over to transnational enterprises. (more…)

Chile: Resources plundered in broad daylight

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

An interview with economist José Manuel Flores

[Translation of an interview from Brasil de Fato for March 5, 2011. See original here.]

by Pedro Carrano

Since 1973, the Chilean economy has traced a long path, beginning with the coup headed by General Augusto Pinochet against the popular government of Salvador Allende, and today is being consolidated into an economy controlled by large domestic and foreign businesses that holds the line on exportation and keeps the internal market strangled – despite representing only one percent of the productive capacity of the country. So they control 80 percent of the internal market and provide jobs for only 20 percent of the population.

This is the analysis of Chilean economist José Manuel Flores. In a country in which neoliberalism has gained hegemony and has brought about a radical alteration in the economy, the export of copper is central, a target of control and export. “Before, copper was exported and now copper concentrate, its raw material, is being exploited. Transnationals control 76 percent of Chilean copper,” the economist calculates. In an interview with Brasil de Fato, Flores talks about the relation between natural resources and the Chilean economy, the failure of the Concertación as an alternative government after Pinochet’s departure, and now as the opposition to the government of rightist Sebastián Piñera, in office for a year. In this scenario, popular movements take on a new importance. The recent popular revolt in the province of Magallanes against an increase in the price of gas demonstrates this. (more…)

Chile: Government says it will seek trials of four officers in Víctor Jara case

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

[Translation of an article by the Spanish news agency Efe from La Nación of Santiago for January 25, 2011. See original here.]

The government, through the Programa de Derechos Humanos [Human Rights Program] of the Interior Ministry, will again seek the trials of four retired officers who testified as indictees in the murder in 1973 of singer Víctor Jara, sources in the agency told Efe today.

The Program had already asked for the trials last December but the Justice Department declined to accept the first petition.

The executive secretary of the Program, Rossy Lama, explained to Efe that the agency will submit a new request once details are worked out concerning Edwin Dimter, Hugo Sánchez, Raúl Jofré and Rolando Melo, the latter a former military prosecutor. (more…)

Chile: President’s brother defends Pinochet dictatorship

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

[Translation of an article from El Mostrador of Santiago, Chile, for June 14, 2010. José Piñera, brother of current Chilean President Sebastián Piñera, was secretary of labor and social security and secretary of mining in the regime of Augusto Pinochet and is now considered internationally a leading advocate of the privatization of pensions. The Accord of August 22, 1973, mentioned below, which was approved by 81 members of the Chilean congress, about 63 percent, accused the government of Salvador Allende of violating the constitution and paved the way for the coup d’état of September 11.]

José Piñera, former minister to Augusto Pinochet and brother of President Sebastián Piñera, has spoken of reasons leading to the 1973 coup d’état.

“Anyone who, from a position of power, violates a country’s constitution is the one who delivers a blow to the democratic system and turns into a tyrant,” he declared when asked by the Argentine newspaper Perfil. (more…)

Garzón suspended: Impunity for Franco’s followers

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

The ultra-right celebrates

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for May 14.]

by Armando G. Tejeda

Baltasar Garzón

Madrid, May 14 – Baltasar Garzón, the only Spanish judge to attempt to

investigate crimes committed during the fascist dictatorship of Francisco Franco (1939-1975) and to try to help the families of those executed and buried in common graves, was given cautionary suspension from his position by the highest body of the Spanish judicial system, the Consejo General del Poder Judicial (CGPJ – General Council of the Judicial Power).

A complaint filed by the extreme right – the Falange Española and the extremist union Manos Limpias – for alleged breach of trust, brought about the forced removal of the judge from his office in the Audiencia Nacional [National Tribunal], which brought conflicting reactions: franquistas and the Spanish right celebrated it as “a triumph of justice” while victims of the repression cried in rage and bitterness. (more…)