CHILE: The documented reality of the Pinochet regime

Holger Terp says: Regarding the victims of the Pinochet regime, please see Jensen, Poul: The Garotte : The United States and Chile, 1970-1973. Aarhus University Press, 1988 Michael T. Klare ; Cunthia Arnson. Supplying Repression : U. S. Support for Authoritarian Regimes Abroad. Washington D. C. : Institute for Policy Studies, 1981.
The volume of Poul Jensen is a thesis, he died shortly before presenting it to the university. Supplying Repression was for me one of the better publications on the then little known role of the business of torture hardware export.

Dwight Peterson writes: I whole heartedly endorse the comments of Carlos Lopez and Bill Ratliff regarding Pinochet's Chile.  What a marvelous country and people who have been deeply inured with democratic principles for most of its existence.  The military in Chile was the most democratic of all and always told me they would accept what the electorate desired and they did.  My friends were a General, an Admiral and  lots of others in between.  I left Chile before Allende assumed power but lived through the leftist buildup.  I headed up an American company in Concepcion, Chile and was probably the only Northamerican  within 1,000 miles so I was rather prominent in the community.  I had a working arrangement with the Rector of the local Universidad de Concepcion (a prestigious Chilean institution) for sponsoring local youth for career possibilities.  This began to "sour" when the Rector's son was revealed as the leader of the Mirista terrorist organization.  My family was threatened many times, my business was blasphemed but, thankfully, we survived without harm.  All of my Chilean friends suffered.  Several lost their businesses that were confiscated by Allende and his crowd.  My closest friend, Rafael, lost his job through confiscation and still suffers today, economically.
Should Pinochet stand trial?  No way.  The man is old and struggling, apparently, physically and emotionally and should not have to answer for being the patriot that he is.  I am not condoning torture nor mistreatment here but you must understand the other side, Allende followers, inflicted indescribable torture on those whom they considered noncomformists.  Both sides were brutal but I think that the conservative right gets no press coverage at all to promote their view.  I really think that the Allende-Pinochet confrontation is the first act of terrorism in the modern Western Hemisphere.  Terrorism requires a completely different approach and I am not sure if normally accepted warfare applies here.  My friends who were involved in both sides of the disputes in Argentina and Uruguay were brutal in their assessments of those Tupamaros and Montoneros.  They said, you catch one, you get two names; you catch another and you get another four names etc. etc. etc. I don't want to know how they got those names but they did and it was not pretty.  Terror is not a pretty game.
RH: Dwight exaggerates when he says that he was probably the only American within 1,000 miles of Concepción.  I was there just after he left, and there were several Americans there."Few" would be a more accurate word than "only".

Christopher Jones, whose family hails from the American South, answers John Heelan's piece on Chile: Does this Comisión say if the people making these 28,000 statements (7000 still not accepted) were members of the MIR or the Manuel Rodríguez cells?  Do they mention that Plan Z weapons and material were discovered in the days prior to the golpe and that military intelligence continued to search for more arms caches hidden by communists loyal to Castro in the days just after the triumph of the golpe?  I think not, because if they did, the statements and the entire report could be easily defined as an exercise in pro communist propaganda.   I hope John doesn't want me to list the acts of sabotage and banditry --  including bank robbery --  in the days running up to the golpe carried out by these communist groups.  For some of us, Pinochet created a new Chile out of the ashes of Allende's catastrophic socialist experiment.  We believe that Pinochet acted, much like Franco did in 1936, to save his patria from anarchic revolution, destruction and enslavement to communism.  For others, Pinochet is the devil incarnate, a monster who arrived from Hell, wearing horns and a pointy tail.  Can there ever be a reconciliation?  Judging by the legacy of the US Civil War, deep down, never.

Carlos López from Chile is clearly unhappy about the report on torturing by the Chilean military: Tha Valech report does not include executions and disappearances during the Chilean military government, only torture. The report is one sided, only the victim's side is mentioned. It is a list of accusations of tortures, some of which no doubt took place. Can anything be done? Who will be brought to justice? What purpose has it served other than to divide the Chileans more deeply?

From Denmark Holger Terp answers Carlos López from Chile: Remember the story of Victor Jara? In the Danish magazine Politisk Revy no. 232, published November 30, 1973; there is a sample of torture in Chilean prisons. I'm not sure whether the torture were done by the military or the police.  The article is in Danish: The proclamation from the prisoners at Valdivia stated that, a week after the coup in 1973, systematic torture was introduced in the prison under the control of doctors. The torture included physical and psychical torture, including electric shock, beating of eyelids and ears, tearing off nails, burning cigarets in the ears, pinpricks and so on.  During my research on the history of concentration camps, beginning with the British prison  ships during the Napoleonic wars for Danish, Norwegian and French sailors, I discovered that the Pinochet junta also used prison ships as concentration camps. I would like to receive more information on them.
The Danish title of the proclamation is Valdivia-fangernes opråb. Why is it difficult to accept that the rulers of a country did commit crimes against humanity and their own citizens?  The Turkish denial of the genocide of the Armenians rings in my ears.

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Ronald Hilton 2004


last updated: December 30, 2004