November 26, 2006
AUGUSTO AND EVERYTHING AFTER:
Pinochet shows no remorse (Jeremy McDermott, 27/11/2006, Daily Telegraph)
Augusto Pinochet, the former Chilean dictator, used the occasion of his 91st birthday at the weekend to accept, for the first time, responsibility for the crimes committed by his military junta.
Yet there was no remorse for the 1973 coup and the subsequent killings of suspected Left-wing sympathisers and activists, some 3,000 of whom were murdered by military death squads.
"Today, near the end of my days, I want to say that I harbour no rancour against anybody, that I love my fatherland above all and that I take political responsibility for everything that was done," said his wife, reading out a statement while the visibly frail Gen Pinochet held her hand. The coup that overthrew the Socialist president Salvador Allende had "no other motive than to make Chile a great place and prevent its disintegration", the general insisted.
He condemned the continuing trials of military officers and the charges against him, stating that his regime had saved Chile and made it one of the richest and most stable nations in Latin America.
"Thanks to their courage and decision, Chile moved from the totalitarian threat to the full democracy which we restored and which all our compatriots enjoy."
The Middle East will have done well if thirty years from now it has a few Pinochet's of its own, who can look back and say that their brutality made their nations safe for democracy. Posted by Orrin Judd at November 26, 2006 10:36 PM