The unthinkable occurs

Well, kinda sorta. Augusto Pinochet admits his guilt, but refuses to admit that he is guilty. You don’t follow? Read on.

Chile’s former military ruler Augusto Pinochet has said he takes political responsibility for everything that happened during his 18 years in power.

In the statement read by Gen Pinochet’s wife on his 91st birthday, he defended his bloody 1973 coup, saying he had acted in Chile’s best interests.

More than 3,000 people were killed or “disappeared” while Gen Pinochet was in power from 1973 to 1990.

He is facing indictments in two cases of human rights abuses and tax evasion.

“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,” the statement read by his wife Lucia Hiriart said.

“I take political responsibility for everything that was done.”

The general said his bloody overthrow of the democratically-elected Salvador Allende had “no other motive than to make Chile a great place and prevent its disintegration”.


His statement condemned the ongoing trials of military officers, including himself, for the human rights abuses committed under his rule.

He said they had prevented a political and economic crisis.

“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.”

Now, how’s that for funky tap-dancing? He created a political and economic crisis to save Chile from a political and economic crisis! He became a totalitarian threat to prevent a totalitarian threat! He destroyed democracy to create democracy! He robbed the country in order to enrich it! Yes, just like the exquisite rationalizers who wiped My Lai off the map, the heroic General Pinochet destroyed a village in order to save it.

Now, to give you some idea of what he destroyed it in order to save it, here‘s Greg Palast:

In 1973, the year the General seized the government, Chile’s unemployment rate was 4.3%. In 1983, after ten years of free-market modernisation, unemployment reached 22%. Real wages declined by 40% under military rule.

In 1970, 20% of Chile’s population lived in poverty. By 1990, the year "President" Pinochet left office, the number of destitute had doubled to 40%. Quite a miracle.

Pinochet did not destroy Chile’s economy all alone. It took nine years of hard work by the most brilliant minds in world academia, a gaggle of Milton Friedman’s trainees, the Chicago Boys. Under the spell of their theories, the General abolished the minimum wage, outlawed trade union bargaining rights, privatised the pension system, abolished all taxes on wealth and on business profits, slashed public employment, privatised 212 state industries and 66 banks and ran a fiscal surplus.

Freed of the dead hand of bureaucracy, taxes and union rules, the country took a giant leap forward … into bankruptcy and depression. After nine years of economics Chicago style, Chile’s industry keeled over and died. In 1982 and 1983, GDP dropped 19%. The free-market experiment was kaput, the test tubes shattered. Blood and glass littered the laboratory floor. Yet, with remarkable chutzpa, the mad scientists of Chicago declared success. In the US, President Ronald Reagan’s State Department issued a report concluding, "Chile is a casebook study in sound economic management." Milton Friedman himself coined the phrase, "The Miracle of Chile." Friedman’s sidekick, economist Art Laffer, preened that Pinochet’s Chile was, "a showcase of what supply-side economics can do."

It certainly was. More exactly, Chile was a showcase of de-regulation gone berserk.

Yep, that’s some salvation from the evils of democratic socialism, all right. At least 3000 people died and thousands more were tortured just so Chile could have the wonderful liberty of fascist rule, and the prosperity of an economic ruination from which it has yet to fully recover. Folks, this is a thug who used to brag that he buried his corpses two to a coffin to save on nails. This is what he and his backers, including Ronald “Grenada” Reagan and Maggie “Milk Snatcher” Thatcher, called “democracy”.

All the evidence is mounting against that old bastard, and he’s still walking free and spewing a fuckload of doublespeak.

The mind boggles.

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