Augusto Pinochet

Augusto Pinochet

Birth
Valparaiso, Valparaíso, Chile
Death 10 Dec 2006 (aged 91)
Santiago, Santiago Metropolitan, Chile
Burial Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend
Memorial ID 16980267 · View Source
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Chilean Dictator. He was a dictator whose changes laid the groundwork for South America's most stable economy while his harsh crackdown on dissent left a lasting legacy. The son of a customs official, he was born Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte in the port city of Valparaiso. Became a career officer rising to the rank of general in an army based on Prussian traditions of discipline and loyalty to the constitution. An apparent lack of political ambition helped advance him to the position of commander of the army under the left-wing Popular Unity government led by Salvador Allende; in the early 1970s. Became commander-in-chief in early 1973 and led a military junta in a coup in which President Allende died. Pinochet represented the military regime which ordered purges in which, reportedly, more than 3,000 Allende supporters were killed and thousands more tortured or forced into exile. He closed down the Chilean Parliament, banned all political and trade union activity, and in 1974 appointed himself president. He viewed his actions as necessary to save the country from chaos and the threat of Communism. Surrounding himself with conservative economists, many who studied at the University of Chicago, he supported a 1975 visit by the economist Milton Friedman. As a result, free market policies were put in place which, although causing many bankruptcies, opened the way in the 1980s to a period of growth that, at times, exceeded 10% per annum. The economy recovered and stability returned to towns and countryside. In 1988, overconfident, he lost a plebiscite for an additional term as president, but a year later Chileans approved constitutional amendments shielding him and his associates against prosecution for their actions. Subsequently in 1990 he handed over the presidency to Patricio Aylwin, retaining command of the army until 1998 when he quit his command and became life senator, while retaining the post of captain general emeritus. This arrangement, combining parliamentary immunity and the requirement to be judged only by a military court, appeared to give him effective impunity. However, a Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon, had him arrested in London on charges of murder and torture in 1998 while recovering from back surgery; returned to Chile in 2000. Political opponents in Chile continued to pursue him through the courts and persuaded the Supreme Court to lift his immunity as a senator for life in 2000. He was placed under house arrest in 2001 on charges of murder and kidnapping in connection with the so-called Caravan of Death, the killing in October 1973 of 75 supporters of the civilian government, one numerous charges he faced. He was eventually declared too ill to stand trial and on his 91st birthday he accepted "political responsibility" for what happened during his rule. Cause of death: complications from a heart attack, in Santiago, Chile.

Bio by: Fred Beisser


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: A.J.
  • Added: 10 Dec 2006
  • Find a Grave Memorial 16980267
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Augusto Pinochet (25 Nov 1915–10 Dec 2006), Find a Grave Memorial no. 16980267, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.