Augusto Pinochet regime (Chile, 1973–90)
The Augusto Pinochet regime or Military Government (Gobierno Militar in Spanish) is the period on the Chilean History in which the Armed Forced governed the country after a the removal of a Socialist Regime. On September 11, 1973, the Chilean Armed Forces staged a military intervention. President Salvador Allende Gossens committed suicide during an infantry-tank assault on the La Moneda presidential palace, and a junta composed of the four leaders of the Armed Forces and Order (Army, Navy, Air Force and Police) took power. Augusto Pinochet Ugarte was sworn as president in 1974.
The Military Government managed to broke the communists, who were heavily armed and trying to start a civil war; rebuilt an economy destroyed by the previous regime; Pinochet's administration grew the middle class until it became the majority of the country, and eradicated extreme poverty; built a health care system that was affordable, efficient, and available to all; created a private retirement pension account system that gave people free choice while at the same time amassing a huge pool of capital that could be invested in the growth of the country; expunged corruption at all levels, most especially among the oligarchs, whom the government broke on in 1980–82; and created a legal and constitutional framework that gave Chile peace, order and prosperity for 30 years.
- 1 Military intervention (So called coup d'état)
- 2 Initial support
- 3 Mission of the Junta
- 4 First stage of the Military Government (Recovery Stage)
- 5 Breakings in the Junta
- 6 Economic recovery
- 7 World economic recessions (1975 and 1982)
- 8 1980 Chilean Constitution
- 9 Second stage, Road to Democracy (Transition)
- 10 International Relations and Conflicts with Argentina
- 11 Education reform
- 12 Pension system reform
- 13 Health reform
- 14 Labor reform
- 15 Poverty reduction
- 16 Local governments
- 17 Sectorial Improvements
- 18 Fight against Left Wing Terrorism (Irregular War)
- 19 Civilian unrest
- 20 National plebiscite and third stage (Normality or Consolidation)
- 21 Democracy restored
- 22 Smear campaign against the Military Government
- 23 Pinochet's detention
- 24 Notes
- 25 External links
- 26 See also
Military intervention (So called coup d'état)
The Chilean military reported having suffered 34 killed in stiff fighting in Valparaiso and Santiago on 11–12 September: two army sergeants, three army corporals, four army privates, 2 marine lieutenants, 1 marine corporal, 4 marine cadets, 3 marine conscripts and 15 carabineros (policemen). In mid-September, the military junta claimed its troops suffered another 16 dead and 100 injured by gunfire in mopping-up operations against left-wing guerrillas Allende civilian supporters, and Pinochet warned: "sadly there are still some armed groups who insist on attacking, which means that the military rules of wartime apply to them." On 23 October 1973, 23-year-old army corporal Benjamín Alfredo Jaramillo Ruz, who was serving with the Regimento Cazadores, became the first fatal casualty of the counterinsurgency campaign in the mountainous area of Alquihue in the Valdivia Province after being shot by a guerrilla sniper. The Chilean Army suffered 12 killed in various clashes with MIR and GAP guerrillas in October 1973.
On 20 September 1973, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was given permission to set up an administration office in Santiago, which helped find countries to accept 20,000 Chileans who had been detained or who feared military prosecution. According to an official report by the United States government, 80,000 Chileans were living abroad in the 1970s.
During the first three months of Pinochet's military regime, the Chilean armed forces and supporting police units suffered 162 killed in clashes with left-wing guerrillas and civilian supporters in the form of MIR and Chilean Communist Party militants.
Since the Allende Regime was declared illegal by the Congress and Judicial Branch, the first one calling the Armed Forces to take action, the actions of September 11, 1973 cannot be a "coup" that would be from outside the State, but it was a Military Intervention (Pronunciamiento Militar in Spanish) called by the institutions to restored themselves.
Historian Richard Pipes (former Dean of History at Harvard University) studied the subject in depth and concluded that, when on September 11, 1973, the Armed Forces removed Allende, they only "obeyed" the Congress Agreement of August 22, 1973. (Book "Communism: A History").
The truth about CIA involvement
So many people refuse to accept that the CIA had no involvement in the 1973 military intervention, the CIA interference was centered on the killing of General René Schneider in 1970.
There was a nationalist small group called Patria y Libertad, they were definitely financed by CIA. And somehow, they got the idea to kidnap the commander-in-chief of the Chilean Armed Forces, General René Schneider.
He was and a man who was extremely well-respected throughout Chilean society, especially in the military. After the 1970 election, there were calls to ignore the democratic process and prevent Allende from taking power. Gen. Schneider publicly articulated what became known as the Schneider doctrine: The armed forces would always support and protect institutional democratic authority, and would never go against a legal outcome duly passed by Congress or the courts. In other words, Schneider was refusing to stand in the way of an Allende presidency. This enraged Allende's hardest opposition, so Patria y Libertad came up with the idea of kidnapping Schneider, possibly, at the instigation of the CIA. This has never been very clear.
The kidnapping was botched, Schneider defended himself with his side arm and in the process was killed by the kidnappers. This led to the accession of Carlos Prats to the post of commander-in-chief. It was also deeply traumatic to the Chilean military as a whole. A few senior officers outright blamed the Americans for the Schneider killing. Most took a more nuanced view. But the net effect was the same, no one in the Chilean Armed Forces would have anything to do with the CIA or the people from the US Embassy after this incident. Outcasts from the Chilean military, like Roberto Viaux, or marginal people in Chilean politics, gravitated to US Embassy personnel and the CIA, who gave them money.
But their involvement with the Americans made them even more suspect, and marginal, in Chilean society. Later, the CIA in order to justify itself and show that they had been effective in Chile, elevated these marginal or unimportant people as “key to the successful removal of Allende!” Leftists and historians ran with this notion. But it was just to hide CIA incompetence.
Because of the trauma of the Schneider killing, it's absurd to think that the Chilean armed forces would cooperate with the US Deep State for the 1973 military intervention, especially when they didn't need them to pull it off successfully. It was only after the military intervention, and only out of national economic necessity, that the Military Government got closer to the Americans.
But institutionally, the Chilean military never trusted the Americans, and never allowed themselves to be dependent on them. The American government was never happy with the Pinochet government, because it never gave back the lucrative copper mines that Allende had expropriated.
The book "La CIA en Chile" published in 2013, also demystifies the role played by the agency in the preparation of the military intervention plan. In a CIA document from 1973, it is pointed out that the CIA office in Santiago was proposing to encourage the military to carry out a coup d'état against Allende, an option that seemed difficult since the commander in chief of the army, Carlos Prats, did not seem willing to move forward with such an objective.
Ray Warren, the CIA director of the Chilean office, insisted to Washington about the possibility, but the CIA headquarters closed the door: "let's see how history develops, let's not do it", he was told. The US situation was no longer the same as it had been in 1970. The CIA interference had already come to light before Allende's inauguration, the Watergate affair had already broken out and the Vietnam War was culminating.
According to the book, "the CIA was so aware of the eyes on it that in a report from its Directorate of Operations, dated September 1972, it said that 'the temptation to assume a positive role in support of the military coup is great', but that they should restrain themselves, since they would be accused of 'engineering the collapse of the Allende government'". 
At the beginning the junta received the support of the oligarchy and of a sizable part of the middle class. This support by moderate political parties, including many Christian Democrats, can be explained by their belief that a military government represented a transitional stage necessary to restoring Chilean democracy as it had been before 1970.
Four days after that removal, The Economist magazine (15.9.73) editorialized: "The transitory death of democracy in Chile will be regrettable, but the direct responsibility clearly belongs to Dr. Allende and...followers who constantly trampled on the Constitution.... the Allende government violated the letter and spirit of the Constitution...The Armed Forces had to intervene because the constitutional means to stop a government that behaved in an unconstitutional manner failed...The transitory death of democracy in Chile will be deplorable, but it should not be forgotten who made it inevitable".
Four weeks after that removal, Patricio Aylwin, President of the Christian Democracy and future President of Chile, publicly stated: "Allende's government was preparing to carry out a self-coup to establish a communist dictatorship by force. The Armed Forces did nothing but anticipate this imminent risk".
Two months after that removal, the former President of the Republic Eduardo Frei Montalva defended the military internvention with extraordinary strength and lucidity in this extensive letter to Mariano Rumor, President of the International Christian Democracy, in which he said "the military saved Chile!".
Very soon they were to discover that the military had their own political objectives, including the repression of all left-wing guerrilla forces. The Christian Democratic, National, and Radical Democracy parties were declared to be in “indefinite recess,” and the Communists, Socialists, and Radicals were outlawed. In 1977 the traditional parties were dissolved.
Mission of the Junta
Since taking office on September 11, 1973, the Military Government Junta did not rest a single day working on regulations, decrees and laws that would allow the normal functioning of the country, mainly in order to recover the economic activity seriously damaged by the Allende government. As President of the Military Government Junta until 1981 and as President of the Republic until 1990, General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte worked every day on his great ideal: "To make Chile a great nation". On foot, by car, plane or boat, he traveled almost all over Chile, inaugurating numerous development works. While traveling with his ministers or wife, he did not rest. He attended the opening of new companies, inaugurated houses, kindergartens, schools, health centers and hospitals, visited ports, mining companies and works of the Carretera Austral, bringing his smile and words to every Chilean.
His political work did not make him abandon his military work in the Chilean Army. He attended military exercises in the desert, gave lectures at the Military School and regiments, and modernized his institution.
In the face of terrorist actions he had a "iron fist" (mano dura), the only way to protect Chile and its people from the communist violence that continued to seek to alter national life.
He confronted the national and international communist propaganda, did not rest until he managed to sign the Peace Treaty with Argentina, harshly criticized foreign boycotts, mainly from the US, and fearlessly continued on his way after the bloody terrorist attack against him.
His horizon was clear: "No one will stop the road to full democracy". As a soldier and a gentleman, he handed over power on March 11, 1990.
Another member of the Military Government Junta, Admiral José Toribio Merino Castro, was in charge of the economic sector of the country and presided over the Economic Committee of Ministers, where the economic measures that the Executive Power implemented were born, as the first economic measures of the Military Government: the liberation of prices of goods and services, a single exchange area was fixed, fiscal spending was reduced and interest rates were freed to start a capital market, the State companies were reorganized, normalizing the intervened companies.
It was Admiral Merino's initiative to study the Statute for foreign investors, which led to the subsequent enactment of Decree Law No. 600. He promoted the study and subsequent enactment of a decree law for the promotion of Chilean exporters, which gave rise to PROCHILE. During this period he promoted the Decree Law to subsidize forestation, establishing incentives to develop plantations of this nature in the country. He represented the military government in negotiating contracts with Pegaso in Spain and before the U.S. government, meeting with President Carter. With a great sense of social justice, he initiated the enactment of Decree Law No. 3,480, to allow debtors of the Housing Savings and Loan System to repay their debts, which favored workers in the middle sector.
In 1980, Decree Law No. 3,500 was issued, which created the new provisional system, and Admiral Merino was a great supporter of this legislation. 1980 saw the approval of the new Constitution that governs the country, separating the Executive and Legislative powers in a definite manner. Admiral Merino went on to preside over the Government Board, whose objective was to constitute the Legislative Branch, which governed us until March 1990. He also presided over the first Legislative Commission. In 1982 the country was affected by the world recession and the Government had to take economic measures to alleviate the developing crisis.
Admiral Merino, from the Legislative Branch, promoted laws on the modernization of the financial sector, the State guarantee for deposits and savings, the lowering of import tariffs and, in general, the normalization of the sectors most affected by the crisis, giving maximum support to the Executive Branch, which allowed the country to get out of the crisis. During this period, he promoted the initiative of the Law for the Promotion of the Merchant Marine, contributing significantly to the growth of this sector and also to the shipyards and naval industry through the enactment of Law No. 18,454. He presented motions to replace the Third Book of the Code of Commerce; to adapt the Chilean maritime limits to the Jamaica Convention, through the corresponding reform to the Civil Code, and to repeal the legislation that allowed therapeutic abortion, all of which were approved through the corresponding laws dictated during that period. Likewise, he promoted the enactment of all the Constitutional Organic Laws, which allowed the Military Government to comply with the constitutional itinerary of handing over power to the civilian population.
In 1989, it proposed to the Executive Branch the enactment of a Fisheries and Aquaculture Law, which was achieved after much discussion in the sector. This put an end to the disorganization of the sector and created the conditions for the conservation of renewable marine resources. Finally, he presided over the Joint Legislative Commission to reform the Political Constitution, whose text, approved by the Government Junta, was ratified by the plebiscite held on June 30, 1989. During the period of government of the Armed Forces, 3,660 Decree Laws and 1,090 Laws bearing his signature were promulgated under his supervision.
First stage of the Military Government (Recovery Stage)
With the military intervention of September 11, 1973, Chile began a 17-year period of government initially assumed by a Military Junta headed by the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, and composed of the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, Admiral José Toribio Merino Castro; the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, Air Force General Gustavo Leigh Guzmán, and the Director General of the Carabineros, General César Mendoza Durán.
The first show of support for the new government came from the Supreme Court, which, represented by its president, Enrique Urrutia Manzano, received a visit from the Junta one day after the pronouncement. For its part, the Catholic Church stated that it was pained by the blood of civilians and soldiers that reddened the streets and asked for moderation towards the defeated and that no reprisals be applied.
Meanwhile, the political parties opposed to Salvador Allende -National, Christian Democrat, Social Democrat, Radical Democracy- issued statements of support and justification for the intervention. In the DC, twelve militants signed a communiqué in the opposite direction, but stating the responsibility of the Popular Unity (UP) in the institutional breakdown.
Three were the most pressing objectives set by the military: to provide the country with a new institutional framework, to recover the economy and, above all, to pacify Chile, putting an end to the armed action of violent groups.
The objectives set for the first stage, "Recovery", were:
- To reestablish order and tranquility, seriously threatened by the attempt of irregular Marxist forces tending to destroy freedom and democracy.
- To rebuild the economic and social order, which had been unhinged as a consequence of the systematic degradation of individual guarantees.
- To study and establish a new truly democratic institutionality, protected from totalitarian sectors, respectful of personal liberties, with balanced powers and tending to promote the existence of large, moderate political organizations capable of giving the whole system stability and permanence.
On the same day, September 11, the Honorable Government Junta communicated to the citizens, in Bando No. 5, its firm will to reestablish the economic and social normality of the country, the peace, tranquility and security that had been lost.
The Military Government, from the beginning, was fully aware that the progress of the country required a new social reorganization. This initially forced it to limit a series of political liberties as a way to gradually overcome the deep wounds that had been inflicted.
In September 1974, the Honorable Government Junta issued a solemn declaration, called Declaration of Principles of the Government of Chile, in which, contrary to the value neutrality that had characterized the preceding stage, the principles that would govern its restorative mission were enunciated, while the objectives of its governmental management were made explicit.
By means of military orders and decree laws, the government began to operate under emergency regulations that restricted the individual liberties of the population. Once the State of Siege and the Emergency Zone were decreed, the circulation of some newspapers, including "El Mercurio", and the operation of Channel 13 and some radio stations were allowed, all under prior censorship.
From the beginning, Pinochet stated that the Armed Forces had taken over the government to return Chile to its democratic system; but first the country's integral recovery had to be achieved through the application of economic, social and political plans that the nation needed. For this reason, the President of the Junta postulated giving priority to the fulfillment of goals over deadlines. In the first months of his administration, Pinochet reiterated that the mandate of the military would not constitute a momentary transition between two political governments, but would be the initiator of a great absolute and permanent civic-military movement that would maintain a good administration of the State. He insisted in affirming that the Armed Forces were not prepared to govern and that they had to assume the task as a result of the prevailing chaos. Gustavo Leigh.
The itinerary of the new Chilean institutionality was made known by Pinochet in July 1977, in an address that is remembered as the "Chacarillas Speech" and which established the parameters of the new democracy.
Breakings in the Junta
An interview given by the Commander-in-Chief of the FACh to the Italian newspaper "Corriere della Sera" was repudiated by the cabinet. After meetings in La Moneda and in the Ministry of Defense, the Junta declared that Leigh was unable to perform his duties, and he was replaced by General Fernando Matthei. The decision caused the resignation of the entire institutional high command.
On March 11, 1981, Pinochet began the second stage of his government by taking the oath of office as President of the Republic. The investiture modified the composition of the Government Junta, which was joined by Lieutenant General César Benavides, representing the Army.
Pinochet served as president until March 11, 1990.
The military government took over a country with a disintegrated economy and virtually bankrupt, since its assets were not enough to meet its obligations. With great efforts of the population, the process of reorganization began, opting for the implementation of a free market model. One of the most urgent tasks that the Junta de Gobierno set itself when it assumed the leadership of the country was the economic recovery. For this purpose, professionals from the Catholic University who had been part of the academic exchanges with the University of Chicago were consulted. Thus began the era of the "Chicago boys", a group led by the dean of the School of Economics at UC, Sergio de Castro, and composed of Jorge Cauas, Miguel Kast and José Piñera, among others.
The plan of the "Chicago boys" was baptized as "The Brick" and became the foundational basis of the new Chilean social market economy, which left behind the socialist type of centralized and planned economy.
Pinochet approved privatization plans, the return of requisitioned companies, the normalization of agriculture and a new economic and financial conception.
The treasury had to guarantee the population equal opportunities and mass access to the advantages of modern society.
If ten major modernizations materialized by the military regime in the economic sphere were to be highlighted, they would be the following:
Price liberalization: Decree Law 522 of October 15, 1973 eliminated historic price fixing in Chile, with the exception of 33 items that maintained their prices determined by the State and 18 in which businessmen were required to report their values to the authorities. By 1976, all prices were free.
Modernization of the capital market: In 1975, a free interest rate was established, banking was reprivatized and the capital market was liberalized.
Access to higher education: At the end of 1980, private universities made their debut in Chile, significantly increasing the number of young people who could have access to higher education.
Targeting of social spending: A policy that made it possible to allocate State funds to improve the economic situation of the poorest, without producing the injustice of having people receive part of these resources who do not need them.
As a result of these changes, the country's economic growth went from -4.3 percent in 1973 to 10 percent in 1989. Inflation, meanwhile, fell from 106 percent to 21.4 percent in the same years.
By the end of 1973, the Chilean economy was closed to the exterior with import tariffs that averaged 105% and the prohibition to import many products. By 1977, the tariff had already been standardized at 10%, which meant that the productive apparatus began to face external competition, a situation unknown for the country for several decades. Although this confrontation was difficult, today important sectors of the economy are leading this process, being the main generators of foreign exchange and have placed Chile in the leadership in the world with exports of fruits, salmon and wine among several other products. This opening process culminates in the 90s and 2000s in a situation where Chile established free trade agreements with the main economies of the planet.
It allowed the massive arrival of imports that forced national industries to become more competitive and thus export to conquer new markets. In this sense, a single exchange rate was established and a very simplified trade regime was created, without trade barriers and with an even 10 percent tariff since 1979.
Ordering of Fiscal Accounts
The fiscal deficit reached more than 30% at the end of the Allende government. Public expenditures, which amounted to 41% of GDP in 1973, were reduced by 20% in 1989. Thus, while revenues were recovering, the fiscal imbalance decreased to 2% of GDP in 1975.
However, this reorganization process not only involved cutting unnecessary expenditures, but also required changing the institutional framework governing this sector, which resulted in a rule in force to this day that requires all public spending to have a corresponding financial component, which cannot come from loans from the Central Bank.
Autonomy of the Central Bank
Its creation made it possible to prevent the government of the day from managing monetary policy at its discretion and thus "triggering" inflation "by turning on the machine to make banknotes" in order to increase fiscal spending.
The Central Bank was granted autonomy in monetary and exchange rate policies, and was entrusted with ensuring price stability and the normal functioning of internal and external payments. This independence from the President of the Republic prevents the political management of the institution for electoral purposes or to support the economic policy of the Executive. This model of autonomy, quite old in the industrialized world, is relatively new in South America and Chile put it into practice before other countries of the continent. It is worth noting that from its inception, the Central Bank's board of directors was formed in equal parts by representatives of the Government and the opposition, thus achieving a balanced and independent performance, in which technical criteria prevailed over partisan ones.
A process promoted preferably in the 1980s, under the administration of Finance Minister Hernán Büchi. It was one of the most unpopular measures taken by the military government, since it resulted in the dismissal of a good part of the companies' workers and, at times, in their liquidation at below market value. However, it allowed the State to divest itself of loss-making companies and to have more resources to invest in areas such as health and education.
The implementation of these reforms was of enormous importance in that they contributed to achieving the productivity increases necessary to sustain economic expansion in the long term. Privatizations are very relevant in this process, since they not only transferred ownership, but also the companies were transferred to people who had the right incentives to maximize their productivity. This resulted in the creation of new companies and new jobs, and allowed Chilean consumers to have access to better quality goods and products at lower prices thanks to the existing competition.
Numerous productive sectors have benefited and strengthened thanks to these microeconomic reforms, as can be seen in the following lines, which mention those that have achieved the greatest development and contributed most strongly to the country's growth.
World economic recessions (1975 and 1982)
Since the military government took over the leadership of the State, the disinformation campaign described above was accompanied by the economic attempt to isolate the country from the rest of the international community. These purposes were repeatedly supported from within by different sectors, since the aim was to foster and, ideally, establish a climate of insecurity and unrest, which would facilitate an attempt against the normal evolution of the process underway.
The most difficult challenges that economic policy had to face, in addition to the disastrous situation existing on September 11, 1973, referred to the world oil crisis, the foreign debt, the drop in copper prices and the "Kennedy Amendment", situations that provided a very unfavorable environment for an economy that had to start by normalizing the productive apparatus and stabilizing the inflation rate, which was close to 500%.
1st economic crisis of 1975
In an erratic manner, the origin of this crisis is often analyzed under a supposed and deliberate shock policy, which would have had as its objective to put an end to the inflationary phenomenon, which was still at worrying levels in 1974 and 1975.
The causes are based mainly on the need to adjust the balance of payments, which resulted in a significant economic adjustment, and on the scarce international currency reserves, basically due to the sharp fall in the price of copper during the same period. By way of illustration, the following graph shows the sustained decline of this metal, a vital commodity for the country's economy during those years.
This situation quickly led to a drop in productive activity and high unemployment.
However, this emergency was quickly overcome, since, in mid-1976, as a result of the adjustment of fiscal accounts, the reorientation of the tariff and exchange policy aimed at promoting the country's integration with the outside world, together with the management of the monetary policy, allowed the situation to be overcome and the population was able to gradually benefit from it.
Another fact that is fully inserted in the context of the international campaign against Chile refers to what was called the "Kennedy Amendment".
In 1976, U.S. Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy presented before the U.S. Senate a bill to modify the Foreign Military Assistance Act in order to exclude Chile from the military aid that his country provided to the Latin American republics that had signed the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR). The restrictions were approved and began to apply to Chile in October 1977, comprising in summary:
- The prohibition to provide Chile with any form of military assistance, including the education and training of its Armed Forces personnel.
- The prohibition to grant credits for the same purposes.
- The prohibition to all private suppliers to sell and export military equipment to Chile.
The adoption of the amendment was especially relevant, not necessarily because of its economic effects, but basically because of its inopportunity, since at that time Chile, as we will observe later on, had to face highly complex neighboring conflicts. Collaterally, this fact determined a sustained development of the Chilean military industry, which increased its productive capacity and systematized an accelerated and efficient reconversion process. Most big U.S. companies were now restricted in what they could sell to the regime.
Other countries also embargoed Chile, first came the British Labour government in 1974, soon followed by Jimmy Carter's United States in 1979 and Mitterrand's socialist France in 1982. Years earlier, Rolls-Royce workers in East Kilbride (Scotland) had refused to work on Avon engines for the Chilean Air Force's Hawker Hunter fighter fleet.
Chile bought weapons to Israel, Spain, Rhodesia, and South Africa as well as making their own mainly in FAMAE and made by Carlos Cardoen. Chile sold weapons produced by Carlos Cardoen to Saddam Hussein from Irak and supposedly to China.
China was one of the few in the socialist orbit that did not break diplomatic relations with Pinochet's military junta. The Asian country granted a credit of 62 million dollars to the Chilean military government presided by General Augusto Pinochet in 1977.
With the Ronald Reagan Administration in the United States, things improved quite a bit for Chile, even though the State Department bureaucracy (Deep State) was still biased to the left and very much penetrated by anti-Chilean slogans originated in Moscow (KGB) which have been a constant feature of public opinion in Chile, most of the media and U.S. officials.
In February 1981, the prohibition imposed by the Carter Administration on the subsidized Eximbank loans to finance U.S. exports to Chile was lifted in February 1981. U.S. export ban to Chile was lifted in February 1981. The negative vote that Washington had maintained in relation to World Bank and Inter-American Bank credits was also modified. World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank loans was also modified.
Unfortunately, the Democratic senators were able to win the support of some "moderate" Republicans (RINOs) and the Kennedy Amendment remained. The Republican "centrists" were always greatly influenced by Soviet disinformation on Chile and acted accordingly, against Reagan's good will.
2nd economic crisis of 1982
On this occasion, the adjustment had an immediate origin in the need to face the reality of a lower flow of external resources. Savings fell in 1981 and 1982 as a result of the world debt crisis. The authorities had to devalue the dollar by 18 percent and take other measures related to foreign exchange, which hurt dollar debtors.
It is true that Chile had resorted on numerous occasions to external credit, which had naturally produced misalignments in relative prices. However, the fall in savings was due to high international interest rates, the high price of oil and the ease of access to foreign credit by the world's debtors. However, when this crisis broke out, Chile had already adopted internal corrective measures, which were intensified in the face of the emergency that arose.
A clear demonstration of the soundness of the economic scheme applied in Chile was the notorious difference in the effects caused by the international economic crisis in the country, compared to other countries in the region.
In such events, the Military Government, based on a new economic model that was being developed, and due to the management of its variables, managed to gradually overcome them and continue in a sustained development.
The economic recovery plans translated into the use of an active monetary policy, an increase in the quantity of money with a view to recovering liquidity, a free dollar and a limited use of reserves.
The severe measures to achieve reactivation supported a renegotiation of the foreign debt and other actions that allowed for financial and banking reorganization.
On January 13, 1983, the dissolution of the Banco Hipotecario y de Fomento, Banco Unido de Fomento and Financiera Ciga was announced. In addition, the banks Banco de Chile, Banco de Santiago, Banco Concepción, Banco Internacional and Colocadora Nacional de Valores were intervened, and delegated administrators were appointed.
Eighteen of the 22 mutual fund companies operating at that time were suspended. And special credit modalities and terms for the sale of new and old houses were put into effect, which stimulated the real estate market.
From 1984 onwards, the adjustment process was based on an expansive policy to reactivate growth. But it was from 1986, when economist Hernán Büchi was at the head of the Ministry of Finance, that a period of sustained growth developed, culminating in a GDP of 10.6 percent in the last year of the Pinochet administration.
Oligarchs were imprisoned in the Capuchinos Prison, which is why many of them started to conspire against Pinochet.
1980 Chilean Constitution
The new political and institutional order that the country needed was embodied in the drafting of a Fundamental Charter that would replace the Constitution in force in 1973. The latter, in force since 1925, had been insufficient to face the problems the country had suffered for many years and even more inoperative in the face of the outbursts of the socialist regime that led the country to the greatest moral, political, social and economic chaos in its history.
The configuration of a new Magna Carta should, in the first place, consecrate the freedom of the people as the axis of its norms and principles. Approved by a large majority in 1980, the new Political Constitution of Chile defines a new political order and a new economic order, based on free private initiative and a subsidiary State, while reinforcing the family as the nucleus of a free society where respect for individuals and their active participation prevail.
The main characteristics of the new Constitution of 1980 are:
- Recovery of the rule of law, which implies the hierarchy of constitutional norms and the separation of public powers.
- Consolidation of individual liberties.
- Subsidiarity of the State.
- Strengthening of individual and social freedoms.
- Recognition and constitutional consecration of rights that were not duly safeguarded.
- Regulation of constitutional states of exception. And creation of a new recourse of protection to defend constitutional guarantees.
- Organization of a strong Executive Branch, rationalization of the Legislative Branch and strengthening of the Judicial Branch.
- Creation of bodies that reinforce institutionality and give people new instances to defend their rights, such as the Constitutional Court, the National Security Council. The General Comptroller of the Republic was elevated to constitutional hierarchy.
- Constitutional consecration of regionalization
Since its enactment on March 11, 1981, the 1980 Constitution regulated the political, economic and social life, transforming the country into an orderly and solidly democratic nation, until its replacement in the 2020s.
In this area, the most important initiative of the military government was the drafting of a new Constitution for the country, which would support the new order it sought to impose in Chile. In this sense, the Declaration of Principles of the Government of Chile, issued in March 1974, served as the basis for the new Magna Carta.
The rights of man (prior and superior to those of the State), the principle of subsidiarity, the recognition of private property and free initiative in the economic field, were assumed as pillars of the foundational work.
The drafting of the new constitutional text was entrusted to a commission chaired by Jorge Alessandri's former Minister of Justice and the Interior, Enrique Ortúzar. The group -whose work was permanently guided by the Executive also included constitutionalists such as Sergio Diez, Jaime Guzmán, Alejandro Silva Bascuñan and Raúl Bertelsen.
The new Political Constitution was voted on in a plebiscite held on September 11, 1980, in which 67.04 percent of the population voted "Yes" and 30.19 percent "No". Six months later, the document came into force.
The regulation contemplated new conceptions of the person, society and the State. In this sense, the important definition that the rights of men are first and prior to those of the State laid the foundations of the institutional framework that would govern the nation.
Likewise, the new Constitution detailed the functioning and role of future institutions.
The election of parliamentarians by constituencies strengthened the regionalization of the country, initiated during the first stage of the government.
The binominal electoral system set the basis for a two-party system that would guarantee the balance of political forces represented in Congress.
It also introduced appointed senators, the second round in presidential elections and the obligation to obtain more than 50 percent of the votes in order to accede to the presidency.
The most revolutionary and resisted innovation of the new Charter was the establishment of the Armed Forces as guarantors of institutionality, a precept that led to the creation of the National Security Council (Cosena).
Second stage, Road to Democracy (Transition)
As of March 1981, the new Constitution was conceived to come into force, which would define the framework of a full democracy. Its objective was to produce a gradual and sustained advance towards institutional and democratic fullness, which was to be completed by March 1990 at the latest. It is also important to note that this date marked the beginning of the 1981-1988 presidential term, following a plebiscite. Since then, different sectors of society were increasingly incorporated into the responsibilities of the political leadership of the nation, which was reflected in the formation of the cabinets, in which the integration of civilians and the military was a permanent reality.
During the second stage of the military government, the opening of dialogue with the political parties was entrusted to the then Minister of the Interior, Sergio Onofre Jarpa, who drew up a timetable for developing a political plan and established that it would be up to the citizenry to approve a constitutional reform that would allow a democratically elected Congress to take office.
However, the government-opposition dialogue was cancelled by Pinochet, which led to Jarpa's resignation.
In May 1983, a day of protest called by copper workers initiated a series of similar actions in the country, which led to the renewal of the State of Emergency the following year and the decree of a new State of Siege.
Faced with the situation, the Catholic Church took action and Cardinal Juan Francisco Fresno began to meet with different political leaders, meetings that culminated in the signing of the "National Agreement for the Transition to Full Democracy" aimed at guaranteeing future democratic institutions.
For his part, Pinochet reiterated that the institutional path was in the Constitution and should be respected.
In 1987, the country entered a different period with the six-day visit of Pope John Paul II. That same year, Pinochet approved the transfer of Congress to Valparaíso and ten political parties began their legal registration with the Electoral Service.
International Relations and Conflicts with Argentina
Relations with other countries were not easy for the government of Augusto Pinochet, since from the beginning the military regime aroused worldwide concern for having overthrown the first democratically elected Marxist President.
Recognition of the new authorities came only from Latin American countries, with the exception of Mexico and Venezuela.
The rest of the world repudiated the pronouncement and, with the exception of China, all socialist nations broke off relations. Even European countries, such as Italy, withdrew their ambassadors, leaving the chargés d'affaires in the diplomatic representations.
Likewise, the Armed Forces had to be attentive to the situation with neighboring countries. Especially the relations with Argentina experienced a very conflictive period towards the end of the 70's, due to the dispute over the jurisdiction of the Beagle Channel and the different islands and islets, among them Picton, Lennox and Nueva.
In this sense, Augusto Pinochet continued with the task initiated by the governments of Eduardo Frei Montalva and Salvador Allende, with the aim of diplomatically resolving the differences.
However, on May 2, 1977, relations between Santiago and Buenos Aires changed when the arbitration award of Queen Elizabeth II was announced, a ruling that confirmed Chilean sovereignty over the islands and established the dividing line of the Beagle, subjecting it to the orientation that, according to Chile, this waterway has.
In early 1978, the Argentine military junta declared the arbitration award "insanely null and void". For this reason, it was decided to appoint two commissions to analyze the conflict. After meeting in Santiago and Buenos Aires, the delegates drafted a document stating that the governments would avoid "actions or attitudes contrary to the spirit of peaceful coexistence" between the two countries.
However, after the Argentine Navy rejected the idea of resorting to Vatican mediation to solve the conflict, the military began to carry out maneuvers on both sides of the mountain range. Meanwhile, the Chilean and Argentine cardinals, Raúl Silva Henríquez and Raúl Primatesta, respectively, made high-level efforts to stop the conflict.
The fleets of both countries were only hours away from meeting at sea, but a storm prevented this from happening.
In 1982 during the Falklands War, Chile helped the United Kingdom since Argentina was a real threat for the country, and if they won the war they were going to attack Chile after. Margaret Thatcher thanked the Chilean support when Pinochet was captured in London in 1999.
Samoré died before the successful completion of his mission on May 2, 1985, when the foreign ministers of Argentina and Chile exchanged the instruments of ratification of peace before John Paul II.
The average years of schooling of Chileans had a significant increase, which went from 4.5% in 1970 to 8.7% in 1987, and the incorporation of the poorest into the system, aspects that would contribute to significantly improve equality of opportunities and equity in the educational system.
INACAP, an institution granted on loan to the Confederation of Production and Commerce, deserves special mention. It has become the main higher technical training center in the country with nearly 50,000 students and branches in Arica, Iquique, Calama, Antofagasta, Copiapó, La Serena, Viña del Mar, Valparaíso, Santiago, Rancagua, Talca, Chillán, Los Angeles, Concepción, Talcahuano, Temuco, Valdivia, Osorno, Puerto Montt, Coyhaique and Punta Arenas.
Until 1980, the Chilean educational system was characterized by a great intervention of state education, which reached more than 80% of the enrollment and a strongly centralized administration, showing serious problems: insufficient coverage, low quality and scarce capacity to absorb the poorest excluded from the educational system.
Teachers' salaries were very low because the bureaucracy consumed a large part of the resources and the state was the main employer. There was no competition among the different types of schools and a rigid curriculum was designed, conditions that promoted neither efficiency nor quality.
The urgent need to correct these shortcomings gave rise to a system of modernization of education that pursued the following objectives
- Improve the quality of education
- To increase its coverage
- Establish equal opportunities and
- Promote freedom of education
In order to achieve these objectives, a new incentive system was proposed that established a demand-side subsidy scheme based on the service provided, which gave a strong boost to subsidized education. Complementing this policy, it was decided that the State would no longer administer schools through the Ministry of Education and therefore would no longer be the main direct employer of teachers.
To this end, all elementary and secondary schools that had been administered by the Ministry of Education and some technical schools were transferred to the municipalities and transferred to private non-profit entities. Likewise, curricular reforms were increased as of 1980. Thus, the establishment of this framework of incentives and equitable rules of participation that favored competition allowed for a notable increase in coverage at these educational levels, aided by the considerable development of private sector participation in education. At the elementary level, the private subsidized sector went from a 14% share of total enrollment in 1980 to 30.4% in 1988. In secondary education, during the same period, the private subsidized sector almost tripled the number of students, from 15.9% to almost 40%. Between 1971 and 1973, higher education, with 4.8% of the country's total enrollment (including elementary and secondary education) absorbed 39.7% of total fiscal spending on education. This figure is eloquent, especially if one considers that according to the 1970 Map of Extreme Poverty, 43% of children in extreme poverty did not attend school. The first measures adopted were aimed at reducing the higher education budget in order to prioritize and increase spending on basic and secondary education. Thus, between 1978 and 1980, spending on higher education dropped to 29%.
However, the problems that afflicted this type of education, which went far beyond excessive spending, required a drastic reform that began in 1980, when legal regulations began to be enacted that would correct the closed and virtually monopolistic nature of the university system, reinforce the freedom of teaching and introduce competition in order to improve academic quality.
A first legal text defined what a university was, the degrees and titles it could grant and the modalities of constitution and dissolution. The creation of new private establishments was allowed and the emergence of Professional Institutes was favored. Simultaneously, regulations were issued to force a rationalization and institutional restructuring of the universities. In addition, one of the priority lines of action was to promote the development of scientific and technological research, for which purpose the National Science and Technology Fund was created in 1981.
However, the reform that would have the greatest impact in the following years concerned the financing system. The new regulations defined funding from the public budget as consisting of three components.
- A direct contribution, which was distributed exclusively among the universities existing before the reform and which was reduced with respect to what was previously provided, in order to avoid inefficiency, save fiscal resources and reduce the possibilities of state institutions to compete unfairly with the new institutions that appeared under the new legislation.
- An indirect contribution based on the best scores in the selection and entrance exams.
The tax credit granted to low-income students to be repaid during their professional life.
Although there are still deficiencies in the system, the modifications introduced with the reform allowed for a strong increase in both private universities and intermediate education establishments and a corresponding increase in the number of students graduating from this educational level. There are currently 64 universities, 60 professional institutes and 116 technical training centers throughout the country that collaborate in the formation of the human capital required by a highly competitive and technified world.
Pension system reform
The reform of the pension system was one of the most profound and transcendental transformation experiences carried out by the military government. The new mechanism replaced the old pay-as-you-go system with a capitalization or individual savings system, privately administered and backed by regulations that ensured a minimum pension level from the State.
Enacted on November 4, 1980. Through this reform, the government changed the old system of distribution of workers' funds for a system of capitalization in individual accounts. To this end, it established private fund management institutions, the AFPs, leaving workers free to choose.
Under the old system, the active workers financed the pensions of the passive workers through their contributions, and both the pension benefits and the obligations of the active workers were fixed by law, with no correspondence between what they contributed and what they received as retirement benefits. This lack of relationship between the amount contributed and the pension received resulted in an incentive to under-declare contributions together with pressure from certain groups to obtain better or additional benefits, forcing the Treasury to make increasing contributions and causing the system to become underfinanced.
In addition, there was a total lack of uniformity in the system. At the time of the reform, there were 32 Pension Funds and more than one hundred different pension systems, which produced great differences in the mechanisms for calculating pensions and in the requirements for retirement, and open discrimination against the most disadvantaged groups and those with the least lobbying power.
In 1981, DL 3,500 was enacted, creating the Pension Fund Administrators, AFP, which introduced a radical change to the pension system and presented the following advantages:
- Pension levels directly related to individual effort.
- Freedom of choice and active role of members.
- Competitiveness of the system
- Independence from the public budget.
- Application of the pay-as-you-go system for disability and survivors' pensions.
- Lower costs for members.
- Less negative impact on employment.
- Greater accumulation of capital in the economy as a whole, since the pension funds are operating and yielding returns through the capital market.
With more than twenty years in force, the new system now has more than 1,700,000 affiliates in the AFPs, which operate with a high degree of competitiveness. Its good performance has turned it into a successful export product to many countries around the world.
What was once a bold experiment in pension reform and a reckless privatization of social security, is now an experience that has been emulated in several Latin American and Asian countries. The results observed in Chile first motivated its neighbors to reform their pension systems. In the first half of the 1990s, Peru, Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay did so.
Subsequently, Bolivia, Mexico, El Salvador, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic did so. Others are working on implementing the system, including Ecuador, Nicaragua, Lithuania, Slovak Republic, Ukraine and Romania.
Throughout the world, people's life expectancy has been increasing. In the United States, more than 100,000 people are 100 years old or older and there are studies that indicate that by the middle of this century, human life expectancy will reach 150 years. On the other hand, families are becoming smaller and the possibility for the State to pay decent pensions will become impossible, which is why the solution adopted by the Military Government is of enormous importance.
In order to improve the health status of the Chilean population, the Military Government initiated a series of actions aimed at modifying the impoverished situation of the sector by expanding private participation. In 1979, the existing discrimination between workers and employees was eliminated and the possibilities of choice were increased for a vast sector of the population thanks to the enactment of DL 2,575, which gave workers access to the Free Choice System and allowed the establishment of agreements with private institutions for hospital care. That same year, the Ministry of Health and the SNS were restructured, creating the National Health Services System, SNSS, made up of 27 autonomous entities responsible for providing preventive and curative services in specific geographic areas, each directly dependent on the Ministry.
Since 1980, the financial function of the National Health Fund, FONASA, has been centralized, which is responsible for distributing the resources coming from the Treasury, the contributions of the affiliates to the system and the direct payments of the users of the free-choice modality. In addition, FONASA is responsible for the administration of the health benefits system in the free-choice modality. Another very important step was taken in 1981 with the transfer of primary health care facilities to the municipalities. At the same time, some of these entities delegated their administration to non-profit private corporations. This allowed the administration to be deconcentrated and gave greater decision-making capacity to the local level. The transfer process was completed in 1988.
In 1981, the private social security health institutions, ISAPREs, were created. With this, the compulsory health contributions that until then had been paid into the state health insurance system could be freely transferred to one of these institutions and, within them, to one of the health plans offered by them.
Isapres: They were created with Law 18.933. With them, people can choose between being treated by the public health system or contribute to private health institutions that assure them a coverage determined by the chosen plan.
The additional contribution of 2% by the companies, now abolished, allowed a greater number of workers to have access to this system and improve their health plans, which today they are unable to do.
Subsequently, in 1985, the Health Benefits Regime was created, which stratifies all SNSS beneficiaries according to their income, assuring them a minimum level of health care compatible with their contributions, establishing free health care for the poorest.
The actions described above have made it possible to increase sectoral resources, achieve greater efficiency, increase people's responsibility for their health, improve the quality of care and steadily improve the population's level of health. However, the great challenge still lies in ensuring that all Chileans have the possibility of choosing where to receive health care, whether in the public or private system, with both operating in full competition.
One of the most important reforms introduced by the military government was the labor reform contained in DL 2,200, which gave rise to the current Labor Code and replaced the legislation in force since 1931. The latter had clearly favored the ideologization of the relationship between workers and employers, which had become a permanent source of conflict.
Attributed to former Labor Minister José Piñera, this was one of the economic changes with the greatest impact. Its objective was to forcefully transfer the principles of individual freedom to the labor market, which would be reflected in the rights of employees and employers established in a balanced manner in labor contracts.
The main elements that constituted the new legislation were the following:
- Legal equality before the law, which eliminated the distinction between workers and employees.
- Freedom of unionization, which put an end to compulsory membership and put an end to the excessive politicization of the organizations.
- Collective bargaining by company. This put an end to a type of bargaining that operated as an expression of class conflict and vindicationist approaches to the power of capital. From now on, collective bargaining takes place within the company, based on productivity and efficiency, with clear economic benefits for the workers.
- Right to strike used as an instrument of negotiation and not of political pressure.
- Freedom to form workers' confederations, eliminating the political monopoly over unions and the single centralized scheme.
With almost a quarter of a century in force, labor reforms have favored a climate of tranquility and productive efficiency, contributing to the growth of the country and the welfare of workers, notwithstanding some recent modifications that may have generated the feeling of going backwards in some specific aspects.
All these activities had a strong impact. Between 1970 and 1990, the population living in extreme poverty decreased from 21% (1.9 million) to 11% (1.4 million). Between the same dates, life expectancy at birth increased from 62 to 72 years and the infant mortality rate fell from 79.3 per 1,000 live births to 16. The average schooling of the population increased from 4.5 years to 9 years, while the percentage of poor children without basic education decreased from 43% to 5%. Illiteracy decreased from 11.8% to 5.4%. With respect to housing and infrastructure between the aforementioned dates, urban drinking water coverage increased from 67% to 97%, while rural coverage increased from 34% to 86%. Urban sewerage increased from 31% to 83%.
In 1970, according to the Extreme Poverty Map, 21% of Chileans (almost two million people) lived in conditions of extreme poverty. In view of this reality, the military government had to concentrate its efforts on eradicating this scourge through a set of policies aimed at increasing and improving social programs.
In the first place, policies aimed at investing in human resources and improving the human capital of the population were addressed. Among the programs aimed at these purposes are: primary maternal and child care, supplementary food, preschool care, increased coverage in basic and secondary education, job training and care for children in an irregular situation.
A second group of policies focuses on efforts to improve the targeting of spending, directing it to the most vulnerable segments of the population.
In addition, policies were implemented to redistribute and invest in physical assets, on the understanding that by accessing them, the poor could permanently improve their income conditions and thus overcome their poverty. The programs were developed in the following areas: housing, drinking water, sewerage and title deed clearance.
At the same time, assistance policies were developed to provide mechanisms to supplement the income of the most destitute families in order to satisfy the minimum needs in keeping with the dignity of the human being. Among these were the creation of the single family subsidy and unemployment subsidies and special employment programs designed during periods of economic crisis. In 1975, the welfare pension system was also established for invalids and the elderly who were excluded from the social security system.
In 1989, the groups belonging to the Mapuche "Regional Councils" appointed Augusto Pinochet as "Ulmen Füta Lonko" or "Great Authority".
With the application of the aforementioned regulations, from 1978 to 1990 the State delivered, in total, 69,984 individual domain titles to the indigenous people, and by virtue of the other provisions of this legal text and the new lands transferred, 72,931 domain titles were completed.
Local governments represent one of the areas in which it is possible to appreciate with greater clarity the transformation of the public sector structure initiated by the military government.
Municipal reform and modernization began with the enactment in 1976 of DL 1,289, which addressed improvements in the administrative and internal organization areas. Subsequently, in 1980, more profound changes took place with the enactment of DL 3,036 on Municipal Revenues, which decentralized the adoption of decisions in the financial field, and a set of norms that, together with the organizational restructuring of the municipalities, empowered them to assume the administration of services in areas that until then had been centrally administered, fulfilling the role assigned to them by the 1980 Constitution.
One of the most important innovations defined by the legislation is the Municipal Common Fund, formed with contributions from the municipalities themselves and fiscal resources that are subsequently distributed to the communes according to pre-designed parameters that consider the socioeconomic situation, the number of inhabitants and other territorial factors. This redistributive instrument put an end to the difference between poor and rich communes.
With regard to the administration of social services, the municipalities began to play a fundamental role as the government bodies closest to the community. Among the many services that were transferred to them, the most important were educational services, with the transfer of public elementary, middle and technical-professional schools, and health services, with the transfer of primary health care clinics.
Other relevant aspects in the process of municipal modernization refer to modifications in the technical-financial area. Among these innovations, the following stand out: the creation at the level of each commune of the Communal Secretariats of Planning and Coordination; the delegation to the private sector of works and services that were traditionally carried out directly by public officials; the promotion of efficiency by stimulating competition among municipalities to apply for financing of development projects; the rationalization and mechanization of the systems for the collection of fees, patents and other municipal revenues; and the creation at the national level of uniform and modern financial mechanisms.
Chile's great export potential for agricultural products was nullified by the protectionist policy followed since the 1930s. The end of the agrarian reform, together with the process of land titling and, above all, the opening of the economy, were decisive for the development of the sector. Thanks to this, Chile has become one of the largest exporters of fresh fruit in the world by taking advantage of the comparative advantages of the Chilean climate. In 2003, fruit exports reached US$1,667 million (FOB) with a planted area of 214,485 hectares in 2002.
The same has happened with the forestry sector, which also saw its potential curbed by the export restrictions that existed before 1974. Thanks to the opening of the economy, there was a rapid expansion of plantations and subsequently of export volumes, not only of raw material, but also of value-added by-products.
The US adopted sanctions to Chilean Fruit exports for 'human right abusses' and pressured Chile to introduce a series of economic reforms, a process that escalated sharply in the eighties.
One of the ministers of Agriculture was Alfonso Marquéz De La Plata.
When the military government took office, it was faced with litigation arising from nationalization, which had consisted of a virtual stripping of foreign companies of their investments in the mining sector. Nor was there any clarity in the rules for those who wished to exercise the right to explore and exploit mineral deposits, so that the development of the sector was in sharp decline.
Initially, the authorities, aware that the country lacked sufficient capital to support this development, reached agreement formulas with the expropriated companies, taking the first step to restore seriousness in the treatment of foreign investment.
Subsequently, through the 1980 Constitution and the Constitutional Organic Law on mining concessions, the pertinent norms were established, providing the concession with the essential attributes for the right to explore and exploit the deposits. This legislation was later joined in 1983 by the Mining Code.
The Organic Constitutional Law on Mining Concessions reaffirmed the ownership of mining concessions in private hands. The Mining Code established clear and precise definitions, its main objective being to guarantee the stability and security of the concessions.
This legislation, which is applicable to nationals and foreigners, has now borne fruit, thanks to which the sector has benefited from strong investment, which to date amounts to US$18 billion. Copper exports have reached US$7,502.5 million (FOB), while non-copper metallic and non-metallic exports reached US$958 million (FOB) in 2003.
As a result of the price freeze established in 1971, both state-owned and private companies in the electricity sector suffered serious financial difficulties. In the first years after 1974, the Military Government began a process of rationalization and normalization of the sector that sought to correct the preponderant state participation, the imposition of political price regulations and inefficient tariffs, defining a strategy consistent with the general development policy postulated by the country. That is, seeking the maximum welfare of the population within conditions of efficiency in a framework of State subsidiarity.
In 1978, the systematic process of institutional reorganization began with the objectives of decentralization, the search for efficiency, competition and private participation. Privatization itself was conducted with caution and a great deal of pragmatism as to its speed. The first privatizations did not take place before 1980. It should be noted here that this process favored not only institutional investors, but also numerous private individuals and the workers themselves through the so-called "popular capitalism".
Both privatizations and policy changes in the electricity sector have been of great importance for the country's development. First of all, it should be noted that the companies soon showed that their financial situation was in a healthy state. A second positive element was the overall efficiency of the sector, which was reflected in lower tariffs worldwide, benefiting consumers. To this must be added an increase in service coverage. Thirdly, the stability of the rules of the game has favored investment in the sector.
Currently, the energy generation activity operates as a competitive market and transmission and distribution are regulated by tariffs because they are considered natural monopolies. Both the regulatory institutional framework and the tariff law developed during the military government have been key in the development of this sector.
The new National Telecommunications Policy that the Military Government elaborated at the beginning was legally materialized in the General Telecommunications Law enacted in 1982, which established the free and non-discriminatory access of individuals to the development of telecommunications services in the country. It also established the technical control of the development of these services through authorizations granted by the Undersecretary of Telecommunications SUBTEL. In relation to the tariffs of the services, the law established a general freedom, but empowered the authority to regulate them in case of monopolistic situations.
Meanwhile, as early as 1974, a process of normalization of the large state-owned companies in the sector (CTC andENTEL) began, which would make their privatization possible after 1985. In this sense, in an attempt to decentralize the sector, the CTC was subsidized.
In 1982, the state monopoly of national telegraph and telex services was abolished and Teles Chile S.A. was created as a subsidiary of CORFO. This company was 100% privatized in 1985.
Another important milestone in the modernization of the sector was to allow the transfer of telephone contracts between private individuals, which meant recognizing the holders of these contracts a property right over them and provided a market solution aimed at economically distributing the severe shortage of lines existing at that time.
In 1981, the first two private telephone companies were created: CMET and Manquehue.
In 1985, in view of the great investment needs, the sector was opened to national and foreign private participation. Since then, the development of telecommunications in Chile has been rapid and successful, which has placed it at the forefront in Latin America and with respect to many countries in the world. On the other hand, the country has been able to successfully introduce state-of-the-art technologies such as cellular telephony, network digitalization and the use of fiber optics, among others, and to introduce greater competition in the development of long distance through the multicarrier system.
In the cases of shipping, air transportation and port operations, modifications were made to the legal system in order to establish a competitive system and open up participation to the private sector.
The modernizations carried out in the port sector have been of great importance as a complement to foreign trade activities. In 1973, Chilean ports were extremely overcrowded. The main cause of this inefficiency was found in the low yields of the port labor sector, a product of its monopolistic position. From 1973 onwards, small reforms were carried out which made it possible to incorporate a greater number of casual workers and private entrepreneurs into port operations by freezing the registration system, preventing EMPORCHI from acquiring new equipment and rationalizing personnel. However, the main change was the end of the labor monopoly, with the enactment in 1981 of Law No. 18,032, which opened access to the port labor market to the entire labor force of the country. Beginning that same year, EMPORCHI's tariff system was rationalized and port work was increased to three shifts, thus improving the efficiency in the occupation of the existing infrastructure.
With respect to air transportation, the following important modernizations were carried out during the Military Government:
- Beginning in 1977, although only administratively, restrictions for foreign operators in cargo movement began to be lifted. Shortly thereafter, the Civil Aeronautics Board decided to approve all requests to provide passenger services unless Lan Chile demonstrated within one week that this was detrimental to it, thus laying the foundations for the deregulation of the air market.
- Freedom of tariffs for scheduled air cargo transportation between Chile and other countries was decreed in December 1978, together with another Supreme Decree approving the same freedom for international scheduled air passenger transportation. In June 1979, freedom of access to the market and freedom of tariffs were established, giving the authority, in accordance with international standards, the power to apply, on the basis of the principle of reciprocity, restrictions to third country companies on routes where Chilean companies are restricted by another state, and to set tariffs on those routes where, by provision of another state, such freedom does not exist.
- Subsequently, in November 1981, Law No. 18,063 was enacted, which gave the JAC the powers it still has today and provided it with the tools to better negotiate Chile's air rights with the authorities of other countries, thus seeking a greater degree of openness in the air markets.
- These implemented policies generated competitive conditions that resulted in increased frequency, lower costs and greater air coverage from the country.
In railroad transportation, progress was made by rationalizing the state-owned company, focusing it on its own tasks and on those in which it had comparative advantages. To a small extent, private participation was introduced, especially in maintenance and repair of equipment and infrastructure.
The Carretera Austral (Southern Highway) was built between 1976 and 1989 and connects several rural towns in the far south of Chile that previously didn't had direct transportation, it is 1240 km long, starting in Puerto Montt and ending in Villa O'Higgins. Today the highway is a touristic destination of Chile because of the beauty of the landscape. This huge and important geopolitical megaproject was built by military personnel, many died because of the rough climate.
Fight against Left Wing Terrorism (Irregular War)
- Main article: Left Wing Terrorism in Chile
The Armed Forces, through their intelligence agencies, had to face a difficult element to combat. Terrorism is an activity in which the means override the ends, in which the ultimate objective is above all value considerations, making it an immoral and delirious activity that stops at nothing. Cowardly attacks, the blowing up of pylons, the detonation of explosives and robberies were the daily bread. The following are some newspaper reports of the time.
In June 1974, the National Intelligence Directorate, DINA, was created to continue the work against terrorism and subversion. The achievements of the DINA were real. But it was also between 1973 and Pinochet's abolition of DINA in 1977 that the most inexcusable abuses were committed, sometimes by senior DINA personnel. Such abuses are, no doubt, deplorable. But there is no evidence of General Pinochet's involvement in them. Moreover, there should be no doubt as to the reality of the threat facing the country, and that it was essentially this continuing threat that guaranteed a degree of impunity to skeptics of the security apparatus. The facts speak for themselves. For example: in 1974 fifty-two members of the armed forces and the police were killed or wounded in terrorist attacks. In the same year Miguel Krassnoff killed the terrorist Miguel Enríquez, leader of the MIR, the maximum leader of Chilean terrorism, and the secretary general of the Coordinadora Revolucionaria para el Cono Sur (Revolutionary Coordinating Committee for the Southern Cone) while he was in a housed with the main members of the MIR. Krassnoff saved his wife who was pregnant of his son who later became a Socialist politician called Marco Enríquez-Ominami.
In 1975 there were 25 similar cases. Then there was a lull in terrorist activity, but not in the determination of the Marxists to overthrow the regime.
In 1979, the secretary of the Chilean Communist Party, Luis Corvalán, threatened that Chile "could become a second Nicaragua".
In 1980 he envisioned a new era of "acute violence". And indeed the early 1980s saw a major resurgence of terrorist attacks, as the communist forces of the "Manuel Rodriguez Popular Front" regrouped. The action was organized mainly in Cuba, as the U.S. State Department acknowledged in a report to the Senate Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on December 14, 1981. Again the attempt to destabilize the country was put down.
In the period after 1980, the recorded terrorist deaths total 389 persons. (The information corresponds to the Rettig Report) We can observe how between the period 1973-1979 the extremist war power was drastically diminished, which correlates with the number of deaths in those years in frank decrease and in the number and type of attacks perpetrated. From 1978/79 until the mid-1980s, the terrorist escalation was notorious. This was the beginning of a decade in which the Chilean State designed the outline of a new institutional framework based on a legal system in accordance with national values and with an evidently integrating intention. The Communist Party took advantage of this moment to reinforce and optimize the "Propaganda War", from where it disseminated its doctrine and action plan. The MIR restructured itself both politically and militarily. It received support from extremist leaders such as Pascal Allende who came to Chile to consolidate the movement and set objectives. A violent work plan was set up to be applied in 1979, called "offensive of the resistance" which consisted in programming 3 major armed propaganda actions and 10 explosive sabotages per month, in the central zone of Chile and an equivalent number in the rest of the country. The repressive action of the Military Government was always directed against subversion and terrorism and although it managed to neutralize their action, it never achieved the total defeat of the extremist groups. Between 1982 and 1983, the creation of the Manuel Rodriguez Front marked a new era of violence and terrorism, which was reflected in an increase in the number of terrorist deaths. Among the most violent attacks were the deaths of military and carabineros in the exercise of their duties, carried out by combat groups of the MIR.
- July 15, 1980: Murder of the Director of the Army Intelligence School, Lieutenant Colonel Roger Vergara Campos and two companions.
- August 30, 1983: Murder of Santiago Intendant General Carol Urzúa and 2 escorts.
Significantly, it was around the same time that Pinochet had already begun to put Chile back on the road to democracy that the most serious attempt to destroy him occurred. In early 1986, Chilean security forces discovered a huge arsenal of Cuban weapons, enough to arm 5,000 men, although it was apparently only part of a larger quantity whose hiding place remains a mystery. Some of this weaponry, hidden in the hands of 70 terrorists, was used in a carefully planned assassination attempt against Pinochet. Fortunately he escaped unharmed but 5 of his bodyguards were killed. Nor were his security personnel the only victims that year; in all of 1986, 23 people died in terrorist acts, including subway passengers, bus passengers and pedestrians. In the face of so much Soviet-backed and Cuban-sponsored terrorist action perpetrated by communists, it is not surprising that the military government stepped up the fight, and when a government steps up its fight, abuses occur. But the fact remains that order is better than disorder, and legality is better than illegality. Pinochet's action restored legality and order in Chile. Had it not been for the timing and effectiveness of the Military Intervention, the death toll could have reached millions. Plan Z could have been carried out and we would have become the second Cuba. That Cuba that today boasts 48,000 executed, 400,000 prisoners and one and a half million exiles and where there is a death penalty for those who try to leave the island. On July 13, 1995, a tugboat with 72 Cubans trying to flee was intercepted killing 41 people among them 22 children.
The level reached by different paramilitary groups and the culture of destruction that guided their actions did not disappear with the presence of the military government. It only determined a change in the way they acted, since, apart from going underground, it meant a recomposition of their cadres, both from the outside and from the inside, making their actions more violent.
In 1978 close to a thousand terrorists were pardoned, commuted and amnestied according to the Amnesty Decree Law of 1978.
The Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR), which was the most efficient expression of the extremist groups, sent its main members for guerrilla training to various countries of the Soviet orbit, mainly to Cuba and, from the first quarter of 1974, began to bring them in clandestinely.
Thanks to the action of disinformation, they achieved the desired economic support and, at the end of 1979, they began the self-styled "Operation Return", which allowed them to resume terrorist action in the country, which resulted in constant assaults on bank branches and financial institutions in general, as well as sabotage to road infrastructure, public service buildings and police facilities. A series of attacks against Carabineros and authorities took place, including the assassination of the Director of the Army Intelligence School, which marked the beginning of selective terrorist actions.
This movement managed to expand to rural areas and set up guerrilla stations and pockets, which sought to attract adherents among the peasantry and, at the same time, to organize arms and supplies depots. The best known was discovered in Neltume, in the Araucanía Region.
As a result of the constant arrests to which they were subjected, this group was losing strength, although this did not mean the end of their war logic, since, for example, the year 1980 ended with a disastrous toll of deaths of civilians and police officers, who were in sectors called "armed propaganda". In line with these criminal acts, the murder of the Intendant of Santiago, Major General Carol Urzúa, and his two escorts in 1983, was also a crime.
As an illustrative example and according to existing statistical research, it can be stated that in the period 1974–1984, the MIR carried out more than 1,200 armed actions.
Apart from this movement, there were other armed subversive movements, among them the Manuel Rodriguez Front, which is the armed wing of the Communist Party, and the Lautaro Movement.
The Communist Party, obeying a party doctrine, continued with a public position, while reorganizing its paramilitary instance, which in 1975 was given an organic conformation at national level. Its first actions were registered in Antofagasta and Valparaíso, but it acquired greater strength and dynamics from 1983 onwards in the existing political-social agitation and effervescence, in which the so-called "Peaceful Protests" stood out, which generated support from popular sectors, due to the economic crisis that had to be faced. Gradually their presence became more aggressive and in 1984 alone they carried out 130 attacks with explosives.
Between 1984 and 1986, statistics show that more than 600 Chileans were affected by terrorist acts of the Manuel Rodriguez Front.
Their actions were normally centered in urban areas, but they used coastal sectors for the internment of weapons, the most notorious being the one discovered in the sector of Carrizal Bajo, in the Atacama Region. Of the material captured by the police and security agencies, which represented only 50% of the weapons seized, the following stand out:
Automatic, semi-automatic and anti-armor weapons in an amount close to 4000 units and a wide range of anti-personnel grenades, diverse and substantial ammunition of different calibers, plus explosives and other elements of war material and engineers.
On September 7, 1986, President Augusto Pinochet suffered a terrorist attack perpetrated by the Front Manuel Rodriguez (FPMR) in the Achupallas sector, Cajón del Maipo, when the motorcade in which he was traveling from his resting residence was attacked with rockets and machine guns. Pinochet suffered minor injuries to his left hand, but five of his escorts were killed. The attack used weapons from the war arsenal found in the Atacama Region on August 15, 1986, in a cove located in Carrizal Bajo, south of Copiapó, weapons sent by Fidel Castro.
The head of the attack on Pinochet, was César Bunster, and the communist military chief who has publicly confessed to having been the mastermind of that attack, was Guillermo Teillier, both have never been prosecuted because the courts have held that prescription does operate for them.
The men who were killed were: - Army Corporal 1st Corporal Miguel Angel Guerrero Guzmán. - Army Corporal 1st Corporal Cardenio Hernández Cubillos. - Carabineros 2nd Corporal Pablo Antonio Silva Pizarro. - Army Corporal 1st Corporal Gerardo Rebolledo Cisternas. - 2nd Corporal of the Army Roberto Rosales Martínez.
The most important criminal acts up to 1990 were:
- Repeated explosive attacks against municipalities and offices of public, private and international companies, including the one perpetrated against the National Defense Fund in Valparaíso, which left 17 wounded and one dead.
- Attacks on towns such as those in Contulmo, Los Queñes and Cabildo.
- Kidnappings of Gonzalo Cruzat, Sebastiano Bartolomé, Carabineros Corporal Sergio Ovando, Army Colonel Mario Haberle Rivadeneira and Army Lieutenant Colonel Carlos Carreño Barrera.
- Massive illegal arms shipment.
- Murders of Army Colonel Miguel Rojas Lobos and Army Lieutenant Julio Zegers R. at the Army Aviation Command.
- Frustrated attempt against the Army Military Prosecutor, Brigadier General Fernando Torres Silva.
- Attempted assassination attempt against the President of the Republic, CGL. Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, where 5 bodyguards were killed and countless wounded.
With regard to the Lautaro movement, known by various similar names, its most important actions began in 1982 with robberies, assaults, attacks on Carabineros and distribution of the products obtained in this way, in marginal populations and student centers.
In synthesis, this reality was a harsh interference to the spirit and proposal of the Military Government, to reach the different goals in harmony and stability, according to the itinerary that had been previously established. During the period analyzed, and as a result of the action of these extremist groups, the depressing balance, unknown by most of the public opinion, determines that more than 300 Chileans were murdered among civilians and military; they were the object of despicable actions until today forgotten or disfigured by the action of disinformation.
The facts have been distorted by various segments and sectors of Chilean society and the international community, due to disinformation as well as ideological or partisan positions. Unfortunately, it has reached such biased and unilateral levels that the image that is preserved is that of defenselessness and innocence of the actors representing pro-Marxist or paramilitary groups or sectors, and an image of intolerance, abuse of power and guilty acts of those who served in the military government prevails.
It is true that in the action against extremist movements since September 11, 1973, as well as in the periods of social effervescence and political polarization between 1982 and 1986, there may be responsibilities of officials of State agencies in the face of events labeled as human rights, but we must not forget and take into consideration the logic and reality of subversive warfare prevailing in those periods. On the other hand, in no case does this possible reality distort or minimize the responsibility of those who systematically used violence to achieve their ends.
The Government, in combating these devastating terrorist behaviors, was inspired by the common good of the country's citizens and never encouraged, systematized or organized forms of action to increase the spiral of violence that reigned.
The historical truth that must be kept in mind is that these irrational conducts were conceived and practiced by political and subversive sectors that today appear as victims alien to the real scenario that they themselves created.
It is worth mentioning, as an illustrative fact, that after 1990, both the Manuel Rodriguez Front and the Lautaro Movement continued to assassinate military and police personnel and kidnap national personalities. The judicial processes and those responsible for these serious crimes also seem to have been forgotten by public opinion.
343 of the people who died in this period were narcos eliminated along with the destruction of 33 cocaine processing laboratories.
Large-scale popular protests erupted in 1983 organized by the Left, and several opposition parties, the Christian Democratic Party being the largest, formed a new centre-left coalition, the Democratic Alliance (Alianza Democrática or AD). The Roman Catholic Church also began openly to support the opposition. In August 1984, 11 parties of the right and centre signed an accord, worked out by the archbishop of Santiago, Raúl Cardinal Silva Henríquez, calling for elections to be scheduled before 1989. Additional pressure came from the Jimmy Carter presidency and other countries that had supported Chile economically but now showed signs of impatience with Pinochet's regime and with the numerous reports of so-called 'human rights violations' attributed to his military crackdown and his persecution of Left Wing Guerrillas.
The economic and political climate continued to be volatile in the late 1980s, with increasing pressure for governmental change by the opposition, acts of terrorism multiplying, and the economy suffered from two external crises as well as strikes and protests from the labor sector.
National plebiscite and third stage (Normality or Consolidation)
This last phase would be materialized with the transfer of the government to the new authorities.
One aspect that cannot be overlooked is the fact that, while the military government was in power, there was special concern for not confusing or mixing the role that legally corresponded to the Armed Forces with the work of leading the country carried out by some of its members, which prevented a process of politicization of these institutions and allowed a full and expeditious return to their usual functions.
The country's complete political liberalization came in 1988, when the Constitution established that Chilean citizens would ratify or not the continuity of the military government through a plebiscite. To organize opposition to Pinochet, who was chosen as the junta's candidate, 16 centrist and leftist parties formed the Command for No (Comando por el No). On October 5, 1988, the "No" option, which obtained 55.99% of the votes won, against 44.01% for the "Yes" option. As the country prepared for its first free presidential and legislative elections since 1973, Command for No—renamed the Coalition of Parties for Democracy (Concertación de los Partidos por la Democracia; CPD)—and the government negotiated constitutional amendments that were approved in a national referendum in July 1989, among them the revocation of Article Eight, which banned Marxist parties. Two months later the leftist Chileans living abroad returned to the country. Presidential elections were held on December 11, 1989.
The "No" Campaign and the Concertación were supported by George Soros and the National Endowment for Democracy, which originated from the U.S. Congress resolution H.R. 2915, and helped the center-left with propaganda on television, newspapers, radio and magazines. Soros is a friend of the Chilean politician Máximo Pacheco who thanked the him for "his contribution in the recovery of our democracy, and we do not forget that in Chile" and also said that Soros was crusial "in conducting studies and obtaining data that gave us information that had been hidden from us for 17 years." "What we learned there was crucial for the preparation of the famous television program of the No campaign and for the victory in the plebiscite".
The "Sí" option would have probably won if the election was in 1987, but the majority verdict changed due to the enormous flow of money from the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy and the millionaire European subsidies for a majority of anti-government print media that subsisted thanks to the prevailing freedom of the press (although each year the Inter-American Press Association maintained that there was none, which wasn't true due to the existing opposition magazines containing the worst criticisms to the military government).
The NED financed numerous leftist entities like trade unions, academic and journalistic organizations. Pinochet knew this and described it as "an act of intervention that cannot be viewed with pleasure by the majority of Chileans, including broad sectors of the opposition". The US ambassador, Harry Barnes, who systematically contradicted the good omens that President Reagan expressed to the military government, pointed out that the aid to the opposition does not imply an intervention in Chile's internal affairs, but rather "to promote participation and civic education, processes that correspond to any real democracy".
The international organizations ignored the historical truth to the same degree as the majority of Chileans, who did not know, because of that deceitful propaganda, that democracy would return the same whether the "Sí" or "No" vote won, because there were going to be the same elections, the same institutions and the same individual guarantees for all, after 1990. Because the "Sí" government so provided in the Constitution, which improved the country for all, including those who voted "No".
In the December 1989 presidential election, Christian Democrat Patricio Aylwin Azócar, leader of the Concertación de Partidos por la Democracia (Concertation of Parties for Democracy), won by a large margin over his closest opponent, Hernán Büchi, a former finance minister and the government-endorsed candidate. The coalition also gained a majority in the lower chamber and nearly half the seats in the upper chamber.
On March 11, 1990, the President of the Republic, Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, handed over the Presidential sash to his successor Patricio Aylwin Azócar in a sober ceremony presided over by the newly elected President of the Senate, Gabriel Valdés. Everyone congratulated each other for this transfer of power full of symbolism.
The Armed Forces and the Forces of Order, which had had to take charge of the nation in 1973, were completing their work, faithfully fulfilling their word. The country was once again on the democratic path after the military government had made the profound corrections that Chile required. A thriving economy and a country confident in its future was the legacy that the Armed Forces and the Armed Forces of Order handed over to President Aylwin so that he could continue, for the good of Chile, the path that Chileans had traveled with so much effort and sacrifice during the last two decades.
This correct transition had unique and original features. He who had served for 17 years as President of the Republic continued as Commander-in-Chief of the Army for the next 8 years, that is to say, the entire presidential term of Patricio Aylwin and a good part of his successor's term.
President Aylwin did not feel comfortable with this situation and told the Commander-in-Chief of the Army that his government did not think it was good for the country or for the Army that he would continue as Commander-in-Chief, but that he recognized and respected his right to remain in office.
At the end of his term, former President Aylwin, in an interview with the newspaper Le Monde, reproduced by the Santiago newspaper El Mercurio on April 30, 1994, praised the figure of Augusto Pinochet as a sort of guarantor of the transition: "If Pinochet had not been there during the transition, we would have had in Chile attempts of insurrection carried out by subordinates, "painted faces" as was the case in Argentina". Later, in Japan, he declared that "during my government, General Pinochet fulfilled the task of Commander-in-Chief of the Army, subordinate to the President and respectful of the constitutional order" (La Época, July 9, 1994).
Aylwin, who took office in March 1990, supported Chile's free-market system but also emphasized social and political change. Before stepping down, Pinochet was able to appoint several new Supreme Court justices and to claim a lifetime senatorial seat; he also retained significant power as commander of the armed forces until his retirement from the military in 1998.
Smear campaign against the Military Government
From the first day of the Military Government, a growing campaign of disinformation and criticism began from abroad, inspired and financed, mainly at the beginning, by the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and to which, as has been said, other States gradually joined in. Priority support came from leftist sectors working in relevant information, communication and publicity centers at world and national level. In this context it is necessary to remember that disinformation seeks to psychologically destroy an image through the systematic propagation of lies or the dissemination of a half-truth.
The former Secretary of Defense of the United States of America, Robert Mc Namara, in reference to this point, explained in the context of the east–west conflict and exemplified with some postulates of the Soviets:
"The repeated lie is a method of propaganda; if the lie is spread by using all means of publicity, it concludes by being accepted as truth or at least half-truth".
The campaign remained relentless and uninterrupted throughout the Military Government and obviously, it increased after it. The persistence, consistency in the way of acting, together with a systematic use of lies, has its genesis in various meetings held abroad, with the participation of Chilean, Soviet and other nationalities' leaders, where ways were articulated to achieve the political, economic and moral isolation of Chile, with the intention of overthrowing the Military Government and reinstalling a socialist regime.
To achieve this, National Centers of Solidarity with Chile were created, which, through the spaces generated, carried out extensive disinformation campaigns. Since those years, the leftist sectors have used all academic, political and union instances, achieving, among other effects, the gradual incorporation of international, political, economic and governmental organizations to their aims, following the "Gramscian" line referring to the need to provoke a change in the existing social conditions on the basis of changing mentalities.
The level of coordination allowed them to carry out campaigns in most of the international forums, so that, together with denouncing the Military Government, even the economic policies of the country were interfered with, not to mention the high level of support they generated for the ideological opponents and mainly for the subversive apparatuses that operated clandestinely in the country.
This action had as a central axis the accusations related to human rights, which had a special receptivity in the United Nations Organization and other organizations of similar importance. This point was undoubtedly the one that caused the greatest interference and hindrance, significantly damaging national coexistence, as well as affecting the transition process conceived.
The peaceful and rational transition to democracy was slowly eroded by several factors. The main and most negative was the action of the left, which could never forgive President Augusto Pinochet for ending the chaotic government of Salvador Allende, sending a clear signal to the world that a socialist-communist regime, even if it was described as one of "empanadas and red wine", was clearly harmful and undesirable.
Leonid Brézhnev said in September 1973, "There should never be another Chile!" and the KGB started to make propaganda against the Chilean Military Government in collaboration with the Chilean Left claiming that in Chile there were "systematic Human Rights Violations".
Guilt unjustly attributed
When people in Chile and abroad speak of "Pinochet's crimes", they are referring mainly to what happened during the passage of General Arellano's retinue through the north, the details of which General Pinochet did not even know in advance and of which, subsequently, he was very badly and contradictorily informed. And for the effects of the national and world image of the regime, the simultaneous case of Lonquén, which was only discovered five years later, in 1978, aggravated the situation created by an officer of Arellano's retinue, acting on his own, by killing numerous people without any form of trial.
This discovery was decisive, and although the Junta also bore no responsibility for the deaths, it constituted a "turning point" that was very poorly resolved by the Junta. This case was originated by the unilateral and unauthorized action of the Carabineros, accompanied by civilians, who wanted to take justice into their own hands and also to take revenge on people who had committed abuses during the Allende Regime. They killed 16 leftists and tried to hide their remains in an abandoned oven in a mine in Lonquén. But these were discovered five years later, the news went around the world and the Chilean government found that it had nothing to say, because it ignored everything.
The Junta realized that there could be other similar situations undiscovered and that this could lead to a succession of macabre discoveries that would only accentuate its national and international discredit. He then ordered a confidential internal investigation, throughout the whole territory, so that those who knew of executions that had taken place without trial and without a superior order, would reveal them under the promise of secrecy and impunity. But, instead of ordering the delivery of the recovered remains to the respective families, he ordered them to be thrown into the sea. This was possibly the most unfortunate and clumsy decision of the Junta in its 1973-1981 period of government, and it has paid dearly for it.
As a result, throughout the country, the remains of 327 people killed in 1973 and 1974 and clandestinely buried were exhumed in an equally confidential manner, taken to airfields and thrown into the sea. I know this because an officer who had to carry out this procedure in Calama, after the Lonquén discovery, told me all about his experience. But the number of dead was determined and, by subsequent inquiries, the identities were determined. Strictly speaking, they were no longer people whose whereabouts were unknown, i.e., missing.
The Rettig Report made latter in Aylwin Government, and made to harm the perception of the Military Government, admits that in the case of Arellano's entourage "there was no talk of executions without trial; moreover, the message of the traveling delegate contained an express and repeated reference to facilitating the right of defense of the defendants".
Human right abuses were not a Government policy
It is not true that the Military Government, as such, abused systematically on human rights. Its government policy consisted of trying to avoid such abuses. Disproving the Rettig Report made latter in Aylwin's Government, which inculcates such a notion of "systematic policy of human rights abuses," the Junta made efforts to avoid them. From the beginning, when it issued a resolution that was distributed to the Armed Forces and the Carabineros, delivered to the latter, transcribed to the personnel by its General Directorate, it expressed its concern to avoid abuses and excesses.
|"O. S. 3, Circular No. 1 (H. Junta de Gobierno: Dicta normas de conducta en procedimientos empleen Fuerzas Armadas y Carabineros). Santiago, January 7, 1974.
Our stage in the government of the Nation cannot and should not be characterized by inhuman acts that have to be hidden from the citizens and that only engender a reaction of violence, hatred and revenge. (...) 6.a.- The attitude of the Armed Forces and the Carabineros towards any Chilean or foreigner who is caught wielding arms, in criminal acts against the troops and civilian population or sabotage that affects our forces or the civilian population, must be oriented towards the annihilation in combat of these extremists or violent individuals or, by means of the quickest judicial procedure, if they have surrendered. 6.b.- Those who are caught promoting subversion, must be submitted to trial and punished according to the quick procedures granted by military tribunals in time of war. 6.g.- The concept of 'iron fist' does not authorize the use of procedures banished from civilization; the iron fist is rather a 'just fist', in order to better interpret the spirit of the Government Junta in the conduct of the country (...). 8.- The present Circular shall be disseminated, read and commented to all the commanders of the Armed Forces, Carabineros and Investigations, and the corresponding responsibilities, sanctions and penalties shall be established for any non-compliance with the provisions contained therein. AUGUSTO PINOCHET UGARTE, General of the Army, President of the Governing Board.
In 1974 another document was distributed among all military and police units:
|(2) Decree Law No. 228 of December 24, 1973, published in the Official Gazette of January 3, 1974, Article 1°, which establishes that all the powers conferred by Article 72, No. 17, third paragraph, of the Political Constitution of the State to the President of the Republic by the declaration of the State of Siege, shall be exercised by the Board of Government by means of Supreme Decrees signed by the Minister of the Interior, with the formula "By order of the Board." (...)
(B) CONSEQUENTLY, THIS MINISTRY PROVIDES: (1) The detention of persons in use of the powers of the State of Siege is solely and exclusively privative of the Military Government Junta and shall be exercised through Decrees of the Ministry of the Interior. (2) The detention of persons by the Military Justice may only be carried into effect by virtue of an order issued by a competent Court and in accordance with the legal norms in force. (3) No authority is authorized to make arrests outside the present provisions; the same applies to the Military Intelligence Services of any institution, which must also be subject to these rules. The above is without prejudice to compliance with orders issued by the competent authority and in cases in which the Criminal Law authorizes the detention of persons caught in flagrante delicto. (...) (6) The Ministry of Defense shall provide that all C.A.J.S.I. (Justice and Internal Security Grouping Commanders) shall send a complete list of the persons who are detained to date, pursuant to this constitutional power, indicating the date on which they were detained. This list shall be sent to the Ministry of National Defense within ten days after receiving the instructions of that Ministry, which shall be sent through the National Executive Secretariat of Detainees to the Ministry of the Interior. (...) (10) The Ministry of National Defense shall give the pertinent orders for the immediate fulfillment of these instructions. Sincerely yours faithfully,( sd.) OSCAR BONILLA BRADANOVIC, Major General, Minister of the Interior.
The DINA was abolished in 1977 precisely because supporters of the Junta pointed out that while it was very effective in controlling terrorists, it committed frequent human rights abuses. If the military government had had a "systematic policy of human rights abuses" it would not have disbanded DINA, but would have strengthened it. It was replaced by the CNI, under the command of General Odlanier Mena, a military officer admittedly respectful of legality and the rights of individuals. However, regulations had already been issued to prevent abuses. Indeed, in January 1976, Supreme Decree 187 was issued, which prohibited secret places of detention and according to which all arrests had to take place with an order signed by the head of the responsible security agency, stating the names of the person who ordered it and of the person executing the order, as well as the place of detention, guaranteeing that family members should obtain a copy of this.
Historian Gonzalo Rojas Sánchez, in his work "Chile Elige la Libertad", Zigzag, 1998, volume I, p. 232, says about this visit: "For his part, Duvauchelle personally reports burn marks on the hands of some detainees and hygienic conditions that allow the proliferation of fungus. Pinochet calls Contreras and speaks harshly to him. To Duvauchelle he simply adds: 'These things happen because there are people who do not understand. The DINA director waits for Duvauchelle at the exit and, in a threatening tone, refers to the undersecretary's family, to which Duvauchelle demands that he repeat these comments in front of the President, who reacts angrily with a 'that's not done, next time it's over'. In his recrimination to Contreras, Duvauchelle simply states that 'Pinochet served him'".
Truths about the disappeared detainees
The other major theme of the slogans of the left, which most believe, is that of the so-called "disappeared detainees". To begin with, the number of the same that the opposition to the military government denounced until 1990 was in the publications of the Vicariate of Solidarity, in seven volumes entitled "Where Are They?", and totaled 600 cases. That was the real extent of the problem. Another uniformed officer and in particular of an officer who joined General Arellano's retinue on his tour to the north. Without the latter's knowledge, he proceeded to order the unconsulted execution of about 56 people, who in at least two places (Antofagasta and Calama) were buried in the desert, followed by the attempt of other officers, innocent of the executions, but without due judgment, to hide the remains afterwards.
The Military Junta did not know how to deal with this problem in the 1970s and relied on the CAJSI (Area Commanders of Justice and Internal Security), the highest authorities of each zone in a state of exception, who, if they had each fulfilled their duties properly, applying their own military regulations, would have minimized the number of disappeared detainees. There were CAJSI that after 2000 had problems with the justice system and there was one that had none (Washington Carrasco, III Army Division based in Concepción). This means that he always adhered to the regulations. On the other hand, General Joaquín Lagos Osorio, under whose command the worst things happened, after 1990 "went over to the enemy" and tried to blame everything on Pinochet and the Junta. But in 1973 he had the authority to have sanctioned everything that happened unduly under his jurisdiction, he knew it perfectly well and in time, and he did not do it.
The "disappearances" that had been denounced in the 70's and 80's, totaled, as of October 5, 1988, 600, contained in a publication of the Archbishopric, whose authors were Claudio Orrego and Patricia Verdugo. Later, the 1991 Rettig Report raised them to 979 and the Reparation and Reconciliation Commission increased them to 1,102. The Government claimed to have no information on these cases. But then it has been proven that the remains of people whose whereabouts are known, plus those who have been "reappearing", which are six (that is, they are not technically "disappeared") is greater than 1,102. As this has not been done in decades of Center-left governments, is it politically more profitable to continue talking about "the disappeared".
There is so little interest in identifying remains that a bag with unidentified skeletal remains was discovered in the headquarters of the Association of Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared. And an Investigative Commission of the Chamber (which forms them under any pretext) has never been formed to determine the identity of the remains in the AFDD, the Forensic Medical Service and the General Cemetery; and to clarify the cases of "disappeared" who appear to have traveled abroad or have been seen alive by witnesses who so declare before a notary and also those who lack legal existence according to the Civil Registry, but are listed as disappeared. Blaming the Pinochet supporters for these omissions that have been going on for years.
Exile was not a government policy
There is also talk of "thousands of exiles" during the Military Government, but that is another hoax. There never were. There were temporary expulsions of political figures who were harshly critical, but they can be counted on the fingers of one's hands and were very exceptional: Renán Fuentealba, Eugenio Velasco Letelier, Jaime Castillo Velasco, Manuel Bustos and the prohibition to re-enter for Andrés Zaldívar. Eventually, those who wanted to return to the country returned. There was one notable one, former Minister Bernardo Leighton, who left of his own accord at the beginning of 1974. We will see later the case of the assassination attempt against him, after which he returned to live in Chile in 1977. There were other opponents who also left because they had attractive offers abroad.
They usually call themselves "exiles", but they were never exiles. What is often confused with exile is the commutation of prison sentences for those convicted of terrorist behavior, that is, the possibility of completing their sentences abroad. As the external links of the left and the Christian Democracy were very good, especially in Europe, there were 999 Mirists, communist and socialist prisoners who left prison and traveled to freedom with good jobs in Europe and Canada, thus serving the sentence of exile. In addition, parole was granted to 96 convicted by the Military Courts and to 22 convicted by special laws who also traveled abroad. These were not sanctions, but benefits for these convicts. A private study made by General (r) Gastón Frez, details all these cases, which totaled 1,117. This is what is called "mass exile" which, in reality, never existed but today strengthens the anti-Military Government slogans.
The extreme left has always done, once its own violence has provoked an armed conflict it turned to the Catholic Church, in which, of course, and particularly in those years, there was no lack of priests and prelates sympathetic to the Popular Unity and the MIR.
Denouncing police torture is a well-known and long-standing tactic of terrorism, whether they exist or not. In a guerrilla instruction seized from the Uruguayan Tupamaros and reproduced in an article by the former President of Uruguay, Juan María Bordaberry, it is stated: "The reports received (...) mark the stages of the interrogations in which the repressive force has to be attacked, using for this purpose real facts or mounting a great scandal by means of versions that shock the opinion of the people. This campaign must be mounted by indoctrinating our comrades for when they are arrested (...) The greatest number of denunciations must be used, as a system (...) Use the press as the main means, forcing it to publish what we want. "The methods of torture that are denounced should be generalized to all the cities in order to demonstrate a whole system of illegal coercion and punishments (...) The stories should go into the greatest detail, trying to make them repugnant. One must always try to mention those military men whose surnames are better known by the population (...) One must always be attentive so that any casual event, illness, accident or death is exploited so that the blame falls on the repressive force". (Magazine "Gladius" N° 50, B. Aires, 2001).
Torture was a common practice in the police before the Military Government, even in the Frei Montalva and Allende's Government, but most of the alleged tortured of the Military Government were leftist following the manual exaggerating interrogatories (or nothing) in order to damage the Army's reputation.
Cardinal Silva Henríquez, whose inclination for center-left ideas was well known, but who in the last days of the UP government had evolved and saw that a military solution was inevitable, in spite of this could not but agree to establish an organization to defend the people massively detained by the military authorities under the State of Siege.
Thus was born the Pro-Peace Committee, which was later succeeded by the Vicariate of Solidarity of the Archbishopric of Santiago. Then, by natural gravitation, the extreme left, which formed the environment of the armed groups existing in all the parties of the Popular Unity, was integrated to the Vicariate, without, probably, this one could avoid it nor, perhaps, to warn it, but this last one only at the beginning...
Then the Vicariate provided, first, judicial assistance to the detainees. Explainable. But with time it even provided medical assistance to wounded terrorists, as happened under the responsibility of Monsignor Valech, in the 1980s. And some communists reached positions of command in the Vicariate. We saw the case of José Manuel Parada. This was indeed objectionable, since this division of the Church partially became a logistical wing of terrorism, as was demonstrated in the courts.
With this ecclesiastical support, the FPMR became, between 1985 and 1986 (as indicated in reports from the U.S. Embassy) the main cause of violent deaths in Chile. The link with the FPMR of the "Chief of Analysis" of the Vicariate became evident after the arrest, in 1986, of the guerrilla Alfredo Malbrich Labra, who referred in the following terms to his incorporation into the guerrilla through Parada: "On May 1, 1979 I was arrested by Carabineros in the Alameda Bernardo O'Higgins and taken to the 1st Police Station. My wife went to the Vicaría de la Solidaridad and filed a writ of amparo in my favor. When I was released, I went to the Vicariate, where I made friends with José Manuel Parada, who asked me to collaborate by lending my home telephone as a mailbox and carrying small messages. Later he asked me if I would like to collaborate in a more systematic way; when I accepted, he told me that he would give me a link with Enrique". From then on, Malbrich refers to his activities in buying and transporting arms, his trips to and from Argentina, Bolivia, Panama and Germany, as a courier for the Communist Party; his participation in the great arms landing of Carrizal Bajo, "to establish a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary government, following the example of Cuba and Nicaragua", according to his words in "El Mercurio" of August 28, 1986.
Then, the files of testimonies of people detained in the anti-terrorist fight of the Vicariate were in charge of a high terrorist leader who followed what Bordaberry's article indicates and what the Brazilian guerrilla theorist, Carlos Marighella, author of the "Marighella's Manual" advises: to induce the declarant to declare himself always, but absolutely always, tortured by his captors. Thus, over the years thousands of pages of accounts of torture were accumulated, real (we saw that it was an immemorial and habitual practice in Chile) or fictitious, because many people were not tortured during their detention.
There were approximately thirty-four thousand declarations received by the Valech Commission, which is Valech Commission received, which is not excessively numerous for a subversion made up of ten thousand Chileans and some twelve thousand foreigners who clandestinely entered the country; and in the face of the prize of a lifetime pension for only declaring. Well, but what happened to these thousands of pages of testimonies deposited in the Archive of the Vicariate of Solidarity? They remained in storage. They had to wait until the country was "mature." Until the brainwashing had been sufficiently prolonged and repeated. And the moment came in 2004, when the Commission for Political Prisoners and Torture was formed, presided over by Monsignor Valech.
He was a person trusted by the Concertación, especially by the left. Then President Ricardo Lagos announced that all those tortured under the Military Government, and only under the Military Government (obviously, they were not going to encourage those tortured under their governments, that is, those of the Popular Unity of Allende and the Christian Democrat Frei Montalva's one), would be given economic compensation. All they had to do was to present themselves and state their case. And if the information provided was reliable (and more than 28,000 of the 34,000 who presented themselves were reliable), they were given a pension for life, which initially amounted to around $120,000 pesos a month.
The wide publicity of the Valech Commission's work operated as the most effective brainwashing practiced by the Concertación. But this has little to do with the truth, since the fact of having described tens of thousands as victims of "political imprisonment and torture" and having lured them to testify through a pecuniary retribution does not stand up to any requirement of valid proof within a due process.
Quemados Case/Julio Castañer Case
The Quemados Case (Burnt People Case), (or Quemadores as it should be properly named) was an incident occurred on July 2, 1986, in Santiago where the leftist activists, Carmen Gloria Quintana and Rodrigo Rojas de Negri who were participating in marches against the Military Government, ended out burned after they had materials to burn buses and their passengers and they failed in the process. A former conscript, through an involuntary clumsiness, hit some bombs while they were searching the two detainees, who were carrying smaller bombs in their clothes, which caught fire. They were devices made with aluminum powder, beeswax and kerosene; the wax was the insulator between the reagents. They were not the Molotovs made with benzine and guaipe. The soldiers in the statements contradict themselves grossly.
Julio Castañer Gonzalez is falselly accused by the left as the burner of the leftists. Former conscript Fernando Guzman acted as a fake informer to the judicial system, who was the first and only one to accuse Colonel Julio Castañer Gonzalez (and all the rest of the soldiers contradict Fernando Guzman), arrived at the scene of the events after the arrest of the two young communist terrorists, because he was in the truck driven by Ivan Figueroa. Colonel Castañer was brought, by order of Carroza, by PDI personnel from Punta Arenas, where he lives. Then the judge prosecuted him and he is still being held at the Army Telecommunications Command in Peñalolén.
Immediately after, the current Army command reported that he was dismissed from the position he held as a civilian in his former institution, in Magallanes. However, in his statements to Minister Carroza, Fernando Guzmán has given him details of the arrest of the two communists.
It is impossible that it could be true, since he was not an eyewitness of what happened. On the other hand, it is now known that, since last year, the former conscript Leonardo Riquelme Alarcón confesses that he was the one who accidentally hit the bomb that the extremists were carrying and that, at that moment, he was on the ground. This was declared by former soldier Riquelme himself to Minister Carroza. He would be the involuntary author of the accident.
The trial for the burned burners would be the most scandalous of all those initiated by the Judicial Dictatorship of the Left that reigns in the country, with the co-authorship and complete complicity of the Piñera Administration.
Castañer was completely oblivious to the outcome suffered by the burned burners, Rodrigo Rojas and Carmen Gloria Quintana, but he has been sentenced to ten years in prison, which he must soon begin to serve. The important thing is that he has managed to publicly prove his innocence in the facts, with which the discredit of Minister Carroza, who imposed the sentence, has fallen to the lowest level, because not only has it become evident that he has prevaricated by passing over res judicata and the statute of limitations, but also for having contravened the truth of the facts: as Colonel (r) Cristián Slater has proven, Carmen Gloria Quintana declared that she had been sprayed with fuel by a soldier in camouflage uniform and painted face. ... and Castañer has proven that on that day he was wearing civilian clothes, without face paint and was twenty meters away from the events.
Jeannette Reyes de Castañer has conducted, in the social networks, the defense of her husband with a tenacity and courage that every men would like and has provided documentary evidence that by itself removes any basis for the fundamental argument of Minister Carroza to reopen a case that was closed: he has proven that the only conscript (among those who participated in the events) who, 29 years after his 1986 declarations, has contradicted himself and changed his version, lurked in 2015 with center and leftist politicians and has a psychiatric background that detracts from his credibility.
Minister Carroza's actions contra legem have been of great cruelty with modest people who live from their work, such as the conscripts involved in the case in 1986, who have been subjected to prison by him and some of whom have lost their jobs, being people of scarce resources. But among them Leonardo Riquelme Alarcón has stood out, who in this illegal process voluntarily revealed something that nobody knew: that it was him who, in the episode of 1986, when the bus and people burners were caught carrying highly combustible elements, in a casual way stumbled with a container, breaking it and causing the flames that burned both extremists. This testimony alone further exculpates Colonel Castañer.
One of the former conscripts, Pedro Franco Rivas (who lives in a street condition) and for that same situation, they set up a special figure to leave him in night confinement. All the above facts of this illegal investigation carried out by Carroza are manipulated by people from the Human Rights program of the Ministry of the Interior. Clearly this comes from the Government itself. The one who accused Colonel Julio Castañer is the former conscript Fernando Guzmán, who was prepared for a year to play this role.
Guzman is also a relative of Mayor Sady Melo, a socialist of the most left wing. To the former conscript soldier who spoke on TV about the "pact of silence" in the Quemados case, I would like to comment that: The Communist Party paid him $15,000,000 Chilean Pesos, took him off the streets as a beggar and kept him for two weeks, to detoxify him for alcohol and drugs.
Orlando Letelier Case
On 21 September 1976 the assassination of Orlando Letelier and his American secretary Ronni Moffitt happen in Washington, D.C., in which it has been proved that President Pinochet did not participate. It is reported by the fake news that CIA information has been "declassified" blaming Pinochet for having supposedly ordered the attack. President Michelle Bachelet while in Washington lay a wreath at the site of the attack and "thanked" the CIA for the "declassification". The media published that "Pinochet ordered Letelier's assassination". This is another set-up, because the CIA did not investigate the case and its "declassified" documents are mere opinions of fourth level US officials, which do not provide any proof of Pinochet's responsibility.
"La Tercera", the only local newspaper that, apart from publishing the headline, went into a little more detail about the alleged "declassifications", only presents the opinions of subordinate officials. Among them there is only one direct testimony, that of former Chilean lieutenant and deserter, Armando Fernandez Larios, who is in asylum in the U.S. in exchange for a "compensated confession", that is to say, in exchange for revealing everything he knew about the "Letelier case". He contradicted the headline of "Pinochet Ordered Letelier's Assassination", since he affirmed that "he did not know if Pinochet was involved in the preparation of the assassination". Then, the only valid witness that appears in the "declassification" denies the title of the information.
Senator Juan Pablo Letelier, son of the assassinated, who declared in "El Mercurio" of the 4th of June 1995 the following: "What I have said again and again, because I was taught to speak with the truth, is that there is no evidence that flows from the process of thousands of pages that allows sustaining that there is participation of the Army nor of its commander in chief in the assassination of Orlando Letelier".
In fact, the CIA had no part in the US investigation of the assassination, which was always and from the beginning in charge of the FBI. In Chile, it was investigated by the courts of justice and no conviction against Pinochet emerged from them, as he was not involved in the case. He was so oblivious that, when it was discovered that the person who had planted the bomb was the North American resident in Chile, Michael Townley, Pinochet commissioned the CNI, led by General (r) Odlanier Mena, to find out who that person was, because he knew nothing about him. Naturally, the first person Mena interrogated was General Manuel Contreras, former director of the dissolved DINA. Contreras also denied knowing Townley. But Mena took him to Pinochet.
"El Mercurio" of April 2, 2000 reported the following, in a chronicle titled "And He Denied It Three Times": "Pinochet asked Contreras: 'Categorically, tell me if you have any distant relationship, or that you do not know, with this individual'. 'No, none, General,' Contreras replied. Three times he asked him the same question. At most he could have been an informant, but never a DINA agent,' Contreras reiterated. Then Pinochet asked: 'You mean we have to expel Townley. Do you oppose that?' 'No, for any reason, if he has nothing to do with us,' Contreras said.
Hermógenes Pérez de Arce had a personal testimony of Pinochet's ignorance about the assassination attempt a year after it, since he was invited in 1977, together with other newspaper editors (he was from "La Segunda") to attend with the Head of State the signing of the Panama Canal Treaty in Washington. One morning Pérez de Arce readed in the "Washington Post" a column by Jack Anderson according to which there were "Chilean officials involved in Letelier's assassination". It was the first time something like that had been published. That afternoon we met with the President at the Chilean embassy, and he made him see what Anderson was saying, which infuriated him. He said to me something like this: "How can you even repeat that, which is an outrage! You don't know the damage caused by that attack, which interrupted the granting of loans to Chile that were being processed in those very days". When Hermógenes insinuated that it could have been a DINA action of which he had no knowledge, he told me (evidently mistaken): "I know everything that DINA does and I could never have been involved in that".
After Townley's asylum in the U.S. following his plea bargain, he stated that, upon learning from General Contreras that nothing had been reported to President Pinochet about the attack, he would have replied: "Such a decision should not have been taken without his knowledge".
What will never be clarified is the role of the American Deep State in that attack and in that of General Carlos Prats. It will never be clarified, because there is no interest or means to investigate it and because the main witness and protagonist of the events has died, the American General Vernon Walters, a notorious secret agent who was a close friend of General Contreras.
Letelier was an active and uncomfortable (for the U.S.) agent of Fidel Castro in Washington. And the contents of his briefcase, recovered by the Americans after the attack, have never been found out.
In short, this new set-up by leftist CIA underlings, lacking all seriousness and substance, will be added to the list of others, such as "Pinochet's gold" in the Bank of Hong Kong and Shanghai, a complete fabrication; Pinochet's "fortune of 27 million dollars", which never appeared anywhere, as it is limited to the two million seized by the Chilean courts and some properties owned by him whose contributions his widow pays four times a year asking the court to release funds to be able to pay them and prevent the judicial auction of the properties; and the alleged torture of a young man, in 1989, in a remote police station in Curacautín, which was the only thing the British "high lords" found, to maintain his detention in London in 1998.
There is a historical irony in all this: historian Paul Johnson, in his book "Heroes", designates Pinochet as such, but acknowledges that the Soviet KGB, "before being thrown into the dustbin of history", managed to demonize the general in the eyes of the world. The irony is that the role of the KGB is now assumed by the CIA.
Raúl Eduardo Iturriaga Neumann is falsely accused of being the author of the assassination of Letelier, the leftist judges try to link the DINA with the assassination ans Iturriaga as part of the DINA to the incident, but nor the DINA was the author, and Iturriaga Neumann was not on the DINA in 1976 since he left in December 1975 to study. Iturriaga is in the Punta Peuco Jail for this kind of accusations and is one of the Military Political Prisoners of Chile.
Eduardo Frei Montalva Case
A typical example of how a baseless story is the Frei case. At the end of 1981, the former president underwent surgery for an esophageal obstruction performed by Augusto Larraín. An error in the operation caused an infection and peritonitis, which led to another operation. The former president could not survive this one.
No one then said anything about "poisoning" or third party intervention or even less about "assassination", because Frei lived his last days protected and surrounded by those closest to him, especially his closest friends and former ministers, Patricio Rojas and Patricio Silva, and the former senator Dr. Osvaldo Olguín.
The doctor who performed Frei's first operation, Augusto Larraín, suffered the consequent discredit as a result of the poor outcome, but for more than twenty years he never said anything about the intervention of third parties in the outcome. On the contrary, when shortly after the death of the former president he had a daughter and received a bouquet of flowers from his widow, Mrs. María Ruiz-Tagle de Frei, he took care to send a letter to "El Mercurio" making public this gesture that vindicated him and highlighting the nobility of Mrs. Maruja in expressing her no resentment for the fatal outcome of her husband's operation.
It was only about fifteen years after Frei Montalva's death that his daughter, Carmen, began to voice suspicions of third party intervention in her father's death. It had become fashionable to blame everything on the Pinochet regime without proof. And the totalitarians had already become "democrats", the aggressors had become "attacked" and the perpetrators who were preparing the 1973 self-coup, denounced by Aylwin in October of that year, had become "victims", declared and compensated as such by Aylwin himself.
But nobody took Carmen Frei's suspicions seriously, so much so that the then director of "El Mercurio", Juan Pablo Illanes, told us in a meeting of editors that, after asking President Frei Ruiz-Tagle about his sister's denunciation, he had replied: "These are Carmen's things". His government never took part in them or investigated anything, because there was nothing. But in Chile, if you get the support of the left, you can fabricate a case out of nothing, especially against Augusto Pinochet.
In 1997, Dr. Augusto Larraín also operated on Isabel Allende for the same thing that had affected Frei and when she, like him, was at death's door with a generalized infection, he went to Dr. Arturo Jirón, former doctor of La Moneda under Allende, who operated correctly, cleaned and sterilized her and, partly thanks to the younger age of the patient, saved her. Isabel Allende had had no problem in declaring publicly that she did not believe in the "Frei assassination" because she had had the experience with Dr. Augusto Larraín and knew that his procedures had left her on the verge of death. But a few days ago I saw in a tweet of hers, in "La Tercera", that she has changed her position, as she now expressed her support to the Frei family in their thesis of the "assassination".
At the same time, Sebastián Piñera, already in his first presidency climbed on the Frei's bandwagon and promised them help to get an American expert opinion to prove the poisoning, but the expert from there did not find any traces of poison.
Before that, the country had been shaken when, under the first Bachelet government, the Frei's lawyer announced that there was a report from the University of Ghent, in Belgium, confirming the poisoning. Then the ineffable president summoned the national and international press to La Moneda to denounce the assassination of Frei Montalva, an occasion in which her minister Vivianne Blanlot launched a phrase that made headlines: "The horror does not end". The bad thing was that "La Segunda" called the University of Ghent and they replied that there was no such report on Frei's poisoning. But the family's lawyer replied: "There is a report, there is a report! However, he never showed it. Finally, he resigned his sponsorship of the case.
Almost a quarter of a century after the ill-fated operation, Dr. Augusto Larraín, who had never said anything, appeared on Chilevisión and the following day, August 19, 2006, in "El Mercurio", saying that he had been summoned by Judge Madrid to testify in the case opened at the initiative of Carmen Frei: "I kept for 25 years the secret of my impressions regarding the reasons that had complicated the health of former President Eduardo Frei Montalva", he said. I ask myself: what doctor who has had a patient poisoned stays silent for 25 years and does not denounce it? Well, Dr. Larraín told "El Mercurio" that he had kept his doubts secret and had only expressed them to his cousin and DC senator, Andrés Zaldívar, who did not say anything either.
In that version of "El Mercurio" of August 19, 2006, Dr. Larraín appears adding that Judge Madrid asked him "if there could have been any external contamination", to which Larraín responded in the affirmative. "He also said that Madrid gave him information that he did not know". And the newspaper goes on to say: "Regarding the way in which this external contamination could have been produced, Larraín admitted that there could have been no intentionality, since it could have been caused by a bad sterilization".
The Christian Democracy has closed ranks behind its "flagship family" in the dubious crusade it has undertaken, they pretended that the second government of Sebastián Piñera took part, since he was known for yielding to all pressures and was characterized, just like his first presidency, by columnists and opinion makers changing his ministers. The Christian Democrats demanded the resignation of his Undersecretary of Health Care Networks, Dr. Luis Castillo, who held the same position during his first administration, but then the Frei family had not realized that he had been in charge of Frei Montalva's pathological anatomy samples at the Catholic University. Now when they found out, they decided to accuse him of having hidden them and, therefore, of being an "accessory" to the assassination, all of which is false, because those samples were taken at the request of the former president's medical team (there is a document), the results were delivered to that medical team (there is a document) and until October 2002 (twenty years after the operation) no one from the family or the medical team requested that information, according to what the former dean of Catholic University Medicine, Dr. Gonzalo Grebe, expressed in a letter to the newspaper. He added that when Mrs. Carmen Frei asked for it, it was given to her ("there is a document that can be made public", he affirms). In other words, zero cover-up and zero blame for Dr. Castillo, but the DC continues to pressure Piñera to defend him, something that no one, knowing Piñera, can dismiss.
In addition, one of Frei Montalva's closest friends, his former minister Patricio Silva Garín, who wanted to help him in the infectious aftermath of Augusto Larraín's operation, has been indicted as the author of the "assassination"; and another, Patricio Rojas, former Minister of the Interior, who also said he did not believe in the "assassination" thesis, suffered such an onslaught of insults from within the Christian Democracy that Patricio Aylwin had to come out in defense of his good name.
All of which proves that in Chile, if you want to blame Pinochet, you can put together any story and transform it into a judicial process in the hands of a leftist judge, with good prospects.
Chile became embroiled in an unprecedented controversy in 1998. While visiting Great Britain, Pinochet was detained when left-wing Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón requested his extradition with the charges of supposed "torture" of Spanish citizens in Chile during his military regime. The case caused the United States and other countries to release documents relating to those who had "disappeared" in Chile under Pinochet's rule. In January 2000 Pinochet with the help of Baroness Margaret Thatcher won an appeal on medical grounds and was permitted to return home, but Chilean authorities continued to investigate numerous charges of earlier so called "human rights abuses". Stripped of the immunity from prosecution he had enjoyed as a former president, Pinochet was indicted later that year, though the case was later dismissed. In January 2005, however, Chile's Supreme Court upheld another indictment of Pinochet, who was once again without immunity (which is removed on a case-by-case basis under Chilean law).
- ↑ Telegram Statement about Pinochet. Telegram.
- ↑ "On September 20, 1973, just nine days after the coup, the UNHCR opened an office in Santiago and mobilized many efforts to facilitate the withdrawal from Chile of those politically persecuted by the regime and their reception in different countries. More than 20,000 were assisted by UNHCR in those years." Transitions to Democracy: A Comparative Perspective, Kathryn Stoner, Michael McFaul, p. 218, JHU Press, 2013
- ↑ "Since the overthrow about 80,000 Chileans have moved out of their country." U.S. Refugee Programs: Hearing before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, 96th Congress, Second Session, April 17, 1980, p.398, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1980
- ↑ "Since the events of September 1973, about 80,000 Chileans have fled their country." World Refugee Crisis, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1979
- ↑ Latin America's Wars: The Age of the Professional Soldier, 1900–2001, Robert L. Scheina, p. 326, Potomac Books, 2003
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 LA TRAGEDIA DEL QUIEBRE DESDE ADENTRO DE LA DEMOCRACIA CHILENA (es). José Piñera (2010).
- ↑ Gonzalo Lira (July 1, 2022). Chilean history thread.
- ↑ La mano de la KGB y la CIA en el quiebre democrático en Chile (es). El Líbero.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 GOBIERNO MILITAR. Chile Pinochet Nuestro.
- ↑ WEAPONS FOR THE MASSES : SOME PARIAH NATIONS ARE FINDING THERE’S A NEW WORLD ORDER FOR THEIR CUT-RATE ARMS. LA Times (May 5, 1992).
- ↑ Las armas que España vendió a Pinochet (es). El País (April 11, 1987).
- ↑ Declassified: Apartheid Profits –Pals with Pinochet. Daily Maverick (November 28, 2017).
- ↑ 
- ↑ Pincohet, Arms Merchant. Nacla (March 6, 2008).
- ↑ 
- ↑ Crédito de China a Pinochet (es). El País (August 16, 1977).
- ↑ Gonzalo Lira. The Pinochet Problem - CRP.
- ↑ Thatcher visits her old friend Pinochet. The Guardian (March 26, 1999).
- ↑ Este Pobre País Desmemoriado (es). Hermógenes Pérez de Arce's blog (July 19, 2014).
- ↑ BIOGRAFIA. Chile Pinochet Nuestro.
- ↑ Hermógenes Pérez de Arce (2019). Historia de la Revolución Militar Chilena 1973 - 1990. Editorial El Roble.
- ↑ https://youtu.be/PstCXq6xO-A?t=141
- ↑ Ministro desclasifica vínculo de George Soros con Chile: apoyó campaña del No, ayudó a Ricardo Lagos con los empresarios y hoy respalda inversión en el país (es). Economía y Negocios (September 27, 2015).
- ↑ "Se Me Cayeron" los Estados Unidos (es). Hermógenes Pérez de Arce's blog (December 30, 2020).
- ↑ 25.0 25.1 Otro Aniversario del "Sí" (es). Hermógenes Pérez de Arce's blog (Septemebr 30, 2020).
- ↑ El multimillonario que apoyó la campaña del No y ayudó a Ricardo Lagos con empresarios (Soros helped the "No" campaign) (es). Emol (September 27, 2015).
- ↑ Hoy Votaría "Sí" Con Mayor Razón (es). Hermógenes Pérez de Arce's blog (October 3, 2018).
- ↑ Hermógenes Pérez de Arce (2019). Historia de la Revolución Militar Chilena 1973 - 1990. Editorial El Roble.
- ↑ El 18 de la Infamia (es). Hermógenes Pérez de Arce's blog (October 17, 2021).
- ↑ ¿Renegación Nacional? (es). Hermógenes Pérez de Arce's blog (November 21, 2014).
- ↑ Hermógenes Pérez de Arce (2019). Historia de la Revolución Militar Chilena 1973 - 1990. Editorial El Roble.
- ↑ 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 (2013) El Libro de las Verdades Olvidadas NI VERDAD NI RECONCILIACIÓN (in es). Hermógenes Pérez de Arce's blog.
- ↑ Manos y Sangre (es). Hermógenes Pérez de Arce's blog (November 1, 2018).
- ↑ El Éxito Final del KGB (es). Hermógenes Pérez de Arce's blog (October 7, 2018).
- ↑ (2016) Miserias de la Chilenidad: Ciudadanía renegó al gobierno militar, el giro traidor de la derecha y la prevaricación judicial (in es). El Roble.
- ↑ Carlos Marighella (April 28, 1970). Mini-manual de la guerrilla urbana (es). Punto Final.
- ↑ Castañer Duro de Roer (es). Hermógenes Pérez de Arce's blog (July 15, 2019).
- ↑ Aldo (August 12, 2015). EL VUELCO NO CONTADO POR EL JUEZ CARROZA EN EL CASO QUEMADOS (es).
- ↑ Inocentes Sin Justicia (es). “La Verdad del Caso Castañer”
- ↑ "La Tercera", 24.09.16, p. 14
- ↑ Mi Misión Imposible (es). Hermógenes Pérez de Arce's blog (September 24, 2016).
- ↑ Declaración de Eduardo Iturriaga por su juzgamiento en el caso de Ronni Moffitt
- ↑ El "Caso Frei" (es). Hermógenes Pérez de Arce's blog (August 21, 2018).
- The Pinochet Documentary - English subtitles
- Pinochet, the story never told
- Encyclopædia Britannica article