Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Think This: Chile Under Pinochet

Upon taking office, Allende began to implement campaign promises, turning the country toward socialism. Opposition to his program, however, was strong from the beginning, and by 1972 the result was seen in severe economic problems and a sharply polarized citizenry. The situation grew more critical in 1973, when skyrocketing prices, food shortages, strikes and political violence brought Chile to the brink of chaos. The crisis was further aggravated by the United States, which worked to undermine the Allende regime and rid South America of its only socialist government. The apex came on September 11, 1973, when General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, recently appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army, was part of, along with the Navy, Air Force, National Police and much of the citizenry, a coup d'état against the socialist government, resulting in Allende committing suicide that day.

After the events of September 11 (How ironic, September 11) Pinochet quickly set about establishing a military government
, ruled through a junta. A state of siege was ordered and the new Pinochet led government immediately suspended the constitution, dissolved Congress, imposed strict censorship, and banned all political parties. In addition, it embarked upon a terror campaign against socialist supporters in the country. Thousands were arrested; many were executed, tortured, or exiled, while others were imprisoned without charge or simply disappeared. - Moon Dog Sports
We don't get to hear about this side of the story in history class. All that was mentioned in my class, A.P History, was the coup of Allende. There was no mention of the corruption that existed during Pinochet's regime. Maybe it is due to the limited amount of class time we have, but seriously I don't know how this could be left out.

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