Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Augusto, poor Agusto

Today's NYT has an interesting editorial on the prosecution of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, one of the worst petty tyrants supported, financed, and (in this case) assisted in his undemocratic takeover by the United States government - just because he was "anti-communist." He recently had his immunity stripped from him by the Chilean courts, after evidence began to pile up that he was not as 'senile' as his lawyers claimed.

Chile once had one of the strongest democracies in South America - one that has been painstakingly rebuilt after Pinochet handed over power and allowed free elections. I'll refrain from directly commenting on whether his coup was warranted in 1973 - personally, I feel that Allende was hardly the threat he was being made out to be by the Chilean Army and the US government (spearheaded by war criminal Kissenger). What Chile really needs, though, is a truth and reconciliation commission - similar to what happened in South Africa. The last thing the country needs is a long series of trials - healing does not necessarily mean vengence. While I deplore the acts of Pinochet...he's an old man. A sad and pathetic old man. Healing will begin once the past is truly explored, and that can only be done with a sort of amnesty like what happened in South Africa - allowing people to come forward who might fear prosecution. Just my opinion, of course.


At 11:40 AM, Blogger Banjax said...

It was brought to my attention yesterday that the South African truth and reconciliation commission was based on a Chilean one from the early 90's. Just goes to prove that I know nothing about Latin America. Moreover, my opinion isn't necessarily the correct one. Plenty of good arguments can be made against them. I just feel that every country needs an opportunity to be honest about the past. Then again...taking the other side...maybe there are things that are best left buried. As VB put it yesterday, things that we collectively ignore in order to function as a society. *shrug*


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