More on Pinochet...
Political Umpire sent me this link. It is by the former British ambassador to Chile and reads in my view as little but an apology for Pinny.
"Many Chileans see Pinochet as the man who saved them from the social unrest, economic chaos and anarchy of the Allende years, and prevented Chile from becoming a second Cuba. They also see him as the man who presided over Chile’s remarkable economic success, which brought jobs, homes, healthcare, etc, to vast swaths of Chile’s previously impoverished population."
These 'many Chileans' he speaks of seem to comprise mostly of the wealthy and the conservative middle classes, who clearly had reason to wish for the preservation of the status quo. A status quo which was indeed threatened by not only the Allende regime itself but the hopes it stirred in the working class and the poor. Economic chaos and anarchy was brought about largely by the deliberate sabotage of the CIA (Richard Nixon having made clear he did not want Allende in power). The human rights abuses were what Pinny and his mates saw as necessary to put the masses in line, and quench once and for all their hopes for a better future. This was the cost of 'Chile's economic success'. Torture, death, corpses. And who precisely did the economic success serve?
The novelist Isabelle Allende pointed to the fact that this 'economic success' did not benefit those at the bottom of the social ladder. It made the rich rich and the poor poorer. It may have made the middle classes better off, but not the poor. Social inequality on the whole rose during that period. Any trickle down effect was minor, and it's costs were great, rather like Thatcher's Britain. I have heard similiar arguments in fact made about Thatcher - that the British economy was in a better state after she had finished than before she was in power. They do not convince me. If such measures are indeed necessary why have the Scandinavian countries prospered and been stable during years of social democracy?
Skilton also writes:
"But it is undeniable, if uncomfortable, that by the time Pinochet left office in 1990, Chile was in a far better state than when he started."
This is a red herring as nobody knows what Chile would look like today had the coup not occurred. Allendes Chile was not to be. The great powers would not allow it to be.