Sunday, September 8, 2013

Students taking on the legacy of Pinochet in Chile

When the Chilean military under General Augusto Pinochet, bankrolled & goaded by the US government & trained by the CIA, overthrew the democratically-elected regime of Salvador Allende on September 11th, 1973, an estimated 50,000 people were indiscriminately arrested & held in the National Stadium where many were lined up before firing squads & executed. In less than a week the new regime waged raids, summarily executed, disappeared, arrested, & tortured thousands more indigenous peoples, trade unionists, political activists, & others just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Human rights groups estimate 250,000 were arrested in the first four months after the coup.

This was under the Nixon regime, the psychotic tutelage of Henry psycho-Killinger, & the neoliberal economic & political policies of “the Chicago Boys.” (Just coincidentally, the law firm of Bill Gates, Sr. collaborated with psycho-Killinger in this coup.)

When the military government relinquished direct rule in 1988, they passed an amnesty law protecting members of the military from being prosecuted for their crimes during their reign of terror & giving Pinochet immunity from prosecution. The stinking corpse of Pinochet has long-since been buried--after being protected not only by Chilean courts but by governments like the US & UK. Baltasar Garzón, the Spanish judge who ordered the arrest of Pinochet in 1998 under the doctrine of universal jurisdiction has himself been prosecuted & disbarred in retaliation. Many collaborators & officials of the Pinochet regime continue to be influential in Chilean politics. In other words, justice has not yet had its day in court.

The thing about vengeance (justice) is it has a long, unforgiving memory--especially when justice has been mocked so deplorably & so arrogantly. So it is no surprise that as we near the 40th anniversary of this bloodiest of coups, the grandchildren of that generation of Chileans are battling the regime over the neoliberal policies installed under the dictatorship. For a few years now we have observed pitched street battles between riot cops with tear gas, grenades, & tanks & students demanding free & quality public education. Last Thursday, there was a National March for Education in Santiago where this protestor defied an armored vehicle holding up a book by former president (now deceased) Salvador Allende.

Of course, justice will not be served until both the Chilean & US collaborators are exposed, indicted, & prosecuted. Part of that effort is supporting the students taking on not just the armored vehicles but the entire murderous regime installed in 1973.

The stinking corpse of Henry psycho-Killinger is still walking around, still advising US treacheries, still guiding US policy. We look forward to his demise; it’s likely to be long before he faces justice.

(Photo by Ariel Marinkovic/EPA)

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