THE PINOCHET DICTATORSHIP: Chile haunted by a brutal legacy

General Augusto Pinochet was the President of Chile between 1973 and 1990. He overthrew the democratically-elected Marxist Salvador Allende in a violent coup d’état supported by the US government. A 17-year rule of repression ensued. All left-wing political parties were banned, government spending was reduced and free-market policies were implemented. Although the country’s once-failing economy experienced a boom thanks to the reforms, many people suffered under the harsh military regime. Thousands were imprisoned, tortured, exiled and murdered. Mapuche communities and organizations were forced to dismantle under the Pinochet dictatorship and legislations were passed to divide up their lands and lease it to non-Indians. Indigenous communities were invaded by police forces and many individuals were detained, disappeared or executed by firing squad. General Pinochet died of a heart attack in 2006, leaving behind a legacy of abuse, controversy and numerous incomplete court cases to bring him to justice. To this day, the Mapuche are still struggling to regain the ancestral lands and rights they lost under the Pinochet dictatorship.
May 15, 2015
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