26 November 2006

General Pinochet accepts responsibility

In a move long waited for by victims rights advocates and human rights organizations, General Augusto Pinochet has finally accepted responsibility for his inhumane and brutal actions as a fascist dicatator in the south american state of Chile from 1973-90.

A quick primer: a democratic and free election in 1970 in Chile brought Salvador Allende to power. He was a legitimately elected socialist president with Marxist ideals, so enter the US government. In its fanatical zeal to eradicate communism at any price from the globe, the, " United States tried unsuccessfully to prevent his taking office.". Upon not finding a legal leg to stand on, the CIA enlisted the help of one, General Augusto Pinochet to have an illegal coup and take power by force and consequently slaying the legitimately elected president of the country, Salvador Allende.

In the ensuing chaos, political oppression by the fascist conservative regime was rampant and violent, with over 3,000 people "disappearing" (ie. abducted by the secret police, tortured, and executed), with many more thousands suffering ruthlessly by the same security services, all under the gunboat diplomacy umbrella of the CIA in the USA.

The evil dictator controlled the country for 17 years, only letting his iron clasp go when the supreme court of Chile agreed to absolve him of any crime he or his cohorts committed during his reign of power. You may remember the case in which Spain had the UK arrest him years ago for a EU warrant for murdering Spanish citizens during his tyrranical conservative rule, only to be released after a shady back room deal when the press coverage died down 2 years later.

In any case, this proves 2 integral points. First, the US government is intimately involved in the overthrow of legitimally elected foreign governments (you can place a lions share of the blame on Nixon for this case). Remind that to the neocons and their bullshit line of supposedly promoting democracy abroad (see Pakistan for a more recent example). Second, if there is no justice, there can be no peace. When killers like Pinochet are allowed to go free and unpunished for the repression and mass murder (some may even claim genocide) that they allow or encourage, there is no justice. Old and feeble or not, he deserves to at least be incarcerated for his crimes against humanity.

There is a dire moral responsibility this country has to stand up for what is right. This desire for impartial justice has always given the USA legitimacy in foreign affairs. Unfortunately, the conservatives seek to push an American empire above all other considerations. We need to push for justice in Chile and here at home to ensure we are not just another global power seeking domination. We need to reassure the world that our ideals are just and righteous, so let Pinochet stand trial.