Pinochets Dictatorship: The Context of the Dirty War in Chile - Essay Example

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The dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet led to the deaths of up to 3,000 people, with up to 30,000 having been tortured. This essay will deal with a view to analyzing the factors that enabled Pinochet to institute his repressive system and the effects it had upon the Chilean society. …
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Pinochets Dictatorship: The Context of the Dirty War in Chile
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Download file to see previous pages According to the testimony of former DINA commander Manuel Contreras, he was ordered by Pinochet to apply for the CIA assistance in organizing the DINA in 19737. Contreras asserted that he then met with General Vernon Walters, CIA Deputy Director, and in March 1974 eight CIA operatives were dispatched for Chile to aid in establishment of the DINA8. Even though after 1975 relations between the CIA and the DINA were somewhat dampened by the Congressional revelations of shadowy CIA activities and the election of President Carter9, the cooperation between the two agencies in anticommunist operations continued unabated. The controversy around the murder of Lettelier in 1976, which ended in formal dissolution of the DINA itself in 1977, also contributed to perceptions of connection between the CIA and the DINA, as Contreras claimed that the U.S. authorities were aware of his agents’ activities in Washington, D.C.10 Nevertheless, as secret documents on the U.S.-Chile relations released in 1999 confirm, the CIA continued to cooperate with Pinochet’s secret services even after 197611. PINOCHET’S REGIME AND THE ROLE OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT Although the government of the USA did not offer explicit support for the policies of the Pinochet dictatorship, it was definitely willing to tolerate it as a counter-balance to pro-Soviet forces in Latin America. The Nixon Administration was a strong proponent of Pinochet’s government, having helped to undermine the government of Salvador Allende through the effective economic blockade and clandestine support for the Chilean far right groupings12. These actions of the U.S. government were justified by the precepts of so-called Johnson Doctrine of 1965, according to which the U.S. should not allow...
The economic policies of Pinochet included the deregulation of price formation, the privatization of majority of state enterprises and creation of the investment climate favorable to foreign companies. The “shock treatment” of 1973-1975, with artificially induced economic recessions that brought economic growth to -12.5% in 1975 alone, together with repressions, broke the power of the organized labor and led to the massive fall in living standards19. The results of the short-lived economic boom of the late 1970s were reversed by the economic collapse of 1982, when Chile registered the steepest decline in GNP among all Latin American nations20. The social marginalization also reached unprecedented levels: while under Allende unemployment was down to 3%, in 1975 the number of officially unemployed amounted to 18.7% of the workforce21. The real wages and social spending dropped to 63% of their 1970 levels22.
The neoliberal “reforms” of Pinochet, contrary to his supporters, did not lead to stable economic growth. It was only after 1982, with the effective dismissal of monetarist doctrine, that the stable development of Chilean economy resumed23. The legacy of economic inequality brought about by Pinochet’s neoliberalism, nevertheless, still continues to plague Chile.
In general, Pinochet’s dictatorship was an integral element of the chain of right-wing regimes in the Southern Cone that obtained the support of the USA and pursued harsh neoliberal economic policies. His regime was not a simple continuation of previous tradition of military authoritarianism, presenting a new combative spirit of neoliberal authoritarianism that deeply affected the development of the Chilean society. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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