'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Pinochet Indicted 

So last month María Elvira Salazar interviewed dictator and mass murderer, Gen. Augusto Pinochet, on a Miami-based Spanish language TV show called "María Elvira Confronts". Pinochet portrayed himself as a benign victim of fate, referred to himself as "an angel", and informed the world that he "never aspired to be a dictator" and "always acted with democratic principles."

Pinochet probably consented to the interview out of vanity, not wanting to be remembered forever as the vile monster that he was. Ironically, as a result of his performance, Pinochet has been indicted. Chilean judge Juan Guzman Tapia carefully reviewed Salazar's interview and decided that Pinochet is fit to stand trial; in 2001 he had been deemed physically and mentally incompetent. Here's the Times:

"Pinochet has been declared mentally fit to undergo criminal investigation in Chile in all of its stages," Judge Guzmán told reporters waiting for the decision at a downtown court. That includes "depositions and face-to-face interrogations" about his role as what the judge described as "the perpetrator of crimes" against political opponents in the 1970's while head of state.

All 10 charges stem from an international kidnapping and murder alliance called Operation Condor, one of whose other victims was Orlando Letelier, a former Chilean foreign minister who was killed in Washington.

[ ... ]

The decision on Monday reversed earlier court rulings that have allowed General Pinochet to avoid facing any charges stemming from human rights abuses during his rule, from 1973 to 1990. In that time, an estimated 4,000 political opponents were killed by state security, military and police forces, many after being kidnapped, and thousands more were jailed, tortured or driven into exile.

Now if they could just get Kissinger...

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