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A brutal dictator whose passing should not be lamented. To say anything else would be pure hypocrisy.

As the Economist points out this week, his death (non-fatal heart attack at the time of its writing) juxtaposes well with Castro being too ill to attend his 80th birthday party.

Two despicable relics of an undemocratic Latin America, from opposite sides of the spectrum.

The democratic picture painted over the last couple of years in Latin America is very encouraging, with mostly moderate social democratic parties beating the far-left (Chavez winning on 63% last week is the most notable exception), and with incumbent conservatives being successful in Mexico and Colombia.

The Deputy Editor claims that he died of a non-fatal heart attack. What a plonker! (Mr Cameron's advertising agency might use another ther!)

It is hard to find the death of someone good news. However, in this case, an exception exists.

Sorry Eugene and Iain: I take a more pragmatic view on the role of the General. He was a lone voice standing up against Marxism in Latin America, assisted us in the recapture of British land in the South Atlantic and did introduce a capitalist approach to Chile. He was no angel and indeed may well have taken part in, or authorised, unpalatable acts (to put it mildly). But, as Tim observed, he was our son of a bitch. To ignore that fact is the hypocrisy.

Stole multi-millions from Chile as well, allegedly.

"Ex-candidate" - you have misread Deputy Editor's post

Ex-candidate, if you read Sam's sentence properly - what he has said is perfectly true and valid, if not grammatically perfect.

When the Economist was published this week, Pinochet had only had a non-fatal heart attack.

Ex candidate - talking about plonkers - read the para again. The Economist was published before Pinochet died so reference to non-fatal heart attack is correct.

Baroness T is saddened by his death - why? She spent her whole time as PM standing out against tyrants, so why did she love this one?

Interesting that Mrs T is saddened by General P's death but - according to the Westminster Hour - the White House has expressed sympathy for his regime's victims. Good on the White House.

George W Bush's words from his second inaugural come to my mind:

"All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you. Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for who you are: the future leaders of your free country. The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: "Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it." The leaders of governments with long habits of control need to know: To serve your people you must learn to trust them. Start on this journey of progress and justice, and America will walk at your side."


Good. This man is a DOAB - the only people who will mourn him will be nutters from CCF, CWF and the FA. Double standards. Hypocrisy. Foul language is not enough. Gosh, I really hate him and them!

When will people realise that, excellent as she was, Baroness T doesn’t really know what day of the week it is - this has been the case for a very long time.

I always find it amazing how the left can cheer at the demise of Pinochet whilst air-brushing the crimes of Salvador Allende and his support for the Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria (MIR).

The same people who are happy to celebrate the re-election of Daniel Ortega whilst forgetting the brutality and opression of his Sandinista movement in the late 1980's

The same people who cheered the release of Mandela and celebrated the election of ANC government in South Africa (happily ignoring the murder and atrocities they committed) yet fail to show similar respect for the "reconciliation" movement in Chile that saw Pinochet's election as a "Senator-for-Life" as part of the peaceful transition to democracy in 1990.

Yes, Pinochet was a brutal dictator, but the geo-political situation in the 1970's was very different than it is now.

As Donal Blaney says above, he was our "son of a bitch" and a key ally of the west in the cold ware era.

I still believe his house arrest and detention in London in 1998 was one of the most shameful acts of this duplicitous and hypocritical government.

I always find it amazing how the left can cheer... (snip)

The left are hypocrites for ignoring the brutality of Castro et al whilst deriding people like Pinochet. It is equally hypocritical to do it the other way around.

I thought Pinochet's house arrest was extremely badly handled, but that doesn't make him any less of a tyrant, and the actions of Thatcher and some Conservative members during that episode were equally embarassing and hypocritical.

His coup brought to an end a sustained period of stable democracy - a rare thing in the region. He may have defeated communism in Chile, but it was by the sword as much as by his Friedmanesque economic policies.

How Thatcher thanked him for bringing democracy to the country is beyond me, he had an authoritarian instinct based on his belief (shared by Hitler) that democracy inevitably resulted in Marxism. He supported us on Falkands but I don't see how that helped us much, and it probably had a little to do with him having a very similar spat with Argentina just 4/5 years earlier.

Donal, the our-son-of-a-bitch "principle" generally backfires in the long-term. So many of the world's current political problems are kick-backs from the West's (e.g. CIA) and Soviet Union's (i.e. Comintern) propping up of dictators in the "greater fight" against eachother's ideology. I strongly recommend Sharanksy's thinking on this. I believe this is one thing Bush really gets.

It is worth noting, as Andrew and Iain just have, how comparable records of violence and authoritarianism by leftist figures in the region don't seem to result in similar degrees of revulsion in the British media. Castro/Che being a relevant example, students are still amazed when I criticise them for having Che Guevara t-shirts/posters. They might as well say "he may have been a sociopathic mass-murderer, but his heart was in the right place."

"the only people who will mourn him will be nutters from CCF, CWF and the FA"
Care to qualify that slur Justin?

For once, Iain, we are in agreement!

Justin - you do yourself no credit by announcing your hatred for the CCF and others in the way you do. The CCF has been in the vanguard of campaigning for a kinder, gentler conservatism.

What a sickening load of cant from those who seem to know next to nothing about the Cold War.

Britain, the United States and the rest of the free world fought a life and death struggle for half a century or more against the utter evil of Soviet communism. The consequences for freedom had we lost would have been as unimaginable as if Hitler had won.

In those circumstances we really had no choice but to make pacts with authoritarian leaders. Sometimes the liberal option simply didn't exist. The number one priority was to hold back the tide of Soviet-controlled insurgents that, at different times, threatened to engulf almost every corner of the world.

This lilly-livered posturing from people who never had to make the hard choices is nothing but moral cowardice. If you guys had been running the show the Reds would have had a field day.

Pacisfism in the face of evil is both stupid and wrong. During WW2 we worked with bad guys to beat the nazis - rightly so. Ditto the Cold War.

Pinochet was a Chilean patriot who, remarkably, didn't fancy seeing his native land turned into a Soviet bridgehead in South America. So he did what was required to depose the snivelling marxist plotter, Allende.

The international Left never forgave him for spoiling their fantasy and outsmarting the Soviets. That's why we see the utterly disproportionate hysteria and vilification directed at the good General.

For Conservatives to join in, applying the standards of the present (where we have no global superpower ranged against us) to the conditions of the past, is shameful.

Margaret Thatcher, to her infinite credit, gets it. So should you.

Augusto Pinochet RIP

""He may be a sonofabitch but he's our sonofabitch" was a favourite soundbite of the Cold War era."

[hypercritical pedant mode]Attributed to FDR, describing Anastasio Somoza of Nicaragua in 1939![/hypercritical pedant mode]

"But, as Tim observed, he was our son of a bitch. To ignore that fact is the hypocrisy."

So was Saddam Hussein once. And Osama Bin Laden. And Islam Karimov. And Joseph Mobutu. (And Joseph Stalin was our ally in WW2...) The list of undesirable bedfellows the US and the UK have pragmatically chosen to associate themselves with in order to pursue short-term foreign policy objectives is a long and unfortunate one.

As Sam points out, many of the problems facing the world today have their roots in the Cold War dynamic of the superpowers propping up 'friendly' dictators (if that isn't a contradiction in terms).

I will never forget the famous African proverb from the Cold War regarding that dynamic and its effect on the world - "whether the elephants make love or war, it's always the grass that suffers".

"His coup brought to an end a sustained period of stable democracy"

you are joking? 500 percent inflation under Allende. The chilean congress even asked for a military coup in a vote.
Allende's government was a minority one with 55% opposition in the Congress (incidentally he was also the first democratically elected marxist president). The Mitrokhin commission found that Allende was a KGB informant/asset and so was his mistress. His continued tenure could have led to a south american bloodbath between communists and capitalists.

* "I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves." — Henry Kissinger

What Pinochet did for us:
-He effectively stopped a key marxist advance into latin america.
-he created a relatively successful chilean economy from a ruined one.
-he gave power back to a democratically elected government, which is unheard of for a dictator to do.
-He saved his country from communism since Allende was as everyone says 'the first marxist leader to be democratically elected' who was in the middle of reposessing land etc...
-He did it with only 5000 deaths: it took franco a full scale civil war and several hundred thousand deaths to achieve the same result.
-He gave us lots of information on the argentinians during the falklands war
-He let the SAS operate out of Chile.
-Some people say that we could not have won the falklands without him. Think about it: 1)no thatcher re-election so Britain would have stayed a dump, and without Thatcher Regan may have not have had the guts and wits alone to stick with new european nuke deployments (which the West Germans and otherswere against) and so not defeated/stared out the soviets 2) Britain traumatised and made a laughing stock by a failed falklands campaign.

The gulf between Thatcher and the Editor of this blog on this subject shows that the so-called right wing of the modern conservative party is so wet that it in no way resembles the popular Thatcherism of old. No wonder no one votes for us.

I hold no special regard for Mr Pinochet, but I do like to point one thing out to his detractors.

In the vicious dictator league, 3000 deaths is pretty much the relegation zone. Many of those who believe him to be the personification of evil have at sometime or other, been admirers of Mao, a man responsible for the deaths of at least One Thousand Times this number.

Add in the fact that they also tend to be fans of Castro, a man who clings to power decades after his coup, one wonders how illogical they have to be to demonise a man who voluntarily gave up power to a democratic government.

Allende had to go. He was a Fascist supporter in his youth who had swung to the left as he aged - but around him were KGB aligned groups aiming to overthrow him and who wee stockpiling weapons with the trades unions.

It is unlikely Allende would have survived even without Pinochet's coup because the Left was going to overthrow democracy anyway.

What was disgusting was the arbitrary and mercurial torturing and murder of opponents - just as in Argentina - and the role of DINA.

"When will people realise that, excellent as she was, Baroness T doesn’t really know what day of the week it is - this has been the case for a very long time."

Justin, sorry to contradict you. In the course of this year I have had the privilege to be at two separate occasions where Lady Thatcher spoke, one of which was a couple of weeks ago. I can confirm that she was on great form, did know what day of the week it was and spoke clearly showing no signs of memory loss. While the media may like to portray her as senile I am sorry to see people doing it on this site.

That should have been Ten Thousand of course

Justin, you do yourself no favours by making some exceptionally nasty comments about fellow Conservatives. What is it about so many Conservatives that riles you so much?

I tend to view Pinochet in the same light as Oliver Cromwell. A bad man, who was nevertheless an effective ruler.

Justin, you do yourself no favours...

True, but you'll see from another thread that he was tired and emotional and had allowed Larry Green to get under his skin.

The aesthetics of Thatcher’s friendship with Pinochet continue to do us no favours.

Pinochet's death has shown the BBC at its liberal fascist worst, relentlessly imposing its blind-in-one-eye, student union morality on the rest of us.

At least we expect no better from that quarter. There's no excuse when in comes to CH.

I wonder, what would Conservative Home's Editor and Deputy Editor, with their obvious fondness for ahistorical, retrospective human rights posturing, have done during the Cold War? Refused to take sides? Joined the fellow travelling Left in condemning effective anti-Soviet leaders, in an attempt to isolate and overthrow them? Played into the hands of Moscow?

Tim, Sam - I suggest you go away and read the Mitrokhin Archive before joining in the Left's anti-Pinochet chorus.

Maggie, as so often, is right. Pinochet was a hero.

Sorry, I totally disagree that Pinochet was a hero. He was a brutal dictator: effectively Chile's Franco. I find it hard to lament his passing. Having said that, it is a lie to claim that the alternative (just as in Spain) would have been nicer: it would probably have been even nastier - a rerun of Castro's Cuba - Stalinism in the Sun - which of course the Labour Party, the BBC, the Guardian, the Harold Pinter set and some deluded left-leaning Tories regard as a "nice place", just as they sanitised Stalin's Russia and Mugabe's Zimbabwe in the past. Heath even got around to acting as an apologist for the Tien An Men Square Massacre, a fact conveniently omitted from his hagiography on the TRG website.

Mrs Thatcher's somewhat naive loyalty to Pinochet stems from the fact he gave her vital military support during the Falklands. She had little choice but to accept gratefully at the time. Presumably Justin Hinchcliffe does not object to the fact this country allied itself with Stalin (an even worse mass murderer) to defeat Hitler and in the process engaged in some pretty morally dubious activities (of which covering up the Katyn Massacre was the most minor)?

We need *real* ethical foreign policies when we're returned to Government.

If only the world were that simple, Justin. I share the sentiment but if your precepts were followed, we would not have allied with the USSR in 1941.

I can just about accept the necessity of allying with Joseph Stalin in 1941 (it was, after all, the culmination of a series of failures by UK/US/French policymakers to show adequate backbone dating back to Adolf Hitler being allowed to stick two fingers up over the Rhineland) and the same applies to the current marriage of convenience with Pervez Musharraf, but the Cold War relationships forged with the likes of Augusto Pinochet and Joseph Mobutu are a different matter entirely.

So you presumably think it would have been OK for Chile to have become a Stalinist dictatorship, along with much of the rest of Latin America.....especially bearing in mind that, if Cuba is anything to go by, the nastiness would have been much longer lasting?

This strikes me as dogmatic moral posturing delivered from the comfort of an armchair. Similarly, Churchill would have been criminally stupid not to have allied with Stalin in June 1941: Britain was bust, besieged, on its own and had no realistic alternative.

Why are we being subjected to this tide of ill-informed nonsense?

Michael McGowan says:

"Mrs Thatcher's somewhat naive loyalty to Pinochet stems from the fact he gave her vital military support during the Falklands."

A simplistic explanation, Michael. Of course she was grateful - as should we all be - for Pinochet's brave (and unpopular) stance in helping Britain during the Falklands War but the principal reason Maggie (together with all right-thinking people) mourns the passing of General Pinochet is that, by his heroic action in deposing the Soviet stooge Allende, he stopped the drive of Soviet communism into Latin America. This is what the great lady herself said in 1999: "The left can't forgive Pinochet for defeating communism and successfully transforming Chile into a model free market economy." Never a truer word - and an explanation for all the one-sided crap we're being subjected to from the BBC.

Daniel says: "...the Cold War relationships forged with the likes of Augusto Pinochet and Joseph Mobutu are a different matter entirely."

It is a gross defamation to compare a patriot like Pinochet to an unprincipled kleptomaniac thug like Mobutu. The Congolese dictator couldn't have cared less about the Cold War, except insofar as it gave him leverage to continue his brutal rule. Pinochet found himself in a desperate situation with the country he loved sliding into Marxist-inspired chaos under the rule of Allende, the putative Kerensky of Chile. The general performed his patriotic duty by ousting the Communist trojan horse Allende and restoring order, then economic stability and then democracy.

3,000 people died - always unfortunate but many of them were evil Communists and others were fellow travellers. Compare that to the hundreds of thousands of totally innocent civilians slaughtered during Mobutu's time.

As an earlier poster said, go and read the Mitrokhin Archive before engaging in cheap moral posturing about an era you clearly know virtually nothing about.

I'd find it a good deal easier to stomach collaborating with Pinochet than Stalin (necessary though the latter was).

Pinochet was a good deal less murderous than Stalin.

It is always amusing to witness the fervour of a True Believer. You are in danger of looking as foolish as Harold Pinter when he "defends" Castro's Cuba with absurdities about abortion clinics running on time.....

The revolting hate-crazed statements of Justin Hinchcliffe are exactly what we have learned to expect from this far-right turned far-left loon.

Pinochet was a good friend to this country and I for one am proud of the help Lady Thatcher and Lord Lamont gave him when he was disgracefully detained here by socialist placemen.

You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs and the methods Pinochet used, while brutal by our standards, were typical of South America. The Communist menace had to be smashed, and he was the strongman to do just that.

What particularly annoys me about the leftists who post here is not so much their views but the way in which they seek to distort historical truth. Just as we had the guy the other day who claimed that the Conservative Party was "gay-friendly" before it was allegedly "hi-jacked by homophobes" (pull the other one!!!!) we now have people trying to make out that the party didn't really like Pinochet.

Sorr, but we did. Indeed some may recall the fanatical support given by the YCs and the Federation of Conservative Students, who even wrote songs in praise of him.

I can't recall any Tory opposition at the time. Now that he's out of favour and dead, of course, its easy to damn him and take the line of least resistance.

No doubt Cameron is already planning to apologise for the unfashionable conduct of Landy Thatcher and indeed his old boss Norman Lamont...

Interesting that none of the anti-Pinochet commentators on this thread can answer the central point being made by Donal Blaney, True Tory, Conga, Pinochet RIP and others.

In 1975 we were in a titanic undeclared global war with a totalitarian foe, the Soviet Union, and Chile was one of its key strategic targets. Pinochet fought back and defeated the Communists. He killed 3,000 people but brought order where there had been chaos, free market prosperity where there had been socialist stagnation and restored democracy and stood down.

Yet, today, Augusto Pinochet's memory is being traduced by people who are almost comically selective in their indignation. They hate him for the same reason we love him - he smashed the sick Communist dream.

As Churchill said shortly after Germany invaded the USSR 'if Hitler decided to invade Hell I'm sure I could some kind words to say on behalf of the devil'.
Sadly we can't always choose our friends in matters of foreign policy. I'm grateful that Pinochet gave us help during the Falklands campaign but he was as Sean Fear points out 'a bad man who was an effective ruler'.

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