11 December 2006

Those Who Knew Them: Augusto Pinochet 1915-2006

In later life Pinochet worked as a hotel doormanThe following piece was commissioned from an old friend of the late General Pinochet, who knew the former Chilean dictator from shortly before his rise to power in 1973. Sadly the author wishes to remain anonymous. We shall refer to him simply as "Mr X". Those wishing to write to Mr X are advised to contact him via "The Agency", Langley, Virginia.

People say a lot of things about Augusto Pinochet these days. Most of the things they say are bad. All I can tell you is that people have forgotten what Chile was like back in the day. Before the General came to power, Chile was going to heck in a jet-powered handbasket - rampant inflation, class warfare. And strikes?! There were strikes every goshdarn day! And I should know, me and the boys organised at least a half of 'em. Yep, back in '73 Chile was more than ripe for a strong leader to pluck. And that strong leader was Augusto Pinochet.

Sure, people say it was wrong to bring down the Allende government, but he was a Marxist for darn's sake! Now sure, sure, he was democratically elected but, you know, there's democracies and there's democracies. I mean, these days, we like all democracies, no matter what evil-eyed, West-hating freak is in charge. Back in the day, though, we knew what sort of democracies we wanted and they sure as shinola weren't run by commies. No, what America, north and south, needed was a guy in a spiffy uniform who didn't mind offing a few thousand mother-loving socialists in order to make sure the trains ran on time.

Pinochet's brief career in a Chilean boyband did not go wellAugusto Pinochet was a strong man who knew his mind. He believed in freedom: freedom for people to support him, freedom for people not to be tortured as long as they supported him, freedom for people to remain breathing as long as they didn't speak out against him. And he had a good heart too, in fact so good a heart that it could be guaranteed to fail him just about every time he faced a serious inquiry from those pinko "democratically-elected" leaders that replaced him or those no-good Euro-types. That's what I call a pro!

How to sum up a man like that? People say you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs. All I can tell you is that General Augusto Pinochet was one heck of an omelette maker. He didn't just break those eggs, he disappeared 'em off the face of the Earth and had you locked up if you even dared to ask where they'd gotten to. Heck of a guy.