Human Rights Violations Under Pinochet's Rule

Topics: Augusto Pinochet, Human rights, Operation Condor Pages: 9 (3074 words) Published: October 15, 2008
Upon being declared President in 1974, Augosto Pinochet began a reign of Terror on the State of Chile. Human Rights violations were rife while this dictator was in power spanning 17 years. Such acts of crime against humanity should have been stopped early on in Pinochet’s career as President. The United Nations was established for more than thirty years at this point and regulations were put in place to stop any possible activities against human rights yet they continued in Chile. Some of the surrounding countries did not have the moral authority to stop Pinochet, as they were involved in the same activities, such as those implicated in Operation Condor. Other Countries did not feel politically or economically strong enough to exert any pressure on Chile. The United States, a country both economically and politically strong enough to apply force on Chile stood by an let Pinochet’s dictatorship continue as they believed a strong leader, like Pinochet, was necessary to stop the spread of communism. Another super power, Britain had an alliance with Chile, overlooking the Pinochet’s blatant disregard for human rights, and in turn intimidating other countries from taking action. However not all countries stood by without attempting to prosecute Pinochet, Judge Baltasar of Spain mad significant efforts to bring about justice, and soon after other countries began to follow suit, but by that time the crimes had been committed and were impossible to reverse.

Pinochet commenced his path to dictatorship in 1933 when he entered the armyas an officer cadet. His rise through the ranks was slow and calculated that it was hard to believe that this man was soon to become the feared ruler of Chile. He remained apolitical throughout his career in the army and was even appointed head of the Army by the previous president of Chile, Salvador Allende. Allende was so sure of Pinochet’s loyalty to him that he refused to believe Pinochet’s involvement in the military coup d’état of September 1973. Pinochet joined a four-man junta to overthrow the government, which he became leader of unquestionably due to his military backing. By the following year Pinochet was declared president and the violations against humanity began.

Salvador Allende, the President in power before Pinochet, and one of the founders of the Chilean Socialist Party, was considered a threat by the United States. Allende was deemed unsatisfactory in his socialist policies with regards to the economy. The United States placed diplomatic and economic pressure on Allende's Government while nationally he received opposition from the wealthy sectors in Chile. The wealthy began to strike in protest against Allende and were soon followed by various unions of the countries who were supported by President Richard Nixon of the United States. The U.S. was against the idea of a neighbouring communist country and consequently funded opposition groups in their struggle against Pinochet. This shows that so great was the United States disdain for communism that they were prepared to support another type of government or person in power in Chile. This could be considered a contributing factor as to why Pinochet’s dictatorship was allowed to rule so aggressively with such huge violations against human rights.

The DINA, Direcion de Intelligencia Nacional, was the main body responsible for human rights violations in Chile. The DINA was established in June 1974 as subordinate body of the military junta headed by general Manuel Conteras. During Pinochet’s declared State of Siege, the DINA were given the authority to purging of political opponents of the military regime . Between 1973 and 1977 the DINA were responsible for over 2,000 desparecidos. Some of the of the most noted violations against human rights took place in Villa Grimaldi, a set of buildings located on the outskirts of Santiago. Up to 5,000 detainees were brought here, and at least 240 of them disappeared or were killed by the...
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