Like Augusto Pinochet?
Augusto Pinochet was a Chilean general who plotted in 1973 against then-Socialist President Salvador Allende. Pinochet came to lead a military junta that detained and tortured tens of thousands of opposition members in the early years of his rule. Pinochet, with the help of the United States, pursued a so-called neo-liberal policy, including the abolition of trade unions and the privatization of health care.
The gap between rich and poor in Chile grew rapidly under Pinochet, who at first was unable to gain a grip on the economy. A major financial crisis erupted in the early 1980s, during which time President-elect Pinochet nationalized part of the banking sector to save the financial system.
In the late 1980s, public opposition to Pinochet increased, and under international pressure he agreed to a referendum on Chile’s future. The majority of Chileans wanted a return to democracy. Pinochet agreed, but before he resigned in 1990, arranged a general amnesty law for him and the military so they could not be prosecuted.
When he went to London for medical treatment in 1998, a Spanish judge placed Pinochet under house arrest. An international arrest warrant has been issued for the torture of Pinochet and the disappearance of more than 3,000 people during his rule. After months of legal battles, Pinochet’s lawyers declared the former dictator “mentally ill” for health reasons, thus preventing him from being prosecuted.
Pinochet returned to Chile to spend the last years of his life. But even there, his bloody past continued to haunt him: in 2006, the Chilean government dismissed his immunity and decided to try Pinochet anyway. It did not come because that general died at the age of 91 in the same year.
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