Augusto Jose Ramon Pinochet Ugarte was born in Valparaíso November 25, 1915, dead in Santiago December 10, 2006. Son of Augusto Pinochet Vera and Avelina Ugarte Martinez. On September 11, 1973, he was 57 years old. He is married to Lucia Hiriart Rodriguez and has 5 children.
Commander in Chief of the Army from 1973 to 1998. Head of the Military Junta that was established following the coup d'etat of September 11, 1973. Senator for life, above the law.
Described as of "strong, dominant character, with a control instinct" "Accepted in government circles and respected among their officials... Hard, authoritarian and with a capacity for surprising irony... Pinochet is above all a survivor. He was able to evade Allende's doubts... He overcame the feelings of suspicion that other military chiefs harbored about him... He survived the collegiate stage of the Junta; he survived the fall of Generals Leigh and Mendoza... That is: Pinochet has been the ubiquitous one, the muffled one. The man who didn't show his cards who didn't show his head, until he saw that the situation was favorable: then he lanced out the claw with brutality ". "Pinochet has survived all the transformations. When it was necessary to betray Allende and Prats, he did it".
He began his career in 1933, in the Military Academy, which he left in 1938 with the rank of sub lieutenant. Later on he completed the lieutenant's courses in the School of Infantry; regular in War Academy, postgraduate in the same facility, and High Command, in the National Defense Academy. His following postings were: Regiment of Infantry N° 6 "Chacabuco", in Concepción; Regiment of Infantry N° 2 "Maipo", in Valparaíso; School of Infantry; Military school; Regiment of Infantry N° 5 "Carampangue", in Iquique; Regiment of Infantry N° 9 "Chillan"; "Rancagua" Regiment of Arica; lecturer at the War Academy, in Santiago and assistant to the Under-secretary of War.
When in 1945 he was posted to the "Carampangue" Regiment, in Iquique, he was in charge of the Pisagua concentration camp where the communists were deported, persecuted by the government of Gabriel Gonzalez Videla.
He completed the Command and General Staff Course in Fort Benning, United States. Pinochet's specialties are those of an officer of the General Staff and professor of Military Geography and Logistics.
In 1956 was transferred to the Military Mission of Chile in Quito, performing support activities in the Military Academy of Ecuador.
On his return to Chile, in 1959, he was to the General Barracks of the Ist Division of the Army, in Antofagasta. In 1961 he was promoted to commander of the "Esmeralda" Regiment; in 1963, sub-director of the War Academy; in 1968, head of the General Staff the 2nd Division and ascended to Brigadier General; Commander in Chief of the 4th Division, in Iquique; in 1971, General of division and major general of Santiago's supply; and later on, Chief of the General Staff of the Army.
August 23, 1973, he was named Commander in Chief of the Army, for the President Allende, after General Carlos Prats Gonzalez resigned. Pinochet had been promoted to Commander in Chief of the Army only five days before the appointment of Orlando Letelier as Secretary of Defense. When he arrived at the Ministry, he already scented a coup. Even, General Carlos Prats who had resigned opening the way for Pinochet, had indicated him a date for the military rebellion: September 14. But Pinochet's loyalty was not questioned, Letelier remembered. "He [Carlos Prats] insisted to me that he thought that Pinochet had an attitude of loyalty toward the President. And that, in any event, Pinochet would not be in the quota of the traitors."
August 22, 1973, one day before his appointment as Commander in Chief, Letelier remembers, during a dinner with the President Allende, which Pinochet attended with a dozen other generals of the Army, "Pinochet tried to demonstrate his maximum of loyalty in front of Allende, and his maximum of support for Prats... There Pinochet tried to not only boast of his loyalty toward the President, but of his personal friendship with Prats. And of his efforts to try to secure the constitutionalist position within the Government".
Immediately after the military coup of September 11, a wave of bloody reprisals was loosed against the constitutional government's officials, against the real or presumed militants of the parties that supported him and in general against the Chilean citizens, men, women and even children of who were supposed to have sympathized with President Allende. Tens of thousands of people were deprived of their freedom and subjected to treatment of extreme brutality, no less than four thousand were victims of summary executions.
Very soon, Pinochet's personal authority was imposed over that of the other members of the Military Junta and it was he who set the tone and established the system of terror that extended over the whole country, with the collaboration of the Directorate of National Intelligence (DINA) commanded by Colonel, later General, Manuel Contreras. Fundamental element of this system was the systematic and institutionalized application of torture, of extreme cruelty, in special centers installed throughout the whole country, with ad hoc technical elements and personal, mainly coming from the armed forces, specially trained in this criminal activity. It is considered that in the 17 years that the dictatorship military lasted, ten's of thousands of people were tortured.
The undisputed and unquestioned authority of Pinochet was consecrated formally by two decrees of the Military Junta, the first one, in June, 1974, designated him Supreme Head of the Nation and the second, on December 17of the same year gave him the title of President of the Republic. This way, he retained in his hands the executive power, with absolute authority, and the other members of the Junta assumed the role of legislative power.
The criminal character of the rÃ©gime and the succession of serious violations of human rights that characterized it and that were denounced daily in documented form by the information services all over the world, caused indignation in the international public opinion and they motivated, year after year, sixteen successive resolutions of condemnation in the General Assembly of United Nations.
This way, Pinochet acquired and maintains to this day the role as the symbol of state terrorism and sanguinary dictatorship.
October 5, 1989, he lost the elections foreseen by the Constitution of 1980, tailor made for him. March 11, 1990, he was forced to hand over the presidential sash to Patricio Aylwin. But, according to that laid down by the same Constitution, he continues as Commander in Chief of the Army up to March 10, 1998. That day, after a brief ceremony in the Military School to transfer the Command in Chief to his successor, General Ricardo Izurieta, Pinochet also went to Valparaíso where he was sworn in as Senator for life, a position guaranteed by the Constitution. When leaving the Command in Chief was named, by the Army, as "Meritorious Commander in Chief" of the Institution, an unpublished title up to now.
In October 1998, he was detained in London, on an order emanating from the Spanish tribunals, requesting his extradition to Spain. The 18th of that month, an international detention order of was made, dictated by the Central Tribunal of Instruction N° 5 of the National Audience of Spain for the crimes of genocide, terrorism and tortures. In March, 2000, the British government authorized his return to Chile. Stripped of his privileges by the Supreme Court, August 8, 2000, by a wide majority, for the responsibility for deaths, murders, kidnappings, torture and 79 people's disappearance in the north of Chile, in the "Caravan of Death". The authors were military, with wide powers, under Pinochet's direct orders.
At the moment, he faces to the French justice for the disappearance and death of six French-Chilean citizens', detainees during the years 1973 and 1974. Belgium accuses him of being responsible for the torture of Chilean citizens exiled in that country. Switzerland accuses him of being responsible for the disappearance of a Chilean-Swiss citizen. Italy for the disappearance of four Italian-Chilean citizens. Wanted under US Law for the murder of the former Foreign Minister of Allende's government, Orlando Letelier, in Washington in 1976. He is accused under Argentinean law as being responsible for the murder of the former Commander in Chief of the Army, Carlos Prats and his wife, in September 1974. There are more than 300 criminal charges against him presented in Chile.
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