Augusto Pinochet ex-dictator of Chile has died:
Gen Pinochet was in power from 1973-90, during which time more than 3,000 people were killed or “disappeared”.
Here is an account of how Pinochet’s regime dealt with troublesome folk singers:
On the morning of September 12, Jara was taken, along with thousands, as a prisoner to the Chile Stadium (renamed the Estadio Víctor Jara in September 2003). Many of them were tortured and killed there by the military forces. Jara was repeatedly beaten and tortured, resulting in the breaking of bones in his hands and upper torso. Fellow political prisoners have testified that his captors mockingly suggested that he play guitar for them as he lay on the ground. Defiantly, he sang part of a song supporting the Popular Unity coalition. He was murdered on September 15 after further beatings were followed by being machine-gunned and left dead on a road on the outskirts of Santiago.
It wasn’t only human rights abuses the General will be remembered for:
Even many loyal supporters abandoned him after it became clear in 2004 that he had stolen about $27m in secret offshore bank accounts that were under investigation at the time of his death.
Let’s hope the type of Latin American leader Pinochet once epitomised is gone for good.