Why did so many Chileans mourn a man whose regimes tortured and murdered thousands?
The death of Chile’s former dictator, General Augusto Pinochet, at the age of 91 this month polarised his country. Here are two typical comments from a BBC forum. Pedro Antonio wrote: “The legacy of Pinochet is today’s Chile. What radical changes have recent governments implemented? None. They have only fiddled around the edges. For instance, the constitution has been the same since 1980 — succeeding governments haven’t been able to improve on it. The economy and the pension system has not changed since the military government. The health system, which was planned during Pinochet’s regime, and inherited by the next administration, has led to the success of ‘Plan Auge’.” But Susana had a different point of view. “How did he manage to have so many followers? The economic miracle tastes of blood, with torture, missing persons, curfews, and thousands of people denied their human rights. This was not democracy, but feudalism, totalitarianism, dictatorship.” With Pinochet there was no middl