Outgoing Ambassador James Theberge was in the Kirkpatrick mode. Generally, the Chicago Boys (CB) recipe for privatizing and removing trade barriers and balancing the macroeconomic variables was judged to be a success. Concertación candidate Patricio Aylwin (Christian Democrats) won decisively, heading the first democratically elected government in 16 years. But I got wind of something that would have completely thrown the election. RISE TO POWER THE COUP D'ETAT In September 11 1973 the military of the Conservative party of Chile, with help of USA Overthrow Salvador Allende. That image was greatly padded, and now we’ve seen the revelations about the millions he funneled abroad.…. The Europeans had been supporting the opposition financially, in a patchwork approach. Ambassador Barnes corroborated this report and determined that it was a plausible threat. And that experience left a big debt to pay. The last thing they expected was to hear the view that Bolivia was more advanced in civic discourse. He covered all the demonstrations, worked closely with Solidaridad, the Catholic human rights agency, and visited imprisoned trade union leaders.…The political officer whom I replaced had formed relationships with most democratic political parties except the Socialists. Q: Prior to the plebiscite, how did we see the vote going, provided there was no military interference? The 1980 constitution imposed by Pinochet further concentrated his powers. The new U.S. approach emboldened the opposition. You can also read about the failed coup, El Tanquetazo, as well as about Argentina’s transition to democracy. The political paranoia fostered by his regime was meant to keep people divided. • The Embassy no longer echoed the right’s criticism of the opposition. Sergio Jarpa, the leader of the conservative National party and a previous supporter of Pinochet, went public and stated that the no vote had won. They’ve been through some real turmoil, but they have a lively free press. Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. Pinochet became the President of the country and ruled it for the next 17 years. He said, “I think the “no” vote has won.” He’s very outspoken in general and not liked by Pinochet for that reason. The opposition leaders wanted the world to know they were not about vengeance or divisiveness. • 1990 He steps down as head of state but remains army commander-in-chief and is later made a senator for life. This was debatable, but it tagged her as pro-dictator. BARNES: We thought it could be quite close, because Pinochet had and appealed still to people old enough to remember the Allende era and some of the problems of that era. The people were asked whether Pinochet should rule for another eight and a half years. We opened up close channels with the democratic socialist wing of the opposition, which the U.S. had previously tended to equate with the Allende left. Interested in Recording Your Oral History, Association for Diplomatic Studies & Training. That was a key opening. ROE:  Another decisive moment happened when the first election results came in. I helped convince Juan Ignacio Garcia that Cívitas and Monica Jimenez did not have a political agenda and were legitimate actors. We guessed, I guess is the way I would have to put it, based on the polling that had been done by organizations we confidence in, including people who were, what should I say, were very much non-partisan, as well as those inclined one way or the other. As a result, I follow my detailed treatment of the Rise of Mao in China with a shorter"mini-unit" on Pinochet in Chile. But some critics were scathing in their appraisal. Pinochet had received 44 to their 56 percent in the plebiscite. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Government or of ADST. ©Copyright 1998-2021 Association for Diplomatic Studies & Training During the fourteen years of democratic government following Pinochet, Chile’s economy maintained fiscal stability while strengthening its social net. You can impose them without worrying about the democratic political process. They knew he would be around for a year or two, before the first free elections in 20 years would take place. A national referendum was held on October 5, 1988 to determine whether the Junta, and its leader Pinochet, should stay in power for another eight years. He led the military coup that overthrew Chile's elected socialist … Under the leadership of Monica Jimenez, the head of Catholic University’s School of Social Work, Cívitas mounted a non-partisan voter education campaign to convince people their vote would be counted and to assist them in registering. Then, after his last and remarkable radio address, he shot himself rather than becoming a prisoner. That was a very effective message. Chileans began planning for the national elections in December of ’89. Pinochet was a typical dictator—until 1988. It triggered a cutoff of military aid and a decades-long investigation of the role of top officials including Pinochet himself in the assassination. Embassy functions, both ours and the Europeans, were among the only places the government moderates, the conservative nationals and the democratic left could meet and converse freely.…. By the time of his death on December 10, 2006, about 300 criminal charges were still pending against him in Chile for numerous human rights violations and embezzlement during and after his rule. BARNES: Pinochet had, as I think he himself said from time to time, had made a gift to the people of Chile in the form of a new Constitution, having done away with the previous one, the Allende and earlier periods. There was a joyous feeling of release and celebration nationwide. It was an onerous process. No violence, however. One patrician learned that I’d served previously in La Paz and asked me, “Well, how was Bolivia?” expecting that I was going to say, they live in caves, they eat off of the street. Jorge, a medical doctor, was the opposition liaison with the military. With 1988 that was eight years later. One of the things the people of Chile had a chance to approve was that Constitution in a plebiscite in 1980. They’ve been the tiger of Latin America. 2 decades ago. The government of the United Kingdom was also pro-Pinochet. I analyzed the implementation of political laws under the 1976 constitution, the emerging civil society organizations and political party dynamics. After that they started running old sitcoms. The initial plan held that Pinochet would rule only for a year, to be succeeded by the chiefs of the navy, police and air force. (Actually they would have needed a six-foot-five box because the Ambassador is a tall man.) The Congress and the NGO community kept up pressure in the effort to develop credible information for the Justice Department. The police would douse the protesters with water canons, spray tear gas, and start shooting with little provocation. A street sign shows the name of the September 11 Avenue in Santiago, renamed during Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship which still remanes. Chileans felt frustrated and depressed. It’s very dark there.” I said, “There must be some rays of light or else people couldn’t cope.”…. A month later, Pinochet led the military coup that overthrew Allende. The ’76 car bombing in Washington that killed Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier [who served during the presidency of Socialist President Salvador Allende and who, as a political refugee from Pinochet’s government, took an academic position in Washington, D.C.. 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