Why Pinochet Apologists Are Wrong

Why Pinochet Apologists Are Wrong

Hello everyone. Today we’re going to talk about Pinochet apologism. So we’ll be talking about Chilean political
history, mostly focusing on Salvador Allende’s presidency, Pinochet’s coup, and subsequent dictatorship. Topics that everyone always seems to have
very strong opinions on. So let’s get started with a brief refresher. Salvador Allende was the democratically elected
socialist president of Chile. He was the head of Popular Unity, a broad coalition of left-wing parties, and he was in office from November 1970 until
September 11th, 1973. On that day, he was ousted in a military coup led by the Commander in Chief of the armed
forces, Augusto Pinochet. Allende killed himself as the armed forces
stormed the presidential palace, and Pinochet then went on to kill 3,000 people
and torture or detain upwards of 40,000 more in a dictatorship that would last until 1990. So quite a bad guy. Now, there’s actually a lot of people who
apologise for Pinochet, the coup, and or his dictatorship, including in Chile today. Generally, these people come from one of three
camps. Firstly, there’s the killing leftists is good,
free helicopter rides, all hail Pinochet sort of people, who I’m just going to ignore. Secondly, there’s people who believe that
Pinochet did what he had to do to save Chile from a Marxist dictatorship, and that his
rule resulted in peace and prosperity thanks to the glory of the free market. Lastly, there’s people who would normally
consider themselves staunchly pro-democracy, anti-violence, etc. They’re careful not to imply direct support
for Pinochet, but they nonetheless end up apologising for him anyway. They might say that, for example, the coup
was regrettable, and they don’t agree with Pinochet’s atrocities, but Allende was being
undemocratic, promoting violence, mismanaging the economy, etc. So the coup was necessary to stop him from
ruining the country. And, they also tend to praise Pinochet’s economic
policies quite a bit. This group reveals an unsettling tendency
among many centrists or centre-right types, where they’re suddenly happy to say good things
about a violent, undemocratic right-wing dictatorship, as long as it means getting one up over the
leftists. Now, while I don’t think it’s possible to
ever justify a military coup against a democratically elected government, or anything about the
murderous dictatorship that resulted from it in this case, I’m nevertheless going to
discuss the most common apologist talking points, and show that the ways in which people
apologise for Pinochet, misguided as they may be, are just wrong anyway. Namely, the idea that the coup was a reaction
to Allende’s bad governance, the argument that Allende and his Popular
Unity coalition were being violent and undemocratic, and lastly, the idea that the economy was
great under Pinochet, thus resulting in Chile becoming an exceptionally prosperous nation
today. So, let’s get started. Why was there a coup? So, firstly, I want to address the argument
that the coup was a result of Allende’s bad governance. The historian, Steve J. Stern, made a very
compelling argument that Allende, knowing that his democratic principles put him at
the mercy of the military, expected that his presidency would eventually fall to a coup,
and that he thought this before he even took office. Now, why might he have expected a coup? Because not only was there a long history
of single-minded opposition to his political candidacies, but the agitation against him
was open shameless, and began long before he had ever taken office. Allende wasn’t some political newcomer. He had run for president four times in almost
two decades, in 1952, 58, and 64, before finally being elected in 1970. He even almost won the election in 1958, losing
by only 3% of the vote. And in 58 and 64 he got more than a third
of the popular vote, so his victory was a long time coming. His politics were pretty much the same throughout:
democratic socialism. Everyone was very familiar with him, and they
had no real reason to assume he wanted to become a dictator. Despite his clear mainstream popularity and
demonstrated committal to electoral politics, his mere existence was apparently pretty terrifying
for many. For example, in 1964, the conservatives threw
their support behind the centre-right Christian Democrats, specifically to avoid splitting
the vote against Allende. Then, with the help of 2.6 million dollars
from the CIA–more than half of their total campaign funding–the Christian Democrats
won the election. That might sound like a conspiracy theory
but the US actually admitted in the Church Committee report. So machinations against Allende began quite
early, and this continued into the future. Then, during the 1970 presidential election
campaign, there was a far-reaching propaganda campaign, largely funded by the CIA, which
exercised a whole lot of control over the country’s biggest newspaper, El Mercurio. This campaign tried to paint Allende as a
big, bad, evil communist who wanted to be the Chilean Stalin and put everyone into gulags,
in spite of the fact that everyone knew what his ideology actually entailed by then. So that gives you an idea of the opposition’s
tactics at the time. Later, in September of that year, two days
after Allende won the presidential election, the second in command of the armed forces
at the time, General Carlos Prats, was visited by numerous important businessmen and right-wing
politicians, who euphemistically asked him “what the armed forces thought about the election
of Allende?” Prats was also visited by an important leader
of the Christian Democrats, the governing centre-right party of the time, who informed
him that President Eduardo Frei was seriously considering a self-coup. That is, a dissolution of the non-executive
branches of the government to hand himself complete control, just to prevent Allende’s
assumption of the presidency. Now, this probably seems like a lot of propaganda
and a whole lot of talk of coups to happen before Allende was even in office. But trust me, the worst is yet to come. General Rene Schneider, who was the Commander
in Chief of the Armed Forces at the time, was a constitutionalist. And he coined what is aptly known as the ‘Schneider
Doctrine’ – the idea that the Chilean Armed Forces shouldn’t interfere in the democratic
process, that they should remain apolitical, basically this means ‘no coups’. The fact that Schneider even needed to clarify
his position on this, combined with what Prats said about people coming to meet him, pretty
clearly shows us what the climate was like at the time. The opposition really wanted to somehow find
a way to avoid Allende actually being confirmed as president, and they saw the involvement
of the military as a possible avenue for this. Then, in October, one month before Allende
was to be confirmed as president, right-wing paramilitaries, with the support and direction
of the CIA, murdered Schneider in a botched kidnapping attempt when he predictably, you
know due to being a military general and all, pulled out a pistol and defended himself. Now, there’s no ambiguity here at all – Schneider
was killed because he was seen a roadblock to a coup. On that note, it’s important to stop for a
second to talk about US intervention. Now, I personally don’t like to blame the
US for everything. They do deserve copious amounts of criticism,
but this was not a CIA conspiracy. It was the CIA amplifying the domestic right
and the centre-right, who were by far the principal actors. Regardless, it is important to point out that
President Richard Nixon directly ordered the CIA to foment a military coup after Allende
won the presidential election, which they duly tried to do. Again, this is all in the Church Report released
by the US Senate in 1975. It is not a conspiracy theory. Now, usually the reply to that is to say,
“well, hang on, the Soviets supported Allende too.” And that’s true, the KGB was active in Chile
during Allende’s presidency. But their support was quite limited, and it
was nothing like the CIA’s fervent attempts to spur a coup. In fact, the KGB’s actions in Chile were not
really focused on Allende at all, and were more about trying to reduce American influence
in the country. They mostly actually consisted of counterespionage
efforts against the CIA. So the two aren’t really comparable at all. Anyway, moving on. Unfortunately for Schneider’s assassins, Eduardo
Frei, who was still the president at the time, followed convention and named Carlos Prats,
the second in command of the Armed Forces, as Schneider’s successor, about a week before
Allende was to take up the presidency. Prats was also an adherent of the Schneider
doctrine, and thus he was uninterested in a coup. In the wake of that failure, there was one
route remaining for the right wing. In Chile, the president only automatically
assumes the presidency with a majority, not a plurality. Allende won the election with 36.6% of the
vote, ahead of the conservative candidate with 35.2%. In this event, the Congress chooses between
the top two candidates. The convention here, which had held for almost
50 years, was that this vote was merely symbolic. Congress would always confirm whoever got
the highest percentage of the vote. The right wing, however, broke convention
and voted for their own candidate instead, and tried convince the Christian Democrats
to do the same. Rather than simply follow convention, the
Christian Democrats then demanded that Allende sign an unprecedented agreement that he wouldn’t
break the constitution, in exchange for their votes at his confirmation. And yes, this was technically legal, but it’s
still significant that they broke 50 years of democratic convention to try and stop Allende
from becoming president in an election that he had already won. So, as you can clearly see, even before Allende
assumed the presidency, there was already all kinds of initiatives to try and stop him
from even doing so. Now at this point it should already be really
obvious that coup agitation had absolutely nothing to with Allende’s performance in government. Because he wasn’t even governing, and all
of this was already happening. Now, if I went over every single example of
this sort of thing, this video would be about 15 hours long. So instead, I’m going to skip to 1973. And I’m going to make an honourable mention
for the CIA, who allocated $10 million to coup agitation after Allende was actually
confirmed as president. ’73 was a crazy year. The midterm elections took place in early
March, with all of the seats in Congress and half of the seats in the Senate up for grabs. The Christian Democrats and the conservatives
actually joined together to form one party, the Confederation of Democracy, specifically
to oppose Allende’s presidency. The motivation for this was simple: if they
won a two-thirds majority in the Congress, they could then vote to impeach Allende. Since Prats was still Commander in Chief of
the Armed Forces, a coup was mostly out of the question, so for now, they thought they’d
try their hands at democracy. Instead, Popular Unity actually INCREASED
their share of the popular vote, from 36% in 1970 to 44%, and they gained seven seats
in the process. This was seen as an endorsement of Allende’s
presidency, as his popularity had only increased in the last three years since taking office. Having failed democratically, the opposition
went right back to agitating for a coup. Soon after, a coup attempt finally came. Most people don’t actually know this, but
Pinochet’s coup was not the first try. This one, known as the ‘Tanquetazo’, happened
four months earlier, in June. It was instigated in the army by the ‘Fatherland
and Liberty Nationalist Front’. This was a fascist paramilitary group that
had been formed in 1971 by people who were involved in the assassination of General Schneider,
specifically to oppose Allende’s presidency. And yes, they were ACTUAL fascists. I mean, look at them. Tanks surrounded the presidential palace,
and troops fired on journalists who were there to film the commotion. That was Argentine cameraman Leonardo Henrichsen,
who filmed his own death during the Tanquetazo. Luckily, at least for a time, Prats was still
the Commander in Chief, so the coup failed to draw the draw the wide support that it
needed to succeed, and it was quickly put down. In light of that failure, the opposition nonetheless
kept agitating for a coup. On the 22nd of August, they called a special
session of Congress. The opposition controlled Congress passed
a motion which condemned Allende as undemocratic and openly called on the armed forces for
another coup. This motion held no legal power, it was merely
symbolic. It could have said “Allende smells his own
farts, please, military, give us a coup,” and it probably still would have been passed. Now, I hope that we can all agree that calling
a special session of Congress to ask the armed forces to please come and give us a coup,
is a pretty undemocratic thing to do. Fortunately for them, they had been attempting
to manufacture a scandal against Carlos Prats to get him to resign. He was being harassed basically everywhere
that he went by opposition supporters, hoping for a reaction that they could then use to
shame him into resigning. Prats was being heckled in traffic by fellow
motorists. Now, he did something incredibly stupid and
pulled out his pistol in a road rage incident, and he shot at a car in the process. He was then attacked by a huge crowd of motorists
and narrowly escaped being lynched. He immediately tried to resign, but Allende
convinced him to stay on. Nonetheless, this event greatly damaged his
prestige in the military. As a result, he resigned on the 23rd of August,
one day after the Congress had called for a coup. Then, on Prats’ recommendation, Allende named
Pinochet as his successor, assuming that he also adhered to the Schneider doctrine. As we all know now, he was quite wrong. And then, on September 11th, after years and
years of agitation from the opposition, they finally got what they wanted as Pinochet finally
led a coup that succeeded. Now if someone takes all of this information
into account, and still ends up saying “the coup happened to save Chile from Allende’s
bad governance”, then I’m really not sure what to tell them. The coup was quite clearly something that
the opposition had been hoping for since before Allende was even president. Then, the second that Prats was gone, the
coup happened within weeks. Certain factions clearly saw Allende as a
threat to their interests and wanted him gone long before he had ever had a chance to govern. Apologists often also say that since the opposition
had a majority, that means that what they did is okay, and not anti-democratic. But there’s governments all over the world
at this very moment that are governing without having a legislative majority. So unless you also think that the Republican
controlled Congress under Obama, for example, would have been justified in seeking a military
coup by virtue of numbers, then you’re just kind of being a little bit obtuse there. This happens all the time in liberal democracies. The opposition could have tried many different
strategies within the democratic system. They could have tried to convince some Popular
Unity legislators to help pass an impeachment vote,
they could’ve kept blocking Allende’s legislation, which they did a lot of, by the way. They could have sought a plebiscite, which
Allende had actually expressed clear interest in, by the way. They could have waited for the next presidential
election which they probably would have won, assuming they united together again. But they didn’t! Rather than allowing Chilean democracy to
function, they instead tried to foment a coup consistently for three years. That is just not defensible, period. Were Popular Unity violent, and was Allende
being undemocratic? No. Allende and his party were not violent, nor
were they associated with any violent groups. The actual violent leftist groups of the time,
such as the MIR, were opposed to Popular Unity and Allende. This was because they disapproved of the democratic
path that he was taking towards socialism, believing that the only viable path was violent
revolution. Considering the reaction to Allende’s attempts
at democratic socialism, I think they might’ve had a point, by the way. Now, it is true that during his presidency,
there were some attacks by other leftist groups. But these were few – less than a dozen – and
they were coming from the very same groups that were not associated with Popular Unity,
and, in fact, were actively opposed to them. Violence from far-right paramilitaries, especially
Fatherland and Liberty – who, by the way, were funded by the CIA – was far more common. They routinely carried out assassinations,
especially against people in the military who they thought didn’t support a coup. They attacked Popular Unity supporters, they
sabotaged infrastructure, etc, etc. The only armed group that was actually associated
with Allende was the Group of Personal Friends. This was not a paramilitary group, but rather
a group of personal bodyguards, formed in the wake of the assassination of General Schneider,
out of a fear of a similar attempt on Allende’s life. A far cry from ‘leftist terrorists’, obviously. Usually, though, when people are talking about
this violence, they’re more referring to street violence, such as that between opposite groups
of protestors. Now, street violence did happen, especially
after the midterm elections of ’73. For example, here’s a video of right-wing
supporters, evidently quite unhappy with the news that Allende had increased his share
of the vote. But this violence had very little to do with
Popular Unity. Eugenia Palieraki, a professor of Latin American
studies, notes in her study on street violence during Allende’s presidency that it increased
due to the influence of the fascist Fatherland and Liberty paramilitary group on the mainstream
opposition parties. Basically, they internalised its narrative
that the supposed ‘totalitarian Marxism’ of Allende needed to be confronted in the streets. She later concludes that “For the opposition,
violence was not an occasional resource. It simply became a regular political practice.” So the violence that is often used as justification
for a coup actually came from the very people who wanted the coup to happen. Now, this might sound familiar to you. And that’s because this is somewhat of a historical
theme. Right-wing violence, even that against leftists,
is often framed as the leftists’ fault, and this is probably the best possible example
of it. Right-wing groups were committing flagrant
acts of violence in the street, and then this violence would be blamed on Allende’s government,
and used to justify a coup. This was obviously a very good tactic, because
people are still using it to justify the coup to this very day. Anyway, what about the idea that Allende was
being undemocratic? Well, as I mentioned earlier, on the 23rd
of August, 1973, the opposition-controlled Congress passed a motion that condemned Allende’s
supposed violations of the constitution. This motion is full of hot air. It had no legal power and it just plain lies. For example, it accuses Allende of imprisoning
opposition journalists, which is something that simply never happened. Its purpose had very little to do with its
content. It was just more agitation for a coup. These sorts of accusations were being thrown
at Allende before he was even in office, so this was nothing new. So the people who claim that Allende was being
undemocratic are pretty much always just taking at face value the things that the clearly
unreliable opposition were saying during his presidency. Did he violate the constitution though? Well, indirectly, and in one specific area,
yes. Allende’s government had a bad habit of not
enforcing court rulings regarding its land reform campaign. Companies that had their land acquired during
said campaign would often appeal to the courts. They’d sometimes win, and then Allende’s government
just wouldn’t do anything to enforce the rulings. But this one thing is hardly what people today
have in mind when they’re talking about all of the supposed undemocratic measures taken
by Allende. In fact, if any of them are watching this
video, I can almost guarantee you that they’ve never heard of this before. So no problem guys, glad to help. That’s it though. It’s certainly nothing near the picture that
many apologists paint. I think if they really cared so much about
the constitution, they would probably worry much more about the very unconstitutional,
three-year-long agitation for a coup. Now I’m gonna sum this up with a speech directly
from Allende. Immediately following the first coup attempt,
Allende gave a speech before Popular Unity supporters outside the presidential palace,
while emotions were obviously running very high. In the wake of the coup, the crowd chanted
for him to dissolve Congress, and some called for an armed solution. But Allende told them, sternly, that he would
remain loyal to his word. That he would continue to seek change through
democratic means. He denounced the violence on both sides, and
said that would not dissolve Congress because, I quote, “that would be absurd.” In this same speech, he also floated the possibility
of a plebiscite to resolve disputes with the opposition. But again, the opposition was not very interested
in democratic solutions. I’ve saved the best for last. Do the economic ends justify the means? No. They don’t. You can’t justify a military coup against
a democratically elected government with economics, or anything, ever. That’s all folks. Okay, no, I’m not actually done. Because while I could, actually, end it there,
the arguments that apologists tend to make are just plain wrong anyway. Now yes, there was, indeed, an economic crisis
under Allende in 1973, the year of the coup. This crisis was, however, influenced by outside
factors. For example, there were harsh US sanctions,
and also the domestic right and centre right were actively trying to create artificial
shortages of basic goods. For example, they bribed shopkeepers and distribution
centres to hoard their goods rather than sell them. You’re currently watching actual footage of
hoarded goods being discovered and redistributed, so this really happened. Now this is just the tip of the iceberg. They used plenty of other means of economic
sabotage, as well. I, personally, think that it’s pretty heinous
to intentionally attempt to sabotage your own country’s economy, and deprive your own
people of basic goods, to try and spur a coup against the incumbent president. It’s ridiculous, in fact. But it happened. However, arguing about responsibility for
the crisis is kind of irrelevant. Because an economic crisis is not justification
for a coup. Economic crises are fairly common, and very
few of them ever end in military coups. There’s one currently ongoing in Argentina
right now under the right-wing government of Mauricio Macri, for example. And as far as I know, no one is calling for
a coup, nor is anyone actively trying to sabotage their own people’s access to basic goods in
an effort to spur one. Now, what about the supposed miracle under
Pinochet, though? Did that happen? No. Firstly, to amplify their praise for Pinochet,
people will often say that Chile didn’t have a very good economy relative to the region
until he came along. But that’s just wrong. In 1970, before either Allende or Pinochet
ever got their hands on things, by GDP per capita, Chile was already the third wealthiest
nation in South America. So that idea just doesn’t hold water. Continuing on, it’s time for some boring-ass
graphs. According to the World Bank, GDP per capita
in the years of Allende’s presidency went from $954 to $1,667. But in the Pinochet years, it more than halved,
to $776 in 1975. It recovered to reach a high of $3,016 in
1981, and then, just like under Allende, there was an economic crisis in Chile, with GDP
per capita falling to pre-1973 levels. By the time Pinochet left the presidency,
it had recovered to 2,500, which was actually below the average for Latin America and the
Caribbean at the time. In fact, over the course of his dictatorship,
GDP per capita growth per year averaged 1.83%. But the average for Latin American and the
Caribbean during this period was 2.39%. Chile’s gross GDP per capita increased by
50%, while that of Latin America and the Caribbean increased by 121%. That’s not a miracle. That’s far below average economic growth. Pinochet’s below average economic performance
has been played up so much that people just take it for granted. But hey, gross measures like GDP per capita
don’t really tell us much about human welfare, as that wealth could be distributed in any
which way. So, what about other indicators? Well, not good either, as it turns out. Pinochet gutted access to basic public services,
repealed a lot of workers’ rights, banned unions, abolished unemployment insurance,
privatised education, etc, etc. Predictably, this resulted in some pretty
bad performance on key indicators of social welfare. Unemployment under Pinochet averaged 20%,
up from about 4% during Allende’s government. Chile’s GINI coefficient, which measures inequality,
with lower numbers being better, went up markedly during his tenure, making it one of the most
unequal countries in Latin America. The number of people living in poverty doubled
during Pinochet’s dicatorship, which is quite a feat. When he stepped down, the poverty rate was
at a ginormous 44%. These are, frankly, godawful figures. So, when people talk about the ‘economic miracle’
under Pinochet, what they’re really saying is that everything was below average and things
were pretty terrible for the average person. Now, the point of an economy is not to make
the numbers go up at a below average rate. It’s to serve the needs of human beings. It’s pretty clear that the economy under Pinochet
failed spectacularly at that. Obviously, this was by design. Pinochet didn’t reform the economy with the
idea of creating a just country that served the needs of everyone. He wanted to make a lot of money for corporations
and already well-off people. I’m sure that he was more successful at that
than the stuff that I’m talking about. But I don’t think that’s what most of us have
in mind when we discuss economic performance. Unless you’re like a Coke executive or something. The next apologist talking point is usually
to say, “Well, the subsequent democratic governments kept a lot of Pinochet’s reforms and then
they did good.” The implication being that Pinochet deserves
credit for stuff that happened once he was gone. Now, firstly, I’ve pretty much never heard
anyone try to give credit for the present state of a country’s economy to a leader who’s
been gone for 29 years, except in the case of Pinochet. But I guess when things during his tenure
were so bad, then the only option you really have is to try and give him credit for things
that happened when he was gone. He was in power for nearly 17 years. He had a whole lot of time to make things
work himself. You don’t get credit for things getting better
once you’re gone, after you’ve had 17 years to get things right and failed miserably. Secondly, pretty much every government ever
keeps some things from previous governments. Nothing about that is unique. For example, Pinochet and all the subsequent
democratic governments kept the copper mines that were nationalised by Allende in state
hands. Now, Copper represents 15% of the country’s
GDP, and 50% of its export income. By far the most important sector of its economy. But weirdly enough, no one’s high-fiving Allende’s
corpse over this. What Pinochet actually did leave behind was
a whole host of problems. There’s the whole rampant poverty and unemployment
thing that we just went over. But he also implemented anti-labour legislation
that was so systematically entrenched that democratic governments have actually had a
lot of problems trying to fix it. He privatised the pension system and abolished
unemployment allowances. In 1981, he abolished tuition-free public
university education, and this was only reimplemented in 2018. And guess what? He also privatised the general education system,
and he abolished universal healthcare, which left millions without access to affordable
healthcare until the early 2000s. That’s just a taste of it. If someone looks at this clear mess that he
left behind, and still thinks that he deserves credit for things getting better without him,
then I think they must just really, really want to like Pinochet. And the people who make this same argument
also like to characterise Chile as some kind of unique success in Latin America, to play
up the supposed achievements of Pinochet. And yes, for its region at least, Chile does
do quite well. As it always has, before Pinochet and before
Allende. But these people conveniently ignore the fact
that Uruguay and Argentina exist. On pretty much all indicators, these three
countries are so close to the point that there’s really no meaningful differences. GDP per capita, minimum wage, levels of poverty,
unemployment, living standards, etc, etc. This is obviously pretty inconvenient to the
idea that Chile is some sort of uniquely prosperous paradise, amidst a sea of barbarians rolling
around in their own shit. Which, I’m pretty sure, is the standard image
of Latin America that a Pinochet apologist has in their head. So obviously, they just kind of pretend that
these two countries don’t exist and ignore them, so that they can keep up the myth of
Chilean exceptionalism. Why though? Well, these two countries also had dictatorships
during the 70s and the 80s, that also pushed free market reforms. Their economies, were, like Chile, quite bad
under these dictatorships, and more neoliberal governments followed under democracy. Yet there’s no one touting the Argentine miracle
or the Uruguayan miracle. Why not? Well, because the same sort of neoliberalism
didn’t work do so well there. Rather, it actually led to severe crises in
both countries, in 2001 in Argentina and 2002 in Uruguay. Then, post-crisis, the countries’ recovery
was overseen by leftist, social democratic governments: The Kirchners in Argentina, who
ruled from 2003 until 2016, while in Uruguay, the leftist coalition, Frente Amplio, has
led since 2004. So yeah, fairly inconvenient for the idea
that a right-wing dictatorship left Chile as an exceptional country, unequalled in its
region. This brings me to the real point: none of
this is actually about what really happened. Chilean history has become something of a
worldwide ideological battleground. The coup was a dramatic, unique event in a
particularly tumultuous historical period. The first ever democratically elected Marxist
president was deposed in an explicitly capitalist military coup. That is a lot more spectacular and a lot more
exploitable for propaganda purposes than Uruguay and Argentina, where right-wing military coups
deposed governments that were already themselves right-wing. So basically, for many people ideologically
inclined towards capitalism, Allende must not only be remembered as an abject failure. Pinochet, unseemly as he may be, must be remembered
as a success, in order to contrast his capitalism with Allende’s socialism. And now, to recap. Firstly, agitation for a coup was extremely
prevalent even before Allende took office, and this continued throughout his presidency. The coup had nothing to do with Allende’s
governance and everything to do with the fact that a lot of powerful people were never willing
to tolerate a leftist president, democratically elected or not. Secondly, there were no violent groups with
Allende’s Popular Unity party, and most of the violence during his presidency came from
the right wing. Allegations of unconstitutional actions against
Allende have little to no basis. Allende remained committed to his democratic
principles even in the wake of the first abortive coup attempt. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly. The so-called Chilean miracle never happened. Pinochet actually presided over a below average
economy that was an absolute disaster on every indicator of human welfare. He left many issues in his wake, such as leaving
the country without many basic social services that it had previously had. That things improved once he was gone doesn’t
absolve him at all, as, well, the key reason that things improved was the fact that he
was gone. And, most importantly, absolutely none of
these arguments could possibly justify a coup against a democratically elected leader regardless. So that’s the end of the video! Thank you very much for watching, if you’ve
somehow made it this far. If you enjoyed the video, I humbly ask you
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69 thoughts on “Why Pinochet Apologists Are Wrong

  1. Very good video. Sad that we still have to discuss this stuff. Keep on making videos, I'm interested in seeing more.

    Edit: One thing though, I think Pinochet is pronounced Pinoche(t) with the t silent. Not 100 % sure but that's how I've always heard it pronounced.

  2. Sub to my channel. Pinochet had many other anti-communist allies who killed millions like Alfredo Stroessner, Ferdinand Marcos, and the Brazilian Military Dictatorship of the 60s-80s. These were capitalist hellholes that the Catholic Church largely supported. They had CIA backing, with special treatment by Thatcher, Reagan, and Nixon. The Philippines is still a capitalist hellhole to this day. When someone tells you to move to Venezuela or North Korea, tell them to move to some capitalist hellhole like the Philippines or Brazil. With right wing authoritarians like Putin, Netanyahu, Trump, Orban, and Bolsonaro dominating politics in some countries, the deaths of potentially millions of people are being justified. They are Ben Shapiro's utopias. Hellholes with very little civil rights and a slavish devotion to "traditional values".

  3. I can guarantee you that the majority of American Pinochet apologists don't know that Uruguay exists, or can't place it on a map.

  4. Great video, but I would like to nitpick one thing. At 28:27, you mention how the Kichners oversaw the recovery of Argentina. That's correct, but as an Argentinean, I feel like I have to point something out. While the economy clearly did improve during the so called "Decada ganada" (won decade), neither Nestor not Cristina did anything to help solve the massive problems with corruption in the country, quite in contrary, there's quite a lot of current evidence they delved in corruption themselves. I'm only pointing this out because not every representative that's ideologically a social democrat (and I'm not fully convinced the Kichners were socdems, but to be fair I only really started paying attention to politics during Cristina's second term so I might be missing some details) is actually a good one.

    I would recommend anyone reading this comment to make their own research, and I will try to provide sources to the Kichner's supposed corruption tomorrow. I would do it right now, but it's almost 2:30 AM and I don't wanna research sources while I'm sleepy.

  5. I've got a patreon now: https://patreon.com/badempanada – if anyone would like to support my work, it'd be greatly appreciated! Each video takes a lot of work, upwards of 50-60 hours. I've been considering continuing on into academia for a while, but the fact that most academic work is inaccessible for the vast majority of people, due to paywalled journals, and the often ridiculous costs of academic books, really puts me off it – I don't want to make stuff just for a small bubble of academics. I'd much rather create content like this that everyone can watch for free. Anything you'd like to throw at me would really help in in that endeavour :). I'll re-invest it all into my videos in one way or another, and maybe one day I'd like to do this full-time, if that's even a remotely realistic goal. Thanks all!

  6. This is so necessary. I’m sharing this with all my friends. My parents left Chile in 1988 because of the dictatorship . My family suffered so many human rights violations and the stories my close ones have told me about those times. My mother gave birth to my sister ON THE FLOOR of the hospital. There was nothing in that hospital, she even had to bring her own sheets for a bed. Horrible.

  7. Liked and subscribed. I didn't realize Pinochet apologists were so prevalent until I looked in my recommended videos section for this video. God, that's disturbing. Thank you for being a light in the darkness.

  8. 18:16 You mean Alliende seized the means of production and refused to give it back to the capitalists? 😮


  9. Stupid people that can't understand both of them where shit. They think that their hate towards one of them must be balanced with the idolization of the other or vice versa. I call it the Messi-Ronaldo syndrome.

  10. As a working class chilean, THANK YOU.

    I'm becomimg increasingly tired of these right wing nutjobs who seem to be utterly unable to have just the tiniest bit of compassion or empathy for the victims of the most horrible crimes, just because "muh free murket". Seriously, you can be against Allende's policies all you want, but you can't say that he killed innocent people, or that he tortured women by introducing LIVING FUCKING RATS in their vaginas.

    I can tell you from my own experience of living my entire life in this country that the only people who still support pinochet here are the families that directly benefited from the dictatorship (higher classes and high military ranks especially) and poor, uneducated and vulnerable older people who still believe the propaganda that was fed to them everyday for 15+ years, when we didn't have freedom of press. There are also some straight up fascists and edgy teenagers, but, fortunately, most of the younger generations (including some kids from families that supported pinochet, and other right wingers) are against pinochet and everything he represents.

    Now that a reasonable time has passed, the support for the dictatorship is rapidly and steadily decreasing to the point that even some far right wing politicians, who vehemently suported pinochet decades ago, have had to hide or even deny their past to have a shot at an election (although the internet echo chamber has encouraged some of them to "come out" recently). Now we can safely say that there is no way that a public figure can openly declare themselves a pinochet suporter without receiving a huge backlash, and that's a good thing.

    Also, the internet in Chile is full of far right bots and trolls, so you may suffer a bot attack. Just so you know. It happened to the Rare Earth channel on their video about the dictatorship (which I recommend btw).

  11. "But he quit after being voted out so he wasn't a bad guy. Everything bad said about him must be a trick"
    -actual things I've seen people say to defend this guy

  12. I love how 9/10 cases of "socialism not working" were just some fucks hoarding food coupled with US sanctions.

    But, sure, it's our ideology that's at fault. Not imperialist capitalism, no no. Dirty commies!

  13. Chilean living in Australia here.
    I have always been interested in this topic, and I had never seen such a concise and complete analysis.
    I will check your sources to try to get a better understanding.
    Thank you for this.

  14. wonderful video. i've been graffiti tagging 09/11/73 (pardon the edge) since like 2010, nice to get such well-researched and presented hard info. <3 cheers !!

  15. Great work sir! I too am considering starting my own channel on here (on another account) and have insecurities about recording myself. Probably not the most telegenic person myself but I share you're interest in geo-political intrigues… Will be watching more of your stuff!

  16. I'd love to talk about important shit, but first we have to hold the Right Wing's hand explain why murderous dictators hand.

    Next week, we need to explain why Adolf Hitler was bad. /RollMyEyesSoHardTheyFallOutOfMyAss

  17. Buen video amigo, me suscribo desde slime, Pinochet era un viejo estúpido, tan idiota como para poner una bomba en Washington en plena guerra fría, cortando sus propias relaciones con los gringos. La gente que lo defiende son fanáticos.

  18. Great video!! Just wanna add that even in Frei's government the military tried a coup, the Tacnazoof 1969. Also, Allende's project was to modenize Chile through his Chilean way to Socialism, which necesitated Agrarian Reform, something that directly affected the power structure of Chile at its base, land property and private property in general, thats why the right wing was so agressive, because they knew that their power was been taking away, even before Allende, with Frei's agrarian reform. Saludos desde Chile 🙂

  19. One minor detail, the killing of General Schneider was not executed by paramilitary groups, but by two separately organised clandestine groups of military chilean officers, one commanded by General Roberto Viaux and the other by General Camilo Valenzuela, both funded and armed by the C. I. A. and with Patria y Libertad members participating but not in charge, Chilean military were in charge.

    And may we never forget Dick and Henry, they are up to them tonsils in this.

    Other than that, Che, ¡sos grande!, buen canal, buenos videos, gracias, gracias, gracias.

  20. I'm reading the ITTC declasified archives about the importance of United States about instability in Chile between 1969 (a year before Allende was elected, when "The Red Scare" begins) and 1973 and how Nixon, Kissinger and Helm were pacting with the PN (Partido Nacional) and the DC (Democracia Cristiana) to destabilize Chile in a politically and economical way.
    I'm not pretty sure I wrote it right but I think is understandable.

  21. Tad off topic, but I’m curious- why is it that some people say Pin-oh-chet, and others say Pin-oh-chay? Is it a French name? If not- where did the pronunciation come from?

  22. Didn't Milton fucking Friedman support and praise Pinochet economic policies??? And self proclaimed "libertarians" worship this guy?

  23. Are there leftist youtubers or podcasters that produce media in spanish? Sometimes I have trouble following the argument… I would appreciate your tips

  24. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2013/09/16/commentary/world-commentary/dont-credit-chiles-economic-rise-to-pinochet/#.XYueZkd7l6o

    "It should be noted, however, that the groundwork for Pinochet’s economic modernization of Chile was laid by his predecessors under democratic rule. Land reform in the 1960s and early ’70s broke up inefficient semi-feudal estates, allowing the military regime to stimulate an export-oriented economy driven by large-scale agricultural production. Some aspects of Chile’s modernization began around 1920. By the 1973 coup, most Chileans enjoyed a high level of education (the illiteracy rate was less than 10 percent in 1970), and malnutrition and infant mortality had been declining for decades. Chilean universities were among the best in the Americas; the country’s central bank, Internal Revenue Service and General Comptroller’s Office were all solid state institutions.

    Could Chile have reached prosperity without Pinochet? My answer is yes. Many Latin American countries that endured economic crises in the 1970s and ’80s, including Brazil and Peru, introduced tough economic reforms — not without vigorous opposition."

  25. This was your first video?! Top notch quality! Excellent history and fact-checking! It's quite dense so I'll be sure to watch this again, comrade! Thank you!

  26. Not-so-fun-fact: brazillian president Jair Bolsonaro's economics minister is Paulo Guedes, one of the Chicago boys who help build the disastrous economic plan of Pinochet.

  27. Now Chile is in a social and political crisis that comes directly from the system that Pinochet perpetuated with his non-democratic constitution made in 1980. All what's happening now is an heritage from the dictatorship ! The levels of inequality and the low dignity of the people in Chile (linked to extreme neoliberalism mesures and privatization of the majority of life aspects) led to the biggest movilization in the country's recent history. Today I'm glad that the people of my country Chile has awaken and that we realized that this actual constitution is a mechanism of preservation of privilege. The society has spoken, has destroyed what was chaining her and now will build a new future under democratic parameters decided by us all.

    Ahora Chile se encuentra en una crisis social y política que proviene directamente del sistema que Pinochet perpetuó con su constitución no democrática hecha en 1980. ¡Todo lo que está sucediendo ahora es una herencia de la dictadura! Los niveles de desigualdad y la baja dignidad de la gente en Chile (vinculado a las medidas extremas de neoliberalismo y la privatización de la mayoría de los aspectos de la vida) condujeron a la mayor movilización en la historia reciente del país. Hoy me alegra que la gente de mi país, Chile, haya despertado y que nos hayamos dado cuenta de que esta constitución actual es un mecanismo de preservación de privilegios. La sociedad ha hablado, ha destruido lo que la encadenaba y ahora construirá un nuevo futuro bajo parámetros democráticos decididos por todxs nosotrxs.
    A votar que sí nomás a la asamblea constituyente !!!!

  28. And now Chile is in crisis because of all the political and economical policies made by Pinochet and the Chicago boys. You should make a video speaking about what's happening now in the country.

  29. Pinochet is responsible for the death of thousands, rape and torture of tens of thousands and the deportation of hundreds of thousands(directly, not counting those who died or suffered by his destructive economic policies) in a country were there are only 11 million people. He destroyed the economy and everything, and barely paid anything for it(nor did his collaborators). He deserves no respect or acceptance of any kind. He only deserves contempt and to be despised.

  30. This was excellent. Thank you! I had to watch this because you answered all the myths one hears about Pinochet and how “good” the economy was which was a lie. And killing people and a dictatorship is never justified

  31. I laugh hard at Pinochet people all the time because they'll spend 3 hours talking about how sacred life is, religion, ect. In virtually the next breath, they'll brag about wonderful it was to slaughter thousands of innocent people.

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