Friday, December 15, 2006

Pinochet's end - Death of a tyrant

The former Chilean dictator was one of the figures who helped to symbolize an era (as I noted here), so reactions to his death have been world-wide and often intense.
Here are some reflections on his death and life from:
Christopher Hitchens ("His overthrow of civilian democracy, in the South American country in which it was most historically implanted, will always be remembered as one of the more shocking crimes of the 20th century.");
Marc Cooper ("The chairs of power in Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Brazila, and La Paz – once occupied by dictators and generals—now seat democratically elected reformers, liberals, and socialists. Their task is formidable: to heal the trauma, reverse the damage, and bridge the yawning social gaps that are the real legacy of the Pinochet era. [....] As long as he was alive, even in a gargoyle state, he was a grotesque reminder of all that has haunted the continent, all that has been left unresolved.");
Oliver Kamm ("Pinochet was a thug, and his rule was a tragedy for Chile.");
the Economist ("No ifs or buts. Whatever the general did for the economy, he was a bad man.")
and others.

(I don't pretend that this is anything more than a quick and unsystematic roundup.)

--Jeff Weintraub