Cablegate: Media Reaction - General Pinochet's Legacy
DE RUEHSG #2550 3462012
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 122012Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 0532
UNCLAS SANTIAGO 002550
STATE FOR IIP/G/WHA, INR/R/MR, WHA/BSC, WHA/PDA, INR/IAA STATE
FORL/WHA, DRL, S/P
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO PHUM CI
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION - GENERAL PINOCHET'S LEGACY
1. On December 12, business and financial "Diario Financiero"
(circ. 30,000) carried an editorial entitled "Augusto Pinochet."
"The Pinochet regime had two faces: the positive one that led to a
deep and radical change of the country's social and economic
structure.... and set the foundations for Chile to make a huge
qualitative jump in its level of development....and the negative
one. The Pinochet regime restricted individual freedom. Exile, the
ban of political activity, censorship of the press and human rights
violations led to a situation that initially could have been
accepted, but it became not only just incomprehensible, but also
intolerable as it extended in time.
Recently a new negative element was added: The appearance of
accounts in the Riggs Bank with no clear explanation of their
origin.... To say that history will judge Pinochet...is true. New
generations will have to make an objective analysis of his legacy.
In any case, today we can say that with Pinochet's death a chapter
of Chile's history has closed."
2. On December 12, conservative, independent "La Tercera" (circ.
101,000) ran an editorial entitled "A Toast That Is Repeated."
"It is not unexpected to see sudden, passionate outbreaks when
someone such as Pinochet -- who has deeply marked his country's
history and who represents as no other the strong division of
Chilean society in the latter half of the 20th Century -- dies....
While it is understandable to have different views on September 11,
1973, its causes and consequences, there is today consensus on a
basic lesson of recent history: ideological passion cannot undermine
life in a democratic society."
3. On December 12, government-owned, editorially independent "La
Nacion" (circ. 4,200) ran an editorial entitled "Behind the
"(Pinochet's) Civil heirs have taken cover behind what they consider
is the dictator's 'major achievement': the 'economic model' and
Chile's 'modernization'.... But not even the model is safe. The
Concertacion administrations have had to dedicate their best efforts
to implement policies to repair the systematic damage to Chile's
social structure.... In March 1990, when the democrats took office,
40% of Chileans lived in poverty...the country's infrastructure was
simply non existent...and state facilities were impoverished. That
is Pinochet's legacy...a Chile where the richer were becoming
increasingly richer and the poor increasingly poorer. Now, 16 years
later we can begin to look with dignity to the men, women, children,
and elderly who were trampled not just by the cruelty of the market
system, but by Pinochet's civilian lieutenants. There is still a
long way to go to end wit the enormous economic inequity."
4. On December 11, conservative, afternoon "La Segunda" (circ.
101,000) carried an editorial entitled, "Pinochet's Death." Quote:
"President Bachelet has denied all expressions of an official
morning...for the death of someone who...was chief of State...and
transferred the presidency to his successor. In judicial matters...
he is presumed to be innocent.... It's obvious that the President's
attitude is a response to party considerations and to a somewhat
useless effort...to reinterpret history. As yesterday's serious
incidents demonstrate, she confirms the deep antagonism that began
almost 40 years ago and the wounds that exist on both sides and
that, unfortunately, continue to divide Chileans and shows that our
society must double its efforts to overcome those divisions."