Pinochet, Thatcher’s soul mate, dies on Human Rights Day 2006

Chileans celebrate despite a death too good for PinochetIt’s rather too easy to tut at Chileans celebrating the death of General Augusto Pinochet and to agree with those who tried to take justice to him that international law moves too slowly. It would have been far better for him to face trial. But we didn’t live through those years. And there is something poetic about Pinochet kicking the bucket on Human Rights Day.

Importantly, the world has moved on a little. There is hope that Pinochet’s arrest in London set a precedent, as he only escaped trial through illness. The USA’s reaction implies regret for supporting his regime: ‘Our thoughts today are with the victims of his reign and their families.’

But Thatcher cannot forget he was her friend; Thatcher and Pinochet were political soul mates. His helping Britain win the Falklands War (help the Iron Lady has claimed made him our bezzy-mate for eternity) was mere icing on the cake of their relationship.

The link that predates and is stronger than the Falklands War is monetarist economics. In common with Thatcher, the economic ideas of Milton Friedman guided Pinochet to such an extent that when her Minister of Trade, Cecil Parkinson, visited Chile he proclaimed: ‘It is very similar to what we are trying to develop now in Great Britain.’

At least Freidman later admitted he got things wrong. Thatcher never has and never will. Her supporters pretend her loving Pinochet was out of character, but her silence on Iraq since the 1991 war shows she still remembers Saddam Hussein as a friend and her staunch support for PW Botha, apartheid South Africa’s most vicious face, remains unforgotten (even though David Cameron’s apologised on the party’s behalf). And yet she remains the Tory’s sacred cow.

5 thoughts on “Pinochet, Thatcher’s soul mate, dies on Human Rights Day 2006

  1. Where are we going to have our party in Manchester when Thatcher dies?
    This is a serious matter which needs to be organised before it is too late.

  2. I’ve just read that Thatcher is suffering from dementia. Whilst I would never wish this disease on anyone, I feel no sympathy for her whatsoever. However, I can already hear trite old prattle coming from Middle England about what a strong leader she was.
    The battle between democratic socialism and US-backed capitalism was never more harshly exemplified than in Chile. The fact that the man still has legions of supporters (most of whom are well-to-do middle class that prospered under him) sickens me to the stomach. There can never be any reconciliation with these people.

    Thatcher to them is a god. To me, she embodies greed, jingoism and selfishness.

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  4. Did Baroness Thatcher have no understanding of the brutal nature of Augosto Pinochet’s regime in Chile? He unlawfully took power in Chile in 1973 through a military coup. During the subsequent years of his control of that country, he ruthlessly detained, tortured and murdered thousands of civilans simply because they were of a different polical persuasion to himself. He took away the rights of the indigenous Mapuche people and made life thoroughly miserable for the majority of the population. She once remarked that Pinochet “restored democracy to Chile”. Was she unaware of the years of autrocities committed during the Pinochet regime? Did she not realise what kind of horrible dictator he was? From her comments and the friendship which she had with Pinochet, what might history conclude about the nature of Margaret Thatcher?

  5. Pinochet was a complete bastard.
    Thatcher is a nasty, nasty, nasty piece of the Devil’s work.

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