Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Augusto Pinochet: CIA Biography



Augusto PINOCHET Ugarte
(Phonetic: peenohSHAY)


President: Commander in Chief of the Army

Addressed as: Mr. President

Army Commander since August 1973, Maj. Gen. Augusto Pinochet became President after he led the September 1973 coup against President (1970-73) Salvador Allende. Pinochet is totally dedicated to the establishment in Chile of a new political and economic order free of all vestiges of Marxism. A man known for his toughness, he will not tolerate any opposition to the government. He is an inflexible anti-Communist and dislikes politicians of all persuasions, blaming them for the chaos that necessitated the Allende overthrow.

To international critics, Pinochet is the personification of all the evils they see in Chile, and he is the butt of continual, abusive personal criticism from abroad. Defensive in the face of criticism of his regime, he readily blames such excoriation on an international campaign orchestrated by the Soviet Union and Cuba to bring about the demise of the government, and he is quick to brand almost any form of opposition to the junta as a spinoff of that campaign. The President views the international system in cold war terms, and he points to Communist victories in Southeast Asia and the Cuban intervention in Angola to prove the fallacy of the US policy of detente. Pinochet admires the United States but is perplexed by the US posture toward Chile. He has been disappointed and frustrated with the level of US assistance and the lack of moral backing, claiming "we have been better allies to you than you have to us." Pinochet is unsophisticated in international relations and believes that Chile does not deserve the pariah status that its human rights practices have produced. He nevertheless recognizes that there have been human rights abuses and has shown a desire to remedy the situation, but he has been unwilling or unable to effect the significant improvements demanded by critics. He has visited the United States at least three times, most recently in 1968.

Domestically, Pinochet's predominance and influence within the government have grown at the expense of his fellow junta members since the coup--not without some strains. He is widely accepted as President, and there is no effective opposition to his rule. [...] he is nevertheless genuinely popular in Chile. He frequently travels within the country making public appearances, exhorting people to work together for the national reconstruction and condemning Chile's critics. Pinochet's forays at times give him the semblance of a grassroots politician, and he is always well received. He fancies himself as a father figure to the country and has expressed a desire to be an elected President one day. He has had several run-ins with the Catholic Church and the Christian Democratic Party over human rights matters and violations of the political recess, but, recognizing the influence and importance of both institutions, he has avoided a showdown that could irretrievably break relations. Pinochet lacks economic expertise and has entrusted economic policy making to qualified technicians. He has thus far fully supported the tough austerity measures that have been implemented, despite criticism about the adverse impact on the lower classes.

Outwardly tough, rigid and disciplined, Pinochet, 60, can be warm and friendly. Quiet, mild-mannered and businesslike, he is dedicated and hard working; he nevertheless enjoys parties. [...]. He is interested in sports and likes to discuss world military problems. [...] He has written at least three books on geography, one of which has been used as a high school text. Married to the former Lucia Hiriart, the President has five children and seven grandchildren. He speaks some French and only a little English.

17 May 1976

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