Augusto Pinochet: The Rise and Fall of a Right Wing Warrior

Augusto Pinochet Ugarte led the country of Chile for 17 years (1973-1990) and used torture, repression, and even political killings to keep a firm hold on power. His tactics show a clear example of state sponsored terrorism. Pinochet’s rule is a highly interesting one because of his outright use of terrorism to maintain control and implement policies, and also because Chile improved economically and socially under his rule.

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Augusto Pinochet markedly improved Chile, but he used fear to rule. While socialism and communism has yet to work, Pinochet is still a controversial figure.

Rising to power through a Military Coup (the Military Junta ruled Chile after he expelled Allende, the Socialist president), Pinochet’s ascension was marked by bloodshed and violence from the start. Since he was not democratically elected, Pinochet could not rely on public opinion and the support of the people to keep him in power. He also deposed the democrat system that Chile had been functioning under so he had little to no legitimacy when he began to rule. This is an interesting and necessary use of State Sponsored Terrorism. Pinochet was not a foolish or dumb man, and he must have known that he would need some brutal measures to both take and hold power. This led him to support terrorism within his own country and use it as a policy against political dissenters.

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