After the Earthquake, a Military Chile Can Love AgainBreaking News
That was barely three years ago, and it suggested that the ghost of General Pinochet, who ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990 and continued as army commander until 1998, would be hard to exorcise. But the scenes of Chileans’ embracing soldiers who aided in rescue and reconstruction efforts after the huge earthquake last month make all that divisiveness seem an eternity ago.
“This disaster was so immense that what people are seeking above all now is stability,” said Gregory B. Weeks, author of “The Military and Politics in Postauthoritarian Chile” and a professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. “This is the first real troop presence since the end of the dictatorship, and obviously raises a certain amount of nervousness. But it marks a return to a normal civil-military relationship.”...
Traditionally, Chileans are said to have had a cordial relationship with their military, at least in comparison with some other Latin American societies. That explains in part why the bloody coup that brought General Pinochet to power in 1973, and the extensive human rights violations that followed, were so traumatic for Chile....
Other Latin American societies also put their armed forces on a pedestal; the attraction of all things military is one plot line in the Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa’s play “La Señorita de Tacna.” But Chile was always considered especially conservative in valuing order and stability. Even the Socialist Salvador Allende, whom General Pinochet overthrew, had military officers in his cabinet and staff; Ms. Bachelet’s father was one....
In January, Chile became the first South American country to join the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, also known as “the rich countries club.” But that opportunity to project an image of modernity and prosperity was undermined last week when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, visiting Santiago, handed out 25 satellite phones, including one to Ms. Bachelet.
“Chile wanted to be compared to Japan, not Haiti,” Mr. Navia said. “For a country that wants to prove it’s a developed country, accepting aid is complicated. It was the first response, and it was a mistaken response.”
comments powered by Disqus
- Letters collection offers unique glimpse into ordeal of Australian aborigines
- War, More Than ISIS, Is Destroying Syria's Ancient Sites
- Pew Poll: Trust in government is at historic lows
- If "The Donald" Said It Happened, It Happened! And Don't You Forget It!
- Solved: the mystery of Britain’s Bronze Age mummies
- Anne Frank Faced Challenges Similar to Syrian Refugees, Richard Breitman Says
- Douglass North, Nobel Prize-winning economics historian, dies at 95
- Craig Shirley says Ted Cruz is right and the Huffington Post wrong about Ronald Reagan’s 1980 Presidential Campaign
- Mystery at Notre Dame: A priest-historian has been forced to back off a project promoting authentic Catholic education
- William & Mary launching a gay history project