Monday, December 11, 2006

Pinochet: The Deception Continues

The leading story at 9:55pm on Google News is "Wake Held for Pinochet as Chileans Mourn, Celbrate" (Bloomberg). Most other MSM outlets are running some varient on the "unpleasant but necessary" cop-out. This is balanced news for you - a torturing murdering thief becomes respectable because of the supposedly good economic policies he rammed down Chile's throat.

The term you keep seeing to describe his economic policies is "miracle." But this is total crap. Yes, he tamed inflation (by putting a million out of work) and saw some (US assisted) good growth spurts. But over the entire 15 years, Chile's vaunted GDP growth was 5th worst in the region. The economy was deeply erratic and employment often topped 20%. Inequality became the worst in the region because the top 20% received 85% of all the growth. Poverty was at more than 40 percent when he was forced out (by the US and his own people. He was an embarressment).

And never mind the 30,000 tortured, the 200,000 FORCED to leave, the 4,000 killed.

The bombing of La Moneda Palace in Santiago, where Allende was killed

The growth and stability only came after Pinochet left - presided over mostly by the Socialist party - and a period of reconcilliation (but no responsibility). It is also worth saying that Picochet was not the perfect free marketeer the US right made him out to be. He never reversed Allende's copper nationalization and never hesitated to use the State to bail out private companies (usually those he'd just privitized). He was a corporatist, a fasict, a militarist - in the true sense.

What may be worse than the distoritions and justifications is the way most accounts seem to totally ignore what should be a good moment for a US history lesson, ie. that the good ole US backed this man to the T during his worst period, fully aware and assisting in many of the crimes.

By now we are also seeing some interesting commentary and editorials. I always like the one's from old Pinochet apologists, like National Review,, where D. Frum claims he has "No Tears for Pinochet." He heaps on disdain, whilst providing thinly veiled justifications and excuses for anti-Commie deeds. And like I excpect a good many of these right-wing hacks, invokes Fidel Castro in the last paragraph to make clear the hierchy of Latin caudillos (though Castro killed no one outside of war and the law, never tortured, never stole and inspired.

UPDATE: About to post and I see the Washington Post has just opined in even stronger terms against Castro. They give us a preview of the lies to come:

By way of contrast, Fidel Castro -- Mr. Pinochet's nemesis and a hero to many in Latin America and beyond -- will leave behind an economically ruined and freedomless country with his approaching death. Mr. Castro also killed and exiled thousands. But even when it became obvious that his communist economic system had impoverished his country, he refused to abandon that system: He spent the last years of his rule reversing a partial liberalization. To the end he also imprisoned or persecuted anyone who suggested Cubans could benefit from freedom of speech or the right to vote. The contrast between Cuba and Chile more than 30 years after Mr. Pinochet's coup is a reminder...

Excuse me Mr. Post, you are fucking wrong on every point.

Chile is some paradise? My brother lived in Chile and told me of the rampant racism, excclusion of the rural and urban poor, the 1/2 of his small town he could not walk through, the alcohol, the environmental degradation, the disenchantment of the young...

Cuba is economically ruinined, impoverished? Are we talking about the same country with HIGHER GDP growth since 1995, and growing at 10% today? Are we talking about a country that has "non-economic" (non-GDP health, education, culture) facilities second to none? The only country in Latin America/Carribean where one can walk day and night in every corner of the country without feat and in awe - at the people and society they've created, while retaining the best parts of the past.

Castro has "killed thousands"? Were any of them non-violent, peaceful opponents free from foreign influence? Were any of them during peacetime? Any of them disappeared without any official mention? Any of them tortured?

Who exactly did Castro "exile" or force out? There are 200,000 Chileans who are political refugees.

Castro reversed the "partial liberalization" after the post-Soviet economic troubles stabilized. He didn't like the inequality it was bringing. He kept many other reforms though.

Pinoceht waited for the best time to have an election, and lost handily. He didn't leave for 2 more years. Castro, as anyone paying attention will admit, would whip anyone's ass who dare ran against him. And he is elected - indirectly...

Castro has not "imprisoned or persecuted anyone who suggested Cubans could benefit from freedom of speech or the right to vote." This implies there are only 300 Cubans who believe this statement (the total # of supposed political prisoners - most of whom were mercenaries or traitors). Cuba is a nation of laws, and if you don't like their laws, you should realize why they have those laws... ok long enough


Blogger jsb said...

Pinochet bad, Castro good.

Except the quality of life and economy of Chile exceeds Cuba in almost every regard.

10:04 AM  
Blogger leftside said...

Have you been to Chile or Cuba?

Chile certainly has more luxury but the conditions of their poor is terrible compared to Cuba. Chile, like most other Latin countries, is really 2 countries - one for the rich and one if your born poor. The 2 sides hate each other and live seperately, each scared.

Chile certainly has more things for sale. But for Cubans quality of life equals access to world class art, culture, higher education, family, community, unity, not worrying about debt or bills, sports, materialism - and the relatively stress free life that only socialism can provide.

9:45 AM  

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