Augusto Pinochet (Pinocchio)


Essential Question: Does Augusto Pinochet deserve the reputation of a brutal and ruthless leader?


Born in Valparaíso as Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte, Augusto attended primary and secondary school as any normal boy would. After grade school, Pinochet was enrolled into military school. After four short years, he graduated with the title of alférez, or Second Lieutenant in the infantry. In 1940, Pinochet returned to infantry school. In 1943, Augusto married Lucía Rodríguez, with whom he had five children. In 1948, he entered the War Academy. After obtaining the title Officer Chief of Staff, he returned to the Military School to teach. After years of minor military missions, Pinochet was named General Chief of Staff of the Army in 1972. With rising domestic strife in Chile, and after General Prats resigned his position, Augusto Pinochet was named Commander In Chief on August 23, 1973 by president Salvador Allende.

Rise to Power

For most of Allende's reign, Pinochet was second in command under Gen. Prats. When political struggles forced Prats aside, however, Pinochet succeeded him as army commander in chief in August 1973. In September, Pinochet led the military junta that overthrew Allende and bombed the capital. He quickly crushed any resistance, arresting an estimated 130,000 people in the next three years, as well as sending many into exile, and putting thousands more to death. He eliminated Congress and all political parties, placed institutions under military control, eliminated freedom of press, and created a curfew after obtaining the title of national president in June 1974.

"He shut down parliament, suffocated political life, banned trade unions, and made Chile his sultanate. His government disappeared 3,000 opponents, arrested 130,000 (torturing thousands of them) ... Pinochet's name will forever be linked to the Desaparecidos, the Caravan of Death..."


Pinochet was involved in several crimes that led to his downfall. One of the most popular was the Riggs Bank scandal. Using fake names and aliases, he held over 125 securities and bank accounts to secretly move millions of dollars. Pinochet lost legitimacy when he was put under house arrest for tax fraud of over $27 million and passport forgery. Along with his fraud, Pinochet was known for his human rights violations. Of the 130,000 tortures and thousands more dead, about two-thirds of the cases happened within 1973. Those forced into exile were sometimes followed by the DINA, the secret police. Pinochet eliminated all opposition using any means necessary, no matter how brutal or ruthless. Over a span of seven years, he was indicted four times by the Chilean justice for kidnapping, murder, fraud, etc. Ironically, on the same day he was given his last rites, Augusto suffered from a heart attack, which ended up being the cause of his death just a week later on December 10, 2006.

"As a former General and President of Chile, Pinochet was a well-known human rights violator and violent dictator..."

The Crimes of Pinochet - Chile

Analysis- who was he?

Leader of the Chilean Coup in 1973 that ended Chile's history of democratic government, Augusto Pinochet remained in power as military dictator until 1990. To most, he was a symbol of ruthless authoritarianism. However, his reputation is glossed over by those who admire the economic reforms put into place during his time in office. In the late 1990s, foreign countries tried to prosecute him for crimes he committed against his citizens, questioning his overall legitimacy.

This video gives real-life examples of survivors during Pinochet's reign, providing true insight of what that time was like.

Augusto Pinochet Song - By Alex Haskell

Augusto Pinochet changed lives for good

He better the economy like he said he would

He also killed thousands and tortured many more

Kidnapping and murder isn't all he had in store.

Augusto Pinochet was convicted of fraud

So why do some Chileans still see him as a god?

He secretly held millions under several fake names

He took over the country using twisted little games.

Augusto Pinochet led the Caravan of Death

Which caused many people to take their last breath

So was his time in power put to good use?

I'll let you be the judge- it's up to you to choose.

works cited

"Augusto Pinochet (president of Chile)." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia

Britannica, n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2013.

"Augusto Pinochet." Augusto Pinochet. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2013.

"Augusto Pinochet." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO, 2013. Web. 28 Mar. 2013.