"When the army comes out, it is to kill."—Augusto Pinochet
Following his bloody September 1973 coup d'etat that overthrew President Salvador Allende, Augusto Pinochet, commander-in-chief of the Chilean Armed Forces and National Police, became head of a military junta that would rule Chile for the next seventeen years. The violent repression used by the Pinochet regime to maintain power and transform the country's political profile and economic system has received less attention than the Argentine military dictatorship, even though the Pinochet regime endured twice as long.
In this primary study of Chile Under Pinochet, Mark Ensalaco maintains that Pinochet was complicit in the "enforced disappearance" of thousands of Chileans and an unknown number of foreign nationals. Ensalaco spent five years in Chile investigating the impact of Pinochet's rule and interviewing members of the truth commission created to investigate the human rights violations under Pinochet. The political objective of human rights organizations, Ensalaco contends, is to bring sufficient pressure to bear on violent regimes to induce them to end policies of repression. However, these efforts are severely limited by the disparities of power between human rights organizations and regimes intent on ruthlessly eliminating dissent.
Mark Ensalaco is Director of International Studies at the University of Dayton, and Executive Director of the Inter-American Forum of Human Rights-USA.