Augusto Pinochet AP-Archive Photo

Ten years after his death, only a few supporters of Augusto Pinochet will remember the anniversary with a private mass.

A decade has passed and the figure of the dictator becomes increasingly weaker in a Chile that seeks to leave behind its legacy.

On the tenth anniversary of that December 10, 2006, when Pinochet, 91, died of a heart attack, there are no plans for more public honors of him..

The Augusto Pinochet Foundation organized a small mass at the bottom of Los Boldos, on the central coast of Chile, where his ashes rest and no more than 100 people are expected to attend, far from the more than 50,000 who were at his massive funeral.

The last demonstration of support of  Pinochet

For the government of the socialist Michelle Bachelet, whose father died tortured by the dictatorship, and who ruled the country at the time of Pinochet’s death, is not a relevant issue as a “figure of the past.”

“Pinochet is a figure of the past and in our historical memory is clearly a person who is more linked to the division than the union, a person who is in the past and Chile has to be in the present and look to the future,” said on Tuesday the spokeswoman of Executive, Paula Narvaez.

His old political allies still defend his work but took distance of the personage, as he was surrounded by cases of corruption and violation of human rights.

However, the economic and political legacy of his dictatorship remains.

“Pinochet, after 10 years of his death, has disappeared from the public scene as a character, as a biography, as he commanded a dictatorship for 17 years,” explains Manuel Garate, historian And political scientist at the Universidad Alberto Hurtado.

Twenty-six years after the end of his dictatorship, the free-market economic system he set up remained almost intact, as did the private pension system and the 1980 Constitution.

But his electoral system was dismantled a year ago and the Bachelet government works to end its education system.

The changes, however, have taken a slow pace in a society that has become accustomed to living under Pinochet’s model.

“There are contradictions in Chilean society, the character produces rejection but people have become accustomed to living in their economic model, “says Garate.

Pinochet rapidly became an icon of Latin American dictatorships as he destroyed the last possibility of a democratic socialism to conclude his political project by overthrowing the government of Salvador Allende, the first and only Marxist to gain power through the urns, and who committed suicide on the day of the coup.

Pinochet is undoubtedly still the most recognized Chilean character in the world

A photograph of him with dark glasses is until today the most representative image of a dictatorship thatattributed the death of more than 3,200 people and of torturing another 28,000.

“There has been a progressive awareness of what the truth is, but Pinochet does not have a minimum appreciation or support of its people,” says director Francisco Estévez.

This place, which traverses the horrors of the dictatorship is one of the most visited museums in Chile, with about 150,000 visits a year. Pinochet on the other hand, does not have a tomb and the small museum in his honor that manages his foundation is closed.

There is still a long way to close wounds

A thousand victims still remain missing and only few have seen or achieved any justice.

“It is a long process to forget all the atrocities this man did while in power, I think even though many years have passed but the wounds are still very open,” says Esteban Vargas, 26, the same age of Chilean democracy.


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