Down at Wattsy’s bar the other night, I sarcastically recommended former Chilean strongman Augusto Pinochet to be considered as one of the U.S. of A’s top five presidents. Pinochet was a hero to many Chileans who lived through the turmoil of the Allende administration, yet polite society will not entertain any notion other than Pinochet as monster. Castro took one of, if not the top economy in Latin America and obliterated it. Chavez wiped out the upper and middle classes in Venezuela. Castro terrorized and impoverished “his” people for a couple of generations, and not even his death has put an end to Chavez’s reign of terror.
Pinochet helped to create one of the most productive and free business climates (more so than the US’s according to The Heritage Foundation’s 2013 Index of Economic Freedom: http://www.heritage.org/index/) in the world, and voluntarily gave up power, yet he is demonized by the right and the left. The propaganda is working. Most of my Chilean friends look up to Pinochet, but their sons and daughter despise him at best. I get why leftists can’t admit Pinochet was a force for good in Chile, but why must scholars dissuade non-intellectuals like me from believing the reality we lived under Pinochet’s benevolent dictatorship?
It seems Chileans have now had too much of a good thing and have decided the time is ripe to turn their country back into your typical Latin American factory of misery. And all of this new wave of anarchy, death, and destruction is over exactly what – a 4¢ raise in the toll of a subway ticket?