Monday, January 16, 2006


Plus ça change…

Credit the Bush Administration with one thing. They have managed to so tarnish the American image that South America is at last throwing off the vampiric embrace of the Monroe Doctrine. Today's successful nation: Chile Centre-left candidate Michelle Bachelet has become Chile's first woman president, taking 53.5% of the poll with almost all the votes counted. Vampiric? Well, consider how Bachelet got started in politics: Michelle Bachelet was a 23-year-old medical student in Chile when a gang of military men broke into her house and kidnapped both her and her mother, Angela Jeria. It was January 1975, and the Chilean secret police officers were crushing protests and eliminating civilians on the orders of military dictator Augusto Pinochet. Ms Bachelet, a popular and politically active student, was one of thousands accused of being an "enemy" of the new regime. "They put tape and dark glasses over our eyes. We couldn't see," Ms Bachelet recounted in her office in central Santiago. "They tortured me. They hit me. But they did not put me on the parrillada (metal table used to torture prisoners with electricity)." In a nearby room, her mother was similarly tortured and kept for nearly a week without food or water. "It was 30 days of total fear," said Elizabeth Lira, an expert on Chilean human rights. "Rape was frequent. Plus the punches, sexual abuse, denigration. They had very long interrogations and the use of electric current was common." Who proposed, coordinated, and backed the coup? The CIA. See page 5, "CIA focused on provoking a military coup." It's especially notable that this report claims that Allende was intimidating the press, threatening assassinations, etc., in response to a CIA propaganda program. Another point of interest was the fact that the CIA enlisted the US press in this propaganda campaign. I should make it clear. I don't think Allende was a great leader, nor do I think that Chavez is a great leader. But they were the leaders that the people of these nations chose in free and fair elections. We had no right to make their decisions for them. We call that "tyranny" when others try to do it to us.
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