by José Piñera

INTRODUCTION.  In an interview with the Spanish newspaper EL PAIS, former President Patricio Aylwin (93), reopened the debate over the governments of Presidents Allende and Pinochet. Among other comments, he made two strong statements: a)"Allende made a bad government and fell by his own weaknesses and those of his supporters”; b)"Pinochet represented order, security, respect, authority and a market economy that would allow the country to prosper”. This interview awakened a natural interest in Chile, since this period is a turning point in our history. Since Aylwin’s stance on these matters is still partial and incomplete, on June 12, 2012, I decided to run a “Twitter-class” announced the day before as: “Historical evaluation of the revolutionary government of President Pinochet and its classical liberals Ministers”. At the start, I said: “I will conduct this reflection with civic friendliness to all. But I will state facts clearly, without beating around the bush, because the truth make us free”; “Since this evaluation is made in Twitter, it is unavoidable that I must limit myself to headlines. Here is the complete file of documents on the Chilean Revolution”; “A key clarification: it was a revolutionary government, born in a unique historical context and, therefore, does not establish a precedent or model to follow”. Below are the 20 tweets (expanded, fine-tuned, consolidated) and each with its link to back up each statement made.

1. The birth certificate of the revolutionary government is the Resolution of the Chamber of Deputies of August 22, 1973, that called for the removal of Allende’s dictatorship since it had sistematically violated the Constitution in order to impose a "totalitarian government" (communism). As Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, "when a long train of abuses and usurpations...evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off that government."

2. As Patricio Aylwin, president of the Christian Democratic party, said two weeks after the jeffersonian coup of September 11, 1973, the Chamber of Deputies and the Armed Forces saved Chile from a “civil war or a communist tyranny”. President Reagan called it a "historical feat”.

3. Allende violated the Constitution because was the only way to impose “Marxist socialism, total and scientific” (Allende´s goal, as he recognized to Regis Debray). To impose it, it was evident that the “armed way” was required, just as the Socialist Party, by unanimity (with Allende’s vote), declared in its 1967 Chillan Congress. This subversive text is truly a war declaration on democracy.

4. According to former Presidente Frei, the Commander in Chief of the Army, general Prats, stated to him in 1973 that civil war could produce "a million dead”. Allende’s removal produced an inevitable “war” between the Armed Forces and the armed Left (Frei stated that there was an armed militia of 20,000 Allende supporters).
5. In that “war”, aprox 2,000 died, the vast majority from the armed Left. But there were also military/civilians who violated human rights. Following due process, they must pay for their actions outside the law, just as the leftist terrorists. The 'context' can never justify a crime.
6. It is totally false that the government had a policy, and much less a “systematic policy”, to violate human rights. On the contrary, the revolutionary government greatly enhanced individual rights in a number of areas. It is a fact that the President/Junta were cleared, in fact, of any crime by the Courts, despite multiple allegations. The truly condemnable action of this government was to not control and to not probe/punish with enough rigor some of the military/civilian crimes against human rights (although the Director of Carabineros was compelled to resign due to his political responsibility in a terrible human rights violation by some of the members of the national police).
7. Since it was a moral duty to raise one’s voice against those who abused and committed serious offenses under exceptional times and to fight for the restoration of democracy, here is my strong defense of human rights and democracy in that epoch.

8. The painful and dramatic truth is that the “original guilt” of the “civil war” 1967-75 –and thereby its victims, their pain and the subsequent national breakdown- came from the Chilean Left. There is no doubt that the Chilean Left initiated political violence in Chile, intoxicated with the bad example of Fidel’s Cuba. In the continent that was born fighting for, as Bolívar claiemd, a “war to death” against Spaniards, it is, regrettably, impossible, and even naive, to believe that a “civil war” can be carried out without violations of human rights on both sides. It has never happened in history. This is the chief reason for the moral imperative to never initiate political violence –under any pretext, circumstance or reason- because almost always it turns up in some way of civil war.

9. In February 1975 the "State of War" was called off and in April 1975 the free market team came into the government to promote freedom, growth and democracy. The freedom revolution had begun.

10. The government faced, in the middle of the world´s oil crisis, the daunting task of reconstructing the economy broken by Allende’s government (food rationing, 1,000% inflation, fiscal deficit at 40% of GDP). On 4.24.75, the government launched “The Economic Reconstruction Program”.

11. In the following years, the free market Ministers went far beyond reconstructing the economy and undertook a radical transformation, founding the free market economic model and openness to trade with the world.

12. The "Seven Modernizations” (Social Security, Labor, Health, Education, Mining, Agriculture and regionalization) changed the economic and social paradigm, laying the foundation of democracy in Chile.

13. A key legacy of the revolutionary government has been “Chile's take off to development”: The Reforms brought freedom (Chile reached place N°5 in Fraser's World Economic Freedom Index), freedom brought growth and employment, that reduced poverty from 45% to 15% of the population, and created a middle class that consolidated the model and helped the transition to democracy. 

14. The year 1980 is an inflection point: both the Social Security Reform (according to Mack McLarty, Clinton’s chief of staff, it was “the mother of all reforms”) and the Constitution, with the inalterable decision of a timetable for democracy by 1990, were approved.
15. During the transition 1981-1990, the key “institutions for liberty” were created: TV and private universities, an independent Central Bank, a Constitutional Court, constitutional organic political laws, among other things.
16. With a mix of firmness and prudence, the President/Junta avoided three wars (Peru/Centennial, Argentina/Beagle and Argentina/post-Falklands) that would have destroyed Chile and created animosity for 100 years with two neighboring countries.
17. On 3.11.90 the epic reaches its end with the peaceful and voluntary transfer of power, the restoration of democracy from within, and an economy posed for development toward the First World. Margaret Thatcher even said that “the Left lost the Cold War in Chile”.
18. As a soccer fan would say, the result was 7-1. There were 7 goals (avoid communist dictatorship, reconstruction, economic model, social modernizations, institutions for liberty, democracy and peace with neighbors) and 1 auto-inflicted goal (not enough control/punishment for human rights violations).
19. As I stated in “Chile, the power of an idea”, the only revolutions that succeed are those that believe in individuals and the marvelous things that individuals can do when they are free.
20. The Chilean revolution concluded with an extraordinary success, despite the fact that it was carried out in exceptional and daunting historical circumstances. Chile is now a free society and on the verge of becoming a developed country. The chief cause of this stunning success is the power of an idea and the existence of a team of patriots determined to serve Chile and fight against all odds for that idea: integral freedom.

2010 ©