Made in Chile: Open Letter to Charles Krauthammer

Washington, November 13, 2007

Dear Mr. Charles Krauthammer,

In your last column in the Washington Post, you state that: "Under the assistant secretary of state for Latin America, Elliott Abrams, we pushed Pinochet into a referendum that he lost, ushering in the transition to today's flourishing Chilean democracy."

This is clearly not true and contradicted by the facts. On August 8, 1980, we signed a new Constitution for Chile that included a gradual itinerary for a transition to democracy, including the referendum in 1988. That Constitution was approved in its own referendum on September 11, 1980, was promulgated on March 11, 1981 and, unchanged in its referendum provision, was the basis for the full return to democracy on March 11, 1990.

I was there during this entire process fighting for a peaceful and constitutional return to democracy, for the free market reforms that have taken Chile out of the Third World, and for the creation of the "institutions of liberty" that made a flourishing democracy possible.

An assistant secretary at the State Department can claim to be the author of Chile's 1980 Constitution, inventor of the Internet, or whatever he may like, but facts are facts.

Trying to take away from Chileans the epic of returning peacefully and constitutionally to a democratic system, after Marxist President Salvador Allende destroyed it, is grossly unfair, unbelievable, and may mislead other countries looking for a transition example.

I am copying this message to the Hon. George Landau, the U.S. ambassador to Chile in 1980 who was "present at the creation," and whom you could contact to get your facts straight.

I am also copying it to your colleague Anne Applebaum, asking her, as a sign of courtesy, to forward this message to your personal email address, and to some friends in the great USA who are interested in the truth about Chile's fall and resurrection....fully Made in Chile.

If you really want to find an American who strongly influenced Chile's transition to democracy, think of a certain general Washington and a certain lawyer Jefferson. But that story is for another day.

Best regards,

Jose Piñera

Founder and President
International Center for Pension Reform

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