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Spotlight on…South American Dictators!

In an effort to focus world attention away from that boring quagmire in the Middle East, we turn to The Americas, a safe haven for openly dictating men, where non-elected Presidents have long enjoyed localized violence, assistance from kindly northern neighbors and moustaches.

We dare to ask such questions as “Do you have any special pre-coup rituals?”; “Isn’t it awfully hot in full regalia, Capitaine Generale?”; and “In a controlled environment would you rather sqaure off against a guerilla or a gorilla?”

This week we put Augusto Pinochet in the hot seat! (Raul, you’re on deck, dude, if you know what I mean…)

This initally reluctant supreme head of the 1973 Chilean junta which ousted the regime of Marxist President Salvador Allende, who “committed suicide” just a few days before the coup, was a polarizing leader and a family man. But he was also a human rights violator, a masss murderer, kidnapper, censor, embezzler, and a complicated gentleman with great taste in sashes. Did you know that he was an exceptional poker player (relevant!), an admirer of the American economist Milton Friedman (the feeling was mutual), an assassination survivor and a Scorpio? He wanted “to make Chile not a nation of proletarians, but a nation of proprietors.” He lost a democratic election in 1990 and was arrested in the UK later that decade for murdering citizens of Spain. He died of congestive heart failure in December of 2006 at the age of 91. His last word was Lucy.

Like all good journalists we went straight to the Wiki for first hand information. Notice the difference between the English page and the Spanish language version. Also, check out the kicky cape he’s sporting in the Esperanto entry.

For a complete biography of Pino and more fun facts and faces visit this site.

For more on his arrest and prosecution and to learn if you’re currently being violated click here.

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