Myth Of The 20th Century – Episode 14: Pinochet, Life And Legacy In Chile

Welcome to the Myth of the 20th Century. The podcast airs on Fridays.

— Brought to you by —

Adam Smith, Alex Nicholson, Hank Olson, Nick Mason


Like many of history’s famous dictators, Augusto Pinochet – Chile’s ruler from 1973 to 1990 – has many in the world who condemn him to this day. What some may not know, however, is that many in Chile still remember the 1973 Coup that Pinochet led with gratitude, seeing his rule as a stabilizing force that averted a communist takeover, ending his predecessor’s disastrous economic policies and making Chile today the country with the highest per-capita GDP in Latin America. Today we examine this man’s history, and his legacy.


1948- Augusto Pinochet appointed to run Pisagua prison camp
1953- Salvador Allende leads a public grieving session for the death of Stalin
1959- Pinochet returns to Chile from Peru
1970- Allende elected President of Chile, quickly nationalizes key industries such as mining from multinational corporations, increases social spending
1970-75- inflation in Chile, peaks at of over 800% annually
1973- Pinochet leads all branches of the military in a coup to unseat Allende, who allegedly commits suicide
1974- DINA assassinations of leftist sympathizers with likely support from the CIA
1980- Constitution of Chile approved by voters
1990- Pinochet granted Senator for Life status
1998- Pinochet visits Margaret Thatcher
1998-99- British authorities place him under house arrest after the ICC threatens to try him in Spain for human rights abuses
2000- Pinochet allowed to return to Chile on pretense of ill health
2000-06- Pinochet faces continued legal harassment until his death


– Coup d’Etat: A Practical Handbook, Luttwak (1979)
– The Passing of a Tyrant, The Economist (2006) –
– Nixon, Kissinger, and Allende – US Involvement in the 1973 Coup in Chile, Qureshi (2009)
– A Regional Responsibility to Protect, Slaughter (2014)
– Augusto Pinochet – The Life and Legacy, Charles River Editors (2016)
– Red Ink: The high human cost of the Cuban revolution, Garvin, (2016) –
– Chile Inflation Rate – 1951-2017 –
– Economic Freedom Index, Heritage Foundation (2017) –
– Miracle of Chile, Wikipedia –
– Operation Condor, Wikipedia –

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  1. SecretForumLurker April 14, 2017 at 11:20 am

    The Argentines also dropped people from planes while drugged. Argentina, Uruguay and Chile are nations that communism ruined that could’ve been well developed pillars against the rot that spreads from central America. Pinochet reminds me of the Nixon-Reagan era of American politics where fixes were put in but the men failed to root out the foundations and academic realm to win the culture and social war. Maintaining the dance for libs to regroup and muck up later.

  2. Laguna Beach Fogey April 14, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    I was living in London when Pinochet was arrested there in 1998. I was already a fan, and met up with some British far-right friends outside the hospital where he was being held. Much to our surprise, there were about a couple of dozen or so Chileans already there demonstrating in his support.

  3. The Last American April 15, 2017 at 3:59 am

    Small suggestion from a humble viewer – I think it would be helpful if you started each episode with a brief summary of the mainstream narrative on the subject in question. In this case, a brief summary of Pinochet’s reign and the history of Chile in the 20th century. Often in these episodes I find myself reading between the lines in order to determine the standard narrative that you are augmenting/critiquing.

    Anyway, love the show. Look forward to it every week!

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