“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” - George Santayana
How did General Pinochet, a Chilean dictator try to overturn the results of an election by inciting violence? How were his plans to cling to power by force and censorship blocked? What role did book bans, denying women their rights and the rich controlling the media play? What lessons does this have for America? Time to brush up on the lessons from General Pinochet's attempt to cling to power!
“The Chilean 1988 referendum on Pinochet’s rule is a dramatic example of the forces of democracy peacefully bringing an end to one of the most infamous, and entrenched, military dictatorships. It remains immediately relevant today as a model for political movements and must be remembered for generations to come.”
HOW TO CLING TO POWER: Dictator's Playbook
How far is Pinochet's Chile from America?
The fascist dictator's playbook to cling to power
"One day before the October 1988 plebiscite, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) obtained information on Pinochet's "contingency plans" to "sabotage the plebiscite on 5 October and to nullify the electoral process if the government is perceived as losing the referendum." Those plans called for "encouraging and staging acts of violence" to begin a cycle of rioting and disorder that would create a public justification for the elections "to be suspended, declared invalid, and postponed indefinitely."
The "TOP SECRET ZARF/UMBRA" report warns of the possibility of "serious, widespread bloodshed" if the military intervened in the plebiscite process, and suggested that "Pinochet's supporters have evidently opted for disrupting the plebiscite and making sure that Pinochet stays in office regardless of the cost." - NSA Archive
Pinochet dismantled popular political institutions
Along with the murder of thousands of Chileans, Pinochet dismantled popular political institutions...
Created a “citizen’s wasteland” which decimated means of civic association...
Targeted organized working class organizers... union officials were tortured, assassinated and imprisoned.
Unions were made virtually illegal and a “flexible” labour system was introduced to strip them of any right to organize and bargain collectively.
Brutal offensive on Chilean society on behalf of big business hidden under the guise of “national renewal”.
Museum of Memory and Human Rights
The Museum of Memory and Human Rights addresses the turmoil, the politics and the painful years that began with the overthrow of President Salvador Allende and continued through the regime of Augusto Pinochet. It shows the political history of Chile from 1973 to 1990 with photos and documents to bring this history to life in an effort to ensure that the lessons of those times are never forgotten. - AFAR
Defense Intelligence Agency
The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is an intelligence agency and combat support agency of the United States Department of Defense, specializing in defense and military intelligence. It informs national civilian and defense policymakers about the military intentions and capabilities of foreign governments and non-state actors. DIA produces approximately one-quarter of all intelligence content that goes into the President's Daily Brief. - Wikipedia
TakeAway: History shows how dictators overthrow democracy. Chile's fight to protect its democracy has vital lessons for us in America.
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