Cover image for Chile under Pinochet : recovering the truth
Chile under Pinochet : recovering the truth
Ensalaco, Mark.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xv, 280 pages ; 25 cm.
Personal Subject:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
JC599.C5 E67 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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"When the army comes out, it is to kill."--Augusto Pinochet

Following his bloody September 1973 coup d'état that overthrew President Salvador Allende, Augusto Pinochet, commander-in-chief of the Chilean Armed Forces and National Police, became head of a military junta that would rule Chile for the next seventeen years. The violent repression used by the Pinochet regime to maintain power and transform the country's political profile and economic system has received less attention than the Argentine military dictatorship, even though the Pinochet regime endured twice as long.

In this primary study of Chile Under Pinochet , Mark Ensalaco maintains that Pinochet was complicit in the "enforced disappearance" of thousands of Chileans and an unknown number of foreign nationals. Ensalaco spent five years in Chile investigating the impact of Pinochet's rule and interviewing members of the truth commission created to investigate the human rights violations under Pinochet. The political objective of human rights organizations, Ensalaco contends, is to bring sufficient pressure to bear on violent regimes to induce them to end policies of repression. However, these efforts are severely limited by the disparities of power between human rights organizations and regimes intent on ruthlessly eliminating dissent.

Author Notes

Mark Ensalaco is Director of International Studies at the University of Dayton, and Executive Director of the Inter-American Forum of Human Rights-USA.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This is a meticulous, almost day-to-day account of the extensive, vengeful behavior of the Chilean military under General Augusto Pinochet (1973-89). Besides the systematic destruction of Communist and Socialist party leadership, Ensalaco describes the fate of smaller parties, including the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR) and the Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front. Courageous, if often circumvented, efforts by human rights organizations are described from early on in the dictatorship. One little slip: Socialist leader Ricardo Lagos is included as among the "disappeared." Lagos is now president of Chile and pressing hard to clear up the military's "night and fog" to bring more killers to trial. Fortunately, the author's skepticism about "the extent of possible justice in Chile" may be misplaced. Mary Helen Spooner covers similar territory in Soldiers in a Narrow Land (CH, Oct'94). Recommended for upper-division undergraduates and above. E. M. Dew; Fairfield University

Table of Contents

The Victors and the Vanquished
An Invented War
The New Order
A War of Extermination
The Court of World Opinion
A War of Resistance
The Peaceful Way to Democracy
Recovering the Truth
The Politics of Human Rights