Pinochet was elected President of Chile on September 13, after which he destroyed Congress and disbanded various leftist political parties. Chile's 46-year era of democratic rule came to an end with the seizure of the government. Pinochet ruled with an iron fist and was not a popular leader, but his military skills were needed during the crisis. His government was responsible for thousands of deaths and disappeared during its reign.
The Chilean revolution began in October 1973 when American troops invaded the country in response to a coup d'état that had been planned by Pinochet and other right-wing generals. The coup leaders feared that democracy would be restored through elections, like in Argentina. But instead of turning to the people's power, as happened in Argentina, they decided to take control of the situation themselves.
The United States supported the invasion because Pinochet's government was doing too well: it was defeating the rebels at the time when other countries were trying to negotiate a peace deal with them. In addition, Washington wanted to keep Chile as its own territory rather than merge it into Brazil or Peru (which had strong economies at the time).
After winning the war, Pinochet started to make changes based on his plan to keep power forever: he dissolved the Congress, banned all political parties except his own, and imprisoned, tortured, or killed anyone who might oppose him.
Allende died during the coup's last stages; his death is now commonly viewed as a suicide.
Pinochet ruled with an iron fist and was responsible for thousands of deaths during his time in power. Human rights organizations believe that up to 3,000 people were killed by police or paramilitary forces under his command. He was originally indicted by a Chilean court for human rights violations but died before the trial could be held. His son will face similar charges when he turns 60 years old.
Chile entered a period of sustained economic growth from 1972 to 1990. However, the country suffered a major financial crisis in 2008, caused in part by the collapse of its currency, the peso. This was followed by another economic downturn in 2009. In response, Pinochet enacted several measures to protect the economy, such as limiting foreign investment and regulating interest rates. These policies had a negative impact on the living standards of many Chilenos at the time.
However, despite the financial crises and the human rights violations committed by Pinochet, polls show that most Chileans view his presidency as a success. This may be because under his leadership Chile achieved significant progress in health care, education, and social welfare.
Anyone who backed Allende was assassinated during his reign. However, democracy was restored in Chile, and Military General Pinochet's dictatorship ended in 1988 after a vote. As the army's role in Chilean administration was abolished, a democratically elected government was founded. Senator Patricio Aylwin became president, but he died before taking office. His brother Ricardo then took over.
Chile has one of the most free press environments in South America with several newspapers published on a daily basis. There are also many radio stations and television channels.
Since the end of the dictatorship, there have been many political murders, such as that of former senator Salvador Heredia in 1993. In addition, thousands of people were kidnapped or illegally detained by the security forces under President Pinochet and some others.
However, these crimes went unpunished because the courts were controlled by the military government.
In 2000, a court convicted former Army officers for their role in the killings during the military regime. Four of them received life sentences while another three were given 30 years' imprisonment. In addition, two police officers were sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment for carrying out eight assassinations. This is the first time that ex-military officials have been convicted for their involvement in deaths during their time in power.