Soldiers in a narrow land: the Pinochet regime in Chile
University of California Press, 1994 - 305 Seiten
On September 11, 1973, a military coup in Chile violently overthrew the socialist government of Salvadore Allende, beginning an era of political repression that lasted over sixteen years. Soldiers in a Narrow Land is a devastating account of the Pinochet regime that provides an inside look at the rise and slow disintegration of a brutal dictatorship. Mary Helen Spooner takes us behind the wall of censorship and propaganda, recounting vivid stories of persecution, struggle, and political rivalry. She traces the personal histories of key political figures, explains why many Chileans supported the regime, and reveals in stark detail the fate of many of its victims. Pinochet himself was a reluctant participant in the 1973 coup, but quickly grew into the role of absolute dictator, disposing of potential military rivals as well as civilian dissidents. His notorious secret police were responsible for acts of terrorism at home and abroad, including the 1976 assassination of exiled Chilean minister Orlando Letelier and his American coworker in a car bombing in Washington, D.C. Spooner, who spent nine years in Chile working as a correspondent for such publications as Newsweek and the Economist, was on hand to witness the creation of the regime's new, authoritarian constitution and the successes and failures of its controversial experiment in free-market economics. She saw the first nationwide antigovernment protests and the subsequent regime crackdown, and she voted in the one-man presidential plebescite in 1988 that Pinochet and his backers believed he could not lose. The fall of dictators in eastern Europe has prompted some revisionists to gloss over the Pinochet regime's record; this bookshows that Pinochet was neither a free-market visionary nor an anticommunist hero, but rather a ruthless and opportunistic army general whose security forces targeted military rivals as well as political dissenters, and who harbored a deep distrust of the United States during both Democratic and Republican administrations. Drawing on interviews with former regime officials, military officers, and ordinary Chileans from many walks of life, as well as on recently declassified State Department documents, this powerful work unravels the complex and harrowing events that transformed Chilean society. Compelling and vividly descriptive, Soldiers in a Narrow Land is sure to engender controversy and debate.