Pinochet and Woodworth

Published in 20th Century Social Perspectives, 20th-century / Contemporary History, General, Issue 5 (Sep/Oct 2008), Letters, Letters, Volume 16


—The July/August issue (Ireland and Latin America) was my firstencounter with your magazine and I enjoyed it very much, especially thearticles on Che and Cuba. However, Paddy Woodworth’s ‘Pinochet and me’made me uneasy as I felt that there was too much subjectivity and notenough objectivity. [It was billed as a ‘memoir’—Ed.] Sixty-four percent of Chilians voted against Allende in 1970, and he showed that hisdictatorial tendencies of 1942 when he was minister for health and inthe pay of the Third Reich to the tune of 300,000 DM, attempting toforce eugenics on the country’s medical profession, were still aliveand well. Augusto Pinochet was no angel but he made Chile the secondmost prosperous country in South America (after Brazil). His reign ofterror did not justify the end result, but let us do a tally on thenumbers officially by order of the leaders:

Pinochet:            3,000
Shah of Iran         1,000
(over 40 years)
Pol Pot            2–3 million
Adolf Hitler        6 million
Stalin                50 million
Mao                120 million

Mr Woodworth describes the first two on the list as ‘monsters’, but anyunbiased reader would question his definition of the term. The lateShah may have been in hock to the Americans but he tried to bringreforms into his country (freedom for women, religious tolerance and alowering of the poverty level). Jimmy Carter’s crime was that he pushedhim to the edge of the revolution. Even then, Mr Pahlavi drew back fromplunging the country into civil war. Look at the horror in Iran since1979. From that date to 1983, 30,000 were executed every year, and onlytwo years ago a 16-year-old girl, raped by a 40-year-old man, wasofficially executed by the mullahs. Now there is a whole class ofmonsters in cahoots with Ahmedinajad, a vicious thug. Having got thatoff my chest, I wish your magazine well and I hope to enjoy future editions.

—Yours etc.,


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