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General News    H2'ed 12/21/21

Leftist Presidential Candidate's Landslide Promises Clean Sweep of Pinochet's Fascist Legacy

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Gabriel Boric wins Chile's presidential election, promising fiscal responsibility Chile's peso has bounced back after the election of a left-wing student leader sparked a steep fall in the currency. Gabriel Boric ...
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By Dave Lindorff

Ever since the 9-11 attack on the US, people here had this mantra that 9-11 "changed everything." It's a gross overstatement of course. The country has been moving steadily into becoming a "national security" state since President Harry Truman launched it with the creation of the CIA and the National Security Agency. Since then, like a ratchet, we've had a gradually metastasizing police state and ever more intrusive central government, with both political parties supporting more military spending, more wars, more domestic spying, more militarized policing, and more attacks on media independence.

Now we have a shining example of what needs to be done, in a country that had its own 9-11, but has finally turned things around.

Chile, in fact, was the scene of a far more brutal and deadly 9-11 event that occurred on September 11, 1973, when the country's military, under the direction of a fascist military leader named Augusto Pinochet, in a coup backed if not orchestrated by the US under President Richard Nixon and his then National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, overthrew the twice democratically elected and hugely popular Marxist President Salvador Allende Gossens, murdering him in the presidential palace and launching a reign of terror that saw thousands of Allende supporters murdered or disappeared.

Pinochet tore up the country's constitution and imposed a fascist replacement document that has been in place long after his death, limiting the country's ability to recover its freedoms.

That all ended this past weekend, as Chileans turned out in large numbers in a dramatic run-off election between a hard-right open admirer of Pinochet named Antonio Kast and a 35-year old leftist and veteran of a decade of protest actions against the government, Gabriel Boric, who has vowed to wipe away the almost half-century legacy of the country's own 9-11 horror.

Unlike recent elections of leftists in countries like Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru, which have been so close that it's difficult for the new left leaders to make changes, Boric's win in Chile was decisive. After coming in a close second with 25% of the vote in a crowded presidential field that included various left candidates and some centrists during the initial election, behind Kast, who got 28% of the vote, with 99% of the ballots counted in the Sunday run-off voting by the end of the day Monday, Boric had won 56% of the vote to Kast's 44% a 12% margin of victory.

While the solid left didn't win an outright majority in the country's bicameral Congressional election which took place in November, it appears that between leftist, "soft" leftist and indigenous deputies in the 155-member lower house and in the 40-seat senate, Boric should be able to pass most of the measures he is proposing to bring the country out of its decades of repressive darkness"

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Dave Lindorff, winner of a 2019 "Izzy" Award for Outstanding Independent Journalism from the Park Center for Independent Media in Ithaca, is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper (more...)

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