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Upon Augusto Pinochet’s death earlier this month, Front Page Mag’s Jacob Laksin wrote:

Whatever else may be said of Pinochet, he was not in the same league [as the much less reviled “Uncle Joe” Stalin and Mao Zedung]. Thus it does not trivialize their tragedy to point out that [most] of the deaths attributed to his rule occurred in the weeks immediately following the 1973 military coup that brought Pinochet to power, when his army forces were clashing with Communist insurgents allied with deposed president Salvador Allende…[Pinochet] not only prevented the country from plunging into anarchy and civil war but saved it from what was, by all the early warning signs, a far more menacing force in the form of Allende’s Marxist regime.

…Allende pledged to “destroy the bourgeois state” and impose “total, scientific Marxist socialism” on the country…Foreign companies and domestic farms alike were seized by the government while gangs of leftist marauders, armed by the authorities, stalked the countryside…It was this germinating tyranny that the 1973 coup uprooted. That fact alone earned Pinochet the Left’s undying scorn. Less forgivable still was that, even as he brutally crushed the Marxist vision, he set Chile on the road to economic prosperity through the free market.

So can we finally set the historical record straight and put an end to the rumors? Augustine Pinochet did not “torture and kill” people. He tortured and killed Communists.