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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 7 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 45
Ghosts of the past haunt Chile: Dictator's grandson forms right wing anti-Gay party
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Ghosts of the past haunt Chile: Dictator's grandson forms right wing anti-Gay party

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The grandson of Chile's former military dictator Augusto Pinochet announced he will form a new political party to be called Orden Republicano Mi Patria (Republican Order My Country).

Augusto Pinochet Molina described his new party as 'center-right,' but the Guardian newspaper said its platform 'opposes same-sex marriage, educational reform, and abortion, but hopes to legalize marijuana.'

'It is a party destined to be minority and most of all fascist,' socialist Senator Alejandro Navarro told CNN.

The younger Pinochet also sent out invitations to a party marking his dead grandfather's 99th birthday on November 25. One of the invited guests is Colonel Cristian Labbe, the dictator's former bodyguard and hitman. Labbe was arrested by Chilean authorities on October 20, and charged with 'criminal association' in connection with more than 3,000 murders committed by the Pinochet regime.

Although General Pinochet resigned the presidency in 1990 and died under house arrest in 2006, his bloody 16-year reign as dictator left lasting scars on modern Chile's political life.

Until recently, the right-wing UDI (Union Democrata Independiente - Independent Democratic Union) party was the largest political party in the country, with about 20% of the vote. They were thought to have a lock on the so-called 'military family' - the Pinochet diehards.

That changed after UDI's leader Sebastian Pinera, then President of Chile, moved to shut down the luxurious 'prison' that houses former military officers convicted of crimes during the Pinochet dictatorship. Hardcore Pinochet supporters then split off and started their own political movement, called 'For My Country.'

Young Pinochet got into the act at his grandfather's 2006 funeral, when he gave an impromptu speech celebrating the dictator's campaign to 'defeat Marxism.' At the time he was an army captain, but the speech got him kicked out of the military.

Chile's president at the time, Michelle Bachelet, was the daughter of a Chilean Air Force general who remained loyal to the democratically elected socialist President Salvador Allende. When Allende was overthrown by Pinochet in 1973, General Bachelet was arrested and tortured to death by Pinochet's henchmen. Michelle, then a student, and her mother were also arrested and tortured.

Ironically, when Bachelet ran for a second term as president in 2013, her opponent was UDI's Evelyn Matthei, the daughter of an Air Force general who supported Pinochet's coup. The two had been childhood friends, but their families became estranged during Chile's years of dictatorship.

Bachelet said during the 2013 presidential campaign that marriage equality would be a priority for her administration, and a bill to register same-sex civil unions is now making its way through Chile's legislature.

An anti-discrimination law covering LGBT Chileans was enacted in July 2013.

The Chilean LGBT rights organization MOVILH said that in the ten years from 2002 to 2012, there have been 837 cases of anti-LGBT attacks, some of them - like the 2012 murder of Daniel Zamudio - carried out by neo-Nazi gangs.

Seventeen of the incidents were murders.

In 2013 alone, three Transgender Chileans were murdered, including one particularly brutal case in which the victim's face was burned with a blowtorch.

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