Pinochet’s formidable widow, who pushed him into coup, dies — Analysis

Lucia Hiriart, the widow of Chilean army dictator Augusto Pinochet, has died aged 99. She was as divisive a determine as her late husband because of the affect she had on his brutal insurance policies.

Hiriart handed away “surrounded by household and family members,” her granddaughter said in a tweet on Friday. “She gave her life to the service of Chileans and historical past will know the way to worth her nice work and her work for our beloved nation. Relaxation in Peace.”

The daughter of a rich Chilean senator, Hiriart was in her late teenagers when she first met Pinochet, then a army faculty cadet. They married in 1943 and remained collectively till the controversial politician’s loss of life in 2006. They’d two sons and three daughters collectively.

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Described by acquaintances as a formidable and strong-willed girl, Hiriart had important affect on her husband. In response to Pinochet’s personal memoirs, she pushed him into staging the 1973 coup towards the elected president, socialist Salvador Allende, questioning in regards to the future their grandchildren would have if he didn’t act.

After her husband seized energy, Hiriart performed a outstanding position by taking on CEMA Chile, a now-defunct basis created within the Fifties for the empowerment of ladies. Critics say she turned the group right into a propaganda machine to assist her husband and allegedly used it to fund her household’s private bills.

Months earlier than democracy was restored in Chile in 1990, she modified CEMA’s guidelines in order that it was headed not by the primary woman of Chile – a place she was about to lose – however by the spouse of the commander-in-chief of the military. Pinochet retained that workplace till 1998. Hiriart stored management of the muse till 2016, when she resigned amid accusations of embezzlement.

Hiriart’s legacy proved to be as divisive as her husband’s. Whereas some Chileans mourned her passing, others celebrated it within the streets. The response was seemingly amplified by the truth that the information got here days earlier than one of the heated elections within the nation’s historical past. Sunday’s vote would be the second spherical between two candidates with opposing views on each Pinochet’s rule and the nation’s future.

Gabriel Boric, a 35-year-old leftist and former pupil chief, runs on the promise of constant the push to rid the nation of the neoliberal insurance policies inherited from the instances of dictatorship. Previously two years, Chile has seen mass protests that led to the abolition of its Pinochet-era structure.

His opponent, 55-year-old ultra-conservative Jose Antonio Kast, has overtly praised Pinochet’s insurance policies, together with the brutal persecution and killings of hundreds of leftist dissidents he oversaw to remain in energy. Opinion polls point out a slim race between the 2 candidates.



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