Augusto Pinochet Biography
(Former President of Chile)
Birthday: November 25, 1915 (Sagittarius)
Born In: Valparaíso
Augusto Pinochet was a military officer in Chile who led the U.S.-backed military coup that overthrew President Salvador Allende’s socialist government. He became the head of the subsequent military government, a role he retained for nearly two decades. While many characterize his government as fascist, others describe the regime as ultra-nationalistic and Pinochet as a despot. His rule was characterized by widespread arrests and torture of liberal dissenters as well as the development of Chile’s free market economy. While his privatization policies did provoke a revival of Chile’s floundering economy, they also are believed to have greatly increased economic inequality. After being voted out of office, he remained commander of the armed forces until he was given the office of senator-for-life. In this capacity he was detained by the British government in response to a Spanish extradition request regarding his torture of Spanish citizens in Chile. This action was a legal landmark as it was the first time universal jurisdiction had been applied to the head of a government. While he was deemed unfit to stand trial, he was beset by allegations of human rights violations, tax evasion, and embezzlement for the rest of his life. He was survived by his wife Lucía and his five children.