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Declarations & Statements


Los Angeles Times , 22.11.99,

Pinochet: Lies Hid Behind Shades

SANTIAGO, Chile - The photo shows a triumphant Gen. Augusto Pinochet, soon after his bloody 1973 coup, his arms crossed, a pair of dark sunglasses on his face. The reason for the shades was simple, the former dictator is quoted as saying: to hide lies he was telling.

Pinochet explains the famous photograph in a new book compiling interviews by Maria Eugenia Oyarzun, a Chilean journalist close to the retired general. The book, titled "Augusto Pinochet, Dialogues with his History," was excerpted Monday in the Santiago daily La Tercera.

The photograph of a stern-looking general was taken immediately after Pinochet toppled Marxist president Salvador Allende, and is often used in anti-Pinochet posters.

When Oyarzun asked him about the photo, Pinochet is quoted as replying: "It was a way of telling things. Lies are discovered through the eyes, and I lied often."

Pinochet's 1973 -1990 rule was plagued by reported human rights abuses. The general has been in police custody for over a year in Britain, fighting extradition to Spain where he is sought for trial on torture charges.

Pinochet's attorneys in London couldn't be immediately reached for comment Monday night.

Oyarzun also asked the general about his only encounter with Fidel Castro, whose communist government in Cuba was an anathema to Pinochet's right-wing military regime.

At the time of Castro's 1971 visit to Chile, Pinochet was commander of the Santiago army garrison under Allende's government. "I remember him as a big person who kept talking all the time. His tongue would not stop," Pinochet was quoted as saying. "He has a tremendous capacity to talk, always doing demagoguery."

"Besides, he does not change the subject. He keeps talking and talking about the same one," Pinochet added. "He has charisma in front of civilians, and is very gentle with ladies, but I didn't really like him."

About Allende, the general said, "He was a braggart, but he was my boss so I kept silent. He was gentle, well mannered, but that was just his disguise. He did whatever he wanted to do."

Oyarzun served as Santiago's mayor and ambassador to the Organization of American States during Pinochet's dictatorship.

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