Sunday, December 12, 2004

Economic Miracles

from The New York Times
As Chile's strongman from 1973, when he overthrew Salvador Allende, an elected civilian president, to 1990, General Pinochet presided over a purge of political opponents and the creation of a police state. But he also laid the foundations for what has become Latin America's most stable and promising economy - all, as the general's supporters have claimed, without ever stealing a dime.


J.R. Boyd said...

Reminds me of Brazilian economic miracle, when neo-nazis were intalled to bring stability to the market, and subsequently heralded as Latin Americas greatest democrats. One general remarked: "The economy is doing fine; it's just the people who aren't."

lorraine said...

And let's not forget the cliche about Mussolini: He made the trains run on time.
Unbelievable that Pinochet would be heralded for an "economic" miracle when he destroyed democracy.

Happy said...

Ha! As usual. And the thing is right after the Valech Report, finally shedding light on the issue of torture and murder hits the public eye. I wonder...

Anyway, This report actually accuses right-wing media of covering up Pinochet's dirty work as well as claiming torture and murder to be a fact of Chilean history. It really is a major moment for Justice to operate.

Sheryl said...

When I was New Zealand, I was in a multicultural group. One gentleman who gave a talk once was a musician from Chile, and he was telling us about his musician friends being murdered in that infamous soccer stadium.

It was very uncomfortable because he blamed a lot of it on the United States, and there I was the only American in the room. He was looking directly at me through most of the talk. And so was everyone else. I think he was looking at me more in the sense of this what your country did rather than holding me personally responsible in any way. However, I think some of the other people in the room has less developed minds. Some were being very snooty towards me after his talk, as if I had done something wrong by being born in the wrong country. Never mind that I was about three or four years old when all that happened.

Afterwards, this woman from Canada was being really nasty about Americans in general. She told my ex that Americans didn't know anything about world geography, and that she could name more US states than any Americans she's ever met.

My ex knew that I could name them all because I had sung him that "50 Nifty United States" song once, so he bragged to her that I could name them all. So the next thing I know she had me writing them out on the chalk board, after which she got even huffier and demanded that I name the states of Canda.

I probably know more of the provinces in China than I do states in Canada because China has seemed more novel to me, and I certainly know more of the states in Mexico. I could name about 4 states in Canada off the top of my head, so then she used that to attack me again. She was just intent on bad mouthing the US and rubbing my nose in it.

I thought to myself --this lady has a lot of hatred in her towards someone she has just met and doesn't really know from Adam.

It seemed ironic to me that her pet peeve was that Americans are too egocentric and jingoistic. Meanwhile, I was clearly someone involved in a multicultural group showing my respect for the world community by listening and taking part, and she was the one who was demonizing a person from another culture and trying to prove that her country was better and grander . All based on her own prejudice that Americans were prejudiced. Go figure.

And let me be 100% clear that I have met some really super cool Canadians and consider this woman an exception for being such an incredible bitch. At the same time, I think the guy from Chile should not have been focusing so much of his anti-American pep talk looking directly at the American in the room , as if I did something wrong by not putting my best diapers on and heading to DC to set Richard Nixon straight. (Who I might add, I would never have voted for to start with. )

I don't blame the guy for being bitter about America's role in what happened in Chile. I think there are lots of nation's where we have earned the wrath of their citizens, but I also think that bigotry is about generalizing about people and refusing to see them as people. Although a lot of the problem with the US is institutional.

The folk artist Ed Miller has a strong song about what happened in that soccer stadium. Here's an excerpt from Miller's song: Miller is a Scottish Texan. Lives in Austin (Travis County.) One of our blue cities. His best song is "At Home With the Exiles," although his original recording of this song is better than this one I found online. But if I am going to link to "Blood Upon the Grass," then I should link to "At Home With the Exiles."

Anonymous said...

There was a really great op-ed on the Times either Monday or Tuesday about this. The writer is Chilean, and he wrote about the effects that his mother's arrest had on himself and the nation as a whole. If I can find it, I'll post a link.