Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte was a Chilean military leader, head of state, and reformer.
He led a military coup in 1973 against president Allende after years of socialist policies. Inflation was at 150%, the economy had stopped growing, contracting at 5% annually ; basic goods had disappeared from supermarket shelves due to price controls.
Several American free-market thinkers and politicians saw the crisis too, and decided to back the revolution he brought with his helicopters. After coming into power, Pinochet began implementation of Milton Friedman’s free market policies–they were in fact mutual friends. State corporations were privatized, trade barriers lowered, and price controls removed. The result was an economic recovery both Friedman and Murray Rothbard referred to as the Miracle of Chile, as it is known to this day. Even more miraculously, Pinochet voluntarily abnegated his throne, allowing free elections were once again.
To this day, Chile is one of the most stable and prosperous nations in South America. GDP per capita is high, taxes are among the lowest in the OECD countries, its easy to do business, the government is committed to increasing free trade, and has a low debt to GDP. However, it wasn’t all clear skies and smooth sailing. To make an omlette, one must break some huevos.
These reforms materialized through suppression of “oppositional” groups that would have decried #muhNAP if the made up concept existed at the time in common political discourse. The Hallmark of his Authoritarian Nationalist measures included tossing dissidents (particularly communists) from helicopters….personally.
Despite the love many people have for generalissimo Pinochet, the modern Chilean government seems to be leading a propaganda campaign against his legacy. Socialist president, Michelle Bachelet, has appeared with activists holding up photos of people who were targeted by Pinochet’s regime. Their congress has also declared him the most murderous and criminal ruler in history and demanded he be removed from military museums and memorials.
But “el general” will always have a fond place in our hearts when it comes to removing rent-seeking leftists bastards from power—by all means necessary.