By Robin Harris
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Extra info for A Tale of Two Chileans: Pinochet and Allende
But the fact is that order is preferable to disorder and law to lawlessness. Pinochet’s action restored law and order to Chile. Order was necessary if the right to private property was to be upheld, after the Allende government’s contempt for it. And it was essentially upon respect for property that Chile’s new prosperity under Pinochet - a prosperity which continues under the present Chilean government - was based. This is not the place to describe the details of that policy. Suffice it to say that it was Thatcherite before Thatcher, though with a tougher stance towards the trade unions and a more consistent commitment to monetarism and markets.
They were also remarkably effective, bypassing likely centres of resistance and taking immediate control of radio and television centres and the main government buildings. By eleven o’clock that morning the military had assumed control and Allende, his daughters and close associates were holed up, surrounded by troops, in La Moneda Palace. 31 White Book, pp. 28-29 Several offers were made to those inside the Palace to leave the country in safety, for the generals had no wish to see continued agitation, let alone cope with an embarrassing martyrdom.
The present archbishop of Santaigo, fearful of the consequences of Pinochet’s detention, has recently noted: "Whatever the outcome of the process, Chile will never be the same, and we will all carry the burden"). At about this time (1978-79) a new constitution was prepared in cooperation with a committee of distinguished figures; it was published on 8 August 1980. A highly charged political campaign then preceded a plebiscite in which 66 per cent approved the proposals : the new constitution accordingly went into effect in March 1981.