TITLE=PINOCHET - CHILE REACTION (L)
INTRO: A British judge's decision approving the
extradition of General Augusto Pinochet to face trail
in Spain on human rights charges has again split the
Chilean public into rival camps. On one side, there
are those who remain loyal to the former military
ruler. on the other, a larger group that wants to see
Pinochet tried and convicted. Jonathan Franklin
reports from Santiago.
TEXT: Viviana Diaz, the president of a Santiago-based
human rights group that tries to locate dissidents who
disappeared during the years Chile was ruled by the
military, was ecstatic when she heard the news. Ms.
Diaz said her human rights group expected the decision
to go against Pinochet, despite pressure from the
government here to bring the former ruler back to
She said her group was especially pleased, not only
because the ruling helped the cause of human rights in
Chile, but internationally as well. During the years
of military rule, she says, Chileans were locked up,
tortured or mysteriously disappeared simply because
they disagreed with the government. Those responsible
for this, Ms. Diaz says, have to be punished.
Across town at the non-profit Pinochet Foundation,
the general's most loyal supporters were shocked by
the ruling in London. Many blamed the media or
international interference in what they considered a
purely Chilean affair.
/// Act of shouts and cries in Spanish in
support of Pinochet ///
Jorge Prado, a former cabinet minister under General
Pinochet, was especially critical of the British court
ruling. Mr. Prado said the judge was apparently under
political pressure to approve the general's
extradition to Spain, and that Chile should now apply
pressure of its own on the British and Spanish
governments to overturn the ruling.
Despite their radically different opinions, both sides
agree that the Pinochet case has been a national
obsession in Chile since the general was arrested a
year ago while being treated at a London clinic.
But since then, many are concluding that the Pinochet
era in Chile is finally over. The debate in Chile now
is less over General Pinochet the ruler, than the
political legacy he leaves behind. (SIGNED)
08-Oct-1999 19:46 PM EDT (08-Oct-1999 2346 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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