Synopses & Reviews
Augusto Pinochet was the most important Third World dictator of the Cold War, and perhaps the most ruthless. In The Dictators Shadow
, United Nations Ambassador Heraldo Muñoz takes advantage of his unmatched set of perspectivesas a former revolutionary who fought the Pinochet regime, as a respected scholar, and as a diplomatto tell what this extraordinary figure meant to Chile, the United States, and the world.
Pinochets American backers saw his regime as a bulwark against Communism; his nation was a testing ground for U.S.-inspired economic theories. Countries desiring World Bank support were told to emulate Pinochets free-market policies, and Chiles government pension even inspired President George W. Bushs plan to privatize Social Security. The other baggagethe assassinations, tortures, people thrown out of airplanes, mass murders of political prisonerswas simply the price to be paid for building a modern state. But the questions raised by Pinochets rule still remain: Are such dictators somehow necessary?
Horrifying but also inspiring, The Dictators Shadow is a unique tale of how geopolitical rivalries can profoundly affect everyday life.
"Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet's reign (1973 1990) still resonates for its brutality and its role in pioneering controversial free-market development policies. This thoughtful retrospective explores that history from a unique perspective. Muoz, an official in the Allende government overthrown by Pinochet in 1973, found himself vainly confronting the coup with a revolver and a fistful of dynamite, dodging arrest while friends disappeared into the junta's dungeons. In the 1980s he became a leader of the moderate left opposition. His first-hand account of the political movement that, with crucial help from abroad, forced Pinochet from power in 1990, is both shrewd and inspiring. Muoz, who is now Chile's ambassador to the U.N., is measured in his condemnation of the dictatorship and cognizant of the unstable political environment that formed it. He gives the regime's economic program mixed reviews, on the one hand crediting it with reinvigorating Chile's economy while admitting that it has left most Chileans worse off. He paints Pinochet as a complex character a canny operator, a 'man of limited intellect' and an ideological lightning rod. Combining sharp historical analysis with telling personal recollections, this is an excellent assessment of a tyrant and his legacy. Photos. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A gripping memoir of life in Chile under Augusto Pinochet, the horrors perpetrated by his regime, and what it took to overthrow him.
About the Author
Ambassador Heraldo Muñoz was Deputy Foreign Minister of Chile in 20002002 and Minister Secretary General in 20022003 at La Moneda Presidential Palace before assuming his present post as ambassador to the U.N., where he has served as President of the Security Council. The author of several scholarly books, he is frequently quoted on international issues by the New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, and other journals. He lives in New York City.