Readers Write: Columnist untroubled by brutal, unelected Pinochet regime

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I generally skip George Marlin’s “On the Right” column since I get that point of view from News Max and Fox Noise or by listening to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

But this week, (March 20) Marlin and I both wrote about Fidel Castro. The articles’ titles reveal our different points of view. His was called “Bernie Sanders loves leftist despots” and mine was titled “Actually, Bernie was right about Castro.”

Here are Marlin’s accusations. He (Bernie) was a member of the Young Socialist League, he honeymooned in the Soviet Union and he (Marlin) called Chilean’ president Salvadore Allende’s government  a “repressive Marxist regime.”

Let us dispense with the honeymoon charge first. I have never been to the Soviet Union nor have I been to the Scandinavian countries, but I’d be curious to see how socialism works in these countries. Also, in the land of the free and the home of the brave, we should still have the right to choose where we’ll spend our honeymoon.

As to being a member of the Young Socialist League (I suspect Marlin means the Young People’s Socialist League or YPSL.) But on to the more significant question about Allende vs. Pinochet, I do admit that Allende was a Marxist, but we should also examine the role played by U.S.  corporations in conjunction with the C.I.A. and the Navy.

On Sept. 11, 1973 troops loyal to Pinochet and with U.S. assistance staged a coup d’etat. Hundreds of those in opposition to Pinochet were thrown into the National Stadium.

This later became the subject of a film by Costa-Gavros called “Missing.” It starred Jack Lemon and Sissy Spacek and was the story of Charles Hormon who disappeared and his father’s attempt to find his son.

The fact of the matter was that his son was killed by right-wing forces. He was one of thousands slaughtered. I had a more personal encounter with this history since I spent that summer in the Hamptons and a professor friend of mine invited several Allende supporters to spend time with us. I was made aware of the military dictatorship that Pinochet established.

Here are some interesting facts from that era.

Pinochet remained in power until 1990 ending more than four decades of uninterrupted democratic governance.

Pinochet suspended the Constitution and dissolved the Congress of Chile. There were over 40,000 persons who were tortured and held prisoner.

In an article titled “The C.I.A.’s Campaign Against Salvador Allende,” it states that Henry Kissinger played a role in Pinochet’s overthrow.

In other words, any nationalization of U.S. corporations was anathema to the U.S. regardless of how these companies treated their workers.

Marlin also raises the question of why otherwise intelligent persons would join the Communist Party. The answer may be found in “The God That Failed.” It was written by six of the most important writers of the 20th century. They were:

Andre Gide (France), Richard Wright (U.S.), Ignazio Silone (Italy), Stephen Spender (England), Arthur Koestler (Germany), and Louis Fischer (an American foreign correspondent.)

Each of them converted to Communism and subsequently became disillusioned and dropped out of the Party.

But in order to address Marlin’s point, I need to discuss exactly what the attraction of the Communist Party was.

Although Communism has few adherents today, during the 1930s and ’40s, Communists were considered the “good guys.”  The Party promised an egalitarian society and devotion to peace. It defended the rights of blacks, other minorities and strongly supported organized labor.

Paul Robeson, singer, activist and athlete was one African-American who traveled to the Soviet Union and reported his experience in glowing terms.

“Here, I am not a Negro but a human being for the first time in my life…I walk in full human dignity.”

And in 1931, the Communist Party sent Samuel Leibowitz to defend the Scottsboro Boys. There is much more evidence that the intelligentsia and persons who cared about social justice had nowhere else to turn but to the Communists.

So, by default, well-meaning Americans sided with the leftists.

As is my practice, I try to find lessons to be learned from history. In this case, we see that knowledge of history is indispensable in order to understand it.

Another lesson (one over which we have little control) is that if we can partake in historic events, we will have a clearer understanding of the issues.

My interest in the Allende struggle was enhanced by my first-hand encounter with escapees from the Pinochet regime.

Hal Sobel

Great Neck

 

 

3 COMMENTS

  1. We all know Pinochet was bad at the time now we thought it was better than the Marxist as we did not want that hemisphere to turn red you have to understand that if you can understand that you can’t understand what you’re talkin about you’re just blathering and that you don’t want to do that a smart person like yourself you just can’t you can’t do that there’s no sense at all and making those comments. I appreciate your view but all the hyperbole in the world when I get you a tinker’s damn when you’re looking at it from the Spectre up the simple fact of one ruthless guy on being a communist dictator versus another authoritarian a dictator from the extreme right and which one do you choose hopefully you choose neither one but in this case us had to make a choice in the choice was keep the red hammer and sickle the hell out of there we don’t want that red and yellow flag hanging up his banner down there we already had her hands full with you but during that time there are people dying here in the US with Espionage going on all over Washington DC as late as the 1980s until the wall fell and things simmer down in Germany got back together things were tenuous. You understand that during that same time it was time for people like Pinochet to go I mean they were out of there they were no longer our lap dog who had to stick around. Look at that look at the Marcos regime look at all these other regime’s that fail or we’re highly dismember yet left in power as a mere figurehead of what they were before and then we had a few years of Peace not a Pax Romana but the decade or so up no major Wars think about it we would be befuddled to think of what it’s like to have a world without war for once and we had it during those time following the end of the Cold War really following Vietnam was the last major scrimmage we had until we had to go move Saddam out of Kuwait which was his two brief exercise that cost a hell of a lot of mess and killed a bunch of araki’s and a very few Americans yet it got on the hell out and pushed him away from the oil supply because we didn’t want that and what we don’t want we don’t date if we don’t want it we go and put our foot down and say get the hell out and if not we force you out and that’s what happened George Herbert Walker did not kill Saddam on the other hand his son did and it was for no good reason how was a lost cause and everybody who voted for that damned War now regrets the hell out of it I think except for Dick Cheney and I think even W would tell you he made a damn mistake he’ll probably take him another twenty years to fess up and really tell the extent of his mistake but for now I’m sure he feels shity about it because a bunch of boys got messed up over there in that hellhole and then we immediately jump into the proper War we should have been into all along was in Afghanistan removing the Taliban who supported the training at these people and actually we should have sanctioned the hell out of Saudi Arabia or possibly have gone in and close the damn madrassas and going after them because they were the ones where these guys were coming from along with Egypt you know what all those guys seem to have been trained up had some connection to if not Bin Laden some other connection to Saudi Arabia maybe that was what I should have fallen I think the stabilization fact would have been so great it would have been something just untenable what you have to understand it’s not all about Pinochet versus the Communist before him it’s about a world and what Bush, New World Order and what he meant was what I’m trying to throw out to you right now there’s a lot of moving parts to this thing brother and you have to get a firm grip on it before you make Thom minutes in cast aspersions you know two guys take an opposite sides of an argument memes are two guys wrong cuz you arguing about something with no definitive answer you know there’s a no truthful right way to do it you not going to go in their hand out ballots have everyone to vote it’s going to turn out perfectly you’re dealing with a 3rd World but you had to keep the hammer and sickle out of there cuz they’re just too damn close for comfort you can’t have staging bases for those guys and we already had that 90 miles from Miami I mean really we’re talking about an hour and a half car ride if there was a bridge from there to Dade County that’s sad but it’s true Kennedy should have gone ahead and just taken that son-of-a-b**** over and stop the bleeding back then the Russians were not going to attack us over that we would have given up Germany I don’t think that an issue but it was so important to keep that little damn blip in the middle of Germany half of Berlin that was so ridiculous give up Berlin for Cuba deal. But it’s not really that easy I think in retrospect but I think we know the answer would have been yeah that would have worked out two countries with agreed we would have gotten the Communists out of Cuba and they could have gotten the capitalist out of Germany send them packing to West Germany proper and forget that damn little city was in a state well within a country I just was odd just like Cuba 90 miles off the coast sitting at the air than tiny Island with nukes pointed at us we should have been allowed to go in there and get the comments now out arrest Castro put him on trial describe what he did when he took over yes Batista was no angel but he was our angel do you have to remember its history baby there are no good guys there all just half-ass guys with her bad guys and down there there bad guys we had Rich As Americans with casinos and sugar plantations yeah poverty-stricken people without a healthcare system at all and a guy coming along promise in the world is healing Deliverance um health care is all we ever did nationalized everything and now they’re still driving around in 1957 Chevys rust at all to hell but hey that’s how it works when you live in a hell hole no one has air conditioning electricity works about 80% of the time no one can keep fresh food very long before a right from not being able to be kept cold it’s just a shame man these people are living in 1890s to the 2020 it’s a damned shame I wish you all the best but I hope you brought your horizons learn to read from both sides of the page and truly cut down this damn thing up I’m right and you’re wrong because that’s not the case you’re both wrong and nobody’s right sincerely Rick Weaver.

    PS please understand my glasses were broken the other day and now I’m under quarantine because I’m suffering from the coronavirus along with my two children and I cannot get new glasses so I’m doing this voice to text thing and I cannot read it at all to proofread it so I’m hoping you can make sense of what you’ve gotten there in your hands and I hope it takes my voice and makes the grammar come out properly I doubt it does but it may or may make it at least legible but good luck to you and God bless and please stay healthy cuz this is no fun especially once you get over 50 this stuff starts to hurt and I’m almost to 60 have a good one brother

  2. We all know Pinochet was bad at the time now we thought it was better than the Marxist as we did not want that hemisphere to turn red you have to understand that if you cannot understand that you can’t understand what you’re talkin about and you’re just blathering and that you don’t want to do. No, not a smart person like yourself you just can’t you can’t do that then rhere’s no sense at all in making those comments. I appreciate your view but all the hyperbole in the world and it will not get you a tinker’s damn when you’re looking at it from the Spectre of the simple fact of one ruthless guy on being a communist dictator versus another authoritarian a dictator from the extreme right and which one do you choose hopefully you choose neither one but in this case us had to make a choice in the choice was keep the red hammer and sickle the hell out of there we don’t want that red and yellow flag hanging up his beside his personal banner down there we, the USS, already had our hands full with both sides but during that time there are people dying here in the US with Espionage going on all over Washington DC as late as the 1980s until the wall fell and things simmer down in Germany got back together things were tenuous. You understand that during that same time it was time for people like Pinochet to go I mean they were out of there they were no longer our lap dog who had to stick around. Look at that look at the Marcos regime look at all these other regime’s that fell or we’re highly dismembered yet left in power as a mere figurehead of what they were before and then we had a few years of Peace not a Pax Romana but the decade or so up we had no major Wars think about it we would be befuddled to think of what it’s like to have a world without war for once and we had it during those time following the end of the Cold War really following Vietnam was the last major scrimmage we had until we had to go move Saddam out of Kuwait which was his two brief exercise that cost a hell of a lot of mess and killed a bunch of araki’s and a very few Americans yet it got on the hell out and pushed him away from the oil supply because we didn’t want that and what we don’t want we don’t date if we don’t want it we go and put our foot down and say get the hell out and if not we force you out and that’s what happened George Herbert Walker did not kill Saddam on the other hand his son did and it was for no good reason how was a lost cause and everybody who voted for that damned War now regrets the hell out of it I think except for Dick Cheney and I think even W would tell you he made a damn mistake he’ll probably take him another twenty years to fess up and really tell the extent of his mistake but for now I’m sure he feels shity about it because a bunch of boys got messed up over there in that hellhole and then we immediately jump into the proper War we should have been into all along was in Afghanistan removing the Taliban who supported the training at these people and actually we should have sanctioned the hell out of Saudi Arabia or possibly have gone in and close the damn madrassas and going after them because they were the ones where these guys were coming from along with Egypt you know what all those guys seem to have been trained up had some connection to if not Bin Laden some other connection to Saudi Arabia maybe that was what I should have fallen I think the stabilization fact would have been so great it would have been something just untenable what you have to understand it’s not all about Pinochet versus the Communist before him it’s about a world and what Bush, New World Order and what he meant was what I’m trying to throw out to you right now there’s a lot of moving parts to this thing brother and you have to get a firm grip on it before you make Thom minutes in cast aspersions you know two guys take an opposite sides of an argument memes are two guys wrong cuz you arguing about something with no definitive answer you know there’s a no truthful right way to do it you not going to go in their hand out ballots have everyone to vote it’s going to turn out perfectly you’re dealing with a 3rd World but you had to keep the hammer and sickle out of there cuz they’re just too damn close for comfort you can’t have staging bases for those guys and we already had that 90 miles from Miami I mean really we’re talking about an hour and a half car ride if there was a bridge from there to Dade County that’s sad but it’s true Kennedy should have gone ahead and just taken that son-of-a-b**** over and stop the bleeding back then the Russians were not going to attack us over that we would have given up Germany I don’t think that an issue but it was so important to keep that little damn blip in the middle of Germany half of Berlin that was so ridiculous give up Berlin for Cuba deal. But it’s not really that easy I think in retrospect but I think we know the answer would have been yeah that would have worked out two countries with agreed we would have gotten the Communists out of Cuba and they could have gotten the capitalist out of Germany send them packing to West Germany proper and forget that damn little city was in a state well within a country I just was odd just like Cuba 90 miles off the coast sitting at the air than tiny Island with nukes pointed at us we should have been allowed to go in there and get the comments now out arrest Castro put him on trial describe what he did when he took over yes Batista was no angel but he was our angel do you have to remember its history baby there are no good guys there all just half-ass guys with her bad guys and down there there bad guys we had Rich As Americans with casinos and sugar plantations yeah poverty-stricken people without a healthcare system at all and a guy coming along promise in the world is healing Deliverance um health care is all we ever did nationalized everything and now they’re still driving around in 1957 Chevys rust at all to hell but hey that’s how it works when you live in a hell hole no one has air conditioning electricity works about 80% of the time no one can keep fresh food very long before a right from not being able to be kept cold it’s just a shame man these people are living in 1890s to the 2020 it’s a damned shame I wish you all the best but I hope you brought your horizons learn to read from both sides of the page and truly cut down this damn thing up I’m right and you’re wrong because that’s not the case you’re both wrong and nobody’s right sincerely Rick Weaver.

    PS please understand my glasses were broken the other day and now I’m under quarantine because I’m suffering from the coronavirus along with my two children and I cannot get new glasses so I’m doing this voice to text thing and I cannot read it at all to proofread it so I’m hoping you can make sense of what you’ve gotten there in your hands and I hope it takes my voice and makes the grammar come out properly I doubt it does but it may or may make it at least legible but good luck to you and God bless and please stay healthy cuz this is no fun especially once you get over 50 this stuff starts to hurt and I’m almost to 60 have a good one brother

  3. Please proofread that as I’m blind as a bat without glasses and I cannot leave this house due to me having a Coronavirus the best I can do is use voice to text and I don’t know what it comes up with as it’ll trade simple words for words that mean something totally different you sound the same you know how it does please give me a hand there thank you

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