Tuesday, December 12, 2006

In praise of Pinochet :: Washington Post

Instapundit points us to this editorial at The Washington Post. An extract:
His death forestalled a belated but richly deserved trial in Chile.

It's hard not to notice, however, that the evil dictator leaves behind the most successful country in Latin America. In the past 15 years, Chile's economy has grown at twice the regional average, and its poverty rate has been halved. It's leaving behind the developing world, where all of its neighbors remain mired. It also has a vibrant democracy. Earlier this year it elected another socialist president, Michelle Bachelet, who suffered persecution during the Pinochet years.

Like it or not, Mr. Pinochet had something to do with this success. To the dismay of every economic minister in Latin America, he introduced the free-market policies that produced the Chilean economic miracle -- and that not even Allende's socialist successors have dared reverse. He also accepted a transition to democracy, stepping down peacefully in 1990 after losing a referendum.

By way of contrast, Fidel Castro -- Mr. Pinochet's nemesis and a hero to many in Latin America and beyond -- will leave behind an economically ruined and freedomless country with his approaching death. Mr. Castro also killed and exiled thousands.
So is this a story about uniqueness, of personality, or is it possible to predict and select the dictator that will (1) institute free market reforms, and (2) bow to the reinstatement of democracy? Certainly it is a story that illustrates that South American countries are capable of reform. But is a dictatorship necessary to trigger the first working example?

What can be learned that might apply to Iraq and the Middle East?



Blogger Nobody said...

they don't mention some cool details about allende's rule ... because what pinochet overthrew there can be hardly called a democracy ..

i think the fact, that the country at one point was rocked by students strikes after allende tried to make a compulsory marxist indoctrination as part of chile's education system , says it all

8:40 PM  

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