GLW:Put Pinochet on trial.

Jose G. Perez jgperez at
Thu Jan 27 19:36:35 MST 2000


    Most of your post is cheap, Stalinist-style demagogy that deserves no

    Despite such arguments, many Latin American revolutionists remain
opposed to the pretensions of European imperialists to stand in judgment of
actions committed by Latin Americans in Latin America. Moreover, let's be
frank, what's proposed for Pinochet is not a trial but a kangaroo court.
Even the most basic concepts of judicial due process get thrown out the
window with this procedure. Pinochet is effectively stripped of his right to
defend himself, for at the core of that right is the ability to compel the
testimony of witnesses and the production of evidence. Yet the Spanish
courts have no power to compel anything in Chile. Even the most basic
guarantee -- that of not being tried twice for the same actions -- is
inapplicable, for even if a Spanish judge were to declare Pinochet innocent,
any judge in any other country could simply re-indict him, because the
actions of one sovereign are not binding on another.

    What is being done with this campaign is to give the imperialist
countries a whole set of new weapons to use against the third world and
especially revolutionary leaders.

    Thus the right-wing annexationist mafia in Miami succeeded in preventing
the most outstanding communist leader of our epoch, Fidel Castro from
attending the Seattle WTO meeting by threatening to get one of their
bought-and-paid-for judges issue an arrest warrant for Fidel.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Owen Jones" <owen.jones at>
To: <marxism at>
Sent: Thursday, January 27, 2000 8:38 AM
Subject: Re: GLW:Put Pinochet on trial.

> Comrades,
>           I don't want to restart the Pinochet debate. I just want to make
> few comments.
>  After the coup, thousands of progressives fled Chile after Augusto
> overthrew the socialist government of Salvador Allende. At the time my
> parents were activists in the labour movement, being very close to Ted
> and Alan Woods (who my dad went to Sussex University with). They took in a
> woman and her two children who were in the family of a famous Chilean
> leftist singer.
>  Her husband was killed, she was tortured and probably raped. Basically,
> was psychologically damaged. The misery she had endured led her to beat
> children; when the headmaster of the local school found out her kids had
> bruises all over them, she literally stormed to the school and tried to
> him. Anyway, eventually she left, but my parents later found out from a
> newspaper article that she had thrown herself off the top of a block of
> flats and killed herself. Another victim of that reactionary dictatorship
> the Chilean bourgeoisie.
>  I probably don't need to tell anybody this dictatorship killed thousands
> progressives, tortured thousands more in the most hideous ways, smashed
> the workers' movement, attacked the working class, imprisoned and exiled
> thousands upon thousands... It was directly put into power by American
> imperialism, after the US bourgeoisie panicked that its property in Chile
> were threatened. In the Falklands War, it sided with British imperialism
> aided its war against Argentina.
>  Indeed, there are two sides of the barricades on this question - those
> want him on trial and those who want him set free. In this country, the
> reactionary and anti-communist elements are leading the campaign for his
> "freedom". Margaret Thatcher, being a dear friend of the bastard for being
> such a great ally, and her followers protest that Pinochet "saved" Chile
> from communism. In Chile, the bourgeoisie who so benefited from his rule
> call for his return. The "Pinochet Foundation" is funded by the wealthy
> Chilean businessmen Pinochet created through his implementation of
> reactionary Thatcherite anti-working class policies before Thatcher was
> in power. Anybody who calls for Pinochet's freedom, whose reactionary
> dictatorship represented the interests of the Chilean bourgeoisie, is on
> same side of the barricades as these extreme reactionaries and
> anti-communists, and on the opposite side from the progressives who fled
> fascist terror.
>  It is not the bourgeois state here in Britain that demanded his
> imprisonment, it is a leftist judge in Spain acting on behalf of the
> victims and exiles of the Pinochet regime. In fact, the British ruling
> has done everything conceivable to send him back to Chile. At first three
> out of five House of Lords judges accepted his deportation; this was then
> disqualified on the grounds one had links to Amnesty International;
> ruling declared he could not stand trial for any crime committed before
> 1988; and now it is likely he is going back to Chile after our dear old
> reactionary home secretary was minded to send him back on "humanitarian
> grounds". Meanwhile, the various exiles and victims continue to campaign
> his extradition to Spain, whilst extreme reactionaries from both Britain
> Chile call for his release.
>  It should be pointed out that a trial in Spain could not result in his
> imprisonment, since there anybody over 75 cannot be sent to prison. That
> not the purpose. The involvement of US imperialism without which he could
> never have seized power would be revealed; workers across the world will
> stripped of their illusions of the "humanitarianism" of the American State
> and see it for what it is. The vicious attacks on the working class and
> socialists his reactionary dictatorship undertook on behalf of the Chilean
> bourgeoisie will also be revealed. Our movement that was so brutally
> in Chile will have the chance to speak out to the world.
>  My only regrets are that a workers' revolution in Chile that was on the
> verge of occurring did not overthrow his regime. If that were to happen,
> real justice would be for Pinochet and his followers to be shot in the
> stadium of Santiago de Chile. Now that would be revenge.
>  But no need to worry, comrades. The British State is now, in all
> likeliness, going to send him back to Chile. The British and Spanish
> bourgeoisie are panicking that not sending him back "home" will damage
> markets in Chile and their relationship with the ruling class there.
> American imperialism is desperate for his freedom so their involvement
> cannot be revealed.
>  And a few leftists stand in solidarity with the Chilean, British and
> Spanish bourgeoisie and the most reactionary and anti-communist elements
> these countries in defending Pinochet, whose progressive victims continue
> struggle for his extradition. All in the name of
> the same people who politically defend the Milosevic regime on the same
> grounds. The difference is this time you are defending what is a tool of
> imperialism and the bourgeoisie. How very revolutionary.
>  Comradely
>           Owen
> > Yes, you are right (not used to surfing the GLW site). Here it is, and
> > I still renew my objection. In the case that you put forward, it seems
> > overlooked that all such trials are crafted in such a way as to
> > legitimize the process, not expose and undermine it. Even if I were to
> > believe that the benefits of exposing the CIA/Kissinger connection
> > outweighed the further DESTRUCTION of already limited sovereignty held
> > by third world countries, I can promise you that the trial the
> > Spaniards would put on would never go beyond what is "safe". Witness
> > Iran-Contra, to those of us on the left, it exposed things about the
> > war on Nicaragua, yet the scope of the questions was only allowed so
> > far. It now plays in the history books as something that was part of a
> > working systems attempt to clean itself up. More importantly, it did
> > not set a precedent for other countries to have their cronies hi-
> > jacked. This sort of willingness to go after Pinochet will produce more
> > Pinochets, and leave their leaders forever untouched. It will
> > legitimise the capture of a Noriega in the future, it will open the
> > door for a "trial" against Fidel or Qadaffi. Is this a reasonable price
> > to pay for the knowledge that, yes, Pinchet ordered the dissappearance
> > of many innocent families? Is it reasonable to make political points on
> > this issue, if it will mean institutionalising the crimes of
> > Imperialism in the name of "human rights"? Not in my book!

More information about the Marxism mailing list