Violence And Persecution By Pinochet

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Violence has long been used by governments and authoritarian regimes around the world to achieve political goals and seek legislative control. These regimes assert control by carrying out assassinations, mass murders, and staged violence. However, the psychological effect on the country's population is much more than fear of death at the hands of political parties and leaders, it is fear of life itself. The nation becomes gripped by an ineffable fear and distrust where everyone, including trusted neighbors and friends, could turn individuals in for perceived disloyalty to the government. This idea is most demonstrated by the actions of Pinochet's dictatorship of Chile throughout the 1970's and 1980's. Through mass killings, methodical violence,…show more content…
The government cleverly manipulates the population into submission through well-controlled and staged events. Ultimately, the population becomes so fearful of the oppressor, they are scared into compliance with even just a threat of violence. For Pinochet's regime, this is demonstrated in the tactful arrests, torture, and executions of many leftist (suspected) sympathizers the National Stadium. In ESPN's 30 for 30: The Opposition, the gruesome scene within the stadium is vividly described. Under the bleachers, the prisoners would be subjected to horrific torture practices and deprived of food, water, and sleep. Often, mock executions would be set up, leaving the other prisoners to wonder whether that person had actually been killed or simply whisked off to exile. Sham trials were also held and they almost always ended in a decree for execution. Each day could be the last for the political prisoners, forcing them to live in a state of perpetual fear of Pinochet's officers. The broader impact of such methodical violence on society is that these actions repress everyone's thoughts of revolt, uprising, or rebellion. Even though many citizens were not directly impacted by the violence, people quickly understand that they too would be at the mercy of the totalitarian regime if they attempt to exercise political or personal…show more content…
These actions send a signal to the population that there is no longer such a thing as political freedom and that everyone must live in complete obedience to the totalitarian regime. With Pinochet, his coup demonstrated extreme military power, while marginalizing the judicial and legislative system with the guise that this suspension of democracy was an effort to return Chile to legal order after Allende's government. Such ruthless disregard for the conventional attitude and respect for Chile's national government immediately demonstrated the length and tactics Pinochet was willing to pursue in an effort to become dictator. For many, September 11th, the bombing of Modena Palace, was the moment they realized that Pinochet would not stop at anything to achieve autonomous power. Furthermore, it soon became apparent that in this new Chile under Pinochet, there was no such thing as personal or political freedom; it was a choice between support for the authoritarian government or death. Often, authoritarian governments will stop at nothing to achieve consolidation of power, utilizing methodical violence and elimination of political freedoms as a source of control and manipulation over the country's population. By creating a sense of fear within society, it becomes easy to perpetuate a culture of self-censorship and
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