Human Interest

Widow of Chile’s Pinochet dies

Santiago, Dec 16 (EFE).- Lucia Hiriart, the widow of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, died Thursday of a respiratory illness, the long-time head of security for the family told Efe. She was 99.

“The thing is confirmed. I have nothing else to tell you,” Cristian Labbe, a member of the secret police under Pinochet, said.

Hiriart had a significant public role during her husband’s 1973-1990 rule, which is blamed for more than 3,000 deaths and some 27,000 documented cases of torture.

Soon after the news of Hiriart’s death became public, the sound of car horns could be heard in various parts of Santiago and people began gathering in the capital’s Plaza Italia, the epicenter of the popular mobilization that erupted in October 2019 against the gaping economic inequality seen by many in Chile as a legacy of Pinochet.

One of those in the square Thursday evening was Gonzalo Rodriguez, 48, who described Hiriart to Efe as a “protagonist of this country’s darkest and most terrible epoch.”

Gen. Augusto Pinochet died of a heart attack on Dec. 10, 2006, at the age of 91, without facing justice for the crimes of his regime or explaining how he amassed a fortune of at least $27 million despite having spent his entire adult life as a military officer who never earned more than $15,000 a year.

Hiriart’s death comes three days before Chileans vote in a presidential runoff pitting leftist former student leader Gabriel Boric against Jose Antonio Kast, a right-wing attorney whose brother was a Cabinet minister under Pinochet.

“Lucia Hiriart is an infamous figure in our history who regrettable will go completely unpunished, without paying for anything she did,” Elizabeth Garrido told Efe in Plaza Italia. EFE


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