The Argentine government has stripped deceased Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet of two decorations, presidential spokeswoman Gabriela Cerruti announced on Wednesday. The former de facto president of Chile had used the insignias of the Orden de Mayo (Order of May) and the Orden del Libertador San Martin (Order of San Martin the Liberator).
The authorization of decree 455, which was signed by President Alberto Fernández, Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero, and Chief of Staff Agustín Rossi, among others, comes five days before the 50th anniversary of the violent coup that overthrew democratically elected Chilean President Salvador Allende and paved the way for Pinochet’s rise to power.
“Argentina occupies a central place in the concert of nations in the recognition of truth, justice, and memory as pillars for the construction of democratic order,” Cerruti said. “In this context, and with the struggle of human rights organizations always acting as a bulwark for our entire society, we must continue fighting against denialism, against oblivion, and against attempts at impunity.”
Cerruti’s announcement follows Tuesday’s “homage to the victims of terrorism” at the Buenos Aires City Legislature. That event, organized by vice presidential candidate Victoria Villarruel of the La Libertad Avanza coalition, sought to honor those killed in operations led by various Argentine guerrilla groups in the 1970s. Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo President Estela de Carlotto has denounced the tribute for its denialism of the crimes of the Argentine dictatorship.
“Pinochet is not deserving of the gratitude of the Argentine nation,” Cerrutti continued. “He is someone who carried out policies that destroyed life and degraded the human condition. His actions were an affront to the values and guiding principles of our forefathers and are [ultimately] incompatible with these decorations.”
Pinochet ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990, after the country voted to return to democracy in a 1988 plebiscite. He died on December 10, 2006, from a heart attack and was given a military funeral. While in power, his regime murdered and disappeared more than 3,000 people and tortured an estimated 40,000.