Augusto Pinochet (b. 1915 ) was the dictator of Chile from 1973 until 1990. At the time of his death in 2006, he had been formally charged with some 300 crimes, including human rights violations and crimes against humanity, but he died before he could stand trial.
Under Pinochet, dissent of any kind was not tolerated. Political opponents and their families were rounded up in the national stadium, where many were executed—including women and children. In addition to the thousands killed for political reasons by the so-called Caravan of Death assassination squad, 30,000 were brutally tortured, 80,000 jailed, and thousands more remain missing, including American journalist Charles Horman. Those political opponents who managed to flee Chile were systematically hunted down and assassinated in a covert campaign with the colorful name Operation Condor. As Pinochet himself put it, “Sometimes democracy must be bathed in blood.”
In 1970, Salvator Allende became the first Marxist elected president of a Latin American country. The radical shift to Allende’s leftist economic policies, coupled with harsh U.S. sanctions, exacerbated a financial crisis. The exchange rate ballooned from 15.75 to 2,050.00 Chilean escudos to the dollar, and the inflation rate exceeded 1000%.
Three years later, a military junta stormed the palace, Allende died, and Pinochet took over. Radical socialism was junked for a pro-business economic policy that was more amenable to the United States, foreign capital poured into Chile, and after a few shaky years, the economy stabilized. Not that all of the borrowed money found its intended destination—Pinochet skimmed some off the top and, with the help of the now-defunct Riggs Bank, squirreled away $23 million of stolen money. He died in his sleep in 2006.
Coins KM-199, 5 escudos—copper-nickel; 4.53g, 23.0 3m m; issued 1972 Obverse: Lautaro, Mapuche military chief in the Arauco War against Spain. Reverse: coat of arms, denomination. KM-199a, 5 escudos—alum inum ; 1.50 g, 22.80 mm ; issued 1972 Same coin, different metal—aluminum was cheaper. KM-20 0 , 10 escudos—alum inum ; 2.0 0 g, 24.93m m; issued 1974 Obverse: condor perched on a rock. Reverse: denomination. KM-20 3, 1 centavo—aluminum ; 2.0 0 g, 24.93m m; issued 1975 Obverse: condor perched on a rock. Reverse: denomination. This was reform coinage, after Pinochet’s takeover. Banknote P-148, 10 .0 0 0 escudos; 145 x 70 m m ; issued pre-1975 Obverse: portrait of Chilean revolutionary hero General Bernardo O’Higgins. Reverse: the historic Battle of Rancagua.
Album open measures: 11” x 7.5” Album folded measures: 5.5” x 7.5”
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