Pinochet, Augusto

born 1915, Valparaiso, Chile

President and dictator of Chile (1973-90). An army general who served as chief of staff (1972-73) and commander of the army (1973), he led the coup that overthrew socialist president Salvador Allende (Sept., 1973). As head of a four-man military junta he was responsible for mass arrests and more than 2,000 political assassinations. He also returned many nationalized businesses and farms to private owners. Though condemned for its brutality, his regime is credited with stimulating steady economic growth. After losing a plebiscite in 1989, he was succeeded as president by Patricio Aylwin. He remained as commander of the army until 1998, when he was made senator for life. On a trip to London that year, he was arrested at the request of the Spanish government on charges including terrorism and murder, stemming from his former regime, and held for possible extradition to Spain. In October,1999, a British judge ruled that he should be extradited, but the decision was appealed. See further discussion in article 5, subsequent development.