The analysis of the polling company MORI evaluated public opinion on the dictator’s regime, after 50 years of the military coup against President Salvador Allende.
An opinion study published on Tuesday by the pollster MORI (Market & Opinion Research International) in Chile, which analyzes the influence of “the era” of Augusto Pinochet after 50 years of the coup d’etat he led against the democratic president Salvador Allende, the September 11, 1973, warns that “the shadow” of the dictator in Chile today “rises like a ghost.”
“Does Pinochetism return to Chile 50 years after the coup? Pinochet’s shadow 50 years after the coup rises like a ghost that seems to have no peace,” says the study ‘CERC-MORI Policy Barometer’ for March 2023, entitled “Chile in the shadow of Pinochet”, which He bases his conclusion on the opinion of Chileans when asked if the military coup against Allende destroyed democracy or freed the country from Marxism.
The analysis explains that the current percentages of public opinion show a reality that is very different from the data obtained by the measurement on “the Era of Pinochet”, carried out in 2006, when the dictator died. For this moment, 68% of Chileans considered that the coup against Allende had destroyed democracy and only 19% said that military action had freed Chile from Marxism.
In addition, the study carried out with the “face to face” method and with a margin of error of 3%, highlights that 2013 saw “one of the largest gaps in opinion about the meaning of 9/11with 62% interpreting Pinochet’s coup “as the destruction of democracy” and 18% “as the salvation of Marxism”.
The pollster warns that this gap has narrowed and has given “a shocking turnaround” by registering in 2023 “the fewest number of Chileans” who say that democracy was destroyed on September 11, with barely 42%, a figure that breaks the all-time low of 1995, when it was 49%.
At the same time, the people who think that the dictator “liberated Chile from Marxism” equaled his ceiling maximum of the year 2000, when it stood at 36%. “The
Democracy has lost defenders in these 33 years since its recovery?”, questioned the study that has kept statistical records since 1987 on the opinions of the military coup.
The context of the opinions
The analysis adds that opinions are collected in a context in which the current government of Gabriel Boric faces a “political and security crisis”with “negative consequences” of the covid-19 pandemic “on the economy” and with “strong opposition.”
Furthermore, says the pollster, Boric has just “suffered the worst defeat of any government since the return to democracy”after in September 2021 the proposal for a new Constitution was rejected with 62% of the voters.
To this, says the analysis, we must add the second electoral setback on May 7, 2023, which gave the right the majority of representatives to draft the new constitutional text. “The right-wing parties thus obtain an absolute majority for the first time since 1946,” the study points out.
For the first time in history, adds the poll, just as the 50th anniversary of the military coup is celebrated, “more than a third of Chileans support the idea that Chile was liberated from Marxism and only 4 out of 10 think that it destroyed democracy. At no time since the 1988 plebiscite has opinion about the meaning of the coup been as authoritarian as in 2023.”
The study also details that, when looking at the opinion according to age, the Chileans who least support the coup became adults after the death of the dictator; while the people who lived through the Pinochet era and voted in the plebiscite of
1988, which ended the military dictatorship, are those who most support the position that the riot expelled Marxism.
“The older you are, the more you support the idea that 9/11 freed Chile from Marxism. If that’s the case, would political change come with generational change?The younger generations who did not experience the events would defend less the 11 of September?“adds the pollster about what could happen in the future in the South American country.
“Chile is experiencing a resurgence of Pinochetism”
“33 years after the reinauguration of democracy and 50 years after the military coup, Chile is experiencing a resurgence of Pinochetism in the midst of the most important social, political and economic crisis since the return to democracy,” the study warned.
The pollster adds that in the current context, “Pinochet is recovering his image and the dictatorship is not unanimously condemned.”
Along the same lines, he stresses: “There are a resurgent pinochetism in close to a third of the population. There is no other dictator in the West who has survived the passage of time as Augusto Pinochet has done, recovering his image 50 years after the military coup”.
In this sense, he stresses that precisely the 50th anniversary of Pinochet’s coup “should be a moment to update the knowledge of what happened to the entire population“and make known the crimes against humanity, persecution, murders, torture and forced disappearances carried out by that dictatorial regime.
“To make the story known, especially to the younger generations who did not live through the dictatorship and that they did not learn that history in their education. Only in this way can the idea of ’never forgetting’ be sustained,” adds the sociodemographic study that is described as the “only existing one” on the political transition in Chile and the “longest” that covers “the end of a dictatorship and on a democracy in the western world.
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