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Home >> World
UPDATED: 13:08, December 11, 2006
Profile: Former Chilean president Pinochet
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The 91-year-old Augusto Pinochet, former Chilean President from 1973 to 1990, died at Sunday 2:15 p.m. (1715 GMT) Sunday in hospital from heart complications, said a communique of the Santiago Military hospital.

Born on Nov. 25, 1915, in Valparaiso city, Pinochet was educated at the military academy, the school of infantry, the academy of war and the academy of national defense.

Pinochet began his army career in 1933 and became commander-in-chief of the army division in 1969, commander-in-chief of the garrison of Santiago in 1971, chief of staff of the army in 1972. He led a military coup on Sept. 11, 1973 when he was commander-in-chief of the army, deposing president Salvador Allende to form a military government.

Since then, he had been president of the military regime and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, head of state from June 1974 and president of Chile from Dec. 17, 1974. He resigned in March 1990 after 55 percent of voters reject a proposal that Pinochet should stay in power in a national referendum held on Oct.5.

Pinochet lost an October 1988 referendum to continue his rule and was forced to call an election. He lost to Patricio Alywin, whose center-left coalition had ruled Chile since 1990.

Pinochet avoided prosecution for years after his presidency. He remained army commander for eight more years and then was a senator-for-life, a position guaranteed under the constitution

During his 17-year-rule, Chile's economy has developed remarkablely. However, more than 3000 people went missing or died and 28,000 people were prosecuted.

Pinochet was in London for back surgery in 1998 when the judge asked Britain to extradite him to Spain for human rights violations. Since he returned to Chile in 2000, he was charged with over 200 criminal complaints and was under house arrest at the time of his death.

The hospital said Pinochet' condition worsened suddenly and doctors rushed him back to the Intense Care Unit, from which he had been removed only on Thursday while recovering from an acute heart attack he suffered one week ago.

Pinochet had been admitted a week earlier to the hospital with what doctors described as an acute heart attack. He underwent an angioplasty procedure in which doctors enlarge the clogged artery to allow restoration of the blood flow to the heart.

Last Sunday, Pinochet had a coronary bypass operation after suffering a heart attack, a very risky operation for someone of his age.

Source: Xinhua

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