Lucia Hiriart, widow of Chilean dictator Pinochet, dies at age 99

Hiriart aroused sturdy reactions amongst Chileans for the perceived affect she had on Pinochet, who dominated for 17 years.

Lucia Hiriart, the widow of late Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, has died on the age of 99, her household mentioned.

Her loss of life on Thursday got here three days earlier than a polarised presidential runoff in Chile through which one of many two candidates defended the legacy of Pinochet’s navy regime.

Hiriart aroused sturdy reactions amongst Chileans for the perceived affect she had on Pinochet and for the fortune amassed by her household. Her property managed a controversial basis, which was subjected to a number of judicial probes.

“At the age of 99 and surrounded by family and loved ones, my beloved grandmother passed away. She leaves an immense mark on our hearts,” her granddaughter, who goes by Karina Pinochet on Twitter, posted on the social community.

“She gave her life to the service of Chileans and history will know how to value her great work and her work for our beloved country. Rest in Peace.”

An individual holds a placard studying ‘Goodbye old lady’ as demonstrators congregate after Hiriart handed away in Santiago, Chile on December 16, 2021 [Pablo Sanhueza/Reuters]

Pinochet, a navy basic, overthrew the nation’s democratically elected leftist authorities in a bloody 1973 coup. During his 17-year reign, greater than 3,000 folks had been killed or disappeared and tens of 1000’s tortured.

During the dictatorship within the 1970s and 1980s, Chile additionally established a lot of its present market-oriented financial system, which helped drive many years of development but additionally spurred inequality.

In a biography by the journalist Alejandra Matus, Hiriart is portrayed as a tricky character who typically criticised her husband. The two had been married from 1943 to 2006, when Pinochet died.

Chileans will vote for a new president on Sunday between progressive Gabriel Boric and far-right Jose Antonio Kast, who has beforehand defended Pinochet’s legacy and mentioned the previous dictator would have voted for him if he had been nonetheless alive.

“Lucia Hiriart lived with impunity, despite the deep pain and division that she caused our country,” Boric tweeted following her loss of life. He referred to as for “more respect” for the victims of the dictatorship and for Chileans to work for “justice and a dignified life”.

Kast didn’t instantly touch upon Hiriart’s loss of life on the social networking web site.

Al Jazeera’s Lucia Newman, reporting from a Kast rally within the capital Santiago on Thursday, the ultimate day of campaigning forward of the election, mentioned the race is extraordinarily shut and “every single vote will count” on Sunday.

For many Chileans, Kast – an extremely conservative and a staunch Catholic who’s against abortion and same-sex marriage – represents the previous, Newman mentioned.

But he is also the candidate of legislation and order, “and that is something that many Chileans are yearning for after two years of social upheaval“, she reported. “That is why a lot of people have turned to him at this moment of polarisation.”

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