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Latin America

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Judi Lynn

(159,808 posts)
Mon Feb 11, 2013, 02:22 PM Feb 2013

How Do You Defeat a Dictator When He Gets to Write the Rules? [View all]

How Do You Defeat a Dictator When He Gets to Write the Rules?
By Larry Ladutke
February 11, 2013 at 12:48 PM

I didn’t think it was possible. As a student at Rutgers in 1988, I sarcastically asked my friends, “Who do you think is going to win the referendum in Chile? Pinochet or Pinochet?”

Following his bloody overthrow of the democratically elected Allende Government in 1973, Pinochet murdered thousands of dissidents and outlawed opposition parties. Like many dictators, he legitimated his rule by holding a plebiscite on a “constitution” that gave him unchecked power in 1980. He was able to do so, of course, because the climate of fear and impunity guaranteed his victory.

Facing growing international pressure to step down, General Pinochet tried to pull this same trick again in 1988, by offering a pseudo-election in which Chileans could vote to either let Pinochet remain in office for another eight years or hold a presidential election the following year. Given that he was writing the rules again, how could human rights activists and other opposition groups possibly win? It seemed hopeless.

More:
http://blog.amnestyusa.org/uncategorized/how-do-you-defeat-a-dictator-when-he-gets-to-write-the-rules/

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