The former South American dictator underwent a bypass surgery on Sunday and his condition is critical but stable according to doctors.
Former Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet (1973 – 1990) was admitted at a Santiago hospital after suffering a major heart attack on Sunday morning. The 91-year-old bloody tyrant underwent an emergency heart by-pass surgery in the evening and is now in serious but stable conditions, according to doctors.
Pinochet’s family confirmed to reporters that the leader of the US-backed military coup that toppled the constitutional government of Socialist President Salvador Allende in 1973 was given the last rites at the Hospital Militar. Pinochet was under house arrest at the moment of the heart attack, prosecuted on several charges ranging from corruption to mass killings during his conservative authoritarian rule.
According to the last reports, Pinochet was recovering well from the surgery, but he is life is still under serious risk. Doctor Juan Vergara told reporters outside the hospital, that the next 24 or 48 hours will be “crucial to determine his further evolution”.
The Chilean Government led by Socialist President Michelle Bachelet reacted with calm. Official sources commented that the government “is ready for any eventuality”. According to Chilean sources, the President, whose father was killed by Pinochet’s notorious intelligence service agents, is not compelled to attend to the funerals.
Pinochet ruled Chile with an iron fist until 1990 when lost a referendum over his continuity in power. A center-left coalition of Socialists and Christian-democrats has ruled the country since then. Chile is now the most stable economy of South America and managed to significantly reduce poverty inherited from Pinochet’s times.
Official figures show Pinochet's government was responsible for the politically motivated killings and disappearances of 3,197 people. Human rights groups, on the contrary, believe the death toll rises to 5,000.
At a Nov. 25 birthday party, Pinochet's wife read a statement in which the weakened ex-dictator accepted "full political responsibility for what happened" during his time in power. The statement said he had acted with "no other goal than making Chile greater and avoiding its disintegration."