Pinochet’s Daughter Running for a Post in Chile's Municipal Elections

Augusto Pinochet’s eldest daughter, Lucia Pinochet Hiriart, announced on Monday a last minute decision that she would run for the post of councilor in the Santiago district of Vitacura. Though the municipal posts hold little actual power, how she fares could be an indicator of the political atmosphere of present day Chile. Her father, who overthrew democratically-elected Salvador Allende in a CIA-backed military coup in 1973, faced international charges of mass-murder, torture, kidnapping, illegal detention, censorship of the press, fraud and embezzlement but died in 2006, before he could be fully tried. That same year, Lucia Pinochet Hiriart, along with her siblings and mother, were charged with tax fraud and accused of funneling $27 million to foreign bank accounts. She sought political asylum in the United States but was quickly deported. A Chilean appeal court dropped the charges against all of the members of Pinochet's family in October, 2007.

Upon return to Chile, Lucia Pinochet Hiriart intended to run for a seat in parliament before the arrest squashed her dreams. Lucia returns to the political arena, and despite the thousands that disappeared or were tortured during her father’s tight rule, she could be met with much support. There are many in Chile who credit Pinochet’s dictatorship with economic growth and mourned the fall of the military junta, and many of its economic policies and military personnel are still in place. They are in a constant clash with a restless youth student culture that seeks to cast away the authoritarian legacy of Chile and bring about a more fully Democratic government. Whether or not Lucia Pinochet Hiriart wins the municipal elections could be a clue as to who’s gaining an edge in the constant battle for the future of Chilean society.

Do you think Lucia Pinochet Hiriart should be running in the municipal elections? What do you think this means for Chile?

-Gabriela Garcia