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Chileans Mourn, Celebrate Former Dictator Augusto Pinochet’s Death

Up to 5,000 supporters of former Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet attended his funeral Tuesday, while several thousand protesters rallied in the city center. Elizabeth Farnsworth reports from Santiago on how Chileans are reacting to Pinochet's death.

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    The going of Augusto Pinochet, as witnessed by special correspondent Elizabeth Farnsworth in Santiago. Elizabeth has covered Pinochet since he came to power in 1973, and she's now doing a documentary on the international efforts to bring him to justice.

    Margaret Warner spoke with Elizabeth earlier this evening.


    Hello, Elizabeth. Welcome.

  • ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH, NewsHour Special Correspondent:

    Hi, Margaret.


    You were at the Pinochet funeral today. What was it like? Set the scene for us.


    Well, it was held in the military academy that's right across the street here. You can still see some Pinochet supporters and mourners who have brought flowers.

    It's a very large structure with a huge internal courtyard. I would say, in that courtyard where the funeral was held, maybe were 3,000 or 4,000 people. These were families, a lot of military people. Up high on some of the balconies were students from the military academy. This is where all of Chile's officers are trained.

    It was very hot, and the mood was hot. There's been a lot of conflict and debate here about whether this should be a state funeral or not. And the afternoon newspaper called this an "encendido homenaje," a very hot, very emotional homage to Pinochet.

    And that's because of the political divisions, and it's because of the fact that, at one moment in the very beginning of the funeral, the minister of defense of this government — this is a government led by a socialist president, Michelle Bachelet; she had forbidden or they had, together with the army, negotiated that there be no state funeral — and yet the minister of defense came. The president didn't come.

    And when she came in, the crowds jeered her. Some found her, told her to, "Fuera, fuera," go away, go away. So that's the kind of event it was, and it went on through the day.