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General studies Pinochet in Piccadilly Britain and Chiles Hidden History Andy Beckett 280pp Faber On October 16 1998 General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte former dictator of Chile and self-appointed senator for life was unexpectedly arrested while undergoing medical treatment at a clinic in London The order for his arrest was issued by a Spanish judge after a long campaign by a Catalan lawyer and former adviser to Salvador Allende working with Amnesty International on charges of the murder of several Spanish citizens The international law that permitted this had its origins in the post-Nuremberg international legal order The coup that brought Pinochet to power was made in Chile and the United States Given which to try to tell this story using as the organising principle of the narrative what the subtitle of this book calls the hidden history of Anglo-Chilean relations could be described as brave foolhardy or Anglocentric It could not though be described as very illuminating Isabel Hiltons most recent book is The Search for the Panchen Lama PenguinAndy Beckett is a talented and energetic journalist but he is defeated by the task he has set himself He tells some entertaining stories of 19th-century British nitrate barons and 20th-century far-right British conspiracies All are interesting in their way but central motors of history they are not More seriously the Anglo-Chilean focus of his argument leads him to omit from the narrative several crucial actors Fidel Castros long visit to Chile is unaccountably not mentioned despite the propaganda use of it made by the US nor does Henry Kissingers determination to overthrow Allende merit a reference In Becketts account of the coup indeed the central role of the US barely figures despite the wealth of material that is available on the subject For the coup itself the predominance of the English theme leads us to rely on the testimony of Dick Barbor- Might an Allende sympathiser who was there at the time and who
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