Marco Rubio met a far-right Chilean candidate linked to the military dictatorship
Senator Marco Rubio Tuesday caught a surprise meeting with a Chilean presidential candidate who often speaks favorably about the country’s era under military dictator Augusto Pinochet.
José Antonio Kast is stuck in a run-off election against a left-wing challenger and is often referred to as Chilean Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s future dictator who regularly speaks warmly about his own nation’s time under a military dictatorship. Rubio, who is of Cuban origin and a member of the Republican Party, has long had ties to the Latin American right.
“If Pinochet were alive he would have voted for me,” Kast said.
Kast’s family has deep ties to the dictatorship. His father, Michael Kast, was a lieutenant in the Nazi army before fleeing to Chile and raising sons who shared his far-right policies. One of his sons, Miguel Kast, was appointed by Pinochet Minister of Labor and then President of the Central Bank. He was one of the so called Chicago Boys, a group of young economists trained by Milton Friedman, set out for Chile to launch a neoliberal experiment that saw social spending slashed and wealth funneled to the very rich. Christian Kast, according to the book by journalist Javier Rebolledo “At La Sombra De Los Cuervos,Was linked to the massacres of peasants under Pinochet, and José Antonio Kast campaigned against the plebiscite that rewrote the Chilean constitution and paved the way for Pinochet’s impeachment. “I’m not a pinochetista, but I appreciate everything he’s done,” Kast said, adding that the dictatorship “Lays the foundations of modernity.
Kast, however, seeks to roll back some of that modernity and pledges to ban abortion, eliminate the Ministry for Women and Gender Equality, withdraw from the Human Rights Council of United Nations and expand the construction of prisons.
On November 21, Kast and leftist Gabriel Boric finished in the top two in the first round of voting – 28% for Kast and 26% for Boric – edging out centrist candidates in the race and creating the need for a second round on the 19th. December. Polls have shown Boric takes the lead, and Kast’s trip to Washington and his visit with Rubio is an effort to boost his international reputation. According to Chilean outlets El Mostrador and La Nacion, Kast and Rubio were joined over lunch by Issa Kort, Chilean Ambassador to the Organization of American States, as well as at least 20 executives of American companies with interests in Chile, including the Marketing Director of PepsiCo , María Paulina Uribe, and the vice-president of international relations of the UnitedHealth group. Joël Velasco. (In 2018, UnitedHealth acquired South American healthcare giant Banmédica.)
The Chileans elected Salvador Allende in 1970, the first socialist to come to power in South America through the ballot box, and the United States has worked tirelessly to undermine it, along with President Richard Nixon famous ordering makers to “make the economy scream” in order “to prevent Allende from gaining power or overthrowing it”. It became official CIA policy to support its overthrow with a coup, and in September 1973 Pinochet assaulted the presidential palace and Allende committed suicide rather than being captured. Pinochet tortured, executed and disappeared thousands of people as he consolidated power and served as dictator until 1990.
In 2017, José Antonio Kast offered immediate pardons for former incarcerated members of the Pinochet military regime. Asked in October by journalist Paulina de Allende-Salazar why the proposal was absent from his current presidential platform, Kast claimed his plan had not changed but noted that it would only apply to members of the regime who were now of advanced age – which, as Allende -Salazar pointed out, would apply to everyone. Kast then tempered his proposal by saying that in some cases house arrest might be more appropriate. In 2013, he claimed that the infamous 1987 Corpus Christi massacre by the Pinochet regime, also known as Operation Albania, was not an act of state violence, but rather personal revenge. He then told the press that he had confused the event with the Caso Degollados, or “the case of the throats,” a murder committed by the police two years earlier.
Kast objected to his father’s characterization as a Nazi, saying his service in the German military was unintentional. But according to Kast’s mother, Olga, in his memoir “Misión de amor” or “Mission de l ‘amour”, while Michael Kast was initially reluctant to climb the Nazi ranks because “dying as a hero did not interest him. not, ”after a Sergeant explained that a higher position would give him more decision-making power on the battlefield, he volunteered for a promotion. As the war drew to a close, Rebolledo details, Michael Kast burned his military papers and obtained false records claiming he was a member of the Red Cross. It took on its new identity in 1947, during the denazification process, but the new German officials did not believe it. They withdrew his official Nazi regime file, but a friendly prosecutor threw it on the fire and let Kast go, thanking him for his honesty.
Christian Kast, José Antonio’s older brother, was reportedly present at the site of “los crimenes de Paine”, a series of massacres that began in September 1973, shortly after Pinochet’s forces overthrew Allende’s government, and were still in pursuit Last year. In his official statement to police, a survivor identified Christian Kast, then 17, among a group of regime allies present as military police beat a group of civilian farmers. In 2008, a lawyer argued that due to his age at the time of the events, Kast should undergo a psychiatric assessment to determine if he could be held responsible. The assessment was never completed and Christian Kast was never convicted of involvement. The survivor told Rebolledo in 2015 that he no longer clearly remembers Kast’s presence.