Augusto Pinochet: Timeline
Last Updated December 11, 2006
Nov. 25, 1915
Augusto Pinochet is born in Valparaiso, Chile.
After four years of military school, joins the army's Chacabuco Regiment, in Concepción with the rank of second lieutenant.
Moves to the Maipo Regiment of the Valparaiso garrison with the rank of sub-lieutenant. The following year, Pinochet returns to the infantry school.
Enters the War Academy, but is forced to postpone his studies for a year to carry out a mission in the coal zone of Lota.
Promoted to rank of officer chief of staff. Returns to the military school, this time as a teacher. Serves as director of Cien Aguilas (One Hundred Eagles), a magazine for army officers.
Now a major, Pinochet serves for two years with the Rancagua Regiment in Arica. Appointed professor of the War Academy and enters the University of Chile's law school.
Suspends law studies to help set up Ecuador's War Academy in Quito.
Returns to Chile.
Appointed commander of the Esmeralda Regiment.
Appointed subdirector of the War Academy.
Named chief of staff of the II Division of the army, in Santiago.
Salvadore Allende is elected president of Chile with 36 per cent of the popular vote. His Marxist policies anger the U.S. and he frequently clashes with Chile's Congress, which is dominated by the conservative Christian Democratic Party. Christian Democrats accuse him of trying to turn the country into a communist dictatorship. Some called for a military coup.
Pinochet rises to the rank of division general and is named commander general of the Santiago army garrison.
Appointed general chief of staff of the army.
Aug. 23, 1973
As domestic strife rises across the country, President Allende appoints Pinochet commander-in-chief of the army.
Sept. 11, 1973
The armed forces, led by Pinochet and backed by the American CIA, overthrow Allende in a bloody coup. Allende kills himself rather than surrender. Pinochet is named head of the junta's governing council.
Pinochet moves to crush the liberal opposition by jailing more than 130,000 people. As well, at least 3,000 people disappear, most killed by death squads. Thousands of Chileans flee the country.
March 11, 1981:
Pinochet is sworn in as president under a constitution written by his regime a year earlier.
Opposition groups begin a string of demonstrations and strikes to protest against Pinochet's iron-fisted rule. Government responds with force.
Pinochet escapes an assassination attempt with minor injuries.
Under terms of the 1980 constitution, a plebiscite is held to vote on a new eight-year term for President Pinochet. The No side wins, which paves the way for open elections the next year. Pinochet loses that election.
Dec. 14, 1989
Chile's first democratic elections in 19 years. Patricio Aylwin wins the presidency, leading a coalition of 14 parties.
March 11, 1990
Pinochet leaves office as Aylwin is sworn in. Pinochet retains title of commander-in-chief of the armed forces until 1998. After leaving that post, the constitution he helped draft provides him with a Senate seat for life. As a sitting senator, he is immune from criminal prosecution within Chile.
Pinochet travels to London for back surgery. While recovering, he is placed under house arrest after a Spanish judge issues an arrest warrant. The charges include 94 counts of torture and one count of conspiracy to commit torture. The charges only relate to Pinochet's final 14 months in a position of power, coinciding with the date that Britain signed on to the international convention against torture.
Oct. 28, 1998
London court rules Pinochet is immune from arrest because he was head of state at time of alleged crimes.
Nov. 3, 1998
Britain's highest court, the House of Lords, hears appeal launched by Spanish lawyers.
Nov. 25, 1998
House of Lords decides by a 3-2 margin that Pinochet is not immune from arrest.
Dec. 16, 1998
Pinochet's lawyers argue bias after one of the House of Lords judges is found to have strong ties to Amnesty International.
Dec. 18, 1998
House of Lords sets aside its own ruling and orders a new hearing.
The House of Lords rules that Pinochet can be extradited to Spain to face charges but not for offences that allegedly occurred before 1998.
April 14, 1999
Canada's Justice Department instructs the RCMP not to file charges against Pinochet. A Canadian nun had asked Canada to prosecute Pinochet. She claimed she had been tortured in Chile in the 1970s.
March 3, 2000
British Home Secretary Jack Straw rules Pinochet is unfit to stand trial six months after the former dictator suffered two minor strokes. Straw dismisses extradition warrants issued by Spain, Switzerland, Belgium and France.
March 4, 2000
Pinochet returns to Chile. He's welcomed by thousands of cheering supporters and senior military brass. Government officials stay away.
Aug. 9, 2000
Chilean military commanders warn that putting Pinochet on trial could hurt the chances of uncovering the fates of the people who disappeared during his rule.
Chile's Supreme Court tosses out an attempt by a Judge Juan Guzman to try Pinochet for human rights abuses. The court said the judge had to interrogate Pinochet first, as well as allow mental exams.
Jan. 31, 2001
Pinochet placed under house arrest two days after Judge Guzman reorders his arrest and trial for killing 57 people and kidnapping another 18, who are presumed dead. Pinochet's son says he fears his father is in danger of dying.
Chile's Supreme Court dismisses charges against Pinochet, citing his ill health. Shortly after the ruling, Pinochet gives up his Senate seat.
May 28, 2004
An appeals court strips Pinochet of his immunity from prosecution, once again raising the possibility that the former dictator could be tried for human rights violations.
July 20, 2004:
Chile opens an investigation into Pinochet's accounts after a report by the U.S. Senate found that Washington-based Riggs Bank helped him hide millions of dollars between 1994 and 2002.
Aug. 26, 2004:
Chile's Supreme Court upholds the appeals court decision three months earlier to stip Pinochet of his immunity from prosecution.
Oct. 16, 2004:
A medical examination ordered by a Chilean judge concludes that Pinochet is suffering from moderate dementia and short-term memory loss, and has difficulty understanding the importance of the proceedings against him.
Nov. 10, 2004:
The National Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture presents its report on the Pinochet regime to President Ricardo Lagos. The study, which is not made public, was based on interviews with 35,000 former prisoners.
Dec. 13, 2004:
A Chilean judge indicts Pinochet on human rights charges related to the kidnapping and killing of several opposition activists. Judge Juan Guzman also rules that Pinochet is mentally fit to stand trial and places him under house arrest.
Nov. 23, 2005:
The Chilean government accuses Pinochet of tax evasion and corruption related to multimillion-dollar accounts overseas. He is indicted and put under house arrest. It is the first time the retired general has been indicted for charges not related to the massive human rights abuses during his 1973-90 dictatorship.
Jan. 20, 2006
An appeal court rules that Pinochet has no immunity in 23 torture cases and 36 kidnapping cases. The cases involve people held in a secret prison called Villa Grimaldi, where Chile's president-elect, Michelle Bachelet, was tortured in the 1970s.
Aug. 18, 2006
Chile's Supreme Court votes to strip Pinochet of immunity from prosecution on corruption charges for his once-secret multimillion-dollar overseas bank accounts.
Nov. 25, 2006
At a celebration of his 91st birthday, Pinochet takes full responsibility for the first time for the actions of his 1973-90 dictatorship.
Nov. 27, 2006
Chilean authorities put Pinochet under house arrest in connection with the kidnapping of two of his political opponents in 1974.
Dec. 3, 2006
Pinochet suffers a heart attack in his suburban Santiago home and is taken to a military hospital. Doctors there perform an angioplasty to clear a heart artery and say his condition improved after surgery.
Dec. 10, 2006
Pinochet dies from heart complications. He was 91. His death sparked celebrations and clashes across Chile. He was to receive a military funeral.
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Government type: Republic
President/chief of state: Ricardo Lagos Escobar
Ambassador to Canada: Alvaro Zuniga
Major languages: Spanish
Major religions: Roman Catholic 89%, Protestant 11%
Location: Southern South America, bordering on Argentina, Bolivia, Peru and the South Atlantic and South Pacific Oceans
Area total: 756,950 sq. km
Natural resources: copper, timber, iron ore, nitrates, precious metals, molybdenum, hydropower
Source: CIA World Factbook