- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 14, 2006

SANTIAGO, Chile — The grandson of Gen. Augusto Pinochet was discharged from the army yesterday after causing an uproar with his eulogy denouncing judges who had tried the former Chilean dictator.

Capt. Augusto Pinochet Molina, 34, defended his grandfather’s bloody 1973 coup at his funeral Tuesday and said judges who later sought to prosecute him were seeking “notoriety, not justice.” The comment brought applause from mourners and censure from the president.

Army Gen. Oscar Izurieta said the announcement that Capt. Pinochet had been discharged was delayed 24 hours out of “respect to his family.”

The reaction to Capt. Pinochet’s eulogy demonstrated yet again the deep divisions in Chile over the former military dictatorship.

President Michelle Bachelet, who was once imprisoned under the dictatorship, called Capt. Pinochet’s comments “an extremely serious offense” because they were an attack against a branch of government.

She said she expected the army to take “necessary measures” to punish Capt. Pinochet, but his father, also named Augusto, said he already was planning to leave the army.

Capt. Pinochet, an army engineer, was reported to be attending a family religious service for his grandfather at a residence southwest of Santiago yesterday and did not comment on his discharge.

Gen. Pinochet died Sunday. The government denied the state funeral normally given to former presidents because he was never elected but took power by force, toppling elected Marxist President Salvador Allende in 1973.

The funeral was held at the Santiago Military Academy.

During the ceremony, Capt. Pinochet unexpectedly appeared at the speakers podium and said his grandfather “defeated Marxism, which attempted to impose its totalitarian model,” drawing an ovation from mourners.

He also criticized judges who put the ailing general under indictment or house arrest several times in connection with the deaths and torture during his 1973-90 reign. Those judges, he said, “sought notoriety, not justice.”

Mrs. Bachelet said the officer was not scheduled to speak but jumped “over the line of command, broke into the ceremony.”

She said Gen. Pinochet’s death “symbolizes the departure of a person who caused an atmosphere of divisions, hatred and violence, but it is not a new era.”

“The new era started in 1990, when we recovered democracy” after Gen. Pinochet stepped down from power, she said.

Mrs. Bachelet’s father was an air force general who opposed the coup and died while imprisoned by the dictatorship. She said the government will continue to work for reconciliation among Chileans.

“There is room for everybody in Chile,” she said.

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