A bit Chile in Canberra

By 14 July 2005 28

I assumed there was someone important for Chile deigning to visit our humble town when I noticed all the flagpoles in the Parliamentary Triangle had sprouted alternating Australian and Chilean flags. (Confession: I didn’t know they were Chilean flags until later on in the day)

And driving back home from Woden, I spotted a four-strong protest standing in the middle of Commonwealth Ave opposite the Hyatt. There was a lady with a large flag matching those sprouting on every second flag pole, a man with a sign proclaiming something along the lines of “Chile is not for sale” and two others with a banner that I read the first line of and didn’t understand on account of it being in what I assume was Spanish. I was too far past them when I realised the second line was an English translation and so couldn’t read it.

Anyone know who’s in town and why would Australia be wanting to buy Chile?

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28 Responses to
A bit Chile in Canberra
johnboy 11:17 pm
14 Jul 05

It was the president of Chile

The greaqt legacy of Pinochet is that the dickhead lefties all left the country, thed downside of that is that they pursue successive chilean leaders when they tour the world.

Australia has little desire to buy chile, but we have done some migrations deals with them through this visit.

shakedown 3:05 am
15 Jul 05

Those “dickhead lefties” that weren’t murdered, that is.
A selection of your own statements from this very site:
“…I consider socialism to be a great crime against humanity…”. A greater crime, presumably, than the systematic extermination of political opponents (and, let us not forget, the erstwhile supporters of a democratically-elected government) by a facist military junta which assumed power via a CIA-backed coup?
“At the last Federal election I voted 1 for the Socialist Democrats, but only to encourage them.”
And also, one infers, because their brand of sub-Trotskyite “socialism” is so politically correct and anaemic that they could never seriously be a threat.
With this remark, you’ve exposed the entire petit- bourgeois ‘small-l liberal/libertarian’ schtick for what it really is – a few short ideological steps removed from fascism. Or maybe you’re just taking the piss…

johnboy 7:34 am
15 Jul 05

Oh Shakedown, I’m so flattered to be the subject of your forensic examination.

I particularly like the implication that not being on board with your ideology is, of itself, proof of being a facist.

bloodnut 7:55 am
15 Jul 05

When I as a young tacker, I used to make my money busking (best money I ever made). I used to have an ongoing feud for the corner outside centrepoint plaza with the lefties selling those magazines.

I didn’t like them.

In later life I put a lot of time and money into solourful and well presented promotions, only to have them covered by poorly presented rambling socialist photocopies.

I didn’t like them either.

Thumper 8:23 am
15 Jul 05

Yeah, I was wondering about that as well K. I drove out of work and down Commonwealth avenue and saw the Pinochet banners, or anti Pinochet banners, and couldn’t work out what they were on about.

Pinochet ousted the democratically elected Marxist government in about 1973 from memory, in a bloody coup and was backed by the US, and Britain because they didn’t want Chile to become Communist.

All the country’s teachers, high civil servants, uni lecturers, in fact anyone with intelligence was either killed, or left the country which basically left the place with no-one smart enough to run the government except the military.

It was pretty much a crime whether you vote left or right because in the end it was an attack on democracy, even if the West didn’t like the result.

As for selling Chile, I have no idea? Are they going to sell us the surplus of Patagonian Toothfish that they illegally take?

Odd state of affairs.

Maelinar 8:35 am
15 Jul 05

Sounds quite like the current weekly Dr Who story..

Absent Diane 10:13 am
15 Jul 05

mm left vs right…. always arguments of well thought out illogic

Thumper 10:21 am
15 Jul 05

Its a circular argument. The further left you go, the closer to extreme right you get.

Absent Diane 10:30 am
15 Jul 05

Im extreme centre…. so I pretty much believe in the extermination of everyone – infact my ideal society would consist of everyone f**king off and me having access to copius amounts of beer with an unlimited collection of books, music and movies in a climate that is 40c plus everyday…. back to the topic… im pretty ignorant to chilean politics so I can’t really comment

Spectra 10:35 am
15 Jul 05

AD: Now there’s an ideology I can get behind.

Thumper 10:37 am
15 Jul 05

I’m slightly left of centre, but I totally concur with beer, music, books and tropical weather…

And I too am quite ignorant of Chilean politics. Except to know that Pinochet and his military junta took over in the 73 coup by getting rid of a democratically elected government, and was backed by the CIA and the septics.

Nuff said…


Maelinar 10:58 am
15 Jul 05

Now there is no official record of Americans getting involved within the politics of other nations. – (well at least within any documentation avaliable within America anyway).

And you’ll have to disregard the fact that the US have publicly announced that they have scrapped their policy not to interfere with the machinations of other countries in order to invade Afghanistan and Iraq because when questioned the response will be ‘I have no firm recollection of making that statement’, or words to that effect.

Did USA actually even invade Afghanistan and Iraq ?

I bet any amount of money that there are Americans out there who think that there has always been a US military presence there, just like helping the South Koreans guard their border against the vile Northerners..

Now we know that there was a light skirmish in Korea because they made a long running TV series out of it (M*A*S*H), which went longer than the actual skirmish, but since they’ve been in constant reruns we don’t really know how long the original skirmish went for so it can’t have been that long and anything more than a light border incursion.

Vietnam was also a slightly bigger border skirmish, however the real problem was renegade commanders doing their own thing, or rival Sergeants vying for supremacy, if there were any Viet Cong in the area, they were only ever background characters in the main plot. Infact I can’t think of one movie where a VC got even remotely close to a starring role, so they can’t have been that important.

Cambodia – Never heard of it.
Granada – Where ?
Panama – Oh there’s a canal there right ?

All minor.

Since I’m Right of Centre, I want to know why fuel prices are so high when we went in there and apparently won.

GuruJ 11:10 am
15 Jul 05

Hey johnboy,

I agree that shakedown’s comments were inflammatory, but I’d still be interested to know your response to the substance of his critique.

That is, do you really consider Pinochet to have had a positive impact on Chile? While I don’t know a great deal about him, he has a reputation as one of the “top 10 despots” in the past 100 years.

Do you know something I don’t?

Ralph 11:13 am
15 Jul 05

Look at all those google ads for American flags.

Maelinar 11:16 am
15 Jul 05

GuruJ, who are the other 9 ?

Thumper 11:23 am
15 Jul 05

Interesting question.

Lets see, at a guess.

Pol Pot, Hitler, Mussolini, Idi Amin, Stalin, and Ray Martin.

Maelinar 11:26 am
15 Jul 05

so what’s going to happen in 2045 when WWII starts dropping off the ‘last 100 years’ list ?

Maelinar 11:27 am
15 Jul 05

Would that top 10 despots in the last 100 years also coincide with Americas ‘We don’t like you anymore – You’re on our list of enemies now’ list ?

Thumper 11:31 am
15 Jul 05


The cat did it 12:55 pm
15 Jul 05

‘struth you people are slow and off topic. For the background on the Chile visit, see the website- the 8 July article in the politics section titled ‘Howard snubs Chile’s president’.

simto 12:56 pm
15 Jul 05

Well, Stalin was still happily despoting away after 1945 for a fair while. You’d only really lose Hitler and Mussolini.

And Robert Mugabe’s putting in a fairly good effort at the moment. Plus there’s Mao – and don’t forget Madame Mao.

Maelinar 1:12 pm
15 Jul 05

perhaps we’re a little off topic cause we all read it last week cat. Hence we can afford to go off topic..

Kerces 1:23 pm
15 Jul 05

Trawling through media relases later after writing this, I found the following from Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane:

When: 9:05am Friday 15 July
Where: Shangri-La Hotel
Level 3, 176 Cumberland Street
Who: Ian Macfarlane
Federal Resources Minister
What: Speech to the Australia-Chile Mining Forum. Opportunity for doorstop interview at 10am (following address by Chilean Mining Minister Alfonso Dulanto).

So it appears not only the President is in the country, and that possibly we want to buy their mines. Or something.


bulldog 1:32 pm
15 Jul 05

Then the sign should have read “Chile’s mines are not for sale”. Bloody ignorant protesters. Last time I believe THOSE bastards…

bonfire 4:45 pm
15 Jul 05

i feel another surge of softhead statements being flung…

bonfire 4:53 pm
15 Jul 05

but i’ll try and be sensible.

when i was in chile last year i was surprised to find several ‘pinochet nations saviour’ type books for sale. i managed to pickup a great bust of bernardo ohiggins to put next to my other significant historical figure bust collection. doubt i’d buy a pinochet one.

did pinochet have a positive impact on chile ?

well thats aloaded gun question. a do ends justify means question. a question the posturing softhead doesnt even wait for you to answer (or listen while you do). the answer would have to be ‘yes’. particularly when he adopted thatcherite economic policies and radicalised the economy. there is no doubt that chiles economy is more robust and flexible than say argentinas or brazils – both countries that effectively went bankrupt within the last 5 years. chile are also quite active beyond lip service with apec economic reforms.

does this mean he wasnt a bad person, hell no, he is and was – but we have dealt with worse. can you say soeharto.

johnboy 12:00 pm
16 Jul 05

Until I get my time machine back from the shop there’s very little I can do about Pinochet’s coup.

But the population of chileans exiled during his odious regime protesting about a trade deal (and one that’s more about chileans buying australia from what I’ve seen) in the here and now was what I was referring to.

People who don’t understand comparative advantage (wikipedia explains it here) are a greater menace to humanity than any number of tin-pot dictators who are at least easy to identify, and beam out less warm fuzzy’s to mask their danger to us all.

Shakedown seems to have missed my many references to dickhead tories over the years as well.

Pinochet’s regime was a bad and illegitimate one. But he wouldn’t make my top 100 of worst rulers in human history and not even the close to the top 10 of the last hundred years.

GuruJ 9:50 am
18 Jul 05


Thanks for the answers. It was actually a genuine question!

For what it’s worth, the “top 10 despots” line came from reading a review of Modern Tyrants some time back. I know very little about most of these dictators, so I wouldn’t presume to judge.

You’ll notice that I didn’t actually say “evil despot” or anything like that. I assume he wields absolute power, hence despot, but beyond that, well … democracy sure ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

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