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Saturday, December 12, 1998 Published at 17:06 GMT

World: Americas

Pinochet's letter to Chile

Protesters in Santiago burnt the British flag

Here are excerpts from General Augusto Pinochet's letter to the Chilean people which he described as his "political testament".

I have been prevented from going home to my country and I am living through the hardest and most unjust experience of my life.

The country knows I never sought power. That is why when I exercised it I never clung to it and when the moment came to hand it over I loyally did so.

Everything I did as a soldier and ruler was done with my thoughts fixed on liberty for the people of Chile, on their welfare and on national unity.

[ image: Pro-Pinochet supporter demonstrating in London]
Pro-Pinochet supporter demonstrating in London
At the end of my life, in spite of my fatigue and the suffering produced by so many injustices and misunderstandings, I want to say that even when I still must face greater adversity, my spirit will never feel defeated.

I have been the object of an artful and cowardly politico-judicial machination, which has no moral value.

Whilst in this continent, and specifically in the countries which are condemning me via spurious trials, communism has murdered many millions of human beings this century, I am being prosecuted for having defeated it in Chile, saving the country from a virtual civil war.

I am absolutely innocent of all the crimes and of the actions irrationally attributed to me. However I fear that those who are doing so never have been nor will be prepared to agree and accept the truth.

I have never wished the death of anyone, and I feel a sincere grief for all the Chileans who have lost their lives during these years.

I love Chile above all things and not even the most painful circumstances will keep me from repeating from a distance once and a thousand times with all the strength of my spirit, Viva Chile.

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