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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 December 2006, 16:57 GMT
Press reflects Pinochet funeral passions
Honour guard soldiers carry the casket of General Pinochet
Pinochet's legacy continues to divide Chile

Newspapers in Chile and further afield in Latin America reflect the strong passions surrounding the funeral of former military ruler Augusto Pinochet.

Comment ranges from the measured and analytical to the angry and indignant.

Nowhere are the splits in Chilean society more evident than the reports of the funeral speech praising Pinochet by his grandson, Captain Augusto Pinochet Molina, which dominated Chilean newspapers.

Dubbing him "Augusto the Third", La Cuarta says his speech made the current administration of President Michelle Bachelet "steam with anger".

Most countries of the world have a special regard for my father
Pinochet son in La Hora

The speech, La Cuarta says, "surprised" the current military chief Oscar Izurieta, "whose face revealed his unhappiness".

The paper also quotes a Pinochet opponent as saying "there were those who would have gladly spat at the coffin".

La Hora publishes several post-funeral comments, including one from Pinochet's son Augusto Pinochet Hiriart who says "it is incomprehensible the government has been unwilling to render the proper honours".

"The Russians have sent their condolences. Most countries of the world have a special regard for my father."

But Socialist senator Juan Pablo Letelier says: "I don't believe in reconciliation. How can you reconcile a society where those who were with General Pinochet know the whereabouts of the disappeared."

And the grandson of overthrown president Salvador Allende describes Pinochet as "a prototype which must never be repeated".

'Abusive'

A headline in La Tercera speaks of "A sui generis funeral... marked by tributes and polemics".

The paper says people were shocked at the speech by the nephew, with one describing it as "an inconceivable abuse of confidence".

The august and conservative El Mercurio dedicated an editorial to the speech of army chief Oscar Izurieta and spoke of "the complexity of the reactions surrounding the funeral".

Noting what it describes as "the intense emotions awoken by Pinochet's death", the paper concludes by mentioning the plea of Gen Izurieta that "with time, it will be possible to rescue that which unites all we Chileans, ensuring we don't repeat the mistakes of the past".

El Mostrador backs the decision not to grant a state funeral.

"State honours are reserved only for those leaders whose rise to power occurs via constitutional means and not through coups d'etat."

It finally closes a dark chapter in Latin American history
Argentina's Clarin

The business paper Diario Financiero recognizes the decision was "controversial, because what was being sought in practice was to delegitimize Pinochet's status as ex-president".

La Prensa Austral calls for calm. "Only dispassionate judgement will allow an analysis of the virtues and defects, the mistakes and successes of the government Pinochet led."

"But 16 years after the end of the dictatorship and with such opposing positions prevailing, there is no option but to leave each citizen to form their own view."

Elsewhere in Latin America, there is little sadness over the demise of Pinochet.

Dark chapter

Argentina's Clarin says "it finally closes a dark chapter in Latin American history which may be studied, investigated and debated but which cannot and must not be repeated".

In Peru, El Comercio believes that "Pinochet continues to polarize a nation which, after the crimes against humanity, received with horror the reports of corruption and the discovery of secret accounts in the name of the ex-president".

For Pinochet and his ilk there is no forgetting or pardon
Comment in Mexico's La Jornada

"Let us hope," says El Heraldo of Honduras, "that now the corrupt ex-dictator has been reduced to a mere handful of ashes and the proper application of justice helps heal the wounds, Pinochet's name and barbarity will be no more than a black spot on the history of Chile".

In Mexico, La Jornada's Arnoldo Kraus speaks of the "deep regret that Pinochet died before being brought to justice".

"For Pinochet and his ilk there is no forgetting or pardon. What sorrow that so many Pinochets remain free.

"The death of those who commit genocide before they receive justice eternalizes the past and spits on the present which is so alive, so painful."

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.




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