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The General's Slow RetreatChile after Pinochet$
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Mary Helen Spooner

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520256132

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520256132.001.0001

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The Commander

The Commander

(p.54) Three The Commander
The General's Slow Retreat

Mary Helen Spooner

University of California Press

A few days after President Aylwin's inauguration, Pinochet had a meeting with the civilian official who in theory would be his new boss: Defense Minister Patricio Rojas, a Christian Democrat. Rojas had known Pinochet since the 1960s, when he had been interior minister during the Frei government and Pinochet had been a division general in the northern city of Iquique. Rojas recalled that his dealings with Pinochet in those days had been cordial, but this cordiality did not last during the military regime. Rojas' relationship with Chile's air force and navy commanders was good, but Pinochet seemed bent on making things as difficult as possible. The former dictator maintained a military advisory council, made up of four colonels and led by longtime collaborator and confidant General Jorge Ballerino. The council seemed to function as Pinochet's own cabinet, and Ballerino acted as Pinochet's envoy to the new government at times, bypassing the defense minister.

Keywords:   Patricio Rojas, Augusto Pinochet, defense minister, Chile, Jorge Ballerino

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