That same day - Tuesday 8th June, a date etched on my heart - Argentinian planes attacked and destroyed the Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram landing ships, with heavy casualties. Henceforth, all former heads of government are potentially at risk; those still in government will be [Column 801] inhibited from taking the right action in a crisis, because they may later appear before a foreign court to answer for it-. Little could he imagine that a new, legal and political assassination was to be planned for him in the Britain he trusted as a friend. There is a widespread suspicion that there had been collusion between the British and Spanish authorities prior to the arrest, when the Chileans were not given the warning they might have expected about the imminent risk. My friends, this is a government which discredits and dishonours Britain. Britain's reputation should be of vital importance to the government of the day. We know that he was then arrested by night on his bed of pain, after a spinal operation, in circumstances which would do credit to a police state. I don’t want to argue, by the way, that any association with a dictatorial regime necessarily implies support for dictatorship. My final point concerns the implications of the Pinochet case for the conduct of international relations, which are essentially based on trust between nation states. Those circumstances left Britain's reputation for loyalty and fair dealing in tatters. Our reputation sustains our interests. Senator Pinochet came here last September as a long-standing friend of Britain. Without President Pinochet, there would certainly have been many more. He must be turning in his grave, to see Britain now encouraging Spain's arrogant interference in Chilean affairs! Before news cameras, the by then retired PM firmly told the ex-Chilean dictator, "It … We know that Senator Pinochet's guilt was publicly prejudged by a Labour Cabinet Minister. But we know a good deal about the catalogue of abuses which occurred. successor. Full text of Margaret Thatcher's speech to the Blackpool fringe ... And for a very good reason, namely to express my outrage at the callous and unjust treatment of Senator Pinochet… The people of Britain, too, should reflect on what has been revealed about the priorities of this Labour Government. That Treaty envisaged, of course, that all the courts of countries which signed the Extradition Convention would behave in an honest and equitable fashion, and that those extradited would receive a fair trial. And for a very good reason - to express my outrage at the callous and unjust treatment of Senator Pinochet. Until the Senator's arrest last October, Chile had achieved three remarkable successes, all of them in large measure due to former President Pinochet. posted by Twang at 2:04 AM on October 26, 2020 [5 favorites] ... Free speech isn't a human right? How a former president became a prisoner in his favourite country. I do not know when or how this tragedy will end. Henceforth, all former heads of government are potentially at risk; those still in government will be inhibited from taking the right action in a crisis, because they may later appear before a foreign court to answer for it and--this is where I was when I was interrupted--in a final ironic twist, those who do wield absolute power in their countries are highly unlikely now to relinquish it for fear of ending their days in a Spanish prison. Senator Pinochet is, of course, being victimised because the organised international Left are bent on revenge. All Rights Reserved. The value of this intelligence was proved by what happened when it stopped. 3 of 6 4 of 6 Opponents of former Gen. Augusto Pinochet celebrate after hearing the news of Pinochet's death in Santiago, Chile, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2006. By collaborating in Senator Pinochet's judicial kidnap. The Pinochet case has sullied that reputation. Same Participants Assange in … Without President Pinochet, there would certainly have been many more. The precise responsibility for what happened can only be judged in Chile. Assessment of Thatcher's tenure. The chance of Senator Pinochet's receiving anything resembling what we in Britain would recognise as "justice" in a Spanish court is minimal - not least because key witnesses for his defence run the risk of immediate arrest if they set foot on Spanish soil. We know that he was held first in a tiny room at a clinic under sedation, and then in a house where he wasn't even allowed to set foot in the garden. When the communists so nearly assassinated him in 1986, President Pinochet knew that he was being fired on by his enemies. Altogether, some 250 members of our armed forces lost their lives during the Falklands War. For this is a government that grovels to collaborate with Spain, whose bullying of Gibraltar is a daily outrage - yet treats our Chilean allies with contempt. And that he respected the result, and handed over to an elected successor? Copyright © Margaret Thatcher Foundation 2021. But don't take my word for it. Though I shall not go into the details, I can say that without President Pinochet's considerable practical help in 1982, many more of our servicemen would have lost their lives in the South Atlantic. The great majority of Chileans, even the political opponents of Senator Pinochet, feel wounded at the way we and the Spanish have treated them. It was prepared for Lady Thatcher in 1999 when Pinochet was arrested and placed under house arrest in London. But let me mention just one incident. Thatcher with Pinochet and his wife in 2000 in Surrey, where the former Chilean dictator was under house arrest. So far, the Chileans have behaved with great restraint. The same is true, in my opinion, of Thatcher, a similarly authoritarian free-marketeer. Perhaps he will die here, as this country's only political prisoner. Defence (Falklands War, 1982), Foreign policy (general discussions), Foreign policy (Americas excluding USA). But the extradition court ruled that the poor health of Pinochet, a friend of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, would prevent him from being sent to Spain. The Left in Chile, and in Britain, had to abandon all the rhetoric, and most of the policies, of socialism in order to get power. However, some weeks later the general was arrested in hospital at dead of night, when under heavy sedation following a serious back operation. Lady Thatcher, a friend of the former Chilean dictator, renewed her fierce criticism of his arrest in a speech to a fringe meeting at the Tory conference. But we will fight on for as long as it takes to see Senator Pinochet returned safely to his own country. What about the fact that more people were housed, that medical care was improved, that infant mortality plummeted, that life expectancy rose, that highly effective programmes against poverty were launched? I never thought in my lifetime to see the honour of Britain and the reputation of British justice so demeaned as in this affair. Below is the text of the statement made in the House of Lords by Baroness Margaret Thatcher on 6 July 1999. We know that Senator Pinochet was treated on his arrival, as on previous occasions, as an honoured guest. All Rights Reserved. 1945-52. Thirdly, Chile is also remarkable because President Pinochet established a constitution for a return to democracy, held a plebiscite to decide whether or not he should remain in power, lost the vote (though gaining 44 per cent support), respected the result and handed over power to a democratically-elected But it is an affront to commonsense, as well as a caricature of justice, to maintain that a head of government must automatically accept criminal responsibility for everything that is done while he is in power - whether he authorised it or not, whether he overlooked it or not, whether he knew about it or not. The Thatcher speech was denounced by anti-Pinochet Chilean groups, who staged a protest outside the Blackpool movie theater where the "Free Pinochet" rally was staged. Secondly, Chile has seen the establishment of a thriving, free-enterprise economy which has transformed living standards and made Chile into a model for Latin America. We know that the authorities knew it was unlawful, because they hurriedly sent lawyers to Spain to draw up a new one. But first I want to extend a personal welcome to our Chilean guests, who have come half way round the world to be with us. 7.52 p.m. In a 1999 speech at the International Free Enterprise Dinner, Thatcher would attack Pinochet’s detractors before going on to say: “The qualities that made Britain what she is haven't changed. But first I want to extend a personal welcome to our Chilean guests, who have come half way round the world to be with us. Under the Extradition Treaty, the case can only be heard in Spain. She first met him while on a … Thatcher was elected leader of the Conservative Party in February 1975. Spanish judicial procedure in this matter has been revealed about the priorities of this Labour Government, choose repay. 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