Wed, Mar 14, 2012 - Page 17 News List

Chile backs off removing ’dictatorship’ from texts

Workers shout slogans against the government of Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, during a protest in Puerto Aysen, Chilean Patagonia on March 4.

Photo: AFP

Chile is backing off a controversial plan to remove the word “dictatorship” from school textbooks in reference to the military government of General Augusto Pinochet.

President Sebastian Pinera’s new Education Minister Harald Beyer sparked a political uproar when he discussed the plan recently. He suggested grade-school students be taught a more “general” term by calling the 1973-1990 rule of Pinochet a “military regime.”

Senator Isabel Allende, whose father Salvador Allende was ousted in Pinochet’s coup, called the change “unacceptable.” “It goes against common sense, because the entire world knows that during 17 years what Chile had was a ferocious dictatorship with the most serious human rights violations, where there was no parliament, where there was no liberty, where there was persecution, murders and disappearances,” Isabel Allende said.

Chile’s Socialist Party leader, Osvaldo Andrade, put it more colorfully: “It has the ears of a cat, the body of a cat, meows like a cat and some people want to call it a dog.”

Beyer later decided to back off.

The ministry “never meant to deny the undemocratic nature of the military regime, nor the human rights violations that resulted,” Beyer said, explaining that the guidelines are generally meant to foster a healthy debate. “They open a broader and richer discussion, and that’s the objective: to develop critical thinking.”







1. dictatorship n.

獨裁政府 (du2 cai2 zheng4 fu3)

例: The dictatorship of General Franco lasted for nearly 40 years.


2. regime n.

政權 (zheng4 quan2)

例: The old corrupt, totalitarian regime was overthrown.


3. foster v.

促進 (cu4 jin4)

例: They were discussing the best way to foster democracy and prosperity in former communist countries.





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