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Pro-torture museum opens in Chile

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What else would you call a museum that celebrates the man who overthrew his government, tortured and killed his own people and then trashed democracy? It's unfortunate that he did not die in a cold, dark prison cell.

The permanent exhibition has been is funded by the Pinochet Foundation, which was established in 1995 to promote the former president's legacy and is now based at the house. Their target markets are, according to the foundation director, Major General Luis Cortes Villa, foreigners and young people.

"We want to show a new generation the place he had in this country, his life, his work,"he says. "We are also going to welcome school groups and they will see from all the gifts how he was widely respected across the world."

Chile is still sharply divided over the general, who died from heart complications, aged 91, on 10 December 2006. The anniversary of his death this month saw ardent supporters – who say he turned around Chile's fortunes and refer to him affectionately as "my general" – making pilgrimages to his tomb to pay respects. Opponents will never forgive the torture and "disappearances" suffered during his regime or the failed war crimes trial which disintegrated in 2000 after he was deemed to be suffering dementia.

Reaction to the museum is similarly polarised. While the socialist senator Jaime Naranjo told the Chilean newspaper El Observatodo it could be nothing but a "museum of horror", others insist its creation is only fair, considering there is already a museum bearing the name of his arch-rival, the Salvador Allende Museum of Solidarity, which opened in 2006.
I always forget how many people Allende tortured and killed and how he subverted the system by winning democratically. Anyone?

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