About this Famous Person
Chilean army general who was brought to power as president by a coup d'etat
Source : Eduardo PUELMA
Pinochet was born in Valparaíso to Augusto Pinochet Vera, descendant of a Breton immigrant from Lamballe, and Avelina Ugarte Martínez. He went to primary and secondary school at the San Rafael Seminary of Valparaíso, the Rafael Ariztía Institute (Marist Brothers) in Quillota, the French Fathers' School of Valparaíso, and then to the Military School in Santiago, which he entered in 1931. After four years of study, in 1935 he graduated with the rank of alférez (Second Lieutenant) in the infantry.
In September 1937, he was assigned to the "Chacabuco" Regiment, in Concepción. Two years later, in 1939, then with the rank of Sub-lieutenant, he moved to the "Maipo" Regiment, garrisoned in Valparaíso. He returned to Infantry School in 1940. On January 30, 1943, he married Lucía Hiriart Rodríguez, with whom he had five children: three daughters (Inés Lucía, María Verónica, Jacqueline Marie) and two sons (Augusto Osvaldo and Marco Antonio).
At the end of 1945, he was assigned to the "Carampangue" Regiment in the northern city of Iquique. Three years later, he entered the War Academy, but he had to postpone his studies because, being the youngest officer, he had to carry out a service mission in the coal zone of Lota. The following year he returned to his studies in the Academy, and after obtaining the title of Officer Chief of Staff, in 1951, he returned to teach at the Military School. At the same time, he worked as a teachers' aide at the War Academy, giving military geography and geopolitics classes. In addition to this, he was active as editor of the institutional magazine Cien Águilas ("One Hundred Eagles"). At the beginning of 1953, with the rank of Major, he was sent for two years to the "Rancagua" Regiment in Arica. While there, he was appointed professor of the Chilean War Academy, and he returned to Santiago to take up his new position.
In 1956, Pinochet and a group of young officers were chosen to form a military mission that would collaborate in the organization of the War Academy of Ecuador in Quito, which forced him to suspend his law studies. He remained with the Quito mission for three-and-a-half years, during which time he dedicated himself to the study of geopolitics, military geography and intelligence. It's been recently alleged that while in Quito Pinochet had a romance with Piedad Noe, and fathered a boy called Juan.
At the end of 1959, he returned to Chile and was sent to General Headquarters of the 1st Army Division, based in Antofagasta. The following year, he was appointed Commander of the "Esmeralda" Regiment. Due to his success in this position, he was appointed Sub-director of the War Academy in 1963. In 1968, he was named Chief of Staff of the 2nd Army Division, based in Santiago, and at the end of that year, he was promoted to Brigadier General and Commander in Chief of the 6th Division, garrisoned in Iquique. In his new function, he was also appointed Intendant of the Tarapacá Province.
In January 1971, Pinochet rose to Division General, and was named General Commander of the Santiago Army Garrison. At the beginning of 1972, he was appointed General Chief of Staff of the Army. With rising domestic strife in Chile, after General Prats resigned his position, Pinochet was appointed Commander in Chief of the Army on August 23, 1973 by President Salvador Allende just the day after the Chamber of Deputies of Chile approved a resolution asserting that the government was not respecting the Constitution. Less than a month later, the Chilean military deposed Allende.