It hasn’t been a good year for dictators.
Fidel Castro had to undergo a delicate operation that forced him to “temporarily” hand over power to his brother, Raul. In Brasilia, Alfredo Stroessner, who ruled Paraguay for more than 35 years with an iron fist, died. And Augusto Pinochet, who is said to be suffering from dementia, has seen members of his immediate family caught up in all sorts of nasty legal manoeuvres.
Now, Pinochet’s wife has offered a kind of mea culpa on behalf of her husband.
According to this report, Lucia Hiriart de Pinochet told the media in Santiago today that her ailing husband, who is 90, wants victims of his regime to forgive him.
"He has said many times that if he was wrong, he asks the people who fell to forgive him, especially from our side, but also for the adversaries," Mrs Hiriart de Pinochet said, after attending a religious service marking the 20th anniversary of a failed attempt on the then president’s life.
Yes, yes ... I know what you are thinking. Will we ever get such an apology from Castro? Hardly likely.
PS: By the way, that assassination attempt – which resulted in the death of his bodyguards but left Pinochet unscathed - was conducted by a Communist guerrilla group called the Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front. It was funded, trained and overseen by the Castro regime, with support from those helpful chaps at East German intelligence.