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News > Chile

Lucia Hiriart, Widow of Dictator Augusto Pinochet, Dies at 99

  • Chilean Dictator Augusto Pinochet (L) and his wife Lucia Hiriart (R)

    Chilean Dictator Augusto Pinochet (L) and his wife Lucia Hiriart (R) | Photo: Archive

Published 16 December 2021

The widow of dictator Augusto Pinochet (1974-1990), Lucía Hiriart, died at the age of 99, sources close to the family confirmed to local media Chilevisión.

"On Thursday, December 16, the widow of dictator Augusto Pinochet, Lucia Hiriart, died at the age of 99," Chilevisión reported.

According to initial reports, Hiriart died at her home, suffering from multiple medical complications, specifically respiratory complications, which led her to be hospitalized on several occasions in the last few years.


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Hiriart spent her last days at home and surrounded by her closest family.

Local media confirmed that the government will not hold any kind of ceremony or present any statement.

Lucia Hiriart was born in Antofagasta, in northern Chile, on December 10, 1922 to a wealthy family of politicians and lawyers. At the age of 10 she moved to Santiago and at 19 she met the then 28-year-old Army second lieutenant Augusto Pinochet, whom she married.

The woman was known for her strong and dominant personality; in fact, she is known to be the one who pushed a hesitant Pinochet to take the decisive step to betray former President Salvador Allende (1970-1973) and join the last-minute coup d'état of September 11, 1973.

Her pathological obsession with social climbing and recognition from the upper class, which she had renounced by marrying Pinochet, was the main reason why in the days of September 1973 she was the one to dispel her husband's doubts about joining the military uprising of the 11th.

During the dictatorship, which lasted from 1973 to 1990, Hiriart directed the Centro de Madres de Chile (Cema), a supposedly non-profit organization that the woman used to conduct private business, with operations exceeding US$9.3 million.

The Pinochet regime left 3,197 people murdered, 28,000 tortured and 200,000 exiled, according to official figures. Lucia Hiriart never faced justice for her role in the dictatorship. 

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