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Chilean President, Defense Minister Condemn Statements Made at Pinochet Funeral

Chilean Defense Minister Vivianne Blanlot has called remarks made during the funeral of former dictator Augusto Pinochet "an insult to the state."

Blanlot referred to a speech made Tuesday by Pinochet's grandson, Captain Augusto Pinochet Molina, during the funeral. Molina defended his grandfather's 1973 overthrow of President Salvador Allende, saying Allende's government had tried to impose a totalitarian government through force.

Defense Minister Blanlot said afterward that it is unacceptable for an active member of the Chilean armed forces to make statements so politicized they amount to what she called an insult to the state. She said she trusts the army will take appropriate action in response.

Blanlot was the only government representative at Pinochet's funeral Tuesday at Santiago's Military School. President Michelle Bachelet, who was tortured and exiled by Pinochet's regime, declined to attend.

Ms. Bachelet also refused to give the former dictator a state funeral, as is usually awarded a former president.

General Pinochet's poor health over the years exempted him from standing trial for the deaths of more than 3,000 people who died during his rule from 1973 to 1990.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.