Marco Rubio meets with far-right Chilean presidential candidate in support of military dictatorship

Marco Rubio meets with far-right Chilean presidential candidate in support of military dictatorship
Marco Rubio image via Screengrab
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Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) recently met with a far-right Chilean presidential candidate who has spoken fondly of high-ranking military dictator Augusto Pinochet.

According to The Intercept, Rubio's meeting with José Antonio Kast took place on Tuesday, November 30. The two reportedly had lunch with the Chilean ambassador to the Organization of American States along with nearly two dozen executives from U.S. companies with professional interests in Chile. María Paulina Uribe, the marketing manager for Pepsi, and Joel Velasco, United Health Group's Vice President for International Relations, were among the executives who attended, per El Mostrador and La Nación.

While details about the lunch discussion remain scarce, the report does detail Kast's disturbing views on dictatorship. Kast, who is facing a gridlocked presidential election runoff, has publicly aligned himself with Pinochet saying statements like, "If Pinochet were alive, he would have voted for me.”

On multiple occasions, he has also defended Pinochet's egregious actions while advocating for his incarcerated regime members. Prior to his run for president in Chile, Kast submitted a proposal that would grant immediate pardons to surviving former members of Pinochet’s military regime that remain behind bars.

However, he's opted to exclude that proposal from his current presidential platform. When asked about that decision, Kast, per The Intercept, claimed, "his plan had not changed but noted that it would only apply to regime members who were now of advanced age — which, as Allende-Salazar pointed out, would apply to all of them."

In an effort to tone done his proposal, Kast pivoted by suggesting house arrest for some of the incarcerated former regime members.

However, Kast's affinity for dictatorship appears to be deeper than his admiration of Pinochet. "Kast’s family has deep ties to the dictatorship," The Intercept reports. "His father, Michael Kast, was a lieutenant in the Nazi army before fleeing to Chile and raising sons who shared his far-right politics."

Electing an official like Kast could promote more right-wing extremism and Rubio's decision to have a meeting with him also raises alarms.

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