President Augusto Pinochet, in a speech aimed at crushing rumors of a government coup, said yesterday that his opponents and international Marxists were trying to break the "monolithic cohesion" of the ruling armed forces.
Pinochet, who has ruled Chile since a Sept. 11, 1973 military coup overthrew Socialist president Salvador Allende, emerged from several weeks of summer vacation to tell Chileans he was in full control of the government.
At a swearing-in ceremony for Defense Minister Patricio Carvajal, Pinochet said he intended to pull Chile out of its worst economic crisis of the century by acting "with pragmatism, decision and the courage of the Chileans."
"Our opponents and international Marxism have tried, in vain, to find a way of undermining the monolithic cohesion of our institutions of national defense, nor have they been able to drive a wedge between them the institutions and our citizens," Pinochet said.
His comments followed a week full of rumors of coups, monetary devaluations and other government shake-ups.
The rumors began to circulate after the government dissolved three major private banks Jan. 14 and assigned dozens of government administrators to take control of seven other troubled financial institutions.
The drastic measures rocked the financial community, causing panic among savers whose money was deposited in uninsured accounts.
Pinochet, speaking Tuesday to his Cabinet and the corps of generals and admirals at the swearing-in ceremony, said the "measures, as tough as they are, are already producing positive results."
He did not provide details.
On Monday Economy and Treasury "Super Minister" Rolf Luders told Pinochet that Chile's 12 most important international lenders had agreed to a 90-day moratorium on payments on Chile's $17.1 billion foreign debt.