Gen. Augusto Pinochet on Saturday took full responsibility for the first time for the actions of his 1973-90 dictatorship, which carried out thousands of political killings and is blamed for widespread torture and illegal imprisonment.
At a celebration of his 91st birthday, Pinochet also defended the bloody military coup that toppled freely elected Marxist President Salvador Allende, in a statement read aloud by his wife as he sat by her side.
"Today, near the end of my days, I want to say that I harbor no rancor against anybody, that I love my fatherland above all and that I take political responsibility for everything that was done which had no other goal than making Chile greater and avoiding its disintegration," he said.
"I assume full political responsibility for what happened."
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