Chile's Operation Return Winging Pinochet Home
SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Britain's decision to free Augusto Pinochet on Thursday sparked celebrations among his allies in
Chile and set off a military operation dubbed ``Operation Return'' to bring the ex-dictator home.
Supporters of Pinochet, who ruled Chile with an iron fist for 17 years, popped open champagne before dawn on hearing
that Britain decided not extradite the retired general to Spain to face a torture trial.
That allowed the ailing former commander in chief of the army to leave the house outside London where he had been under
arrest for almost 17 months -- the first step in a carefully planned operation to return him to Chile.
A Chilean military aircraft picked up Pinochet at an air base in rural Britain and began the 16-hour flight across the
Atlantic Ocean. Authorities kept most details of his travel plans secret.