Gen. Augusto Pinochet celebrated his 73rd birthday Friday, although the festivities were marred by the bombing of his family tomb, and he said he will "go away quietly" when his presidency ends in 1990.
The right-wing army commander who seized power in a 1973 coup was feted throughout the day by military and government officials as well as civilian supporters.In brief remarks to reporters, Pinochet reflected on the upcoming end to his rule and said he will step down as scheduled in March 1990.
"I will go away quietly," he said, "as did Venancius in Rome, a general who after combat went to the countryside to till the soil."
Pinochet lost an October referendum on extending his presidency eight more years, and is obliged to call open elections, planned for December 1989. He is to hand power over to the winner in 1990.