6 Jan 2012

Row over change to school text books

8:05 am on 6 January 2012

A political row has broken out in Chile after it emerged the government is changing the way primary school textbooks refer to the military rule of General Augusto Pinochet.

From now on, it will be described as a "regime" and not a "dictatorship".

Opposition parties accuse officials of trying to whitewash history.

The government says the decision to use what it calls a more general term is not politically motivated.

The BBC reports more than 3000 people were murdered by the armed forces during General Pinochet's rule, which ended in 1990. Thousands more were tortured or illegally detained.

The decision to change the way school textbooks refer to military rule, dropping the word "dictatorship" was taken by the National Education Council.

Education Minister Harald Beyer defended the decision, but said the government had not been directly involved.

''It is about using the same expression that is used around the world, a more general term such as military regime,'' he said.