Learning to Live Without Pinochet

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Chile's sky hasn't fallen in. And despite Madeleine Albright's fear that General Augusto Pinochet's extradition would destabilize the fledgling democracy, Chileans actually appear to be growing tired of the saga. "The military and a small number of right-wing protesters vented their frustration in tough talk following Britain's decision," says TIME reporter Elizabeth Love. "But there's no threat to democracy." After all, there would be little logic in the military again seizing power when the civilian government has already exhausted all diplomatic means of winning Pinochet's release.

With Spain formalizing its indictment against Pinochet Thursday, the general looks set for a lengthy sojourn in Britain. And that further reduces the risk of turmoil in Chile. "The longer this drags on, the more it becomes simply part of the political background as life goes on," says Love. "People are getting sick of the issue -- a majority of Chileans believe Pinochet is guilty, but they are also telling pollsters that the issue doesn't affect them." The one thing that could disrupt the onset of calm, of course, would be the general's return home. That would force Chileans to decide his fate themselves.