SANTIAGO, Chile – Former dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet (search) suffered a mild stroke Thursday, undergoing hospital treatment for five hours before being released.
The 89-year-old former ruler "looked normal, fully conscious" as he left Santiago Military Hospital, said Pinochet's spokesman, retired Gen. Guillermo Garin (search). Pinochet has suffered at least two other mild strokes in the past.
Reporters saw Pinochet's three-vehicle motorcade speed away from the hospital but did not catch sight of him. His vehicle had its window covered with a curtain.
Pinochet was brought to the hospital from Los Boldos (search), his country residence about 85 miles southwest of Santiago.
Pinochet has been admitted several times to the same hospital in recent years for a variety of reasons, ranging from mild strokes to broken bones resulting from accidents at home. He also suffers from diabetes and has a pacemaker, according to his doctors.
Pinochet lives in virtual seclusion and, on the rare occasions he's seen in public, walks with a cane and the help of bodyguards.
Courts have cited his health in twice blocking his trial on charges related to human rights abuses during his 1973-90 dictatorship.
Pinochet's opponents have repeatedly claimed he and his associates exaggerate his health problems to escape trial.