Loved ones have long charged that U.S.-backed dictator Augusto Pinochet had a direct hand in the 1976 assassination of former Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier and his Institute for Policy Studies colleague Ronni Karpen Moffitt. Now, they may finally be vindicated.
The administration of President Barack Obama on Thursday publicly released documents that appear to show that Pinochet was behind the murders of Letelier and Moffitt, who have become “symbols of the broader human rights catastrophe of the Pinochet dictatorship,” Sarah Anderson, director of the Global Economy Project at IPS, told Common Dreams.
The materials, which include CIA papers, were given to Chilean President Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
“While we’re looking forward to a detailed analysis of these documents, they appear to vindicate our long-held belief that it would have been inconceivable for this assassination to have taken place without the authorization of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet,” said IPS Director John Cavanagh.
Letelier’s son, Chilean Senator Juan Pablo Letelier, is one of the few people who has reviewed the trove and confirmed to the Guardian that they conclusively show Pinochet directly ordered the killing. In addition, the documents reportedly reveal that Pinochet had intended to cover up his role in the assassination by killing his spy chief.
“In [Pinochet’s] predisposition to defend his position he planned to eliminate Manuel Contreras to keep him from talking,” Senator Letelier told the Mesa Central show on Tele13 Radio.
From 1973, when it overthrew the government of socialist President Salvador Allende in a U.S. government-backed coup, until 1990, the Pinochet regime disappeared more than 3,000 people and subjected another 40,000 to arbitrary detention and torture.
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