The Institute for Policy Studies holds this program every year at the site of the 1976 assassination of IPS colleagues Orlando Letelier and Ronni Karpen Moffitt by agents of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Letelier was a former Chilean ambassador to the United States and Moffitt was a 25-year-old IPS development associate. A virtual human rights awards program in their names will be held on October 13.
Chile's Communist Party (PC) will do everything it can to guarantee a victory in the upcoming referendum on Sunday 25, as the country gets ready to decide whether it remains with the current constitution created by Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship or starts a brand new chapter of its history instead. The CP President Guillermo Teillier told local media outlet El Siglo that his party will support mobilization until the last day of permitted propaganda and encourage social organizations to do the same.
The return of the right wing to power in Chile has come at the expense of those still seeking justice for crimes committed during the 17-year U.S.-backed dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, which ended in 1990. Former President Michelle Bachelet’s failure to close the luxury five-star prison of Punta Peuco that houses ex-torturers and military agents convicted of crimes against humanity has led to repercussions during the first year of Sebastian Pinera’s presidency. Over the years, the Chilean military has lobbied for “understanding” the context in which torture and disappearances occurred, in order to procure release for convicted agents of the dictatorship.
Chilean judge Mario Carroza ordered 20 former agents of Chile’s infamous National Intelligence Direction (DINA) to serve prison time for their roles in the kidnapping and murder of 12 victims of the CIA-backed Operation Condor Friday. “The intelligence agents of our country, in these cases, in collusion with those of Argentina, Paraguay, and Bolivia did not only coordinate the detention of the victims, but also created the conditions to lock them up and transfer them to our country with the sinister purpose of confining them in clandestine centers to interrogate them, torture them and later eliminate them with extreme cruelty,” Carroza’s ruling states. Operation Condor was a joint intelligence operation, in which the intelligence services of Argentina, Brasil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Bolivia worked together to hunt down political opposition across borders in an attempt to eliminate dissent against United States-backed military regimes.
The time is right to revive the concept of “universal jurisdiction” — the idea that a person, whatever their nationality, can be called to account before the court of any civilized country for grave international crimes In hindsight, it is almost too extraordinary: the leader of a Western-friendly government responsible for the deaths of thousands, and the torture of tens of thousands, arrested and brought to account for his crimes before a court and a judge. But this is exactly what happened in 1998, when Judge Baltasar Garzon, a Spanish magistrate, issued an arrest warrant for the former dictator of Chile, Augusto Pinochet, while Pinochet was in the United Kingdom seeking medical treatment. What happened next was a series of hearings that became known as The Pinochet Case, and which ended with a stunning victory for human rights
On the 40th Anniversary of the U.S.-supported military coup in Chile, SOA Watch is calling for the extradition of Pedro Barrientos, a graduate of the U.S. Army School of the Americas, who currently lives in Florida in the United States. Among the dictatorship's first victims was Victor Jara. He was killed on September 16, 1973. Victor Jara was an admired Chilean folksinger and one of the founders of a new genre of Latin American song. His body was dumped in the street and found with 44 bullets and signs of torture. SOA Watch supports the extradition of Pedro Barrientos, who currently lives in Deltona, Florida to stand trial for the torture and killing of Jara.