Chile is a country in the southern South America. It borders the countries of Peru, Bolivia and Argentina, and is bordered by the Pacific Ocean. Chile became an independent state in 1810.United States intervention in Chilean politics started during the War of Chilean Independence. The influence of the United States of America in both the economic and the political arenas of Chile has gradually increased over the two centuries since, and continues to be significant.
Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a South American country occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far south. Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of Juan Fernández, Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas, and Easter Island in Oceania. Chile also claims about 1,250,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi) of Antarctica, although all claims are suspended under the Antarctic Treaty.
South America is a continent in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. It may also be considered a subcontinent of the Americas, which is how it is viewed in the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking regions of the Americas. The reference to South America instead of other regions has increased in the last decades due to changing geopolitical dynamics.
Peru, officially the Republic of Peru, is a country in western South America. It is bordered in the north by Ecuador and Colombia, in the east by Brazil, in the southeast by Bolivia, in the south by Chile, and in the west by the Pacific Ocean. Peru is a megadiverse country with habitats ranging from the arid plains of the Pacific coastal region in the west to the peaks of the Andes mountains vertically extending from the north to the southeast of the country to the tropical Amazon Basin rainforest in the east with the Amazon river.
The arrival of Joel Roberts Poinsett, in 1811, marked the beginning of U.S. involvement in Chilean politics. He had been sent by President James Madison in 1809 as a special agent to the South American Spanish colonies (a position he filled from 1810 to 1814) to investigate the prospects of the revolutionaries, in their struggle for independence from Spain.
Joel Roberts Poinsett was an American physician and diplomat. He was the first U.S. agent in South America, a member of the South Carolina legislature and the United States House of Representatives, the first United States Minister to Mexico, a Unionist leader in South Carolina during the Nullification Crisis, Secretary of War under Martin Van Buren, and a co-founder of the National Institute for the Promotion of Science and the Useful Arts.
James Madison Jr. was an American statesman, lawyer, diplomat, philosopher and Founding Father who served as the fourth president of the United States from 1809 to 1817. He is hailed as the "Father of the Constitution" for his pivotal role in drafting and promoting the Constitution of the United States and the United States Bill of Rights. He co-wrote The Federalist Papers, co-founded the Democratic-Republican Party, and served as the fifth United States secretary of State from 1801 to 1809.
The United States tried to bring an early end to the War of the Pacific, lasting from 1879 until 1884, mainly because of US business and financial interests in Peru. Moreover, its leaders also worried that the United Kingdom would take economic control of the region through Chile.
The War of the Pacific, also known as the Saltpeter War and by multiple other names was a war between Chile and a Bolivian–Peruvian alliance. It lasted from 1879 to 1884, and was fought over Chilean claims on coastal Bolivian territory in the Atacama Desert. The war ended with victory for Chile, which gained a significant amount of resource-rich territory from Peru and Bolivia. Chile's army took Bolivia's nitrate rich coastal region and Peru was defeated by Chile's navy.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.
Peace negotiations failed when a stipulation required Chile to return the conquered lands. Chileans suspected the new US initiative was tainted with a pro-Peruvian bias. As a result, relations between Chile and the United States took a turn for the worse.
Chile instead asked that the United States remain neutral. The United States Navy only contained a few wooden vessels, and Chile had two new armored warships. The U.S. knew they were unable to match Chilean naval power and backed down.
During the 1891 Chilean Civil War, the U.S. backed President José Manuel Balmaceda, as a way to increase their influence in Chile, while the UK backed the Congressional forces. After the defeat of Balmaceda, the U.S. was determined to assert their influence in Chilean domestic affairs (then dominated by the victorious Congress) by any means, including war, pushing out British interests in the region.[ citation needed ]
José Manuel Emiliano Balmaceda Fernández was the 11th President of Chile from September 18, 1886 to August 29, 1891. Balmaceda was part of the Castilian-Basque aristocracy in Chile. While he was president, his political disagreements with the Chilean congress led to the 1891 Chilean Civil War, following which he shot and killed himself.
The Itata incident concerned an attempted arms shipment by the ship Itata from the U.S. to Chile in 1891, destined to assist the insurgent Congressional forces. The Itata Incident was the direct cause of the Baltimore Crisis and is one of the reasons that Benjamin Harrison was not reelected to a second term as the President of the United States.
After the Itata left Iquique to return to the U.S., the crew of the Baltimore took shore leave at Valparaiso. During the US sailors' shore leave on 16 October 1891, a mob of enraged Chileans angry about the Itata's capture (among other possible motives), attacked the sailors from the Baltimore. Two sailors were killed, and several were seriously wounded. That Valparaiso riot prompted saber rattling from enraged US officials, threatening war against Chile, which by now was controlled by victorious Congressional forces. A war between the U.S. and Chile was ultimately averted when the Chilean government bowed, and while maintaining that the seamen were to blame for the riot offered to pay an indemnity of $75,000 to the victims' families.
United States involvement in Chilean affairs intensified in the early decades of the 20th century. After World War I, the United States replaced Britain as the leading superpower controlling most of Chile's resources, as most economic activity in the country lay in US hands. Such a change prevented Chile from profiting as a result of the war and gaining its financial independence. The dependence on the United States formally began in the early years of the 1920s as two major US companies Anaconda and Kennecott took control of the valuable resources. Up until the 1970s, "both industries controlled between 7% to 20% of the country's Gross Domestic Product".
The conclusion of World War II brought more of the same as Chile could not even exploit the "excess of copper they produced as almost all the copper was marketed through subsidiaries of United States copper firms established in Chile for whom the allied government fixed a ceiling price upon copper products during the course of the war."
As the working class demanded an improvement in their standard of living, higher wages and improved working conditions, the notion that a leftist government could be the solution for the people began to take form.
During the 1950s and 1960s, the United States put forward a variety of programs and strategies ranging from funding political campaigns to funding propaganda aimed at impeding the presidential aspirations of a leftist candidate Salvador Allende. Throughout this time, the United States successfully impeded the left-wing parties from gaining power. In the 1958 presidential election, Jorge Alessandri - a nominal independent with support from the Liberal and Conservative parties - defeated Allende by nearly 33,500 votes to claim the presidency.His laissez-faire policies, endorsed by the United States, were regarded as the solution to the country's inflation problems. Under recommendations from the United States, Alessandri steadily reduced tariffs from 1959, a policy that caused the Chilean market to be overwhelmed by American products. The government's policies angered the working class, who asked for higher wages, and the repercussions of this massive discontent were felt in the 1961 congressional elections. The president suffered terrible blows, sending the message that laissez-faire policies were not desired. As the "grand total of $130 million from the U.S. banking Industry, the U.S. Treasury Department, the IMF and the ICA" accepted by Alessandri illustrates, laissez-faire policies only made Chile more dependent on the United States.
Presidential candidate Salvador Allende was a top contender in the 1964 election. The US, through the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), covertly spent three million dollars campaigning against him,before and after the election, mostly through radio and print advertising. The Americans viewed electing Christian Democratic contender Eduardo Frei Montalva as vital, fearing that Alessandri's failures would lead the people to support Allende. Allende was feared by the Americans because of his warm relations with Cuba and his open criticism of the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Furthermore, clandestine aid to Frei was put forward through John F. Kennedy's Latin American Alliance for Progress, which promised "$20 billion in public and private assistance in the country for the next decade."
According to the 1975 Church Commission Report, covert United States involvement in Chile in the decade between 1963 and 1973 was extensive and continuous. The CIA spent $8 million in the three years between 1970 and the military coup in September 1973,with over $3 million in 1972 alone. Covert American activity was present in almost every major election in Chile in the decade between 1963 and 1973, but its actual effect on electoral outcomes is not altogether clear. Chile, more than any of its South American neighbors, had an extensive democratic tradition dating back to the early 1930s, and even before. Because of this, it is difficult to gauge how successful CIA tactics were in swaying voters.
A declassified file from 19 August 1970 reveals the minutes of high-level officials in the CIA known as the "Special Review Group."It was chaired by Henry Kissinger. The Foreign Relations of the United States documents reveals a detailed account of correspondences between each of the officials. A National Intelligence Estimate from 28 January 1969 stated the problems and conclusions of senior officials in Washington over the proliferating crisis in Chile. Of primary importance, the election stood above all other issues. Chile’s political and economic stability depended on that particular election. The conclusions of the document suggest that factionalism needed to be dealt with and that further revealed the underlying interests of the United States in the copper companies. This detail must be noted to understand the decisions made by the State Department and by the CIA. The election represented the potential for important economic relations to collapse or continue. The document further focuses on potential ramifications if the election outcome does not align with US interests.
At a 8 September 1970 meeting of the 40 Committee, the chairman of the committee asked for an analysis of where the US/CIA stood in terms of taking action to prevent Allende from becoming President of Chile. William Broe, a high-ranking CIA officer, said Eduardo Frei Montalva, the 29th President of Chile, was essential to the situation in Chile, regardless of the type of involvement — military or congressional. The 40 Committee asked that the CIA collect information and create more intelligence reports to see what could be further done in Chile. The committee decided it was unlikely they were going to be able to influence the 24 Oct, congressional election to go against Allende. Helms was also concerned about Allende supporters in the Chilean military, as it seemed they would support Allende in the event of a coup. As a result of all this information, the Committee decided they wanted a full analysis of two things: (1.) a cost versus benefit analysis of organizing a military (Chilean) coup; (2.) a cost versus benefit analysis of organizing future oppositions to Allende to topple his influence. This presented two options for Henry Kissinger: political maneuvering or outright force.
Four days after the 8 September 1970, meeting of the 40 Committee, a cable between Richard Helms and Henry Kissinger discussed the lack of morale US embassy had in Chile according to the American Ambassador to Chile, Edward Korry. Kissinger stated in response that he would call another 40 Committee Meeting for the following Monday. Kissinger further noted: "We will not let Chile go down the drain."
Salvador Allende ran again in the 1970 presidential election, winning a narrow victory plurality vote (near 37%). United States president Richard Nixon feared that Chile could become "another Cuba" and the US cut off most of its foreign aid to Chile. The US government believed that Allende would become closer to socialist countries, such as Cuba and the Soviet Union. They feared that Allende would push Chile into socialism, and therefore lose all of the US investments made in Chile.
On 15 September 1970; before Allende took office, Richard Nixon gave the order to overthrow Allende. According to a declassified document from the NSA, the handwritten notes from Richard Helms (CIA director at the time) state: "1 in 10 chance perhaps, but save Chile!; worth spending; not concerned; no involvement of embassy; $10,000,00 available, more if necessary; full-time job--best men we have; game plan; make the economy scream; 48 hours for plan of action." These notes came from a meeting Helms had with President Nixon, indicating the administration's willingness to stage a coup in Chile and the extent to which Nixon was willing to go to do so.On 5 November 1970, Henry Kissinger advised President Nixon against peaceful coexistence with the Allende administration and instead advocated one of two positions. The U.S. government had two approaches to fighting Marxism as represented by Allende. "Track I" was a State Department initiative designed to thwart Allende by subverting Chilean elected officials within the bounds of the Chilean constitution and excluded the CIA. Track I expanded to encompass some policies whose ultimate goal was to create the conditions that would encourage a coup. "Track II" was a CIA operation overseen by Henry Kissinger and CIA's director of covert operations, Thomas Karamessines. "Track II" excluded the State Department and Department of Defense. The goal of Track II was to find and support Chilean military officers that would support a coup.
Immediately after the Allende government came into office, the U.S. sought to place pressureon the Allende government to prevent its consolidation and limit its ability to implement policies contrary to U.S. and hemispheric interests, such as Allende's total nationalization of several U.S. corporations and the copper industry. Nixon directed that no new bilateral economic aid commitments be undertaken with the government of Chile. The US supported Allende's opponents in Chile during his presidency, intending to encourage either Allende's resignation, his overthrow, or his defeat in the election of 1976. The Nixon administration covertly funded independent and non-state media and labor unions.
Track I was a U.S. State Department plan designed to persuade the Chilean Congress, through outgoing Christian Democratic President Eduardo Frei Montalva, to confirm conservative runner-up Jorge Alessandri as president. Alessandri would resign shortly after, rendering Frei eligible to run against Allende in new elections. As part of the "Track I" strategy to block Allende from assuming office after the 4 September election, the CIA needed to influence a Congressional run-off vote required by the Constitution since Allende did not win the absolute majority.
The CIA had also drawn up a second plan, Track II. The agency would find military officers willing to support a coup and support them. They could then call new elections in which Allende could be defeated.
In September 1970, President Nixon found that an Allende government in Chile would not be acceptable and authorized $10 million to stop Allende from coming to power or unseat him. As part of the Track II initiative, the CIA used false flag operatives to approach Chilean military officers, to encourage them to carry out a coup.A first step to overthrowing Allende required removing General René Schneider, the army chief commander. Schneider was a constitutionalist and would oppose a coup d'état. To assist in the planned kidnapping of Schneider, the CIA provided "$50,000 in cash, three submachine guns, and a satchel of tear gas, all approved at headquarters ..." The submachine guns were delivered by diplomatic pouch.
A group was formed, led by a retired general, General Roberto Viaux. Viaux was considered unstable by the U.S. and had been discouraged from attempting a coup alone. The CIA encouraged him to join forces with an active duty general, General Camilo Valenzuela, who had also been approached by CIA operatives. They were joined by an Admiral, Hugo Tirado, who had been forced into retirement after the Tacnazo insurrection. On 22 October, Viaux went ahead with a plan to kidnap General René Schneider. Schneider drew a handgun to protect himself from his attackers, who shot him in four vital areas. He died in Santiago's military hospital three days later. This attempted kidnapping and death of Schneider shocked the public and increased support for the Chilean Constitution. This ultimately led to an extreme contrast to the expected outcome of a coup. The Chilean people rallied around their government which, in turn, overwhelmingly ratified Allende on 3 November 1970.
On 25 November 1970, Henry Kissinger issued a memorandum that detailed the Covert Action Program that the US would spearhead in Chile. In the memorandum, Kissinger stated that there were five principles of the program. The US would continue to have contacts in the Chilean military, take steps to divide Allende's supporters, cooperate with the media to run anti-Allende propaganda campaigns, support non-communist political parties in Chile, and publish materials that stated that Allende did not adhere to the democratic process and also wanted to form connections with Cuba and the Soviet Union.
A CIA and White House cover-up obscured American involvement, despite Congressional investigative efforts.The Church Committee, which investigated U.S. involvement in Chile during this period, determined that the weapons used in the debacle "were, in all probability, not those supplied by the CIA to the conspirators."
After Schneider's death, the CIA recovered the submachine guns and money it had provided. 34Both Valenzuela and Viaux were arrested and convicted of conspiracy after Schneider's assassination. One member of the coup plotters that escaped arrest requested assistance from the CIA, and was paid $35,000, so "The CIA did, in fact, pay "hush" money to those directly responsible for the Schneider assassination—and then covered up that secret payment for thirty years." :
In 1970, the U.S. manufacturing company ITT Corporation owned 70% of Chitelco, the Chilean Telephone Company, and funded El Mercurio , a Chilean right-wing newspaper. The CIA used ITT as a conduit to financially aid opponents of Allende's government.On 28 September 1973, ITT's headquarters in New York City, was bombed by the Weather Underground for the alleged involvement of the company in the overthrow of Allende.
On 10 September 2001, a suit was filed by the family of Schneider, accusing former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger of arranging Schneider's 1970 murder because he would have opposed a military coup. 360 Kissinger said he had declared the coup "hopeless" and had "turned it off". However, the CIA claimed that no such "stand-down" order was ever received.CIA documents indicate that while the CIA had sought his kidnapping, his killing was never intended. :
In the Chilean coup of 1973, Augusto Pinochet rose to power, overthrowing the democratically elected president Salvador Allende. A subsequent September 2000 report from the CIA, using declassified documents related to the military coup, found that the CIA "probably appeared to condone" the 1973 coup, but that there was "no evidence" that the US actually participated in it.This view has been challenged by some authors, who have stated that the covert support of the United States was crucial to the preparation for the coup, the coup itself, and the consolidation of the regime afterward. It seemed that, even if this coup did not come together, Allende would still have a very difficult political future. This point of view has been supported by non-scholarly commentary.
According to the CIA document "CIA Activities in Chile", dated 18 September 2000, during late summer 1973, the local CIA station suggested that the US commit itself to support a military coup. In response, CIA Headquarters reaffirmed to the station that "there was to be no involvement with the military in any covert action initiative; there was no support for instigating a military coup."
On the issue of CIA involvement in the 1973 coup, the CIA document is equally explicit:
On 10 September 1973 -- the day before the coup that ended the Allende government -- a Chilean military officer reported to a CIA officer that a coup was being planned and asked for US government assistance. He was told that the US Government would not provide any assistance because this was strictly an internal Chilean matter. The Station Officer also told him his request would be forwarded to Washington. CIA learned of the exact date of the coup shortly before it took place. During the attack on the Presidential Palace and its immediate aftermath, the Station's activities were limited to providing intelligence and situation reports.
The report of the Church Committee, published in 1975, stated that during the period leading up to the coup, the CIA received information about potential coup plots.
The intelligence network continued to report throughout 1972 and 1973 on coup plotting activities. During 1972 the Station continued to monitor the group which might mount a successful coup, and it spent a significantly greater amount of time and effort penetrating this group than it had on previous groups. This group had originally come to the Station's attention in October 1971. By January 1972 the Station had successfully penetrated it and was in contact through an intermediary with its leader.
Intelligence reporting on coup plotting reached two peak periods, one in the last week of June 1973 and the other during the end of August and the first two weeks in September. It is clear the CIA received intelligence reports on the coup planning of the group which carried out the successful September 11 coup throughout the months of July, August, and September 1973.
The Church report also considered the allegation that the US government involved itself in the 1973 coup:
Was the United States DIRECTLY involved, covertly, in the 1973 coup in Chile? The Committee has found no evidence that it was.
There is no hard evidence of direct U.S. assistance to the coup, despite frequent allegations of such aid. Rather the United States - by its previous actions during Track II, its existing general posture of opposition to Allende, and the nature of its contacts with the Chilean military- probably gave the impression that it would not look with disfavor on a military coup. And U.S. officials in the years before 1973 may not always have succeeded in walking the thin line between monitoring indigenous coup plotting and actually stimulating it.
Transcripts of a phone conversation between Kissinger and Nixon reveal that they didn't have a hand in the final coup. They do take credit for creating the conditions that led to the coup. Kissinger says that "they created the conditions as great as possible." Nixon and Kissinger also discussed how they would play this event with the media and lamented the fact that, if this were the era of Eisenhower, then they would be seen as heroes.There was a PDB that had a section on Chile dated 11 September 1973 that is still completely censored, as was an entire page on Chile provided to Nixon on 8 September 1973. Additionally, a cable from CIA operative Jack Devine dated 10 September 1973, confirmed to top U.S. officials that the coup would take place the following day. In collaboration with the coup, a Defense Intelligence Agency summary, also dated on 8 September and classified "Top Secret Umbra", provided detailed information on an agreement among the Chilean Army, Navy, and Air Force to move against Allende on 10 September. As the CIA denies its involvement in the coup, another cable sent from the agency on 8 September classified "Secret" had information on the Chilean Navy time and date to overthrow the government of President Allende. The cable also identified key Chilean officials who were supporting the coup. The cables from around this time with another one stating that the coup was postponed in order to improve tactical coordination and would attempt the coup on 11 September.
A CIA intelligence report 25 October 1973, concerning General Arellano Stark, noted that Stark had ordered the deaths of 21 political prisoners. Also, the disappearances of 14 other prisoners were also believed to be on the order of Stark. General Stark was considered Pinochet's right-hand man after the coup.
Historian Peter Winn has argued that the role of the CIA was crucial to the consolidation of power that followed the coup; the CIA helped fabricate a conspiracy against the Allende government, which Pinochet was then portrayed as preventing. He states that the coup itself was possible only through a three-year covert operation mounted by the United States. He also points out that the US imposed an "invisible blockade" that was designed to disrupt the economy under Allende, and contributed to the destabilization of the regime.Peter Kornbluh, director of the National Security Archive's Chile Documentation Project, argues in his book The Pinochet File that the US was extensively involved and actively "fomented" the 1973 coup. Authors Tim Weiner, in his book, Legacy of Ashes , and Christopher Hitchens, in his book, The Trial of Henry Kissinger similarly argue the case that US covert actions actively destabilized Allende's government and set the stage for the 1973 coup. Joaquin Fermandois criticized Kornbluh's "black and white" and "North American centered conception of world affairs", stating that a variety of internal and external factors also played a role and that a careful reading of the documentary record reveals the CIA was largely "impotent".
Conservative scholar Mark Falcoff alleged that Cuba and the Soviet Union supplied several hundred thousand dollars to the socialist and Marxist factions in the government.Peter Winn noted that "the Chilean revolution always kept to its peaceful road, despite counterrevolutionary plots and violence." Moreover, this strong emphasis on nonviolence was precisely to avoid revolutionary terror which had blemished the reputations of the French, Russian and Cuban revolutions.
Overall, 1973 was when the Chilean president was overthrown. The president later committed suicide as what an article in The Atlantic stated, "he committed suicide under mysterious circumstances as troops surrounded his place, ushering in more than 15 years of military dictatorship under Augusto Pinochet".A former CIA agent who was active in the CIA agency during the time of the Coup recently reported that the decision to overthrow Chile's president was not the CIA's decision, but rather the decision of the White House, particularly President Nixon. The coup and U.S. involvement remain an important episode, as a New York Times report in October 2017 indicates.
The U.S. provided material support to the military regime after the coup, although criticizing it in public. A document released by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 2000, titled "CIA Activities in Chile", revealed that the CIA actively supported the military junta after the overthrow of Allende and that it made many of Pinochet's officers into paid contacts of the CIA or U.S. military, even though some were known to be involved in human rights abuses.
CIA documents show that the CIA had close contact with members of the Chilean secret police, DINA, and its chief Manuel Contreras (paid asset from 1975 to 1977 according to the CIA in 2000). Some have alleged that the CIA's one-time payment to the Contreras is proof that the U.S. approved of Operation Condor and military repression within Chile. The CIA's official documents state that at one time, some members of the intelligence community recommended making the Contreras into a paid contact because of his closeness to Pinochet; the plan was rejected based on the Contreras' poor human rights track record, but a single payment was made due to a miscommunication. In the description of the CIA's activities in Chile, it is acknowledged that one of their high-level contacts was more predisposed to committing abuse: "although the CIA had information indicating that a high-level contact was a hard-liner and therefore more likely to commit abuses, contact with him was allowed to continue in absence of concrete information about human rights abuses."
A report dated 24 May 1977 also describes the newfound human rights abuses that may have been occurring in Chile: "reports of gross violation of human rights in Chile, which had nearly ceased earlier this year, are again on the rise...the Pinochet government is reverting to the practices that jeopardized its international standing since the 1973 coup."The document also details how these human rights violations could have caused a worsening of Chile's status on the international stage. It seems that the United States was unable to plan around these violations, as is referred to with the document's mention of high-ranking officials taking parts in the abuses also.
On 6 March 2001, the New York Times reported the existence of a recently declassified State Department document revealing that the United States facilitated communications for Operation Condor. The document, a 1978 cable from Robert E. White, the U.S. ambassador to Paraguay, was discovered by Professor J. Patrice McSherry of Long Island University, who had published several articles on Operation Condor. She called the cable "another piece of increasingly weighty evidence suggesting that U.S. military and intelligence officials supported and collaborated with Condor as a secret partner or sponsor."
In the cable, Ambassador White relates a conversation with General Alejandro Fretes Davalos, chief of staff of Paraguay's armed forces, who told him that the South American intelligence chiefs involved in Condor "keep in touch with one another through a U.S. communications installation in the Panama Canal Zone which covers all of Latin America". This installation is "employed to co-ordinate intelligence information among the southern cone countries." White, whose message was sent to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, was concerned that the U.S. connection to Condor might be revealed during the then ongoing investigation into the deaths of the 44 year old former Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier and his American colleague Ronni Moffitt. Her husband Michael Moffit was in the car during the bombing, but was the only survivior. "It would seem advisable," he suggests, "to review this arrangement to insure that its continuation is in U.S. interest."
The document was found among 16,000 State, CIA, White House, Defense, and Justice Department records released in November 2000 on the nearly 17-year long Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, and Washington's role in the violent coup that brought his military regime to power. The release was the fourth and final batch of records released under the Clinton Administration's special Chile Declassification Project.
During the Pinochet regime, four American citizens were killed: Charles Horman, Frank Teruggi, Boris Weisfeiler, and Ronni Karpen Moffit. Later on, in late August 1976, the United States Government stated in a State Department Secret Memorandum, that the United States Government did play an indirect role in the death of the American citizen named Charles Horman. The Secret Memorandum states:
"Based on what we have, we are persuaded that: The GOC sought Horman and felt threatened enough to order his immediate execution. The GOC might have believed this American could be killed without negative fall-out from the USG. There is some circumstantial evidence to suggest: U.S. intelligence may have played an unfortunate part in Horman's death. At best, it was limited to providing or confirming information that helped motivate his murder by the GOC. At worst, U.S. intelligence was aware the GOC saw Horman in a rather serious light and U.S. officials did nothing to discourage the logical outcome of GOC paranoia."- Department of State, Secret Memorandum, "Charles Horman Case," 25 August 1976 (uncensored version)
On 30 June 2014, a Chilean court ruled that the United States played a key role in the murders of Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi. According to Judge Jorge Zepeda, U.S. Navy Capt. Ray E. Davis, who commanded the U.S. Military Mission in Chile, gave information to the Chilean government about Horman and Teruggi that resulted in their arrest and execution in the days following the coup. The Chilean Supreme Court sought to have Davis extradited from Florida to stand trial, but he was secretly living in Santiago and died in a nursing home in 2013.
In a document declassified under the Obama administration's Chilean declassification project, documents were released stating that the CIA suspected Pinochet himself of personally giving the order for the assassination of Ronni Moffitt and Orlando Letelier. Although they were unable to gather enough intelligence that proved that he gave the order, they received shocking evidence from the Chilean Major, Armando Fernandez, who they convinced to come to the capital to provide them information, that Pinochet was directly involved in covering up the incident. Another declassified copy of a CIA special intelligence assessment on Pinochets role in the Letelier and Moffitt assassinations were presented to the Chilean President Bachelet in 2016. That document asserts the CIA believed that Pinochet, "personally ordered his intelligence chief to carry out the murder.”Even with the evidence that they had, the Secretary of State George Shultz did not feel that there was enough to indict Pinochet but instead used the information to try to convince Reagan to change their policy with Chile. Pinochet stepped down from power in 1990 and died on 10 December 2006, without facing trial.
U.S. President Bill Clinton ordered the release of numerous documents relating to U.S. policy and actions toward Chile.The documents produced by various U.S. agencies were opened to the public by the U.S. State Department in October 1999. The collection of 1,100 documents dealt with the years leading up to the military coup.
Regarding Pinochet's rise to power, the CIA concluded in a report issued in 2000 that: "The CIA actively supported the military junta after the overthrow of Allende but did not assist Pinochet to assume the Presidency."However, the 2000 report also stated that: "The major CIA effort against Allende came earlier in 1970 in the failed attempt to block his election and accession to the Presidency. Nonetheless, the U.S. Administration's long-standing hostility to Allende and its past encouragement of a military coup against him were well known among Chilean coup plotters who eventually took activities of their own to oust him."
A White House press release in November 2000 acknowledged that "actions approved by the U.S. government during this period aggravated political polarization and affected Chile's long tradition of democratic elections ..."
In a 2003 town hall with students, high school student James Doubek asked Secretary of State Colin Powell about the United States support for the coup, to which Powell replied that "it is not a part of American history that we're proud of".
During U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Chile in 2011, the center-left coalition of Chilean political parties asked Obama to apologize for past U.S. support of Pinochet. An interview with the Associated Press, Mr Pinera said his government was "categorically committed to contribute to the search for truth so that justice is done in all of these human rights cases". Obama did not respond to requests for an apology but said during a press conference that U.S. relations with Latin America had at times been "extremely rocky," and that people needed to learn from and understand history, but not be trapped by it.
In February 2018, in an effort to create a "lasting counterpoint", a statue honoring the slain Chilean diplomat and think tank policy analyst Orlando Letelier was erected on Massachusetts Avenue in Washington, D.C., near the location where Letelier was killed in a 1976 car bombing on the orders of Pinochet. The attack also claimed the life of Ronnie Karpen Moffitt, Letelier's 25-year-old American co-worker. Michael Moffitt, husband of Ronnie Moffitt and also in the vehicle, survived the attack. The Chilean-orchestrated assassination had brought state-sponsored terrorism by an American-backed ally to the cradle of American dominion. Three of Letelier's sons and a granddaughter whom Letelier had never been afforded the opportunity to meet attended the unveiling. The unveiling of Letelier's commemorative statue came less than two years after the Obama administration had released a "long classified CIA analysis...[that] cited 'convincing evidence that President Pinochet personally ordered his intelligence chief to carry out the murder.'" Letelier had served as Chile's ambassador to the United States under Chile's democratically elected Allende government. After Pinochet's 1973 coup, Letelier became a political prisoner and sought political asylum in the United States, where he eventually came to spearhead the economic policy mission of a D.C.-based think tank, the Institute for Policy Studies, as well as organize international condemnation of Pinochet's regime. The Institute for Policy Studies has long incorporated the advancement of human rights into the core of its mission.
Marcos Orlando Letelier del Solar was a Chilean economist, politician and diplomat during the presidency of Salvador Allende. A refugee from the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet, Letelier accepted several academic positions in Washington, D.C. following his exit from Chile. In 1976, agents of Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional (DINA), the Pinochet regime's secret police, assassinated Letelier in Washington via the use of a car bomb. These agents had been working in collaboration with members of the Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations, a U.S.-sponsored, anti-Fidel Castro, militant group.
Salvador Guillermo Allende Gossens was a Chilean democratic socialist politician and physician, President of Chile from 1970 until 1973, and head of the Popular Unity political coalition government; he was the first ever Marxist to be elected president in a country with liberal democracy.
Operation Condor was a United States–backed campaign of political repression and state terror involving intelligence operations and assassination of opponents, officially and formally implemented in November 1975 by the right-wing dictatorships of the Southern Cone of South America.
The Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional or DINA was the Chilean secret police in the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, and has been called Pinochet's Gestapo. The DINA was established in November 1973 as a Chilean Army intelligence unit headed by Colonel Manuel Contreras and vice-director Raúl Iturriaga. It was separated from the army and made an independent administrative unit in June 1974, under the auspices of Decree 521.
Charles Edmund Lazar Horman was an American journalist documentary filmmaker killed during the 1973 Chilean coup d'état led by General Augusto Pinochet that deposed the socialist president Salvador Allende. Horman's death was the subject of the 1982 Costa-Gavras film Missing, in which he was portrayed by actor John Shea.
The 1973 Chilean coup d'état was a watershed moment in both the history of Chile and the Cold War. Following an extended period of social unrest and political tension between the opposition-controlled Congress of Chile and the socialist President Salvador Allende, as well as economic warfare ordered by US President Richard Nixon, Allende was overthrown by the armed forces and national police.
The military dictatorship of Chile was an authoritarian military regime that ruled Chile for seventeen years, between September 11, 1973 and March 11, 1990. The dictatorship was established after the democratically-elected socialist government of Salvador Allende was overthrown in a coup d'état on 11 September 1973. During this time, the country was ruled by a military junta headed by General Augusto Pinochet. The military used the alleged breakdown of democracy and the economic crisis that took place during Allende's presidency to justify its seizure of power. The dictatorship presented its mission as a "national reconstruction." The coup was the result of multiple forces, including pressure from conservative and women’s groups, certain political parties, union strikes and other domestic unrest, as well as international factors. According to an article written by lifelong CIA operative Jack Devine, although it was widely reported that the CIA was directly involved in orchestrating and carrying out the coup, subsequently released sources suggest a much reduced role of the US government.
Salvador Allende was the president of Chile from 1970 until 1973, and head of the Popular Unity government; he was the first Marxist ever to be elected to the national presidency of a liberal democracy. Though the 1970 election was lawful, in August 1973 the Chilean Senate declared the Allende government to be "unlawful" in large part due to its practice of unconstitutional expropriation of private property. Allende's presidency ended with a military rising before the constitutional end of his term.
General René Schneider Chereau was the commander-in-chief of the Chilean Army at the time of the 1970 Chilean presidential election, when he was assassinated during a botched kidnapping attempt. He coined the doctrine of military-political mutual exclusivity that became known as the Schneider Doctrine.
Roberto Urbano Viaux Marambio was a Chilean Army General and the primary planner of two attempted coup d'états in Chile in 1969 and 1970. The first was against President Eduardo Frei Montalva, and the second sought to prevent Socialist Salvador Allende's election.
Kenneth Robert Maxwell is a British historian who specializes in Iberia and Latin America. A longtime member of the Council on Foreign Relations, for fifteen years he headed its Latin America Studies Program. His May 13, 2004 resignation from the council involved a major controversy over whether there had been a breach of the so-called "church-state separation" between the council itself and its magazine Foreign Affairs. As of December 2004, Maxwell is a Visiting Professor of History at Harvard University and a senior fellow at the university's David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, where he directs the Center's Brazil Studies Program.
El Mercurio is a Chilean newspaper with editions in Valparaíso and Santiago. Its Santiago edition is considered the country's newspaper of record and it is considered the oldest daily in the Spanish language currently in circulation. El Mercurio is owned by El Mercurio S.A.P., which operates a network of 19 regional dailies and 32 radio stations across the country.
Project FUBELT is the codename for the secret Central Intelligence Agency operations that were to prevent Salvador Allende's rise to power before his confirmation and to promote a military coup in Chile.
The Fatherland and Liberty Nationalist Front was a nationalist and authoritarian political and paramilitary group denounced by their opponents as being fascist and a front for Central Intelligence Agency activities in Chile.
The assassination of Orlando Letelier refers to the September 21, 1976, car bombing, in Washington, D.C., of Orlando Letelier, a leading opponent of Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet. Letelier, who was living in exile in the United States, was killed along with Ronni Karpen Moffitt, who was in the car along with her husband Michael, who worked for Letelier. The assassination was carried out by agents of the Chilean secret police, and was one among many carried out as part of Operation Condor. Declassified U.S. intelligence documents confirm that Pinochet directly ordered the killing.
Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte was a Chilean general, politician and dictator of Chile between 1973 and 1990 who remained the Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army until 1998 and was also President of the Government Junta of Chile between 1973 and 1981.
Frank Teruggi, Jr. (1949–1973) was an American student, journalist, and member of the Industrial Workers of the World, from Chicago, Illinois, who became one of the victims of General Augusto Pinochet's military shortly after the September 11, 1973 Pinochet coup d'état against Socialist President Salvador Allende.
The Pinochet File is a National Security Archive book written by Peter Kornbluh covering over approximately two decades of declassified documents, from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), White House, and United States Department of State, regarding American covert activities in Chile. It is based on more than 24,000 previously classified documents that were released as part of the Chilean Declassification Project during the Clinton administration, between June 1999 and June 2000.
Agustín Iván Edmundo Edwards Eastman was a Chilean newspaper publisher, and one of the richest people in Chile. He inherited his family's newspaper company El Mercurio SAP, which publishes Chile's leading national dailies El Mercurio and La Segunda among others, when his father died in 1956. He has been described as a media baron, and is known for his right-wing views. Throughout his time as publisher, he has used El Mercurio SAP's newspapers to influence public opinion in Chile, and he supported the 1973 coup d'état to oust socialist President Salvador Allende. According to the U.S. Senate's Church Committee, he was one of the main Chilean participants in the Central Intelligence Agency's Operation Mockingbird campaign to influence the media in Latin American countries.
Events in the year 1973 in Chile.
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