Latin American Report


Some Post-Decision Comments (30/3/1999)

Carlos Fuentes on "A Victim of Pinochet" (14/3/1999)

Introduction to Pinochet

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26 April 1999

Spanish Judge Throws More Charges at Chile's Ex-Dictator

On Apr. 7, Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon decided to accuse Pinochet of 11 more cases of torture allegedly committed between 1988 and 1990. The latest charges bring to 60 the total number of charges pending against the former dictator. Britain's House of Lords ruled on Mar. 24 that only crimes committed after 1988 -- when the Convention Against Torture took effect in Britain -- are admissable in Spain's extradition case against Pinochet [see Update #478]. Eight of the original charges filed by Garzon were left admissable by the Lords' ruling; Garzon included another 41 charges in the case on Mar. 26. [Hoy (NY) 4/8/99 from EFE]

Meanwhile, Garzon has renewed his efforts to convince Britain's courts that the 1,196 cases of forced disappearances of which Pinochet is accused are continuous crimes -- the crime continues to be perpetrated as long as the bodies are not found -- and therefore can be included in the case even if the victims disappeared before 1988. [LT 4/6/99] Amnesty International has also sent the British government a letter pressing this point. [LT 4/8/99]

The Chilean daily La Tercera reported on Apr. 6 that some of the documents received by Judge Garzon in the Pinochet case may have been sent by imprisoned general Manuel Contreras. Contreras is the former chief of Pinochet's military secret police, the DINA, who since 1995 has been serving a seven-year sentence for the 1976 car bomb murder in Washington of Chilean former foreign minister Orlando Letelier and his US aide, Ronni Karpen Moffitt [see Update #279]. In Supreme Court proceedings last year, Contreras testified that he had received direct orders from Pinochet for every action carried out by the DINA. Pinochet's daughter, Lucia Pinochet Hiriart, has said that her father believes Contreras has been sending documents to Garzon. Other sources close to Pinochet indicate that Contreras has sent Garzon documents pertaining to Operation Condor, a network of cooperation between the intelligence services of Latin American dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s. [LT 4/6/99]

In other news, Chilean archbishop Cardinal Raul Silva Henriquez died on Apr. 9 at age 91. During and after the dictatorship, Silva consistently spoke out against human rights violations by Pinochet's regime. [Clarin 4/10/99 from AFP]

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