Accessibility links

US to Publish Records on Chile 1976 Assassination

  • Reuters

Isabel Morel, the widow of Orlando Letelier, a former Foreign Minister of Salvador Allende Government, who was killed when his car exploded 30 years ago in Washington in 1976, puts flowers on Letelier's grave in Santiago, Sept. 21, 2006.

Isabel Morel, the widow of Orlando Letelier, a former Foreign Minister of Salvador Allende Government, who was killed when his car exploded 30 years ago in Washington in 1976, puts flowers on Letelier's grave in Santiago, Sept. 21, 2006.

Around 1,000 U.S. documents relating to the assassination in Washington of a Chilean politician fleeing the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship have been declassified and will be published Thursday, Chile's foreign minister said.

Orlando Letelier, who served as foreign minister under socialist president Salvador Allende, was imprisoned and tortured by the Pinochet government after Allende was deposed in a coup in 1973.

He later went into exile in the United States, where he led resistance to Pinochet. In 1976 he was killed, along with his American co-worker Ronni Moffitt, by a car bomb in the center of Washington.

Agents for Chile's secret police were later convicted of the crime, which shocked Americans and hardened attitudes toward Pinochet's regime. About 3,000 people are estimated to have "disappeared" - presumed killed by the military government - during Pinochet's 1973-1990 dictatorship.

The newly declassified documents were handed to President Michelle Bachelet - herself a victim of torture by the dictatorship - by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during his visit to the country on Monday, Chile Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz said on Wednesday.

The contents will be published Thursday, he said. He did not say what they would contain, but historians have previously speculated about the roles played in the murder by both the U.S. intelligence services and Pinochet himself, who died in 2006 without being convicted of any human rights abuses.

Chile's President Michelle Bachelet arrives to commemorate Chilean political figure and activist Orlando Letelier who was assassinated in 1976 by secret agents of the government of Chilean strongman Augusto Pinochet, Tuesday, June 23, 2009, in Washington.

Chile's President Michelle Bachelet arrives to commemorate Chilean political figure and activist Orlando Letelier who was assassinated in 1976 by secret agents of the government of Chilean strongman Augusto Pinochet, Tuesday, June 23, 2009, in Washington.

Show comments

XS
SM
MD
LG