The House of Deputies approved a resolution declaring former Dictator Augusto Pinochet the most violent and criminal ruler in Chile”s history, after documents were declassified.
Documents delivered recently in Washington to Chilean President Michelle Bachelet by the U.S. Department of State confirmed, among other things, that Pinochet ordered the assassination of Orlando Letelier 40 years ago.
Bachelet received the declassified files, which were added to other documents handed over to Chile previously, when she visited the Sheridan Circle in Washington, where former Foreign Minister Letelier and his assistant, Ronni Moffitt, were assassinated in 1976, when a bomb was planted in his car.
The resolution, which was passed by 59 votes in favor and 23 against, was submitted by the lawmakers Gabriel Silber, Yasna Provoste, Matias Walter (Democratic Christians) and Lautaro Carmona (communist), as well as Osvaldo Andrade, Leonardo Soto (socialists), Giorgio Jackson (Democratic Revolution), Tucapel Jimenez (Party for Democracy), Sergio Aguilo (Christian Left) and Fernando Meza (Radical Social-Democratic Party).
With the elements gathered in the declassified documents and previous evidence, the lawmakers declared:
‘Augusto Pinochet Ugarte as the dictator, architect of a state terrorist apparatus and intellectual author of the premeditated assassination of ex Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier, which make him the most violent and criminal ruler in Chile’s history.’
At the same time, they described ‘the ex president of the Supreme Court, Israel Borquez, and all the top ministers of the country’s court at the time as a national shame’ for preventing the extradition of Manuel Contreras, who was the director of the repressive intelligence apparatus of the DINA, and was the perpetrator of the attack, and ‘for not complying with their duties seriously and being unable to comply with their main obligation that is to do justice’.
The lawmakers also demanded that the Ministry of Defense take all measures to prevent that public agencies exhibit images of Augusto Pinochet and pay tribute to him.
Likewise, they expressed their opinion in the case of Israel Borquez in the Supreme Court.
At the same time, Sofia Prats Cuthbert, the daughter of General Carlos Prats, was shocked by the ruling by the Court of Appeals of Santiago, which paroled former DINA Deputy Director Raul Iturriaga Neumann.
The retired general was sentenced as one of the perpetrators of the assassinations of Prats and his wife, Sofia Cuthbert, in Buenos Aires, using the same modus operandi, a bomb planted in their car and detonated by DINA agent Michael Townley, who was a former CIA agent and was also involved in the deaths of Letelier and Moffitt.
Sofia Prats Cuthbert noted that the Court’s ruling is serious, not only because Iturriaga is one of the perpetrators of the attack on her father in Buenos Aires, but also because he is responsible for other crimes against humanity.
‘It affects many families of missing prisoners,’ said the ex ambassador to Greece, who announced legal actions to reverse the Court’s decision.
For her part, Lorena Pizarro, president of the Group of Relatives of Missing Prisoners, described the ruling by the Court of Appeals of Santiago as aberrant, above all due to its arguments to grant that benefit; that is, ‘low criminal commitment’.
She underlined that Iturriaga Neumann was sentenced to 237 years in prison and that he is awaiting more sentences for the cases of 16 missing prisoners. Pizarro expressed confidence that the ruling will be reversed.