Written by the Paly Social Justice class of 2014

Revised by Ahana and Rafi for the wiki

ID Paragraphs Edit

ID Paragraphs serve to increase the understanding of a broad topic by narrowing facts down to the Who, What, When, Where, Why, How, and the by outlining the significance. Each paragraph includes to bare information concerning people involved, why certain events happened, and what the event signified on a grander sclae.

Golpe de Estado 1973'état Augusto Pinochet's military junta bombed Salvador Allende's presidential palace on Sept. 11, 1973.

Salvador Allende Edit

Salvador Allende was a Chilean Socialist president who headed the Popular Unity party and faced sabotage and dissent from conservatives all through his presidency, until his “assassination” in 1973. During his presidency, he faced widespread criticism over his economic policies, which were causing hunger and shortages.  He was forced into suicide when the military coup happened, as Pinochet’s regime claims happened, as a way for Pinochet, and the military, to take power.

The Popular Unity Edit

The Popular Unity was a group of socialists, communists, radicals, and some Christian Democrats, dissident to the conservative regime, who stood behind Salvador Allende during his presidential campaign. They formed as a alliance of political parties in 1969 with a common goal of raising wages, keeping Chile’s copper mines private to the nation, and improving agriculture. Salvador Allende was the leader of the UP, and with its support was able to win the election. Salvador Allende took 36.6% of the vote during the 1970 presidential election for the Popular Unity, while the rest of the population voted for other candidates in the running. Once Allende was in power, the government parcelled out land and blocked off the mines owned by American companies, causing strong dissent from conservative party landowners and the US. With sabotage from the US and right-wing, the economy began to regress. The steep increase of inflation and civil unrest gave the military an excuse to execute the coup d'etat, as they blamed the inflation on Allende’s Marxist economic reforms, not on American embargo. After Allende’s government was overthrown by Augusto Pinochet on September 11, 1973, being part of the Popular Unity gave authorities reason to arrest, and in some cases even kill those belonging to the Popular Unity. Pinochet’s junta government feared that members of the Popular Unity would rise to power and overthrow the military rule, or incite revolution. This gave Pinochet a reason to use terror tactics to keep the population restrained.

General Augusto Pinochet Edit

General Augusto Pinochet was born on November 25, 1915 in Valparaiso, Chile and ruled in the Chilean government and military for 25 years (1973-1998) as a military dictator and Commander in Chief. He was against Marxism and overtook Allende because he feared Communism and wanted power for himself. He grew up in a high class family, as his father was a middle-class government worker. He worked his way up the military tree, and he didn’t want to lose the power that he had acquired; Marxism supports a classless society which would take away his social status.  Under his power, Chile flourished at first, but eventually, economic upheaval, inflation, and unemployment increased dramatically. His soldiers were ordered to torture and kill thousands and strip citizens of their rights. Pinochet feared that the Popular Unity would try to take power from him, as he did from them, so he used terror tactics to try to keep the leftists from conspiring against him. Pinochet died after his arrest and denouncement from power (1998) in 2006.

Desparecidos Edit

Once Pinochet came to power in 1973, those who supported the leftist political party, the Marxists, began to be hunted down by the military junta in order to stop them from spreading their ideas. During his military dictatorship, Pinochet captured and tortured or killed over 40,000 people who were suspected or known to be against his political party. These people were the desaparecidos, or the disappeared people. This tactic was intended to keep Pinochet in power and scare the Marxists into hiding so that they would not share their opinions any longer. Because of this terror, Chileans would turn in their conspicuous neighbors or even friends to the authorities to protect themselves and prove themselves to the new government. Pinochet's methods allowed him to keep control of Chile for seventeen years.

Rettig Report Edit

In 1990, President Aylwin created a commission in order to learn more about the human rights violations that took place in the Pinochet regime, which occurred between September 11, 1973 and ended on March 11, 1990. The information from this committee was cumulated in the Rettig Report in 1991. The Comisión Nacional de Verdad y Reconciliación discovered around 2,115 human rights violations were caused by by Pinochet’s followers. 76 agents were found responsible for some of these crimes and 67 were convicted of violating human rights. The Rettig report helped those who had friends or family disappear find closure, made Chileans feel safer in their country, and eased the transition from the dictatorship to democracy easier once justice could be served.

Colonia Dignidad Edit

Colonia Dignidad  was founded in 1961 by Evangelical preacher Paul Schäfer in Central Chile. Schafer immigrated to Chile from Germany, where he was facing abuse charges at a children’s home he owned, in 1958. Conservative President Jorge Alessandri allowed him to enter Chile and create the society. The “Dignity Colony”, as it is in English, was modeled after a utopian society governed by religion and the idea of security within a community. Colonia Dignidad was surrounded by barbed wire fences, searchlights, and watchtowers, and had weapon stashes that included a tank. Members of the Colonia Dignidad were tortured often because Paul Schäfer believed it was “spiritually enriching”. Colonia Dignidad was later used by Augusto Pinochet as a special torture center that was overseen by German Nazi doctors, because Shafer upheld a loose alliance with the dictator. Pinochet tortured people who he thought were conspiring against him and people who did not agree with his ideas. The people who disappeared are still being identified by Chilean authorities. In the present day it is now called Villa Baviera, and there are ongoing investigations to determine the extent of the abuse.

Henry Kissinger and the CIA Edit

US’s secret government organizations spearheaded the assassination of General Rene Schneider before the 1970 election in order to stop Chilean socialist Salvador Allende from becoming president. Henry Kissinger was the Secretary of State for then-president Richard Nixon. Afterwards, Kissinger helped devise a coup to oust Chilean Socialist president Salvador Allende and force the country into reelections, but the planned coup never went into action. Kissinger also offered assistance to groups that opposed Allende’s party, and Nixon made cuts in financial aid to Chile in many areas except for military. Though the 1973 coup was carried out by the Chilean military, it occurred due to anger over the increasing turmoil that would not have happened if the US didn’t damage Chile’s economy. The US invested significant efforts into taking down the threat of communist success in Chile, because Kissinger feared that it may influence other countries to adopt communist governments and or hurt the US’s economy and security. Cuba, a country within 50 miles of the US, had a communist revolution and later housed Russian missiles, which led to the United States fear of Latin American communist nations.

Valech Report Edit

The Valech Report documented abuses committed by Pinochet’s regime from 1973 to 1990. The Valech Commission, organized under Chilean president Ricardo Lagos, published the Valech Report on November 29, 2004, after a six-month investigation. The creation of the commission and the proposal of the Valech Report marked the end of Pinochet’s military rule by junta (a government led by military force) by introducing justice and compensation for people wronged by the government. By documenting violations of human rights, the Valech report pinpoints the people deserving of monetary or health care benefits. Although the terror and abuse had been inflicted on the Chilean people from 1973 to 1990, the report was released much later in 2004, and only then could Lagos’s administration begin to provide aid to those in need. In 2010, it was reopened to compile and account for more victims. In the end, there were found to be approximately 38,000 victims. The report has also sparked controversy from Chileans in objection of providing compensation for tortured people who then became torturers themselves. Manuel Guerrero Antequera said, "I was tortured, and therefore someone tortured me. Where are those persons? … Today they are active in society. The Valech report has no path to justice.”

Eduardo Frei Montalva Edit

Eduardo Frei Montalva was a Chilean politician and Chile’s 28th president from 1964-1970, before Salvador Allende. He was the leader of a relatively new conservative party called the Christian Democratic Party, who believed that the government should have some control over the economy, social life, and education, and also support private property and the hierarchy. The party is rooted in Roman Catholicism, but was generally accepting of atheists. Frei was popular with the people, but his party was not, because it was not aligned with the liberal or conservative ideals. While the economic growth was sluggish under the Christian Democrats, Frei took an independent stance in foreign affairs. He did not run in the 1970 election, leaving Radomiro Tomic Romero to win a mere 27.8% of the vote for the Christian Democrats. When he was succeeded by Salvador Allende, Frei was a known advocate for the armed forces who wanted to remove Allende from office, and was a public supporter of the coup. However, he also became a major opposer of Pinochet’s junta military regime. When Pinochet stepped down, the Christian Democracy Party joined in a coalition with other leftist parties, bringing Patricio Aylwin into presidency. Chile was once again under conservative control.

Orlando Letelier Edit

Orlando Letelier (1932-76) was a Chilean economist, lawyer, politician, and diplomat and was a strong supporter of the socialist party whose president was Salvador Allende. During Allende’s term (1970-73), he was his most trusted advisor because he showed strong leadership skills. Letelier served as an ambassador in the US and negotiated compensation (money) for the American mining companies that were nationalized by Chile. Due to his support of Allende and efforts to cut off military funding from other countries, when Augusto Pinochet seized power in 1973 he threw Letelier in jail and later, after Letelier was exiled to the US, he was assassinated by a bomb placed in the undercarriage of his car. The FBI accused Pinochet of hiring a DINA policeman of perpetrating the assassination. Orlando Letelier died in Washington DC on September 21, 1976.


DINA, abbreviated for Direccion de Inteligencia Nacional or National Intelligence Directorate, was established under the government of Augusto Pinochet as a Chilean Army intelligence unit, and was lead by General Manuel Contreras. Because it was part of the army, it was under Pinochet’s control as commander in chief. Instead of being a police unit for detecting and preventing crime, it specialized in kidnapping citizens connected to Allende or socialism, and turned Chile into a place of war. It threatened the public from November of 1973 to 1977, when it was then renamed the Central Nacional de Informaciones. During its active years it had the power to confine any person as long as it was declared a state of extremity, which basically meant that it was connected to socialism. They worked with foreign agents to attempt to assassinate different people who were connected to Allende and in positions of power. The U.S supported Pinochet in the form of economic aid until his dictatorship ended, and was the one to suggest that Pinochet create the DINA secret police to weed out communism. The US also helped train and organize DINA soldiers. DINA functioned as a tool of terror for Pinochet, and effectively weakened the voice of Chile’s populous.

Manuel Contreras Edit

Manuel Contreras was the leader of Chile’s secret police, DINA, from 1973-1977. He was the second most powerful figure in Chile, following Pinochet, after the death of Salvador Allende. His position of power came from his absolute loyalty to Pinochet and insistence at destroying every fragment of socialist support. He was convicted in 1977 for murdering many key figures of the Chilean coup, such as a Chilean Socialist politician during the presidency of Salvador Allende, Orlando Letelier, and Chilean army chief Carlos Prats. This was done by Pinochet during his reign of power as a way of removing potential threats to his position. He would be now serving twenty-five sentences for a total of two hundred eighty nine years, however, he died in 1994.

School of Americas Edit

School of Americas, or as it is now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute For Security Cooperation is a military school for training foreign soldiers professionally. It is located in Fort Benning, Georgia. Soldiers attending college are trained to apply democratic policies in a foreign country. The National Defense Strategy contract states that national security does not start with in the country itself but in other countries, creating the need for WHISC. To prove this WHISC was created to form a professional military in corrupt areas so that there are grounds to form a democratic, or any other type, of government. The secondary purpose of WHISC is to promote the ideology of democracy and give an example to foreign military that democracy can work, so that they can go back to their countries and apply those policies to their government. However, as Chile serves as an example, many of these trained military members used their knowledge to create military dictatorships. Now many people believe that WHISC is a front so that the United States can enforce or get a foothold in other countries. These people believe that WHISC is a school to create assassins or an American military to overthrow foreign countries whenever the United States so chooses. While the School of Americas has trained many of the torturers and murderers responsible for the disappearances of the Chilean people during Pinochet’s rule, WHISC clearly states in their mission statement “It is not our intent to intervene in the politics of the student”. Also, many do not realize the truth that the students choose to go to WHISC and learn the US policy: they are not forced.

Operation Condor Edit

Operation Condor was a secret campaign of political oppression and tactical assassination of Marxists, opposers of Pinochet’s military dictatorship and anyone associated with them, and was conducted by the governments in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Brazil from about 1973 to 1980. Augusto Pinochet started this campaign, and received extensive aid from the U.S., first in the form of consent to do anything to staunch leftists, including assassination and torture, and later in the form of economic support. The US also supplied weapons and money to the militaries. It was intended to end Communist or Soviet influence in the Americas, while keeping the population unaware. Operation Condor was exposed by the discovery of uncensored documents, also known as the Archives of Terror, in Paraguay around 1993. It is believed that more than 60,000 people died as part of the program. Plans for the operation began when socialist president Salvador Allende was elected. Operation Condor is important to study because it lets us see the political climate in South America during the communist era, and see how the U.S. extended their control everywhere. It was a joint effort by many Latin American countries.

The Archives of Terror Edit

The Archives of Terror  (Terror Archives) were documents discovered in a police station in Paraguay that provided evidence of the torture and killings under the militaristic regime in South America. Unearthed in 1992, they provided photographs and official documentation of over 400,000 political prisoners in the mid-1970s to the late 1980s, including the victims of Operation Condor, a plot to assassinate all the Marxists living in five countries, including Chile. The Archives confirmed that all the people deemed enemies of the Pinochet’s dictatorship, and other dictators in surrounding countries, were kidnapped, tortured, assassinated or secretly imprisoned. Because of the Archives of Terror, the existence of these happenings could no longer be denied, and the deeds that had happened in Operation Condor were finally brought to light.

Operation Silencio Edit

Operation Silencio was a subsection of Operation Condor. It was an operation carried out by the Chilean secret police, DINA, in the 1990’s after the fall of the fascist government in Chile. The purpose of Operation Silencio was to remove witnesses of the unlawful acts that occurred during the previous fascist dictatorship, including torture, detention centers, as well as chemical weapon manufacturing. In practice, Operation Silencio covered up US and CIA connections to DINA and the Chilean dictatorship. Operation Silencio was instrumental in covering up thousands of cases of human rights violations that took place during the fascist governments reign until they were recently exposed in 2005.

Works Cited Edit

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"Chile - Eduardo Frei's Christian Democracy, 1964-70." Country Studies. U.S. Library of Congress, n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

Dinges, John. "Operation Condor." Operation Condor. Columbia University, n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

"Eduardo Nicanor Frei Montalva." Infoplease. The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 2012. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

Falcoff, Mark. "Kissinger Chile The Myth That Will Not Die." Commentary Magazine. Commentary Magazine, 1 Nov. 2003. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

Falconer, Bruce. "The Torture Colony." The American Scholar. The American Scholar, 1 Sept. 2008. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

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"KISSINGER AND CHILE: THE DECLASSIFIED RECORD." The National Security Archive. The National Security Archive, 11 Sept. 2013. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

Landau, Saul, and John Dinges. "MANUEL CONTRERAS AND THE BIRTH OF THE DINA." Remember Chile. Remember Chile, 1980. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

McLeary, Paul. "The Long and Lethal Reach of Gen. Pinochet / Declassified Memos Show Kissinger, Nixon Condoned Assassination, Human Rights Abuses in Chile." SFGate. SFGate, 14 Mar. 2004. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

Minster, Christopher. "Biography of Orlando Letelier." About Education. About Education, 2004. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.