Valparaiso Court of Appeals orders the arrest of former DINA torturer Cristián Labbé

Former DINA agent, torture instructor and mayor of Providencia, Cristian Labbe, has been arrested upon orders by the Valparaiso Court of Appeals for his role in the kidnapping, detention and torture of Cosme Segundo Caracciolo Alvarez.

Caracciolo Alvarez was kidnapped from his home in March 1975 and taken to Rocas de Santo Domingo.

Labbé was also prosecuted in 2014 for his association with Tejas Verdes upon a series of accusations related to torture which came to light after publication of Javier Rebolledo’s book, “El Despertar de los Cuervos.”


Report discredits official version of Pablo Neruda’s death

pablo-nerudaThe panel of experts investigating the death of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda have discredited the official version which stipulates the cause of death as metastatic prostate cancer. While the cause of death is still unknown, there is unanimous consensus that the statement issued by the dictatorship is false, thus paving the way for additional investigations.

Judge Mario Carroza, who ordered the previous exhumations of Neruda’s remains, is expected to receive the expert’s report this evening, after which decisions regarding the judicial process and investigations will be decided. 

Neruda’s chauffeur, Manuel Araya, has repeatedly insisted that the poet was murdered at the Clinica Santa Maria by a doctor who injected a toxic substance in his abdomen. It has been alleged that the doctor administering the injection, known only as Dr Price, is the former CIA and DINA agent Michael Townley, now living under protection in the US.

In 1982, former Chilean Eduardo Frei Montalva was murdered at the Clinica Santa Maria by the Pinochet dictatorship. While undergoing surgery, Frei was poisoned with toxins manufactured by biochemist Eugenio Berrios.

Both Townley and Berrios were assigned duties related to the manufacturing of biological and chemical weapons during the Pinochet dictatorship. 



Calls for impunity from former military officer charged as an accomplice in Caravana de la Muerte

Juan Emilio Cheyre, a former military officer charged by Judge Mario Carroza as an accomplice in the torture and murder of 15 civilians during the Carvana de la Muerte massacres committed in La Serena, has denounced activists’ efforts to bring dictatorship-era perpetrators to justice. Activists, he declared, do not want to see Chile prosper. He called for denouncing dictatorship opponents, adding that only the police and the military should be involved in proceedings leading to indictment and subsequent prosecution.

Cheyre also stands accused of torturing Nicolas Barrantes and Luis Ravanal. Barrantes stated that the torture inflicted upon him only ended when the military murdered his brother, who was also detained and tortured.

35 former DINA agents sentenced for the kidnapping and disappearance of Reinalda Pereira



REINALDA PEREIRA – disappeared at Cuartel Simon Bolivar

Poder Judicial has communicated notification of the sentencing of 35 former DINA agents involved in the kidnapping and disappearance of Reinalda Pereira, a Communist Party militant. Pereira, 26, was 5 months pregnant at the time of her kidnapping and transfer to the torture and extermination centre Cuartel Simon Bolivar.

Ten year prison sentences were meted out to Pedro Octavio Espinoza Bravo, Juan Hernán Morales Salgado and Ricardo Víctor Lawrence Mires as perpetrators of the crime.

Gladys de las Mercedes Calderón Carreño, Juvenal Alfonso Piña Garrido, Pedro Segundo Bitterlich Jaramillo, Héctor Raúl Valdebenito Araya, Sergio Orlando Escalona Acuña, Jorge Lientur Manríquez Manterola, María Angélica Guerrero Soto, Orfa Yolanda Saavedra Vásquez, Elisa del Carmen Magna Astudillo, Eduardo Alejandro Oyarce Riquelme, Heriberto del Carmen Acevedo, Claudio Enrique Pacheco Fernández, Emilio Hernán Troncoso Vivallos, Teresa del Carmen Navarro Navarro, José Manuel Sarmiento Sotelo, Gustavo Enrique Guerrero Aguilera, Manuel Antonio Montre Méndez y Jorge Hugo Arriagada Mora were sentenced to seven years imprisonment as perpetrators of the crime.

Hernán Luis Sovino Maturana, Jose Alfonso Ojeda Obando, Jose Miguel Meza Serrano, Luis Alberto Lagos Yáñez, Jorge Iván Diaz Radulovich, Jorge Segundo Pichunmán Curiqueo, Sergio Hernán Castro Andrade, Carlos Enrique Miranda Mesa, Victor Manuel Álvarez Droguett, Orlando of the Transito Altamirano Sanhueza, Guillermo Eduardo Díaz Ramírez, Berta Yolanda del Carmen Jiménez Escobar, Carlos Eusebio López Inostroza and Joyce Ana Ahumada Despouy were sentenced to four years for their roles as accomplices in the crime.


Retired Chilean Air Force officer commits suicide after indictment for dictatorship crimes

Carlos Alberto Rey Cortes, a retired Chilean Air Force officer, committed suicide this morning prior to his arrest by the Chilean investigation police department. According to Chilean news sources, the suicide occured around 7.00am when Rey requested time to shower before being transferred to prison. A photo published in BioBio Chile depicts the bathroom window of Rey’s apartment marked by a bullet hole.

Rey, 71, was indicted on October 11 2017 for the murder of Arturo Díaz Jiménez. Díaz was shot in the chest by an Air Force patrol in front of his house on January 1, 1974 around 2.30am. The murder was described by Chilean human rights organisations as an unnecessary demonstration of force by dictatorship agents.

Indictment against 13 retired military officers involved in the Caso Quemados

The Santiago Court of Appeals issued an indictment on September 22, 2017 against 13 retired military officers for their involvement in Caso Quemados. The 13 officers are accused of the murder and attempted murder of Rodrigo Rojas de Negri and Carmen Gloria Quintana respectively. The crime was committed on July 2, 1986. 

Rojas and Quintana were doused in petrol and set on fire by military officers who disrupted a protest using force and live ammunition. 

The accused are: Nelson Fidel Medina Gálvez, Luis Alberto Zúñiga González, Jorge Astorga Espinoza, Francisco Vásquez Vergara, Iván Figueroa Canobra, Julio Castañer González, Leonardo Riquelme Alarcón, Walter Lara Gutiérrez, Juan Ramón González Carrasco, Pedro Fernández Dittus and Pedro Franco Rivas. Complicit in the crime is Sergio Hernández Ávila while René Muñoz Bruce stands accused of being an accessory to the crime. 

Chilean War-criminal Sheltering In the US May Finally Face Justice

(First published in Mint Press News)

Earlier this month, Chilean media erupted with the news that a former member of Chile’s secret police under the dictator Augusto Pinochet would face trial in the United States for the 1973 murder of , a popular revolutionary folk singer.

The Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) confirmed the news with a statement on its website on April 14. “We are delighted with the news that our case will move forward for torture and extrajudicial killing,” CJA International attorney Almudena Bernabeu is quoted as saying.

Pedro Pablo Barrientos Nuñez, a former National Intelligence Directorate (DINA) agent, has been living in the U.S. since 1989. Knowing that a number of previous extradition requests from Chile had failed, the CJA filed the lawsuit on behalf of Jara’s family in a U.S. District Court in Florida, asserting claims under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) and the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA).

Court documents made available by the CJA show that Barrientos is being held responsible “for the arbitrary detention, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and extrajudicial killing of Victor Jara at the Stadium on or about September 15 1973.”

After subjecting Jara to extreme torture, Barrientos played Russian roulette, eventually shooting the nueva canción singer in the back of the head. Jara’s body was then riddled with bullets by five military conscripts under orders from Barrientos.

On Jan. 30, 2015, Barrientos presented a motion to set aside the lawsuit instigated by CJA. His statement is replete with anti-socialist propaganda reminiscent of Henry Kissinger’s rhetoric, dismissing state violence as a mere excess that resulted “in the false detention, torture and execution of scores of individuals at Chile Stadium and other locations.”

Still, the CJA’s current legal proceedings against Barrientos, which commenced in September 2013, constitute a major step forward in attempting to bring Jara’s alleged murderer to justice.

“Quién mató a Víctor Jara?”

On Sept. 11, 1973, Pinochet ousted Salvador Allende, a democratically-elected, socialist president, in a U.S.-based coup that would keep Pinochet in power for almost two decades. In supporting the coup, the U.S. aimed to prevent the possibility of Chile becoming another beacon of socialism in South America, particularly in light of the resilience and popularity of the Cuban Revolution and Fidel Castro.

Allende’s campaign sought to unify the workers’ struggle within cultural consciousness. The Nueva Canción Chilena (Chilean New Song), a folk movement which originated in the mid-1960s as a means of articulating social struggle, became a popular revolutionary feature during Allende’s campaign.

Many nueva canción musicians, including Jara, later assumed roles as cultural ambassadors, and thus, targets for Pinochet.

A mural depicting Victor Jara, one of the founders of the nueva canción movement. A A mural depicting Victor Jara, one of the founders of the nueva canción movement.When “Quién mató a Víctor Jara?

(“Who Killed Víctor Jara?”) aired on Chilevision in May 2012, the documentary accelerated an otherwise dormant process as former DINA conscript Jose Paredes Márquez revealed the name of Jara’s alleged killer.

“I do not have to face justice because I killed no one. I’ve been to Chile several times, but now, loud and clear, I won’t go,” Barrientos says in the documentary with the self-assurance of a man who, despite being wanted for Jara’s murder in Chile, has continued to live in the U.S. for almost 30 years without much threat of extradition.

Barrientos also cast doubt over Paredes’ testimony because after naming Barrientos as Jara’s killer, Paredes later retracted his testimony, stating that he was pressured by authorities to reveal details. And, indeed, given the lack of cooperation by the authorities to open dictatorship archives, it is likely that Paredes was pressured into retracting his statements to preserve Chile’s ingrained culture of impunity.

In December 2012, Chilean newspaper El Mostrador reported that Chilean courts handed down indictments against former DINA agents involved in Jara’s murder. Barrientos and Hugo Sanchez Marmonti were indicted as the murderers, while Roberto Souper Onfray, Raúl González Jofre, Edwin Dimter Bianchi, Nelson Hasse Mazzei and Luis Bethke Wulf were indicted as accomplices.

Struggle for justice

Jara’s murder and the subsequent struggle for justice reflect the stories of the thousands of Chileans murdered during Pinochet’s dictatorship, which lasted from 1973 to 1990. And speculation as to who murdered Jara was long shackled by authorities’ refusal to cooperate with investigations.

Indeed, legal action initiated by Joan Jara, Víctor’s widow, in Chile, proved futile for decades. The first legal proceedings filed in 1978 remained pending until Aug. 31, 1982, when the Chilean Criminal Court of First Instance declared there was insufficient evidence to charge any DINA agents with Jara’s murder.

Meanwhile, Pinochet passed Decree Law No. 2.191 in 1978. The amnesty law effectively prevented Chilean courts from prosecuting military officials involved in human rights abuses, including torture and murder, during the dictatorship era, which ran from 1973 to 1990. (The country moved to overturn the law last year, aiming to bring the country more in line with international human rights standards.)

Other attempts to bring Jara’s killers to justice were launched in 1999 at the Santiago Court of Appeals and the Chile Court of Appeals. Both were hampered by witnesses who were hesitant to come forward with information. The cases were consolidated in 2001, then closed in 2008, when Paredes stepped forward as a witness to Jara’s murder and provided the Santiago Court of Appeals with Barrientos’ identity as the alleged killer.