RN: Appeal from Chile


Jan Slakov

Date: Fri, 06 Nov 1998 13:03:04 -0400
From: Thomas Kruse <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Appeal from Chile

>Date: Fri, 06 Nov 1998 11:26:23
>From: Bill Koehnlein <•••@••.•••>
>Subject: Appeal from Chile
>New York Ad Hoc Committee on Chile
>122 West 27 Street 10 floor
>New York, New York 10001-6281
>Since 1996, Maria Helena Moreira Alves, her husband
>Jose Valentin Palacios Vilches, and several hundred
>prominent labor, human rights and political activists
>in Chile have been harassed and received serious death
>threats by right-wing elements aligned with former
>dictator Augusto Pinochet. Since the recent arrest and
>detention of Pinochet in London these threats have
>escalated and become more vehement; indeed, several
>people have been beaten, two have been the victims of
>kidnap attempts, and houses of activists have been
>stoned and ransacked.
>Although there is no solid evidence to implicate
>specific individuals or groups, a key agenda of the
>right-wing is to maintain Chile's transitional
>neoliberal economic policies and to preserve the 1978
>Law of Amnesty, which guarantees impunity to the
>Chilean military, police, and others who were complicit
>with the program of torture, disappearances, and
>repression committed during the Pinochet years. This
>Law of Amnesty proscribes any trials or punishment of,
>or accountability by, the apparatus of the Pinochet
>regime in Chile.
>Chilean human rights organizations have long opposed
>the Law of Amnesty. This law, which was written and
>enacted under Pinochet and remains on the books, has
>been challenged in the courts by human rights advocates
>and others. Simultaneously, the right-wing seeks to
>continue Pinochet's economic program, a paradigm that
>has become the neoliberal model for all of Latin
>America (and, indeed, the world) and which is opposed
>by Chile's trade unions, popular organizations, and
>progressive political movements.
>On October 16, 1998 Augusto Pinochet, who overthrew the
>democratically-elected government of Salvador Allende
>in 1973, was arrested in London, where he went
>ostensibly for medical treatment. (It has since become
>known that he was also in England as an official
>representative of the Chilean government. His mission
>was to buy weapons for the military.) Pinochet's arrest
>occurred at the request of Judges Baltazar Garzon and
>Manuel Garcia-Castellon of Spain's National High Court
>(Audiencia Nacional), which is seeking to interrogate
>him, under the provisions of the Geneva Treaty, for
>genocide and crimes against humanity, based on the
>murder in Chile of ninety-four Spanish citizens during
>his years in power. Once Pinochet was arrested in
>England, the right-wing in Chile reacted angrily by
>rioting for several days and attacking the embassies of
>Spain and Great Britain. It intensified a campaign of
>persecution, including death threats, aimed at members
>of human rights groups, community leaders,
>environmentalists, and elected officials who have
>advocated and defended progressive policies and values.
>Two of the right-wing's targets are Maria Helena Alves
>and her husband, Jose Valentin Palacios Vilches. Maria
>Alves is known to many people in the left and
>progressive community of North America. Author of
>_State and Opposition in Military Brazil_, she is a
>founder and prominent member of the Brazilian Workers'
>Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores). Since 1992 she has
>been living in Chile.
>Jose Valentin Palacios Vilches, former president of the
>automobile workers union in Los Andes, Chile, was
>forced into exile to Brazil during the Pinochet years.
>He entered Brazil under the protection of the United
>Nations High Commission for Refugees and remained there
>until 1992, when he returned to Chile. Today, he serves
>as an elected member of the City Council of Rinconada
>de los Andes, about sixty kilometers from Santiago.
>Because of their political involvement and activities,
>Maria Alves and Jose Valentin Palacios have been
>harassed and persecuted continually. In 1996, their
>home was ransacked and almost destroyed two times. In
>1997, they were forced to close a small restaurant they
>had opened in 1995 due to police harassment of both
>them and their customers. This harassment included
>random beatings and arrests of the restaurant's
>In recent months, the harassment and persecution of
>Maria Alves and Jose Palacios has increased, and the
>death threats have intensified dramatically. In August
>1998 one of their dogs was shot in the spine and left
>for dead. A note attached to the animal's body read
>"This is to show we can get near you." Since the arrest
>of Augusto Pinochet the threats and harassment have
>been a daily occurrence. Recently, another dog was
>poisoned in their garden, followed by a telephone call
>in which the caller said that "what happened to the dog
>can happen to you."
>A similar series of threats has been directed at Mario
>Gustavo Mendez Allendes, director of the Environmental
>Department of the city of Los Andes. His home was
>recently stoned and the perpetrators left a note
>stating that he and his family would all be
>disemboweled and executed as revenge for the arrest of
>All three--Maria Alves, Jose Palacios, and Mario
>Mendez--have appealed to the criminal court of Los
>Andes for orders of protection. So far, there has been
>no response from the court.
>Another recent victim of serious harassment and death
>threats is Carmen Soria, the daughter of Carmelo Soria,
>who was Spain's Ambassador to Chile during the Allende
>years of 1970 to 1973 and who was tortured and murdered
>by the Pinochet regime. Carmen Soria, who holds both
>Chilean and Spanish citizenships, attempted to bring
>Pinochet to trial in Chile for the murder of her
>father. After several attempts, which were unsuccessful
>because of the Law of Amnesty, she brought suit in
>Spain. This suit was accepted by the Spanish court; it
>prompted Judge Baltazar Garzon to issue the current
>warrant for the arrest and extradition to Spain of
>Augusto Pinochet. The death threats aimed at Ms. Soria
>are very serious; she too has applied for an order of
>protection from the court. This order was granted and
>issued. Ms. Soria is a leader of Agrupacion de los
>Familiares de los Detenidos y Desaparecidos, a
>coalition of families whose relatives had disappeared
>(to this day, many are still missing; whether they are
>alive or dead remains unknown) or had been arrested and
>tortured by the Pinochet regime.
>Other people who have been victimized by the right-wing
>include Cecilia Mack, Carlos Ominami, Jose Bolnes and
>Gladys Marin.
>The house of Cecilia Mack, president of the local
>branch of the National Commission on Human Rights, was
>ransacked and stoned on October 27 and destroyed on
>October 31. She has also received death threats.
>Carlos Ominami, Senator from the Socialist Party for
>the Fifth political district, has received death
>threats because of his outspoken support for human
>rights. Senator Ominami has been a strong defender of
>Maria Helena Alves, Jose Valentin Palacios, and Mario
>Gustavo Mendez.
>Jose Bolnes, a well-known Chilean artist, received
>death threats, as did Gladys Marin, the General
>Secretary of the Communist Party of Chile, which is now
>a legal political party. Ms. Marin is the Communist
>Party's candidate for President. She was also the
>victim of an attempted kidnapping following Pinochet's
>arrest. This attempt failed because numerous local
>citizens, who witnessed the abduction in broad
>daylight, intervened by chasing and surrounding the
>getaway car, allowing Ms. Marin to escape.
>What all of these people have in common is that they
>are staunch defenders of human rights and outspoken
>supporters of progressive political and economic
>policies. The legacy of Pinochet remains alive
>throughout Chile. Pinochet has been granted the
>position of "Senator for Life" and his former military
>and police operatives remain active, frequently holding
>positions of power or influence, unpunishable under the
>terms of the 1978 Law of Amnesty. They have threatened
>hundreds of people; the increase since Pinochet's
>arrest in the number of incidents of serious
>intimidation and harassment demands a concerted
>international response.
>What you can do:
>Write to the following officials (a sample letter
>follows) expressing your concern for the human rights
>violations, death threats, and acts of harassment and
>intimidation directed against activists in Chile. Your
>letter should be brief and to the point, and it should
>not be confrontational or belligerent in tone. It is a
>good idea to mention the names of the people noted
>above. If you hold a professional degree it is helpful
>to note your title next to your signature. Similarly,
>if you are a college or university professor it helps
>to send a letter on college stationary. Include your
>full academic title, along with your degree, under your
>signature. Letters should be sent to:
>President Eduardo Frei
>Santiago, Chile
>Ministerio de Exterior Jose Manuel Insulzo
>Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriors
>Alameda Bernardo O'Higgins
>Santiago, Chile
>Gobernador Luis Henriquez Leiva
>Gobernacion Provincial de los Andes
>Santa Rosa #280
>Los Andes, Chile
>Ambassador Juan Somavia
>Ambassador of Chile to the United Nations
>Chilean Mission to the United Nations
>809 United Nations Plaza
>New York, New York 10017
>Fax: (212) 832-8714
>Consulate General of Chile*
>866 United Nations Plaza
>New York, New York 10017**
>Fax: (212) 888-5288
>[*Note: the new Consul does not assume this positions
>until November 16 and the Government of Chile has not
>yet publicly released the name of the person who will
>fill this position. **Further note: Most countries have
>Consulates in major cities of the United States and
>Canada. If you live outside of the New York area find
>out if there is a Chilean Consulate in a city near you
>and send a letter to that office, in addition to the
>Consulate in New York.]
>Ms. Sadako Ogata
>United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
>United Nations, New York 10017 [get correct zip]
>Fax: (212) 963-0074
>Sample letter:
>Dear ______________:
>I have recently learned that people residing in the
>area of Los Andes, Chile, including Maria Helena
>Moreira Alves, Jose Valentin Palacios Vilches, Mario
>Gustavo Mendez Allendes, Carmen Soria, Cecilia Mack,
>Senator Carlos Ominami, Jose Bolnas, and Presidential
>candidate Gladys Marin, along with others, have been
>the victims of death threats, as well as physical and
>psychological intimidation and harassment. In some
>cases their homes were vandalized and ransacked, and
>their animals were killed and mutilated.
>Since the election of 1990, Chile has been solidly on
>the road to the restoration of democracy. It therefore
>disturbs me greatly to learn that human rights
>violations are continuing to occur within the country.
>>From information I have received it is apparent that
>local police are at least partly responsible for these
>human rights violations. Some of the victims have
>appealed for judicial orders of protection.
>As a person who strongly supports human rights for all
>people everywhere, and as a believer in the ideas
>expressed in the United Nations Declaration of Human
>Rights and the various Geneva conventions and treaties
>I am requesting that the national government of Chile,
>as well as the local provincial government of Los Andes
>issue and enforce orders of protection for the above-
>mentioned individuals, as well as locate, arrest, and
>punish the persons who have committed criminal acts
>against them. Further, I am requesting that the
>national and local governments take whatever measures
>are necessary to ensure the safety of people involved
>in trade union, environmental, religious, and
>progressive social movements, and to ensure that such
>criminal acts will not be committed against them in the
>Thank you for your attention to this matter.
>Please send copies of any letters you send or receive
>to the New York Ad Hoc Committee on Chile, 122 West 27
>Street, 10 floor, New York, New York 10001-6281.
>In addition, please alert local media, community
>associations, human rights and religious groups, trade
>unions, political organizations and others to the
>situation. Governments, especially those that are
>trying to remold their international images, as Chile
>is doing, are often responsive to international
>pressure. The arrest of Pinochet has focused world
>attention on Chile once again; it is a type of scrutiny
>that country would prefer not to undergo. This is an
>opportune moment to examine the human rights situation
>in Chile and begin to act to ensure that basic rights
>are fully restored.

Date: Fri, 06 Nov 1998 22:53:39 -0800
From: nurev <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Military activity in Chile

>Date: Fri, 06 Nov 1998 09:54:38
>To: •••@••.•••
>From: Bill Koehnlein <•••@••.•••>
>Subject: URGENT: Military Activity in Chile
>New York Ad Hoc Committee on Chile
>122 West 27 Street, 10 floor
>New York, New York 10001-6281
>According to eyewitness reports, on Friday November 6
>at 5:30 AM local time about 150 tanks and trucks loaded
>with soldiers were observed leaving Chile's two main
>barracks in the provinces of San Felipe and Los Andes
>heading in the direction of Santiago, Chile's capital.
>In the context of the recent arrest of Pinochet, local
>progressive and human rights activists are concerned
>about the possibility of some type of renewed
>repression occuring. They have not dismissed the
>possibility that forces aligned with Pinochet might be
>attempting a new coup d'etat.
>More later.
Date: Fri, 6 Nov 1998 13:14:14 -0200
To: •••@••.•••
From: •••@••.••• (R.Magellan)
Subject:interception of Pinochet or another arrest


Well, I'm rather pessimistic on the Lords' verdict about Pinochet. 
Nevertheless, even so, there are chances that the tyrant won't never get a 
plane ride home.  

I've just now received the information that several European countries will 
deny flight permissions to the Chilean Air Force hospital plane that is 
staying at Heathrow waiting for Pinochet.  In a normal route back to Chile 
the plane would have to cross over France, Spain and Portugal, all of which 
had nationals among the victims of the dictatorship  (or people with double 
citizenship, that is more common).  These countries will so probably 
intercept the Chilean plane if it tries to fly over them, if the information 
is true.

Another alternative route would be through North America and, in this case, 
the plane would probably NOT be intercepted, but...      ----what about a 
sudden popular mobilization to force the US and Canadian governments to deny 
flight permission too?  Would it be possible?   There are at least two US 
citizens who were murdered by the dictatorship in Chile (the US embassy kept 
silence over it, BTW) and it must be also remembered the terrorist attack 
against Orlando Letelier in the US soil, that also killed his secretary, the 
US citizen Ronni Miffit  (do I write correctly her name?).

Or perhaps the plane will try to fly all the time over international waters 
"down the South American way".  In this case (as well as in the normal route 
case) the plane would necessarily have to fly in a great extent of the 
journey over Brazil and to do a technical stop to refuel in some Brazilian 
airport.  Even so Pinochet may not hear that old Carmen Miranda's tune but 
an aerial interception or even another order of arrest instead !  (temporary 
detention, better saying).

There has been rumored that the detention of Pinochet could be attempted  by 
means of an urgent request by a federal prosecutor in the name of the 
Brazilian victims of Pinochet's dictatorship or by the aerial interception 
of the plane or the seizure of it when it stops in Brazilian soil.  In the 
former case the detention must be ordered by a federal judge and in the 
latter case the interception or seizure would have to be ordered by the 
President himself.  

In solidarity,

Date: Sat, 7 Nov 1998 11:06:45 -0200
To: •••@••.•••
From: •••@••.••• (R.Magellan)
Subject: Pinochet doesn't take chances but...

Excuse me if I bore you with my thoughts about the possible escape route for 
Pinochet.  I think that the progressive forces of the countries located in 
the way back home could try to do something to harass the tyrant. 
Nevertheless, it seems by now that a compromise solution is taking shape:  
it would be established an international court in Geneva and a joint action 
of several European countries against Pinochet would be filed there. Perhaps 
the best solution!   

The Chilean military have already taken precautions against the risks of 
another arrest or aerial interception of the plane riding Pinochet back 
home.  The  "Jornal do Brasil" of today (see below, published in Rio de 
Janeiro) says that they are going to substitute a Boeing 707 for the 
Gulfstream that is waiting for the tyrant at Brize Norton  (a RAF airport, 
not Heathow).  The former could fly without needing "to stop in other 
countries where a new request of search, arrest and extradition
could be filed."   Which are these "other countries"? 

So, it seems that they fear an act of justice (search and arrest order) more 
than a sovereign act of governments (interception).  Since they won't surely 
take the risks of flying over France and the Iberian peninsula, I guess that 
the most probable escape route is either flying over Canada or flying 
permanently over international waters in the Atlantic ocean. Even so, as far 
as I know, a Boeing cannot fly directly from London to Santiago de Chile 
without refueling somewhere.  Where?  The normal route is Brazil.

The information below also mentions that Pope John Paul II could intervene 
on the behalf of the aging tyrant on humanitarian grounds.  Though the Pope 
still influences the Latin American and Iberian countries very much either 
for the evil as for the good, I think that he will be quite unsuccessful if 
he tries.  It rather seems a bad joke.

In solidarity,

1848 / 1998:   Proletarier aller Länder, vereinigt euch !    
Paix entre nous, guerre aux tyrans  (....)
Ouvriers, paysans, nous sommes
Le grand PARTI DES TRAVAILLEURS.  (L' Internationale)

Espanha pedirá extradição 

Governo encaminha pedido do juiz que 
pretende processar Pinochet. Chile protesta 

Note from Jan: Since I am pretty sure most people on this list can't read
Portuguese, I am cutting out the excerpt from the article. I can, however,
forward it to anyone who would like it (when I get time).

all the best, Jan