Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Chile: Obama's visit (2)

So, here's an update on how Obama's trip to Chile turned out. As expected, there was no apology, but Obama did say that would consider requests for US information regarding the deaths of Salvador Allende and another former Chilean president, Eduardo Frei Montalva, who died in suspicious circumstances in 1982.

PiƱera responded that he would formally request the intelligence material on the matters. He also stressed the "equality" of the relationship between the two countries. To be frank, I don't imagine for a second that Obama sees Chile as an equal to the US, but I do agree that a great deal of progress has been made. A prompt request for any classified documents which could shed light on the Frei and Allende cases, and a swift reponse to this, would be another positive step.

Obama cites Latin Americans as examples for others (NY Times)

Frei Montalva, Allende's predecessor, was a leading Pinochet critic when he died in 1982 after hernia surgery in what many people consider mysterious circumstances.

Pinochet agents allegedly hung his body from a ladder, drained it of fluids and removed organs. Six people were charged last year in an alleged poisoning of Frei Montalva and a cover-up, but the judge in the case has failed to get formal support from the governments of Chile and the U.S. for uncensored files and other evidence.

Frei's son Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, a former center-left president who lost to Pinera last year, met briefly with Obama on Monday. Chilean media quoted him as saying that he personally asked for help solving his father's murder and that Obama promised to cooperate.

Pinera's government formally supported the Frei investigation this year after a leaked U.S. Embassy cable suggested the case would never be solved.

Obama says US ready to help Chile in rights cases (AP)
US ready to help Chile solve human rights crimes but no apology for 1973 events (Mercopress)

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said Tuesday that he'll accept President Barack Obama's invitation to formally request classified U.S. intelligence documents that may identify Chilean agents responsible for more than 1,200 human rights violations during the Pinochet dictatorship.

Pinera made this pledge — his most specific yet on Chile's unresolved human rights cases — during an interview with The Associated Press in which he described Obama's visit as a validation of his country's regional leadership and rejected complaints that it was short on concrete results.

[...]"If there's information that a friendly government such as the United States can provide to us, that advances the speed and strength of Chilean justice, of course we're going to ask for it," Pinera said.

AP Interview: Chile president to ask for CIA files (AP)

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