Saturday, 2 March 2013

Chile: Pinochet officials made secret visits to UK

Declassified documents in Britain have revealed how high-ranking dictatorship officials from Chile came to the UK in the 1980s.

General Fernando Matthei, commander of the Chilean Air Force, for example, visited London in 1982, ostensibly to "visit friends" and "buy a few books from Foyles" (the famous bookshop). However, he also met representatives of the defence ministry. A confidential memo from the Foreign Office noted that Matthei was a "controversial figure" and that his visit must be kept private so that meetings did not attract criticism from human rights groups.

Matthei's visit was apparently not the first of a Chilean official to Britain, the documents show; in fact some of these took place not just under Thatcher, but also under the Labour government of the late 1970s.

Papeles secretos Chile-Reino Unido: los generales fantasma de Pinochet en Londres (BBC Mundo)
Pinochet generals and ministers incognito and “non official” visits to UK (Mercopress; this is a translation of the BBC Mundo piece)

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