ON THE STATUS OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN CHILE
of “on the spot” Observations in
With the Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees and with the Representative of the International Red Cross
On Tuesday the 16th at 9:30 a.m., I had an interview with Mr.
Oldrich Haselman, Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees. I told him I had been much impressed by the way in which refugee
Centers had been organized, having had the opportunity the day before to visit
the “Padre Hurtado” Refugee Center, and that I was grateful to his
collaborators for the facilities they had provided me. Mr. Hasselman informed me
that there were seven refugee centers housing a total of 800 refugees and that
the establishment of the refugee centers was made possible by the way the
government junta had cooperated. He spoke of Decree 1308 of October 3, which
authorized the establishment of the National Committee to Aid Refugees, and made
same remarks on the possibility that the refugees might leave Chile. He
indicated that, up to that time, only a few governments, among them Sweden and
Switzerland, were willing to permit the entry of those persons, and that he had
hopes Peru would open its doors. He also spoke about the denunciations relating
to the treatment foreigners had received during their detention, but indicated
that this was more a matter within the competence of the CIDH.
On Monday, October 13, at 9:30 a.m., I visited the war arsenals, in the
company of Army Major Luis Mericq. I was told about the weapons seized by the
armed forces and the police in the presidential residence of Tomás Moro, La
Moneda and other locations. I observed the supply of caliber 7-62 automatic
rifles, numerous Garat rifles of Italian M-1 manufacture, similar to those of
the United States army: automatic rifles of Czech manufacture; automatic pistols
of Soviet manufacture; Soviet manufactured and homemade rocket launchers; 60 mm
homemade mortars; 57 mm. Recoilless cannons; bullet-proof vests, gas masks, and
other materiel. I was given documents on the armaments seized in Santiago after
September 11 of this year.
Later I went to the National Stadium, the main detainee center. During my
visit to the sports arena, I was accompanied by Colonel Jorge Espinoza. I was
informed that, from September 11 to that date, approximately 4,000 persons had
been released. On that date, 2,603 persons were in detention, 173 of whom were
women. I was also informed that, in the near future, 550 prisoners would be
released and that the status of all detainees would be decided by November 5.
I was informed that 250 detainees were foreigners, that 120 would be
released, and that most of them were Brazilians, Uruguayans, and Bolivians.
I spoke with some prisoners, among them, Dr. Samuel Pasik, an
Argentine, who stated that he was arrested in Puerto Montt and that after six
days he had been transferred to the National Stadium in Santiago. He said he did
not know the changes against him. He indicated that he had been a resident in
Chile for nine years and wishes to remain in the country.
The Bolivian writer, Luciano Borge, stated that he was arrested on
September 24, at the entrance of the Mexican Embassy; that he had arrived in the
country on December 23, 1971; that he had received good treatment and that he
did not wish to return to Bolivia. He said he preferred to go to France or
Julio Miguel Barraibá Figueredo, arrested on September 17, stated
that he wished to go to Sweden instead of returning to his country Uruguay. He
said his wife and children had already left Chile. He did not respond in precise
terms when I questioned him regarding his activities in the country.
Ignacio Miashiro, a Bolivian, arrested on September 14, said he
did not know the reason for his arrest or the charges against him, and that he
did not with to return to Bolivia.
Raúl Irena Estrada, a Mexican, arrested on September 24, said he
did not know the charges against him.
I also had interviews with the following:
Margarita Echeverría, a Chilean who had been arrested the
preceding night. Her face showed visible effects of having received hard blows.
She said her husband had also been beaten and that she did not know the reason
for her arrest.
Laura Martìnez Silva, arrested on September 27 in the office
where she worked. She stated she was accused of having held a political meeting
on September 11.
Flora Espinoza Díaz, a Chilean dentist, was arrested on October
2. She stated that on October 8 she had been beaten during interrogation.
Soledad Urzia Pérez, a 16-year old student, who had been arrested
on October 8. She said she did not know the charges against her.
María Emilia Tijoux, who was arrested on September 27. She
indicated she had been unable to receive any news from her family and that she
did not know the charges against her.
María Elena Gallardo, a Chilean, arrested on October 10; stated
that she also did not know the reasons for her arrest.
Carmen Flores de Echeverría, a Uruguayan arrested on October 3
and pregnant, said she did not know the reasons for her arrest.
The women denounced having been disrobed and molested. They indicated
that, when they were transferred to the interrogation rooms, they were
blindfolded, but they were not supplied with blindfolds and were forced to use
their underclothing for that purpose.
Among the Chilean prisoners with whom I spoke was Manuel Vásquez,
who said he had been arrested on October 3, and did not know the charges against
The women prisoners asked that future interrogations be conducted by the
armed forces and not by the air force, the uniformed or civil police. The
Colonel agreed to that request.
I also visited the field hospital, which was set up in the National
Stadium on September 19, Mayor Tapia is in charge of it.
I was informed that prisoners are visited and assisted by the Red Cross
and social workers.
From the National Stadium I was taken to Cañaveral, another presidential
residence, in the foothills section of Arrayán. It has been occupied by the
army, and weapons were seized there. It was the military training site for the
GAP and foreign guerillas. I was given a copy of the certificate of search and
Hurtado” Refugee Center
On Monday afternoon, October 15, I went in the company of Mr. Samuel
Nalegach Pons, a member of the National Committee to Aid Refugees and a CEPAL
official, to the “Padre Hurtado” Refugee Center. This institution is a CEPAL
technical school and was converted into a refugee center by installing 120 beds.
On my visit to the establishment, I found that services were fairly good. There
were about 120 refugees, most of them Brazilians, Bolivians, and Uruguayans.
At the meeting I had with all of the prisoners, the following acts were
Luis Carlos de Almeida, (Brazilian) a professor of the State
Technical University, was arrested and has disappeared.
Tulio Quintiliano (Brazilian), an engineer, was arrested and taken
to the National Stadium and later to the Tacna regiment; he has disappeared.
Roberto Metzer (Brazilian), a FLACSO official, was arrested on the
12th, tortured, and taken to the National Stadium.
Antonio José Barros (Brazilian), a resident in Chile for two
years, was arrested and has disappeared.
With regard to the Brazilian refugees, I was informed that the Brazilian
Bar Association had requested the Government Junta to respect the human rights
of the prisoners.
With regard to the Bolivian refugees, they stated that 350 Bolivians had
been repatriated from the north of Chile on the basis of the refugee list
furnished by the Bolivian Consul to the Chilean authorities and that many of the
repatriates were in the concentration camps of Uyuni.
That Dr. Jorge Ríos Dalens (Bolivian), who had his papers in
order and a fixed residence, was arrested and was presumed dead.
That Felipe Inigas (Bolivian) was arrested and tortured.
That Antonio Moreno (Bolivian) was arrested, accused of sniping,
and has disappeared.
That Gualberto Lizarraga (Bolivian) was tortured and has a
That Luis Velez (Bolivian) was arrested and has disappeared.
That Carlos Toranzos (Bolivian) was arrested and has disappeared.
That Julio Baraymer (Uruguayan) was arrested on September 17, and
That Gonzalo Vergal (Uruguayan) was arrested and has disappeared.
That Delbo Ignasio da Silva (Uruguayan), with a tourist visa, was
arrested and mistreated.
That Miguel Angel Ortíz Suárez (Uruguayan), with a tourist visa,
was arrested and has disappeared.
That Dr. Ricardo Helena (Uruguayan), a cardiologist and professor
at the University of Concepción, was arrested and tortured.
That four Ecuadoran students who were living in the Hotel Panamericano
were arrested and had disappeared.
That Sócrates Ponce Pacheco (Ecuadoran), who had resided in Chile
for 10 years was shot on September 11; he was living in Torre San Borja,
That Dr. Marquez Rogalina (Ecuadoran), a physician, was arrested
and has disappeared.
That Dr. Rafael de León (Ecuadoran), with a residence in Obispo
Donoso 46, was arrested and has disappeared.
That Federico Vaires (Salvadoran), a student at the University of
Chile, was arrested and transferred to the Tacna barracks and has disappeared.
That Luis Alvarado (Chilean) and Jorge Sabogal (Colombian)
were arrested and have disappeared.
That Delbo Ignacio da Silva, Alfonso J. Sánchez, Miguel
Angel Ortiz Suárez, and Basilio Salvia Mendez, all Uruguayans, are
in the National Stadium and the authorities wish to force them to return to
their country of origin.
e. San Luis Camp
On Tuesday, October 16, I visited, in the company of Major Luis Henríquez,
the San Luis Camp, located in Las Condes. Twelve hundred families are living
there, totaling some 5,000 residents. The camp has been in operation for two
years and most of its residents are construction workers. A school with 400
students is located at the site. The camp is under the authority of the army,
which has established a system of community aid, since September 22 of this
Deposition and Statements
I received the following statements:
The declarant stated that he was arrested on September 27 and taken to
the La Puntilla police station; that he was subjected to maltreatment; that he
was kept in a cell with eight persons, where he met a man with his son who were
tortured; that his skull was fractured and that a rib was broken; that there was
no interrogation. He arrived at the National Stadium on October 4 and was
released on the 6th. He stated that those who were taken directly to
the stadium were not subject to maltreatment, since all of the torture took
place in installations of the Chilean air force and the carabineros. He stated
that Litre Quiroga, head of the Prison Services in the previous
administration, voluntarily reported to the police on September 12; that he was
tortured for three days and finally executed. That Victor Jara, a labor
union leader and also a guitarist, voluntarily reported, and they broke his
hands and executed him.
The declarant submitted his statement in writing, along with photographs
of José Sergio Alegría Higuera and Luis Eleuterio Mardonado Gallardo,
who were found dead on October 12 under the Bulnes bridge.
He stated that, “on the morning of September 23, 1973, a group of over
20 inhabitants were arrested; the exact number was not known. They were taken
from their homes by military forces and carabineros.”
Among the bodies that were found in the Mapocho River near the Bulnes
bridge on the morning of the next day (the 24th), seven were
recognized as having been arrested the day before. Some of them showed signs of
beating, for example:
Miguel Hernán Moreno Caviedes (missing an arm).
Sergio Emilio Aguilar Nuñez (his genital organs mangled).
The following is a list of victims from the town of Nueva Matucana, with
Alvaro Javier Acuña Torres, 25 years old. Painter. Had undergone
a lung operation. Married to Margarita Córdoba Santos, 18 years old. Children:
Francisco Alvaro, one year old. His wife is expecting another child. Address:
179 Rafael Pacheco.
Miguel Hernán Moreno Caviedes, 18 years old, unemployed. Single.
Mother widowed. Address: 7 Lautaro.
Miguel Zaldivar Arriagada, 28 years old. Civil marriage on
September 25, wife expecting a child. Was working in a lamp factory and before
that in INDESA. Address: 178 Rafael Pacheco.
Carlos René León Morales, 28 years old. Shoemaker. Married to
Patricia Cárcamo, who was expecting a child. Address; 84 Fidel Estay.
Sergio Emilio Aguilar Nuñez, born in 1945. Single. Address: 66
José Oscar Machuca Espinoza, 27 years old. Was working in “ATLÁNTIDA”
factory of Pasta Nugget for close to eight years. Living with Luisa Gaete. No
Children. Address: 78 Ramiro Sepùlveda.
Two bodies were found on October 12 under the Bulnes bridge:
José Sergio Alegría Higuera, 24 years old. Military driver's
license Nº 18754. Worked for many years in La Frutera. Was living with his
parents: Manuel Alegría (80 years old) and Blanca Luz Higuera (62 years old),
(was taken from the river about one block west of the Bulnes bridge on the north
bank). Address: Costanera… Was not a criminal and had no political affiliation
of any kind.
Luis Eleuterio Mardonado Gallardo, born 1952. Worked in La Frutera
after his discharge from military service, which he performed in the Military
Academy in 1972. He was living with his grandmother, Octaviana del Carmen Bozza
Garrido. Was not a criminal and had no political affiliation. Address: 93 San
The two young men lived close to each other, and went out together on the
evening of October 11 to go to the theater. “It is assumed that they were
taken at Matucana. They must have been shot on the night of October 11 and
remained in the Mapocho River until October 12 at 12:30, when they were
recognized by members of their family. At approximately 1:00 p.m., members of
the military arrived and ordered the people away. However, they did not remove
the bodies, which were still there at 3:00 p.m.”
The declarant stated that on September 13, 14, and 15, thirteen bodies
were found and that on the following Sunday, the body of an 18-year old youth
was found with his head smashed and an arm missing; that at the Iquique bridge
he saw two bodies, one a youth 15 years old and the other 20; that on October
11, three other bodies appeared three blocks from the Archbishopric in the west
In addition, statements were made by two workers who did not wish to give
Since one of the declarants stated that, on that same morning, he had
seen six bodies, including that of a woman, on the banks of the Mapocho River,
near the Bulnes bridge, I visited the site, and could see that the places where
the bodies had been were covered with blood, and in one place, I observed pieces
of brain tissue.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I was informed that it was known from authoritative sources that, after
the events of September, police agents from Uruguay and Brazil arrived in
Santiago to request the Government of Chile to turn over to them some of the
detainees from their countries. In fact, he stated that 16 Brazilian agents,
with blue passports, entered the National Stadium to examine the records of
arrested Brazilians and to identify them. I was also informed that six Uruguayan
agents took the same action. Fortunately, when this maneuver was reported to the
Representative for Latin America of the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees, he made the necessary arrangements with the Chilean Government to
obtain compliance with the 1951 Refugee Convention, the 1967 Protocol, and the
Declaration on Terrritorial Asylum, unanimously adopted by the U.N. General
Assembly in December, 1967, which stipulates, inter alia, “that no
refugee shall be expelled from or forced to return to any state where he may be
subject to persecution.” I was also informed of the fate of 350 Bolivian
refugees in the north of Chile, a matter I referred to previously.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I also had the opportunity of conversing with a university professor and
with a distinguished member of the Christian Democratic Party. Both agreed that
the present situation was hopeful; that excesses had occurred, but not of the
magnitude published abroad and that the intervention of the government in the
universities was a big mistake. Both spoke also of the statements made by the
ex-President of the Republic, Mr. Eduardo Frei, to the Madrid Newspaper
“ABC” on October 11, when he said that the decision of the Government Junta
to take power had saved the country.
The following comments are based on an examination of the background
information, documentation, statements and declarations I have referred to:
It can be stated that a number of prisoners were subject to harassment,
abuses, maltreatment, and, in some cases, torture. However, it should be noted
that reports appearing in the international press on maltreatment and torture
are exaggerated. According to the information we received, such maltreatment
took place, but usually in the police stations immediately after arrest and
With regard to political refugees, it can be stated that a number of
foreigners were subject to persecution. The fact that radio and television
incited the denunciation of all foreign extremists apparently contributed to
this. The result was that both foreign extremists and non-extremists were
denounced. Undoubtedly, a number of political refugees meddled in Chile's
internal politics, and some of them held important posts in the government
administration and in the nationalized factories and businesses during the
Allende regime. It is also seen from the information received that a number of
political refugees were subject to maltreatment. Some have been found dead, but
it cannot be determined, without thorough investigation, whether these deaths
were the result of skirmishes with the army or the result of executions by
With reference to those taking asylum in embassies, it is general
knowledge that Chile is complying with the conventions on asylum. Up to October
16, 1973, a total of 1,779 persons had been given asylum. Up to that date, the
Government of Chile had granted 1,660 safe conducts.
With regard to summary executions, we can only refer to the news on this
matter, published in the newspaper El Mercurio of Santiago, Chile. The newspaper
stated in its September 22 edition that “In a carabineros post, executions
took place yesterday at 6:00 a.m. of three persons prosecuted by military
justice for having machine-gunned an ambulance on September 11;” The September
28 edition reported that the ex-Governor of the province of Talca was executed
by shooting; the October 2 edition reported that nine persons were executed in
Santiago “on the spot” for opening fire on uniformed personnel; the October
5 edition reported that, in Valdivia, “Comandante Pepe” was executed by
shooting; the October 6 edition reported that 16 extremists in Valdivia, Temuco,
and Arica were executed by shooting; the October 11 edition reported that an
extremist was executed by shooting in Puerto Cisne.
Regarding this subject, reference must also be made to the so-called
“Law of Flight” (shooting prisoners while trying to escape). According to
the October 5 edition of the newspaper El Mercurio, this law was applied to
three individuals in Temuco; the October 11 edition reported that the law was
applied to three individuals in Concepción, and the October 12 edition reported
that the law was applied to six individuals in San Felipe.
Since the Minister of the Interior informed me that no summary execution
had taken place in Santiago, it was not possible for me to obtain information on
this subject. For that reason and by way of example, I have referred to several
of the news reports published by the newspaper El Mercurio on this subject.
From the preceding general comments, it is concluded that the Commission
should consider the possibility of establishing a sub-commission to visit the
territory of Chile, in light of the statement of the Minister of the Interior,
General Oscar Bonilla, in the interview of October 13, to the effect that there
would be no objection whatever for a sub-committee to visit his country.
The visit of a sub-committee to Chilean territory would be of major
importance, not only to examine on the spot the events mentioned in this report
and others, but also to study fully the status of human rights. It would be of
great importance, for example, for the Commission to observe the procedures that
are going to be followed in military courts for persons accused of crimes.
In conclusion, I want to express my very sincere thanks to the Government
of Chile for the assistance it has provided me in carrying out my mission. I
want to stress particularly the efficient collaboration of Mr. Jaime Lagos, of
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Army Major Luis Merocq, of the Ministry of
(s) Luis Reque