Chile: 36 Former Pinochet Intel Agents Sentenced

They are all carrying out long prison sentences for other state crimes. Four of them will have to serve between 600 and 700 years in prison.

The Court of Appeals of Santiago de Chile sentenced 36 former agents of the National Intelligence Directorate (DINA) for their participation in the forced disappearance of hundreds of opposition leaders during the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990).

RELATED: Chile: Police Lawyer Suspected of Obstruction of Justice in Mapuche Murder

At least 32 former agents of Pinochet's secret police were sentenced Monday to 10 years and one day in prison for their involvement in the disappearance of hundreds of members of the Communist Party, the Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR) and activists of the Christian community of Villa Francia de Santiago. All of them are already serving prison sentences for other state crimes.

Former intelligence agents Raul Iturriaga Neumann, Cesar Manriquez Bravo, Miguel Krassnoff Martchenko, and Pedro Espinoza Bravo were sentenced to 15 years and a day in prison after they were identified as the material authors of the torture and murder of three activists.

The four retired generals are already fulfilling prison sentences between 600 and 700 years for multiple other crimes.

In 1974 Enrique Toro Romero, Eduardo Lara Petrovich, and Jose Villagra Astudillo were kidnapped, tortured, and murdered by Chile’s state security. According to the testimony provided by prisoners who survived the dictatorship, the three men were kept at least two different torture centers. The witnesses lost track of the three men in July 1974.

The three men were left-wing activists and members of the Christian community Villa Francia, a working-class neighborhood in the capital city of Santiago.

Their names appeared in files of Operation Colombo, a montage to cover up the disappearance of 119 political prisoners.

The Court also ordered a monetary reparation of US$800,000 for the three victims’ next of kin.
This past week, at least 68 former Pinochet agents have been sentenced for their role in widespread crimes against humanity in Chile, during Pinochet’s dictatorship.

According to official data, the military dictatorship was responsible for killing 3,200 Chileans, of which 1,192 remain disappeared, and torturing another 40,000.

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Lucho Gatica, Farewell to a Chilean Music Icon

Santiago de Chile, Nov 14 (Prensa Latina) He made bolero his religion and acquired fame the same in Cuba as in Mexico, but still went further, to the United States, to become himself icon: Lucho Gatica, a farewell that marks the mourning in his native Chile.

Luis Enrique Gatica Silva had just turned 90 years old. His death in Mexico, where he lived, shook social networks in tribute to one of the essential figures of the romantic song.

He kept the Lucho Gatica forever and reached the firmament in different ways.

'My father is loved in Cuba, he is loved in Spain, he is loved in Brazil, in Mexico, and in so many countries, but of course this Chilean affection is different and special for him,' said his Mexican daughter Juanita Gatica Cortes.

Chile venerates him today with the decree of official mourning announced by Interior Minister Andres Chadwick, who joined in the praise to one of the greatest ambassadors of Latin American music in the world.

'We have decreed this day of official mourning for the death at 90 years of our great Lucho Gatica. The king of the bolero, filled us with emotion and pride with his music around the world,' Chadwick wrote on Twitter.

A bronze statue was unveiled at the Regional Theater, with the figure of the winner of the Latin Grammy Award for Excellence in 2007 and that of his brother Arturo, in his native Rancagua, central Chile.

His last album, Historia de un amor, dates back to 2013. He made duos with the Italian Laura Pausini, the Portuguese-Canadian Nelly Furtado and the Canadian Michael Bubble, among others.

But much earlier, Lucho Gatica became essential to the romantics of the 1950s and 1960s with hits such as Piel Canela, Contigo in la distancia, Besame mucho, El reloj, No me platiques más, and Chilean classic Yo vendo unos ojos negros.

In January 2008 he was included in the Hollywood Walk of Fame, with number 2354. He had three marriages, the latest with Leslie Deeb. He left seven children and 11 grandchildren.

To consolidate his fame also in the English-speaking market, he came to alternate in the United States, where he settled after his first divorce, none other than with Elvis Presley and Nat King Cole.

The municipality of Rancagua decreed three days of communal mourning for the death of the singer. They called him Master of the bolero, and for his admirers what stood out most was his soft and seductive timbre.

  • Published in Culture

ICJ: Chile 'Not Obligated' to Negotiate with Bolivia over Sea Access

The International Court of Justice can present three different scenarios.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague Monday delivered its ruling on the dispute between Bolivia and neighbor Chile on access to the Pacific Ocean in which the court said that Chile "has no obligation to negotiate with Bolivia" over the matter. 

With 12 votes against three, the United Nations court concluded that there is no such obligation.

Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, president of the ICJ, opened the session by reading the preliminary considerations of the ruling on the contentious "Obligation to negotiate" filed by Bolivia against Chile.

He also presented Bolivia's eight legal arguments as a basis for filing the claim at the court and also for Chile's defense.

A day ahead of the ruling, Bolivian President Evo Morales said Bolivia's return to the sea was "inevitable" ahead of a World Court ruling on Bolivia's claim that Chile has ducked a legal obligation to discuss the landlocked country's access to the sea.

Morales made the comments during a news conference on Saturday just moments before boarding a flight to The Hague where he attended the verdict declaration session. 

The conflict over the maritime boundaries between Bolivia and Chile began in 1828 when the Chilean Constitution established that its territory reached the depopulated sector of Atacama, a proclamation that ended with its invasion in 1879. Bolivia lost 400 kilometers of coast and 120,000 square kilometers of territory.

The lawsuit filed in April 2013 called for a sovereign exit to the Pacific Ocean that Bolivia lost by force 136 years ago when its port of Antofagasta was invaded. In September 2015, the Court of The Hague rejected the Chilean request to declare itself incompetent and kept analyzing the positions of the parties involved.

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Bolivia's Evo Morales: 'We Are Close to Returning to The Sea'

President Evo Morales considers that Bolivia's demand, for a sea access, at The Hague's International Court of Justice is "on track."

Bolivian President Evo Morales spoke, in a keynote address in Villa Tunari in Cochabamba, addressing Bolivia's maritime request submitted to The Hague's International Court of Justice (ICJ), stressing that the world's social movements supported the country's bid.

RELATED: Bolivia's Morales Asks for 'Just and Accurate' Ruling in Sea Access Claim

"We are very close to our return to the Pacific Ocean, thanks to the Bolivian people. We hope this unity will continue in the battle to recover what is ours," said Morales, also noting that Chile must comply with the promises made so Bolivia could have a sea access.

President Morales said that "between October, November, maximum December there will be a ruling and any failure of the ICJ will be in compliance if we are States that recognize rights." During the event, former President Eduardo Rodriguez Veltze, Bolivian representative at The Hague's ICJ, was also made remarks.

Pdte. @evoespueblo desde Villa Tunari:"Recuperamos los recursos, recuperamos la patria, tenemos la nueva Bolivia. Ahora nos toca recuperar la salida al mar con soberanía y estamos muy cerca". — Min. de Comunicación (@mincombolivia) August 26, 2018

President Evo Morales from Villa Tunari: "We recovered the resources, we recovered our motherland, we have the new Bolivia. Now it is the time to recover the sea with sovereignty and we are very close."

The president stated that Chile violated Bolivia's sovereignty in 1879 invading Bolivia's territory and stealing over 400 kilometers accessing the Pacific Ocean. In addition, he clarified that Chile failed to comply with the Treaty of 1866 that recognized the exit to the sea for Bolivia.

"We are with the truth, we are asking for justice to be done". Morales also welcomed the work of the international legal team and the experts who are championing the cause.

In 2013, Bolivia submitted the request at the ICJ in an attempt to restore part of the territory and garner "sovereign access" to the waters it lost. The action aimed to force Chile into negotiations, arguing that they had previously offered talks which were later retracted. 

  • Published in World

Cuba defeated Chile to add second victory

Cuba claimed its second consecutive victory in the IV U23 Pan American Cup after defeating Chile 3-0 (25-20, 25-12, 25-12) at the Manuel Bonilla Coliseum in Miraflores.

With the combination of the good setting by Grettel Moreno and the power of its attackers, Cuba got 5 key points that for now give them the first place of Group A. The team of Tomás Fernández demonstrated all its power with wide advantage in attack (45-21), blocking (9-1) and services (4-1).

Although Eduardo Guillaume's team managed to complicate their rival in the first set, it was not enough to stop the top scorers of the winning team Ailama Cese and Laura Suárez who got 12 points each, followed by the captain Diaris Pérez who registered 10 units like Moreno. On the Chile side, the opposite Maike Bertens got the maximum of 6 points.

Chile will fight for its first triumph in the IV U23 Pan American Cup on Thursday 16, when it plays at 13:00 against Guatemala. And at 7:00 pm Cuba will close the Group Stage facing the local team.

The setter of Cuba, Gretell Moreno: "The Chilean team was able to complicate us at times with the serve and use our blocking against, but with the instructions of our coach we knew how to regain our level and demonstrate that joy and claw that characterizes the teams of Cuba".

The captain of Chile, Amelia Carvajal: "I think the team did their best, we tried to defend each ball and tried to take advantage of their mistakes but it is not a team that we are used to playing and it cost us a lot. Tomorrow’s match is key for us to continue in competition and we will go out with everything to beat Guatemala. "

  • Published in Sports

Bachelet Will Be UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Santiago de Chile, Aug 9 (Prensa Latina) Diplomatic sources and local media agreed to confirm the news in New York that former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet will be the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The rumor already had informal character and according to relatives of the two-time President of Chile, the proposal of the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, has been on the table for weeks.

It will have to be ratified in the General Assembly of the UN in September.

According to several local media, the news was confirmed by the Nigerian Amina Mohammed, currently the UN Deputy Secretary-General, at a meeting with diplomats from regional groups in New York.

The ex-leader of socialist affiliation was the first person to head the UN-Women section from 2010 to 2013, when she resigned to return to politics in Chile and be a candidate for the Presidency of the Republic.

Despite many setbacks in her last period, especially for her determination to implement deep reforms (some were halfway), Bachelet has considerable prestige in the southern country.

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Chile Investigating 158 in Catholic Church Over Sex Abuse

Last month, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of five Chilean bishops amid accusations of abuse and related cover-ups.

Chile is now investigating 158 members of the country's embattled Catholic Church — both clergymen and lay people — for perpetrating or concealing the sexual abuse of children and adults, prosecutors said on Monday.

The cases relate to incidents dating back as far as 1960 and involving 266 victims, including 178 children and adolescents, according to public prosecutor Luis Torres.

The prosecutor's statement offered the first general view of the extent and scope of the abuse scandal faced by Chile's Catholic Church — and how many people are implicated.

"The vast majority of reported incidents relate to sexual crimes committed by priests or people linked to educational establishments," Torres told reporters.

The entire strata of the Catholic Church — from bishops to monks — were involved in the crimes, as well as "lay people exercising some function in the ecclesiastical sphere," he noted.

There are 36 ongoing investigations, while 23 previous ones resulted in convictions and one other in an acquittal.

"There's no doubt that what the public prosecutor is doing is very positive and is starting to open the door to situations that previously were treated as an open secret," Juan Carlos Claret, a member of a campaign group that opposed the presence of tainted bishop Juan Barros in his area, told AFP.

Barros is accused of covering for a pedophile priest and Francis was forced to apologize earlier this year for having hugged and defended the bishop on a visit to Chile in January.

Francis had named Barros to head the Osorno diocese, where Claret lives, in 2015 despite accusations by sex abuse victims that the prelate covered up the actions of disgraced pedophile priest Fernando Karadima in the 1980s and 1990s.

According to Claret, the Chilean Episcopal Conference already knew in 2007 about 120 priests involved in sexual abuse. He says that means there must be more people involved than the number revealed by prosecutors on Monday.

"Some information is still being held back," added Claret, a leading voice in denouncing the clerical abuse of children in the country that led Francis to overhaul Chile's Catholic Church.

Karadima has been suspended for life by the Vatican but never faced prosecution in Chile because the statute of limitations had elapsed by the time a case was opened in 2010.

Earlier that year, he had been found guilty of sexually abusing children by the Vatican, which sentenced him to a life of prayer and ordered him to pay compensation.

In May, the entire Chilean hierarchy of bishops tendered their resignations over the abuse scandal rocking the Church.

Since 2000, about 80 Catholic priests have been reported to authorities in Chile for alleged sexual abuse.

Ten days ago, prominent priest Oscar Munoz was arrested over allegations of sexual abuse and rape of at least seven children.

Francis has repeatedly apologized to parishioners over the scandal, admitting the Church failed "to listen and react" to allegations spanning decades, but vowed to "restore justice."

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Chilean Justice Sentences Musician Victor Jara's Murderers

Santiago de Chile, Jul 3 (Prensa Latina) After several years of investigations, the Chilean justice sentenced nine retired soldiers by the murder of Chilean artist Victor Jara on September 16, 1973.

The singer-songwriter, theater director and professor, was savagely tortured by the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, who used to vent his anger on all people who had leftist ideas. Jara was a member of the Communist Party.

Jara, who fervently supported the Popular Unity government of Salvador Allende until his overthrow by the coup d'etat on September 11, 1973, also received 44 bullets from the military.

Carried along with another 5,000 people to the then Estadio Chile, Victor Jara was brutally tortured when he was recognized by the pro-coup military men.

Judge Miguel Vazquez sentenced Hugo Sanchez Marmonti, Raul Jofre, Edwin Dimter Bianchi, Nelson Haase, Ernesto Bethke Wulf, Juan Jara Quintana, Hernan Chacon and Patricio Vasquez Donoso to 15 years and one day for their crime.

The group was sentenced as the authors of the murders of Jara and the former director of prisons Littre Quiroga Carvajal.

'The Minister of Human Rights Miguel Vazquez Plaza condemned nine members of the Army in retirement for their responsibility in the homicides of singer-songwriter Victor Jara Martinez and de Littre Quiroga,' said a press release.

The court also sentenced the accused to another three years in prison for the simple kidnapping of both victims.

For the same case, which left Chile without the emblematic composer of 'The Right to Live in Peace' or 'I Remember You Amanda', Officer Rolando Melo Silva was sentenced to five years and one day in prison for his crime as an accessory to both murders.

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