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December 22, 2016
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June 23, 2010
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August 6, 1982
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STAT 2/ Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2010/06/23: CIA-RDP90-00552R000100540002-1 ARTICLE APPEA,gED ON PAGE -rg0_-5Z_ LOS ANGELES TIMES 8 AUGUST 1982 Does Chile's Dictator Deserve to Buy Washington's Guns? By KENNETH FREED of Salvador Allende, the elected Marxist president. U.S. law prohibits arms sales to a number of countries-and Chile is on the list-unless the President certifies that the country in questipn has made significant progress in human rights. i- The second, more specific obstacle to better relations Is the case of Orlando Letelier. a former Allende foreign minister and Pinochei foe who was assassinated on the streets of Washington in September. 1975. A federal grand jury Indicted three former Chilean securityy agents for complicity in the deaths of Letelier and his American assistant, Ronnie Moffit. However. Chile has refused to extradite the three men or try them in Chilean courts. It was a basic tenet of American policy under the ad- ministrations of Cerald R. Ford and Jimmy Carter that relations with Santiago would not be improved until the three Chileans were brought to justice, a stand that Reagan officials have supported until now. On the basis of recent interviews with American and Chilean officials here, it is clear the Reagan Administra- tion wants to certify that the Pinochet regime has im- proved its human-rights record and should be allowed to buy American arms. But it is clear that continued U.S. congressional opposition Is forcing the Administration to move slowly for fear of inciting American public opinion. Richard Betts, an adviser to the National Security S ANTIAGO. Chile-Reagan Administration offidati ?,. Council and the dentral Intelligence Agency, said here have been malsing--piigrlmages--here recent : recently that C-ongress is unlikely to approve arms safes weeks, seeking'better relations with Chile and an time soon. In a recent seminar here sponsored by tog to find grounds to support a decision to resume arms'' the . Embassy and the Chilean army, Rep. David R. "Its to the hard-line military dictatorship of Gen. Au. BoYlen'(D-Mist.) seconded that view and said that the gusto Pinches. American press has prejudiced Congress and the Ameri- The process raises questions both about the need for can people against the Pinochet government. improfed relations and the American commitment to According to the U.S. Embassy, abuse of human seek decent human-rights practices by. right-wing. rights under the Pinochet government has decreased anti-communist governments. considerably, particularly over the last two years. "Dis- . Citing a need for more flexibility in American policy... appearances" of citizens at the hands of government the Administration has sought In Its 18 months in office agents have all but ended, embassy officials contend, to redefind U.S. dealings with military regimes in South and? repgrta of torture have decreased. Some cautious America, particularly toward ending the isolation list opposition has even developed In the local press, partlc- posed on Chile by the Ford and Carter presidencies. , ularly in economic matters. Even human-rights groups This Is being done In the name of stability in the south- acknowledge that the current climate is less severe ern half of South America and because of the perceived than during the 1973-1978 period, a time of brutal need to strengthen anti-communist governments government repression. Against any Soviet-Cuban activity in the area. But Is this apparent change enough to reverse a poll- w But to create a ne climate, the Reagan Administra- cy that stretches back over three American presiden- tion must first remove congressionally imposed re- cies? shunts on bilateral ties. particularly on arms sales, sus- Chile* is still far from a happy place, particularly for pended since 1976. the families of the more than 600 "disappeared" persons ? There are two major obstacles to turning the Con- from earlier years. The ban on political activity remains. grew around. First is the question of human rights. as evidenced by a phone call a Pinochet aide made to a bile has been judged a major violator of human rights .leader of the Christian Democrat Party, the major oppo- since Pinochet took power in the bloody 1973 overthrow . sition party still maintaining a semblance of structure. "lie told me that recent statements by some of us were getting out of hand," the Christian Democrat said In an interview. He didn't threaten me outright, but he made it clear that it shouldn't happen again." Ile said the call reminded him of what happened to four other Christian Democrats last year when they tried to talk to visiting American officials. All four were exiled and remain barred from Chile. The Pinochet regime also practices "Internal exile," a system under which the government sends dissidents to camps in desolate rural areas, not unlike the Soviet Union's practice of exiling opponents to Siberia. Even though the Chilean press can mildly c1rlticize the government's economic policies, political criticism is unacceptable. Nor can local editors run stories casting aspersions on Pinochet or members of his family. And. of course. Chile remains a military dictatorship. a fact underlined in unsubtle ways, submachine gun-toting- police and soldiers standing on street corners and the nightly curfew. A state of siege Is still In effect, even though anti-government terrorism has been virtually eliminated. "Yes, they no longer kill and kidnap people as much anymore," said a Roman Catholic priest involved in hu- man-rights work. "But they don't have to anymore. Pinochet has killed or driven out most of the active dis- sidents and he has made the rest of us afraid. Is this an Improvement? I don't think so." .C0iVTrNUE.D Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2010/06/23: CIA-RDP90-00552R000100540002-1