Home WORLD AMERICA Operation Condor, the campaign of terror of Latin American dictatorships

Operation Condor, the campaign of terror of Latin American dictatorships

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General Augusto Pinochet and General Jorge Videla give the military salute.

Chilean General Augusto Pinochet and Argentine General Jorge Videla in 1978.PHOTO: Getty Images / STR

In the mid-1970s, under the leadership of General Augusto Pinochet, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia and Paraguay sealed an alliance of terror in order to eliminate political opponents and d ‘prevent them from finding refuge with their neighbors. Historian José del Pozo, who fled Chile in 1974, recalls the dark underbelly of Operation Condor.

“It was a time […] marked by a series of coups that have installed very repressive dictatorships in most Latin American countries, explains José del Pozo. The Cuban Revolution was the ghost that roamed America. Trade unionists, intellectuals and left activists have become suspects. They were arrested, interrogated, tortured and sometimes eliminated.

Manuel Contreras, head of the National Intelligence Directorate (DINA) of Chile, set up this operation together with the heads of the armed forces of Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

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A computerized file system and a telecommunications system have been established between these police forces. In addition, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) offered its technical expertise to Operation Condor.

It is thanks to the American technicians who were dispatched to help in the formation of these information systems that the famous files were organized.

A quote from

José del Pozo, historian

Two photos of a man in pain, another of a man wearing a suit, jacket and tie.

Archives of Operation Condor in Paraguay

Getty Images / NORBERTO DUARTE

Sometimes the stalking has even taken place outside Latin America. The most famous case is the assassination of the former foreign affairs minister of President Salvador Allende, Orlando Letelier, in Washington on September 21, 1976.

In closing, José del Pozo explains how Operation Condor gradually waned from 1980 and what the role of the United States is more precisely in this hunt.

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