ith Henry Kissinger’s name back in the news, so are the facts of his ghoulish tenure as national security advisor and secretary of state under the Nixon and Ford administrations. Among the most infamous was the role Kissinger played in supporting the brutal military dictator of Chile, General Augusto Pinochet, whom Kissinger once told: “We are sympathetic with what you are trying to do here.”
What Pinochet’s regime did was overthrow Chile’s democratically elected leader, kill at least 10,000Chileans, torture 29,000, and drive into exile over 200,000. However, Pinochet’s crimes were not confined to Chile. In September of 1976, a car bomb went off in Washington DC’s Embassy Row, killing passengers Orlando Letelier, a former top official to the Chilean government, and Ronni Moffitt, his American assistant.
The deaths were gruesome, neither one instantaneous. (Letelier’s legs were blown off and Moffitt drowned in her own blood.) Pinochet personally ordered the murders, a fact that the CIA had known but would not declassify until just last year, in 2015. Letelier was a prominent official in the Chilean Socialist Party, which Pinochet overthrew in a military coup in 1973. Letelier had been speaking out against Pinochet’s regime and lobbying governments against doing business with it, which is why Pinochet sought to have him murdered.