THE MURDER OF CHILE by Chavkin Samuel


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A compilation of eyewitness accounts that adds nothing to our knowledge of the overthrow of Chile's socialist president Allende; the subsequent arrests, with their legacy of torture and death; the missing people, who turned up dead in caves and rivers; the gruesome incarceration on Dawson's Island. There is no indication that Chavkin (The Mind Stealers) has been in post-Allende Chile; his informants are refugees of the junta--Allende's widow Hortensia, his foreign minister Clomodiro Almeyda, former ambassador to the US Orlando Letelier (whose memoirs were published before his assassination), Letelier's widow Isabel, and 60 or so lesser-knowns--whose testimony, as extracted, provides graphic details of torture and brutality. Special chapters are devoted to a brief history of pro- and anti-coup women's groups (anti-Allende women demonstrators, says one informant, left their children home with their maids), to the treatment of the wives of Allende's high officials, and to current opposition within Chile to the regime's draconian economic policies (mostly, in the form of clandestine leafletting and human rights activities). But Chavkin evinces little interest in analysis or even in digging up new material; with or without reference to the current release of the Costa-Gavras film Missing, the book shapes up as a case of simple exploitation.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1982
Publisher: Everest