ASSASSINATION ON EMBASSY ROW by John & Saul Landau Dinges

ASSASSINATION ON EMBASSY ROW

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Former Chilean ambassador Orlando Letelier was killed in 1976 when a bomb exploded in his car as he drove through Washington, D.C. But although Landau--a Letelier colleague at the Institute for Policy Studies--and correspondent Dinges describe the assassination plot in detail, they concentrate on two larger themes: Chilean politics, from the Allende point of view, and U.S. embroilment in Latin American affairs under Nixon. We see Letelier's significant role in the Socialist Allende administration toward which, we are told, Nixon's attitude was ""intransigent"" (Kissinger reported him ready to authorize $10 million for the CIA to keep Allende from power); and the 1973 coup resulting in Allende's death, Letelier's imprisonment and torture, and the rise to power of the repressive General Pinochet backed by DINA, the Chilean secret police. (Special focus on Michael Townley, an American with CIA and Cuban Nationalist Movement ties, and many aliases, who's currently in prison for the Letelier murder). Landau and Dinges describe the FBI investigation which labeled the assassination part of a ""condor"" operation against Latin American Marxists and Leftists, and implicated the Chilean government; Pinochet, nonetheless, is subsequently seen talking with Carter at the White House. In getting rid of Allende, we are told, Pinochet ""had extricated a major thorn from the lion's paw, and Washington was grateful."" Considering the evidence of DINA-CIA ties in 1976, the authors feel sure that the CIA knew of the ""condor"" operations; but since the CIA, FBI, and State Department have refused to comply with the Freedom of Information Act and turn over relevant documents, they can only speculate here. Even without the documents, an engrossing study of international politics and subversion, forthrightly--and understandably--partisan in tone.

Pub Date: June 30th, 1980
Publisher: Pantheon