He was three years into his term when Salvador Allende, the elected president of Chile, was overthrown on September 11, 1973, by a military junta led by General Augusto Pinochet.
The fascistic dictatorship that ensued would go down in history as one of history’s most bloody and repressive.
Forty-six years later, a gut-wrenching account, “This is How He Was Torutured in Chile (1973-1990),” edited by Chilean journalist Daniel Hopenhayn, has hit the stands.
Based on an exhaustive 2003-2004 report by Chile’s National Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture — one of the most exhausting and revelatory accounts of state torture ever written — the new book extracts key information from the dense, 500-page original
First-hand accounts of extreme sexual violence against women by the torturers of Pinochet’s reign of terror form the centerpiece of the book, in addition to the documentation of damage done to the families of the psychologically traumatized victims who survived.
The graphic nature of the accounts is perhaps without parallel in the literature on such atrocities, by intent of the editor, to help ensure the stories survive to galvanize and warn future generations.
The book also claims that the methods of torture used by Pinochet’s regime were devised by the French colonial military during their brutal wars in Algeria and Indochina in the 1950s.
The book asserts that these same methods were passed on by American officials to operatives in the military dictatorships that dominated Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s
Records released by the Pentagon identified the U.S. Army School of the Americas — which has since been reorganized and renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation — as one of the primary American vehicles for supporting for these dictatorships.
Sources: El Pais (Spain), the Federation of American Scientists, the New York Times