U.S. accused of coverup in Chile Man missing for 19 years
BY KEVIN G. HALL
Herald World Staff
SANTIAGO, Chile - A Chilean judge is accusing the Bush administration
of covering up vital information about the disappearance of American journalist
Charles Horman, whose story inspired the 1982 movie Missing.
Judge Juan Guzmán, who acts as both prosecutor and judge
under Chilean law, said it's been almost a year since he asked the State
allow former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to answer written questions about the case under oath. But so far, there's been no response.
''I haven't had any help whatsoever from the United States government,''
said Guzmán, 63. ``I have the sensation that there is some sort
The Bush administration denies it is covering up information
about Horman's disappearance in 1973. The State Department says it will
''We are looking at it with an eye toward responding,'' said Charles Barclay, a State Department spokesman on South American affairs.
Guzmán believes Kissinger has key information about communication
between the United States and Chile's military government concerning the
Horman and another American who disappeared in the days after military coup. Kissinger served as President Richard Nixon's national security advisor
from 1969 to 1973 and served as secretary of state from 1973-77.
Guzmán wants Kissinger to tell the court what instructions
he gave to the U.S. embassy concerning missing Americans who were rounded
up in the first
days of the U.S.-backed coup that toppled Chile's elected government.
France and Spain also want to question Kissinger about the deaths
of their nationals in Latin America in the 1970s under military regimes
that the United
Guzmán has 103 open cases into killings or disappearances
during the rule of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, including Horman, a 31-year-old
freelance journalist, and Frank Teruggi, an American Peace Corps volunteer believed tortured and killed in Chile's national soccer stadium.
Horman disappeared six days after a military junta led by Pinochet
seized power on Sept. 11, 1973, and days after stumbling on U.S. military
who bragged of helping the coup leaders. The Horman and Teruggi cases were not investigated until Horman's widow Joyce brought a criminal complaint
in December 2000.
''I think any victim's family will tell you that the most denigrating
thing is to be told it didn't happen, that nothing dreadful happened here
and for this lie
to exist is an indignity,'' Joyce Horman said from New York.
FBI documents released last year showed Teruggi had been under
surveillance in Chicago before moving to Chile in 1971. The documents further
suspicions that U.S. intelligence shared with the Chilean military led to the deaths of both Americans, a charge Horman's family has long maintained.
In an April 24 speech to businessmen in London, Kissinger admitted
mistakes ''quite possibly'' were made in Chile and elsewhere during anti-communism
campaigns. But he noted the U.S. government, not its former officials, must respond to legal action over policy mistakes.
''The issue is whether 30 years after the events courts are the appropriate means by which determination is made,'' he said.
Meanwhile, Americans who survived the turbulent times are being called to testify in Guzmán's court.
Adam Schesch, a Wisconsin academic, returned to Chile for the
first time since being tortured in the stadium 29 years ago. He recently
testified that as
many at 400 people may have been executed before firing squads while he was held in the stadium in the early weeks of the coup.