Chilean Agencies

National Intelligence Directorate (Dirección Nacional de Inteligencia - DINA)

The military authorities took power in a violent coup on 11 September 1973. The first phase of the dictatorship (1973-75) was mainly destructive, aimed at rapid demobilization, depoliticization, and stabilization. Immediately on seizing power, the military junta composed of the commanders in chief of the army, navy, air force, and national police issued a barrage of decrees to restore order on its own terms. In the immediate aftermath of the 1973 coup, there was extensive repression, including summary executions of prisoners. During this period, the number of people who were detained so exceeded the capacities of the existing penal institutions that for a time stadiums, military grounds, and naval vessels were used as short-term prisons. Subsequently, at least five prison camps were established for political prisoners, mostly in the remote south and the far north.

In the immediate aftermath of the 1973 coup, a semiformal umbrella group, the National Intelligence Directorate (Dirección Nacional de Inteligencia--DINA), was formed, ostensibly to coordinate the activities of the intelligence services of the army, navy, air force, Carabineros, and Investigations Police. From the beginning, DINA functioned as a secret police and was engaged in the repression of dissidence within the state and the exaction of revenge on its enemies without. The National Intelligence Directorate kept secret detention centres where torture of prisoners was a routine practice [all of these places of detention had been closed down by the time of the return to civilian government in 1990]. The worst human rights abuses occurred in the first four years of the junta, when thousands of civilians were murdered, jailed, tortured, brutalized, or exiled, especially those linked with the Popular Unity parties. The DINA secret police, reporting to Pinochet), kept dissidents living in fear of arrest, torture, murder, or "disappearance." The armed forces treated the members of the UP as an enemy to be obliterated, not just as an errant political movement to be booted from office. The military commanders closed Congress, censored the media, purged the universities, burned books, declared political parties outlawed if Marxist or in recess otherwise, and banned union activities.

Col. Manuel Contreas was the organizational director of the Department of National Intelligence (DINA). During his tenure as security chief under the regime of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, Contreas organized "Operation Condor" in association with the Argentinean intelligence service (SIDE) and presided over the torture, kidnapping and "disappearance" of tens of thousands of Chilean leftists. Two DINA agents were responsible for assassinating General Carlos Prats González, who was defence minister under the Allende regime. Prats and his wife were killed by a car bomb in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The armed forces justified the coup as necessary to stamp out Marxism, avert class warfare, restore order, and salvage the economy. They enshrined the National Security Doctrine, which defined their primary task as the defeat of domestic enemies who had infiltrated national institutions, including schools, churches, political parties, unions, and the media. Although civilians filled prominent economic posts, military officers took most government positions at the national and local levels.

National Information Centre (Centro Nacional de Información - CNI)

During the four-and-one-half years following the 1973 coup, Chile was officially in a state of siege and functioned under martial law. The DINA secret police reporting to Pinochet was replaced in 1977 by the National Information Centre (Centro Nacional de Información-CNI). The functions of the CNI combined those functions carried out by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), FBI, and Secret Service. The military tribunals expanded their jurisdictions to include all violations (including those perpetrated by civilians) of the much more encompassing security laws enacted by the government. At the end of this period, the state of siege was replaced by a state of emergency, which restored a larger degree of authority to the civilian courts, although military tribunals continued to deal with cases involving public security. Although human rights abuses abated significantly after the abolition of DINA, its successor continued to draw criticism and was disbanded upon the return of civilian government in 1990. Most of its approximately 2,000 operatives were absorbed either by army intelligence or by a new coordinating body for military intelligence, operating under the aegis of the National Defence Staff and known as the Directorate of National Defence Intelligence (Dirección de Inteligencia de la Defensa Nacional - DIDN). Throughout the second half of the 1970s, the Roman Catholic Church and international organizations concerned with human rights denounced the widespread violations of human rights in Chile. Although officially neutral, the Roman Catholic Church became the primary sanctuary for the persecuted in Chile from 1975 to 1985 and so came into increasing conflict with the junta.

The former members of Popular Unity went underground or into exile. In the early years of the dictatorship, their main goal was simply to survive. Although the Communists suffered brutal persecution, they managed to preserve their organization fairly intact. The Socialists splintered so badly that their party nearly disappeared by the end of the 1970s. Draconian repression left the Marxists with no capacity to resist or counterattack. They did, however, manage to rally world opinion against the regime and keep it diplomatically isolated. By the end of the 1970s, most Christian Democrats, after initially cooperating with the junta, had also joined the opposition, although not in any formal coalition with any coherent strategy for restoring democracy. Pinochet soon emerged as the dominant figure and very shortly afterward as president. After a brief flirtation with corporatist ideas, the government evolved into a one-man dictatorship, with the rest of the junta acting as a sort of legislature. In 1977 Pinochet dashed the hopes of those Chileans still dreaming of an early return to democracy when he announced his intention to institutionalise an authoritarian regime to preside over a protracted return to civilian rule in a "protected" democracy. Pinochet established iron control over the armed forces as well as the government, although insisting that they were separate entities. He made himself not only the chief executive of the state but also the commander in chief of the military. He shuffled commands to ensure that loyalists controlled all the key posts. He appointed many new generals and had others retire, so that by the 1980s all active-duty generals owed their rank to Pinochet. He also improved the pay and benefits of the services. The isolation of the armed forces from civil society had been a virtue under the democracy, inhibiting their involvement in political disputes; now that erstwhile virtue became an impediment to redemocratization, as the military remained loyal to Pinochet and resisted politicisation by civilians.

Although aid and loans from the United States increased spectacularly during the first three years of the regime, while presidents Nixon and Gerald R. Ford were in office, relations soured after Jimmy Carter was elected president in 1976 on a platform promising vigorous pursuit of human rights as a major component of his foreign policy. The former military government wrote the 1980 Constitution and amended it slightly in 1989 after General Pinochet lost a referendum to stay in office. It provides for a strong presidency and a legislative branch with more limited powers. The President has the authority to designate the "urgency" of bills and to determine time limits for Congress to consider them. In addition, the Constitution includes provisions designed to protect the interests of the military and the political right and, according to its defenders (and even some critics), to provide stability in the political process and encourage the formation of large coalitions. The left-left coalition which governed Chile in 1993 accepted the legitimacy of the 1980 Constitution but sought to amend elements characterized as "authoritarian enclaves" left over from the previous regime. These included limitations on the President's right to remove chiefs of the armed forces, an electoral system that gives the political opposition a disproportionate representation in Congress, and the existence of nonelected "institutional senators" who deprive the governing coalition of an elected majority in the Senate.

The former military government enacted an amnesty law in 1978, the prime beneficiaries of which were those responsible for human rights abuses committed during the first 5 years of the military government's rule. The Aylwin administration interpreted the amnesty law to mean that the courts should first determine the authors of human rights abuses before applying the amnesty. Legal reforms in 1991 remanded most human rights cases from military to civilian jurisdiction. However, when the investigation showed that a crime was committed on a military base or military personnel were accused of the crime, military tribunals reclaimed jurisdiction, and the military courts applied the amnesty law to close the cases without determining the facts or criminal responsibility. These decisions led critics to charge that Chile's Supreme Court impeded justice for victims of human rights abuses committed by the military forces. So notorious were DINA's activities that of 957 identified disappearances of enemies of the Pinochet regime, DINA was blamed by the Rettig Commission on human rights abuses for perpetrating 392. In 1995 Italian courts convicted Contreras and Raul Iturriaga, another former DINA (National Intelligence Directorate) officer, in absentia for the attempted murder of former Chilean Vice President Bernardo Leighton and his wife Anita Fresno, and sentenced each man to 18 years in prison. The Italians have requested neither their extradition nor that they serve their sentences in Chile.

The January 1995 arrest in Argentina of former Chilean intelligence agent Enrique Arancibia Clavel once again drew attention to the 1974 assassination in Buenos Aires of former Chilean army chief Carlos Prats. Prats was the army commander under President Salvador Allende and was succeeded by General Pinochet in August 1973. He left Chile for Argentina several days after the coup against Allende. The case was reopened in 1992 as a result of a petition filed by the Prats family containing new evidence. In June 1996 the Supreme Court invoked the Amnesty Law to end all action in the 1976 murder of Carmelo Soria, a Spanish citizen employed by the United Nations. Subsequent impeachment motions against four Supreme Court justices failed in the lower house of Congress. As a result, the authorities dismissed charges against two ex-agents of the National Intelligence Centre (CNI) who were indicted in June 1995 as author and accomplice in this crime; any further official investigation was terminated. This decision provoked concern and condemnation from a broad spectrum, including the embassies of the European Union states, Chilean members of congress, and political parties. In January 1997 the family of Soria announced its intention to pursue a denial of justice claim before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). Proceedings against General Augusto Pinochet continue to move forward in a Spanish court for his alleged responsibility in Soria's death as well as those of the priests Joan Alsina and Antonio Llido. In November 1997 President Frei decided not to approve the promotion to brigadier general of former intelligence officer Jaime Lepe Orellana, who was reportedly involved in the murder of Soria.

Also in 1995 a military judge dismissed the case of the June 1987 deaths from Operation Albania in which CNI agents killed 12 people connected to the Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front (FPMR). This was in spite of a unanimous ruling in 1995 by the military tribunal--a higher court--that the deaths were homicides and that the cases should go to trial. At the time, the authorities claimed that all 12 died in shoot-outs with security officers, and therefore no crime was committed. The authorities implicated 28 former officers and enlisted men in this case. Disappearance cases from before 1978 cannot be closed and the alleged perpetrator amnestied until a court determines that the victim is dead. Since the bodies of many of the disappeared have never been found, the cases were an ongoing irritant in civil-military (particularly civil-army) relations because judicial processes against officers who would inevitably be covered by the amnesty were both disruptive to army operations and embarrassing to the institution. The National Reparation and Conciliation Corporation began operating in 1992 to compensate families of human rights victims. On September 30, 1993, it was paying pensions to 4,600 family members of victims who died of human rights violations committed before 1990. The Chilean State has paid $26.5 million to the victims' families, including college tuition for offspring up to the age of 35 who wish to study. Wives, children, and parents of victims are eligible for pensions, and the amount for each family member is more than double that paid under the old social security system. The Corporation also continued the work of the Rettig Commission, investigating reports of human rights abuses where victims died. In August 1995 it delivered its final report, which confirmed 899 cases in addition to those documented by the Rettig Commission, bringing the total number of victims of killings and disappearance cases to 3,197.

In September 1976, DINA agents assassinated the former Chilean ambassador to the United States Orlando Letelier and his colleague, Ronni Moffitt, in Washington DC. Letelier had been Minister of Defence in Chile in 1973, when President Salvador Allende was murdered during a CIA-supported coup. After a year in a military prison, Letelier was released and moved to the US. At the time of his assassination he was organizing against the military junta out of offices at the Institute for Policy Studies. As of 1991, the US was still seeking to extradite three suspects in the case, including former DINA head Gen. Manuel Contreras and his chief aide Col. Pedro Espinoza. Michael Townley, an American expatriate was extradited from Chile in 1978. He served a five year sentence before being released to the US witness protection program. In April 1995 the body of former Chilean DINA agent and chemical weapons expert, Eugenio Berrios, was found on the El Pinar beach in Montevideo, Uruguay. The body had four bullet wounds in the chest and one in the back of the head, its face stripped off and its hands cut off in an attempt to prevent identification. With Michael Townley, Berrios reportedly built the bomb that killed Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier in 1976 in Washington DC. Berrios probably produced the sarin nerve gas used to kill three human-rights victims in Chile. Berrios avoided trial in Chile by fleeing to Uruguay in April 1992, and sought protection from the Uruguayan police on 15 November 1992, saying he had been kidnapped on orders from Pinochet. The police returned him to the house of Uruguayan intelligence agent Capt. Eduardo Ravelli from whence he had supposedly escaped. He was never seen alive again.

In an important step toward ending the impunity of military officers involved in the Letelier case, Adolfo Banados, a Supreme Court justice appointed by the current Aylwin Government, sentenced retired General Manuel Contreras and Colonel Pedro Espinoza to 7- and 6-year prison terms, respectively, as intellectual authors of the 1976 murder in Washington, DC, of former Chilean Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier and his American assistant Ronni Moffitt. The Supreme Court is expected to rule early in 1994 on appeals of the sentences by all parties. This is the only case involving the now dissolved DINA the Pinochet-era secret police that the 1978 amnesty law specifically excluded. In August 1993 President Aylwin reignited the censorship controversy when he requested that the national television station delay the broadcast of an interview with Michael Townley in which the former DINA agent detailed how and why he put a bomb under the car of Orlando Letelier. The President asserted that showing the interview on the government-owned station at that time was needlessly inflammatory. The program aired 10 days later, but the program's director was dismissed for adding to the debate about presidential influence over the state-owned television station and for allegedly asserting excessive independence from the board of directors. Efforts to redress the abuses of this period are shaped by often conflicting requirements for justice and national reconciliation. The Supreme Court has been reluctant to confront the military over human rights, and one justice was impeached by Congress and removed from office for "gross neglect of duties" for his handling of a human rights case. Disputes continue over the interpretation of the 1978 amnesty law and prosecution of military personnel and their collaborators for abuses not covered by the amnesty.

Ministry of Defence

The armed forces are constitutionally subordinate to the President through an appointed Minister of Defence but enjoy a large degree of legal autonomy. Since the transition to civilian government in 1990 the president has had little actual control over the military, and the Ministry of Defence has lacked any effective control of the services and the Carabineros. Most notably the President must have the concurrence of the National Security Council [Cosena] to remove service chiefs. The positions of the minister of defence and the subsecretaries remained effectively unchanged under the Aylwin government. However the Subsecretariat of the Carabineros and the Subsecretariat of Investigations are subordinate to the minister of defence rather than to the minister of interior, as was formerly the case. However, new laws call for the Ministry of Interior to coordinate the actions of the security forces. The Carabineros (the uniformed national police) have primary responsibility for public order and safety and border security. The civilian Investigations Police are responsible for criminal investigations and immigration control. Both organizations--although formally under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defence, which determines their budget--are under operational control of the Ministry of Interior. Some alleged perpetrators of human rights abuses during the military regime remain on active duty in the army.

In addition to Cosena, two other bodies, whose functions are specifically limited to the advisory level, deal with matters of national defence and security: the Politico-Strategic Advisory Council (Consejo Asesor Político-Estratégico - CAPE) and the Internal Security Advisory Council (Consejo Asesor de Seguridad Interior - CASI). CAPE consists of six military and four civilian members and is entrusted with long-range planning of the defence and external security of the state. CASI, which consists of the minister of interior and seven military members, deals with internal security planning.

Chilean Army / Ejercito de Chile

The Chilean Army has long enjoyed a reputation as a creditable military force. Although it had not fought a war against a foreign enemy since the War of the Pacific, the army is still well regarded by armed forces throughout Latin America. The army divides the country into seven military areas (AMs) headquartered in Antofagasta, Santiago, Concepción, Valdivia, Punta Arenas, Iquique, and Coihaique.A 1992 political espionage case involved a cellular telephone conversation recorded and subsequently played on a national television program, destroying two candidates' presidential campaigns. The army acknowledged that an army captain had "misused" its espionage equipment to record a private conversation and leak it to the media. The Supreme Court ruled that the law on telephone intercepts only covered conversations carried on wire, not on cellular telephones and ordered the defendants freed of all charges. The military courts punished the army captain only for neglect of duty but he was discharged from the army in November 1993.

Chilean Navy

Chile's long coast contributed to the development of a distinguished maritime tradition. The Chilean Navy accordingly has enjoyed an unusual primacy among the nation's armed forces despite the army's formal status as the senior service. From its earliest days the navy has operated under strong British influence. The navy with a strength of 25,000 including conscripts and the Navy Infantry Crops (Marines), Naval Aviation, and Coast Guard) divides the long Chilean coastline into four naval zones, headquartered in Iquique, Punta Arenas, Talcahuano, and ValparaísoNaval Aviation with 750 personnel and a total of forty-five aircraft and forty-two armed helicopters is organized into four squadrons: the General Purpose Squadron VG-1, the Helicopter Squadron VH-1, the Maritime Reconnaissance Squadron VP-1 and the Training Squadron VT-1. The principal naval air base is at Torquemada, twenty kilometres north of Viña del Mar. Chile assumes responsibility for maritime search and rescue in an area extending approximately 4,000 kilometres west of its coastline. It maintains search-and-rescue coordination centres at Iquique, Valparaíso, Talcahuano, Puerto Montt, and Punta Arenas.

Chilean Air Force / (Fuerza Aérea de Chile - FACh)

The world's fourth oldest independent military air arm in existence, the Chilean Air Force (Fuerza Aérea de Chile-FACh) predated its United States counterpart by seventeen years and became the most United States-oriented of the three Chilean Armed Forces. With a total strength of 12,800 personnel and 120 combat aircraft, the FACh is organized into the Combat Command, the Personnel Command, and the Logistical Command. FACh aircraft are deployed among four air brigades with a total of five wings (alas) and twelve groups (grupos de aviación) or squadrons. The Air Brigade (Brigada Aérea) is the main operational formation, and the wing is an administrative unit generally concentrated at a single base wing (ala base). The Second Air Brigade, based in Los Cerrillos, Santiago, covers the region southward from the Río Huasco to the Río Bío-Bío and consists of the Second Wing (Ala 2), which combines the Second Group (Grupo 2) with the existing Tenth Group (Grupo 10) and Eleventh Group (Grupo 11). The Second Wing includes GAA 31 and GCE 32. The Second Group in Los Cerrillos is a special unit operating Canberra PR-9s in the Reconnaissance Squadron (Escuadrilla de Reconocimiento) and Beech 99As in the Electronic War Squadron (Escuadrilla de Guerra Electrónica). The Second Group's inventory includes the two Gates Lear jet 35As of the Aerial Photogrammetric Service (Servicio Aéreo de Fotogrametría--SAF) that are based at Los Cerrillos.


Under the 1980 constitution the police are referred to as the Forces of Order and Public Security, their role being defined as the maintenance of law and order. There are two separate law enforcement forces: the Carabineros and the Investigations Police. The Carabineros, Chile's uniformed national police, have primary responsibility for public order and safety, crime control, and border security. Although formally under the administrative jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defence, the Carabineros are under the operational control of the Ministry of Interior. The Carabineros forms a potential reserve for the army and has a paramilitary organization. The Carabineros, a national, 31,000-member paramilitary police force, is organized into three main zones Northern, Central, and Southern with marine and air sections. In addition to law enforcement and traffic management, Carabineros is engaged in narcotics suppression, border control and counterterrorism. The Carabineras created a new countersubversive intelligence body in May 1990, the Directorate of Carabineros Political Intelligence (Dirección de Inteligencia de Carabineros-Dipolcar). Its previous unit was implicated in human rights violations. In the early 1990s Italy and Spain pledged to help Aylwin government finance and train civilian-based security force capable of combatting terrorist threat.

Although the use of illegal pressure is forbidden, there continue to be mistreatment and torture by some Carabinero units. The Constitution allows civilian and military courts to order detention for up to 5 days without arraignment and extend the detention for up to 10 days for suspected terrorist acts. By law, detainees are to be provided 30 minutes of immediate and daily access to a lawyer (although not in private) and to a doctor to verify their physical condition. The law does not permit a judge to deny such access. With few exceptions, this practice appeared to be observed by police authorities. Service in the Carabineros is voluntary, and admission standards are high. Applicants are required to have completed secondary school and to have passed exacting physical examinations and psychological tests. A highly professional organization, the Carabineros have enjoyed a prestige and universal respect that are almost unique among Latin American police forces. The force's principal problem at the beginning of the 1990s was the lack of adequate resources to combat crime. Although budget appropriations for the Carabineros had risen steadily in the early 1990s (from US$37 million in 1990 to US$78 million in 1993), low pay and even inadequate clothing were a source of discontent within the ranks. The force has its own cadet, NCO, and staff officer schools, in addition to a specialists' training centre, all of which are located in Los Cerrillos, Santiago.


During the colonial period, there existed a fifty-man police unit known as the Queen's Dragoons, which was responsible for law enforcement in the Santiago area. This force changed its name to Dragons of Chile (Dragones de Chile) in the early years of the republic and, by 1850, had increased in strength to 300. It was subsequently incorporated into the army as a cavalry regiment. By that time, civil police forces had also been set up in the major population centres. In 1881 the Rural Police Law created a separate rural police force in each province, and six years later each municipality was authorized to set up its own local police force. In 1902 four of the army's seven cavalry regiments were ordered to detach a squadron apiece to form a new entity to be known as the Border Police (Gendarmes de la Frontera) and to be engaged primarily in the suppression of banditry in the less developed regions of the country. Despite being administratively and operationally subordinate to the Ministry of Interior, this unit remained ultimately under the jurisdiction of the minister of war. Five years later, it acquired a larger establishment and changed its name to the Carabineros Regiment (Regimiento de Carabineros). Although still lacking a formal permanent institutional existence in 1909 the Carabineros established an Institute of Instruction and Education, which admitted its first class of police cadets in August of that year. Five years later, the responsibilities of the force were extended to railroad security. Finally, in 1919, the force acquired a formal independent existence under the Ministry of Interior, and its title was changed again to the Carabineros Corps (Cuerpo de Carabineros). Six years later, by which time the corps consisted of 204 officers and 3,760 enlisted personnel, the Carabineros acquired a new organization that combined their various independent squadrons into five Rural Service Regiments, together with a Railway Regiment, Training Regiment, and Customs Squadron, the latter based at Valparaíso.

The strength, resources, and qualities of the various municipal and rural police forces varied enormously. In 1924, in an effort to provide a degree of uniformity, the country was divided into five police zones, with their headquarters at Antofagasta, Valparaíso, Santiago, Talca, and Concepción. The same law divided the police functionally into three divisions: the Public Order Division, entrusted with general peacekeeping on a relatively passive level; the Security Division, with a role of active law enforcement; and the Identification Division, which embraced record keeping and general crime detection. This arrangement provided for the coordination of the activities of the various existing law enforcement agencies, on a zonal basis, with the General Directorate of Police (Dirección General de Policía) at the national level. At that time, in the mid-1920s, the various police forces numbered 728 officers and 8,628 enlisted personnel. Although now downgraded in importance, the provinces and the municipalities continued to maintain their individual police forces. Only the municipal police of Santiago and Valparaíso seem to have been effective, however, and in 1927 all law enforcement agencies were incorporated in a single national force, the Carabineros of Chile. The force had a total strength of 1,123 officers and 15,420 enlisted personnel in 1929. In 1993 the Carabineros numbered 31,000, including officers, noncommissioned officers (NCOs), and a significant women's element. Although normally under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Interior, the Carabineros were put under the Ministry of Defense during the period of national emergency following the overthrow of the Allende regime. Despite the return of civilian government in 1990, the Carabineros remain subordinate to the Ministry of Defense, but their operations are coordinated by the Ministry of Interior. The Aylwin administration authorized an increase in strength of 1,100 annually over the 1991-94 period.


The Carabineros are commanded by a director general and organized geographically into three main zones the Northern Zone, the Central Zone, and the Southern Zone. Each of these zones is in turn subdivided into prefectures (prefecturas), subprefectures (subprefecturas), commissariats (comisarías), subcommissariats (subcomisarías), lieutenancies (tenencias), reserves (retenes) and outposts (puestos avanzados). The Carabineros also include marine and air sections. The Air Police, which ranks as a separate prefecture, dates from 1946, when it was formed with a single Aeronca Champion aircraft. The Air Police acquired its first helicopter in 1968; by 1993 its inventory of helicopters had increased to fourteen. Operationally the Carabineros are divided into seventeen departments: analysis and evaluation, armaments and munitions, borders and boundaries, civic action, data processing, drug control and prevention of offenses, finance, forestry, internal security, legal, minors, police services, public relations, social action, supply, traffic control, and transport. In addition to their normal law enforcement and allied functions, the Carabineros perform extensive civic action, including the provision of medical and dental services to the populations of the less developed regions of the country and the protection of forests and wildlife. The Carabineros are also responsible for customs control and the Presidential Guard. Separate prefectures deal with the Air Police, the Radio Patrol, and the Special Forces. The largest single concentration of Carabineros is in Santiago, where apart from headquarters and administrative personnel, the schools, and the Presidential Guard, there are five geographical prefectures: the Central Prefecture, North Prefecture, South Prefecture, East Prefecture, and West Prefecture. These are in turn subdivided into twenty-six territorial and nine operational commissariats.

Chile long remained relatively unaffected either by drug trafficking or by extensive drug abuse. Some expansion, both of drug trafficking and of narcotics abuse, occurred during the late 1960s and early 1970s, reflecting an international trend. By the early 1970s, Chile had become an important regional centre for cocaine processing. The problem had become sufficiently acute to occasion the passage of the country's first antinarcotics law by Allende's Popular Unity government early in 1973. Later that year, the military government formed a special narcotics unit within the Caribineros and began a big crackdown. This was highly effective, bringing the narcotics problem under control within a year. The Carabineros also pioneered the introduction of antinarcotics oriented , youth education programs. A pilot project was set up in 1976, eight years before any comparable program was initiated in the United States. Toward the end of the period of military rule, a new form of drug-related crime was noted in the northern Chilean provinces adjoining the Bolivian and Peruvian frontiers: the illicit exporting to Peru and Bolivia of chemicals used in the processing of cocaine. Since the early 1980s, drug trafficking has been growing in Chile. The country has become more prone to drug trafficking not only because of its geographic configuration and location, bordering on the world's two leading producers of coca Peru and Bolivia but also because of its economic stability. With its open market economy and bank-secrecy laws, Chile is an attractive haven for money laundering. A number of drug traffickers who were expelled by the military regime after the 1973 coup cultivated contacts with drug-trafficking groups while living in exile in the United States and Europe. On returning to Chile to reside, these traffickers, acting as finance men and heads of operations, profited from their international contacts. Chile served as a good transit country also because of its booming export activities. In mid-1992 an operational director of the Carabineros reported that money obtained through drug trafficking was being laundered through the construction industry in central Chile and the fishing industry in the far south. In order to enhance the country's antidrug capabilities, the Aylwin government signed several antidrug agreements in 1992, including one with Italy in October (which also included antiterrorist cooperation) and one with Bolivia in November. Chile's most serious drug-related problems by 1992 reportedly involved transit through the country along the northern corridor to Arica. In early 1993, a new cocaine/cocaine paste drug route reportedly came from Bolivia through the Azapa Valley, an area with a sizable Bolivian and Peruvian population located to the east of the city of Arica. At that time the Investigations Police began implementing a new drug enforcement plan with the aid of a turbo Cessna 206 for patrolling the area along the Bolivian and Peruvian borders in coordination with motor vehicles and twenty powerful all-terrain Cagiva motorcycles donated by Italy.

Investigations Police

Under the 1980 constitution the police are referred to as the Forces of Order and Public Security, their role being defined as the maintenance of law and order. There are two separate law enforcement forces: the Carabineros and the Investigations Police. The Investigations Police is a national plainclothes organization comparable in some respects to the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The 4,000-member Investigations Police are responsible for controlling and investigating serious crime. Although formally under the administrative jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defense, the Investigations Police are under the operational control of the Ministry of Interior. The Investigations Police operates in support of Carabineros and intelligence services of armed forces. For example, Investigations Police operate an antinarcotics force. Headquartered in Santiago, the force has seven substations in other parts of Chile. It functions throughout the country in support of the Carabineros. Operationally, its chain of command runs from the director general through a deputy director to the inspectors in charge of the provincial substations. Functionally, it is divided into a number of departments, including administration, foreign and internal police, health, justice, personnel, and welfare. The force also includes the Air Police Brigade, responsible for airport surveillance; the National Identification Bureau, which keeps records of all adult citizens and foreign residents and issues identification cards that must be carried at all times; and the Forensic Medicine Laboratory. In addition, the Special Units Prefecture comprises six brigades dealing with fraud, murder, robberies, vehicle theft, vice, and women's affairs.

The Investigations Police functions in close collaboration with the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) and with the intelligence services of the army, navy, and air force. During the military government, some Investigations Police agents became involved in criminal activities. By early 1992 its new director Horácio Toro a retired army general appointed by the Aylwin government, had withdrawn more than 200 officers from duty because of their alleged involvement in drug trafficking. Although the "use of illegal pressure" is forbidden, there continued to be mistreatment and torture by some Investigations Police units. Searches of the home and interception of private communications are prohibited by the Constitution, unless either a civilian or military court issues a search warrant for specific locations. The 1984 antiterrorist law provides for surveillance of those suspected of terrorist crimes, and for the interception, opening, or recording of private communications and documents in such cases. The Investigations Police made important arrests among the top leaders of these organizations in 1993 but terrorists continued to conduct violent, well-armed operations. On March 25 the Investigations Police captured Lautaro's number two leader, Delfin Diaz, who reportedly masterminded a 1992 attack on the police. On August 5, Investigations Police captured Mauricio Hernandez Norambuena, number two leader of the FPMR/D, who was accused of participating in the April 1991 murder of Senator Jaime Guzman and three attacks on American government representatives in Chile.

On 29 October 1995 the Investigations Police arrested Gladys Marin, Secretary General of the Communist Party, and jailed her on charges of having slandered army commander-in-chief Augusto Pinochet. The army brought charges against Marin under the National Security Law for public statements she made on September 11 characterizing Pinochet as a psychopath and accusing him and the army of human rights violations. The army subsequently dropped the charges, and Marin was released on 21 October 1995. On 10 April 1995 Supreme Court Justice Alfredo Pfeiffer reopened the investigation of the April 1991 assassination of Democratic Independent Union (UDI) founder and Senator Jaime Guzman, due to controversial public statements made by Jorge Barraza, the police detective in charge of the 1991-93 investigation. Pfeiffer resigned in June 1995, claiming death threats and political pressure to drop the case, and Raquel Camposano was appointed in his place. On 18 December 1995, as a result of her investigation, Camposano issued an arrest warrant for Investigations Police director Nelson Mery, charging him with obstruction of justice for withholding from judicial authorities a key surveillance videotape of the terrorist cell involved in the Guzman assassination. Separately, the judge also issued indictments against former Deputy Director of Public Security Marcelo Schilling, his assistant, and several subordinates for having illegally obtained information from leftwing terrorists in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

Directorate of Public Security and Information / (Dirección de Seguridad Pública e Informaciones)

In early 1993 the government finally enacted new legislation, after more than a year of congressional delays in approving the project, creating the Directorate of Public Security and Information (Dirección de Seguridad Pública e Informaciones). The new directorate is under the Ministry of Interior and allows the ministry to coordinate the intelligence and anticrime and antiterrorist activities of the Carabineros and Investigations Police.

Para-State Adversaries

Three main terrorist groups are sporadically active: pro-Cuban Movement of the Revolutionary Left (Movimiento de la Izquierda Revolucionaria), United Popular Action Movement-Lautaro (Movimiento de Acción Popular Unitario-Lautaro), Lautaro Youth Movement (Movimiento Juvenil Lautaro), Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front (Frente Patriótica Manuel Rodríguez), and Maoist-oriented Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front-Autonomous (Frente Patriótica Manuel RodríguezAutónomo ). None are a serious threat to national security, but each is capable of occasional acts of terrorism. During the first five years of the Pinochet regime (1973-78), the armed forces and security forces successfully contained leftwing resistance against the government. Many members of Chile's oldest left-wing extremist group, the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (Movimiento de la Izquierda Revolucionaria--MIR), which was founded in 1965 and had close ties to Cuba, were killed or exiled. Nevertheless, the MIR remnants, under the leadership of the late Salvador Allende's nephew, Andrés Pascal Allende, continued to operate a small underground network in Chile. The MIR's principal leader, Miguel Enríquez, returned clandestinely to Chile in 1978 to revitalize the movement and organize for armed struggle and was soon joined by newly infiltrated cadres who had been trained in Cuba and Nicaragua. The security forces kept the MIR off balance, however, and Enríquez was killed in September 1983.

Several new left-wing terrorist groups emerged in the early 1980s. One was the United Popular Action Movement-Lautaro (Movimiento de Acción Popular Unitario-Lautaro - MAPU-L), a splinter of the United Popular Action Movement (Movimiento de Acción Popular Unitario - MAPU), a party founded in 1969 by a breakaway group from the Christian Democrats. Many MAPU leaders embraced Marxist positions, but the party was not a terrorist group. In December 1982, the MAPU-L established a youth group, the Lautaro Youth Movement (Movimiento de Juventud Lautaro - MJL), and a group dedicated to the overthrow of the military government, the Lautaro Popular Rebel Forces (Fuerzas Rebeldes Popular Lautaro - FRPL). The Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front (Frente Patriótica Manuel Rodríguez - FPMR), an armed group affiliated with the Communist Party of Chile (Partido Comunista de Chile - PCCh), was formed in 1983. In response to increased armed attacks, the regime promulgated the 1984 Antiterrorist Law, which greatly expanded the list of crimes that could be categorized as terrorism. In the second half of the 1980s, the FPMR became the dominant terrorist group, emerging as a sophisticated, well-trained, and well-supported terrorist organization. Just how strong it was became evident in August 1986 when the security forces captured a huge FPMR arms cache that was traced to Cuba. That September FPMR commandos nearly succeeded in assassinating Pinochet with M-16 assault rifles and antitank rockets. In response to these two events, Pinochet declared a state of siege and mounted an offensive against the FPMR and MIR. Intensified police and security-service pressure on the FPMR and MIR continued throughout 1987, inhibiting the groups' activities. That year the FPMR splintered as a result of the PCCh's denunciation of violence; the breakaway Maoist-oriented FPMRAutonomous (FPMR-Autónomo--FPMR-A) became the most active left-wing terrorist group, whereas the FPMR followed the PCCh's line and laid down its arms after the restoration of democracy in 1990. Mainly as a result of FPMR-A activities, terrorist attacks increased in the late 1980s.

Meanwhile, the security forces failed to apprehend any members of right-wing extremist groups such as the Chilean Anti-Communist Action Group (Acción Chilena Anticomunista - AChA) and the Nationalist Combat Front (Frente Nacionalista de Combate - FNC). The ability of these groups to operate with apparent impunity led to speculation in the late 1980s that their actions were unofficially sanctioned by some officials in the security forces. The rationale for continued left-wing subversion and right-wing counterterror effectively vanished with the return of civilian government in 1990. Many left-wing extremists who had fled the country following the 1973 coup were allowed to return in 1990. Nevertheless, left-wing terrorism did not disappear. Within a few months after President Aylwin's accession to power, the FPMR-A and MJL showed that they remained committed to armed struggle and were responsible for most of the increased number of terrorist incidents in the early 1990s. The total number of documented terrorist actions during the first year of the Aylwin government was 207 (including 148 attacks on buildings and other properties), compared with 465 similar actions during 1984 and 401 in 1985--two peak years for terrorist activity during the latter half of the period of military rule.

The Aylwin government's attempts to control terrorism were quite successful. In 1991 it expanded training and increased efforts by the Investigations Police and the Carabineros. Police improved their counterterrorism capabilities, surpassing the effectiveness of the military government. This was made evident by their success in arresting numerous leaders and in uncovering several safe houses and training sites used by Chilean terrorists. By early 1993, more than 200 terrorist militants were under indictment. The capture of many top leaders of the MAPU-L and FPMRA crippled these organizations, and terrorist incidents declined. The Aylwin government appointed special investigating judges to try the more serious cases of terrorism, such as the assassination of Senator Jaime Guzmán Errázuriz on April 1, 1991. Four ringleaders of the terrorist Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front (FPMR) broke out of Santiago's maximum-security prison on December 30, 1996, in an elaborately orchestrated escape via helicopter. In early September, one of the escapees, Patricio Ortiz Montenegro, requested political asylum in Switzerland, claiming he could not obtain justice in Chile. (In June 1995, a military court convicted Ortiz of the 1991 murder of a police officer and sentenced him to a 10-year prison term.) Chilean authorities are seeking Ortiz' extradition from Switzerland, where he was detained at year's end.


Unidad Anti-Terroristes is Chile's primary Anti and Counter-Terrorist team. It's approximately 120 operators are divided into seven-man teams, each with an officer commanding them. All operators have successfully completed the Chilean Army's Commando Course prior to acceptance into the unit. UAT is Headquartered in Santiago near the Tobalaba Airport

Grupo de Operaciones Policiales Especiales

Chile's GOPE became operation in 1980 after receiving training from German and Israeli SF Teams. They are primarily a Special Forces/Commando unit but are also responsible for counter-terrorist duties in government and diplomatic buildings. GOPE's 100 man strength is roughly divided into four 25-man teams


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