US Role in Chilean Assassination Cover-Up Reminiscent of Domingo and Viernes Murders

Posted by Michael Withey

Almost 40 years after the political assassination of Chilean economist, Socialist, and diplomat Orlando Letelier and his assistant Ronnie Moffit in a car bomb in Washington D.C., the US government has finally declassified a top secret document proving that Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet ordered this murder.

The delay in releasing this information confirms the existing theory that the Nixon Administration, including former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, covered up Pinochet’s crime.

A series of top secret U.S. documents were recently given to Chilean President Michelle Bachelet in Santiago by current U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry. These documents show that General Pinochet attempted the murder of his own head of intelligence, General Manuel Contreras, to cover up his involvement in the Letelier and Moffat assassination.

Letelier had been loyal to ousted Chilean President Salvador Allende and served as the Chilean Ambassador to the US from 1971 to 1973. He fled to the U.S. after being imprisoned and tortured during the 1973 coup and worked at the Institute of Policy Studies, alongside his wife Isabel Letelier and IPS’s Executive Director Saul Landau.
Ronni Karpen Moffitt, assistant of Orlando Letelier.

Ronni Karpen Moffitt, assistant of Orlando Letelier.

In recent years, Letelier’s son, Senator Juan Pablo Letelier, was shown these top secret documents, and discovered a memo from the then-Secretary of State George Shultz, to President Ronald Reagan revealing their knowledge of the attack.

“There is a conclusive document from the CIA that shows Pinochet ordered the murder of my father. This is concrete information about how Pinochet covered up his responsibility,” Letelier told The Guardian.

The Committee for Justice for Domingo and Viernes (CJDV) held an educational seminar in early 1982 featuring Isabel Letelier and Saul Landau. This seminar revealed the important lessons of the Letelier assassination and the ways in which US intelligence agencies either had prior knowledge and failed to intervene, or actively participated in the cover-up of these crimes. Saul Landau’s address to that seminar is available on the CJDV lawyer Michael Withey’s website:, about the Domingo and Viernes Story.

TV coverage of the assassination of Orlando Letelier & Ronni Moffitt of IPS, Sept. 1976

Letelier and Moffitt Memorial on Sheridan Circle, Washington D.C.

The CJDV’s efforts to undercover the truth of the US’s role in the murders of Filipino activists Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes, like in the Letelier case, have been stone-walled by the US government’s “national security doctrine.” As Landau stated in his remarks: “Whenever you hear those two words — ‘national security’ — you know two things: first, that a crime is being committed and second, that it is being covered up.”

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