July 25, 2021

Correspondents tell their experiences in Chile during the Pinochet dictatorship

Correspondents tell their experiences in Chile during the Pinochet dictatorship



Seventeen journalists who worked for international media during the de facto regime led by Augusto Pinochet in Chile tell their experiences in the book "Correspondents under dictatorship (Chile 1973-1990)", presented today in Santiago.

One of the journalists who exposes his experiences is Juan Jorge Faundes, editor at that time of the Efe Agency and who had to leave under protection to an exile that lasted for years before an imminent arrest.

The book, according to Efe some of the authors, has come to fill a gap in the reconstruction of the role played by the international press for the dissemination in the world of what was happening in Chile, where seeking the news was to challenge the services of regime security and risk freedom or even life.

That work, as highlighted in the prologue by the Chilean journalist María Olivia Monckeberg, was "a great collective feat that, unintentionally, brought together in the place and time a group of professionals who contributed their own during that great struggle that was the reconquest of democracy. "

So far, highlights Monckeberg, National Journalism Award 2009, "had not talked about what they did from the agencies or as international media correspondents crossed barriers to tell what was happening, often exposing life or enduring threats and harassment" .

The volume, of 250 pages, edited by the Fondo de Cultura Económica (FCE), was coordinated by Orlando Milesi, correspondent at that time of the agency Ansa and was presented this Monday in one of the halls of the International Book Fair of Santiago (Filsa), at the Estación Mapocho Cultural Center, in the Chilean capital.

Its content contains testimonies of arbitrary arrests, expulsions, harassment, censorship, physical attacks and intimidation against correspondents, as well as raids and closings of offices after the coup that Pinochet led on September 11, 1973.

It also consigned the first criminal act against the foreign press, which took place before the coup on June 29, 1973, during the "tanquetazo", a first coup attempt against the government of Salvador Allende, which resulted in more than about fifty dead.

In the heart of Santiago, the coup plotters assassinated Argentinian Leonardo Henrichsen, whose camera, once dead, continued to fire and film the soldier who shot him.

Enrique Fernández, Gustavo González. Omar Sepúlveda, Irene Geis, Eva Vergara, Carlos Dorat, Omar Sepúlveda, Eduardo Gallardo, Federico Quilodrán or Humberto Zumarán are other coauthors of the book.

Also Gustavo González Rodríguez, correspondent of the IPS agency and later director of the School of Journalism of the University of Chile, at whose trial "Corresponsales under dictatorship" is a necessary book to preserve the memory on the role of journalism under the Pinochet regime .

As he told Efe González, the authors, all Chileans, "were not heroes but honest professionals who fulfilled the essential duty of journalism: to inform the truth."

"They were hated and harassed by the regime because this truth allowed the world to know the violations of human rights and the crimes against humanity of the dictatorship," he said.

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