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“Brazil Harbored Chilean Right-Wing Militia”


Source:  Estadão.

Topic: Brasil provided military support to Chilean extreme right.

The conservative Estado seems to be the news organization most interested in the Truth Commission process currently underway — to its credit, as always.

Members of the ultraradical group Patria y Libertad received protection from the Brazilian dictatorship and were active in Brazilian business circles

By Roberto Simon

SANTIAGO – Involved in protests and terrorist acts against the government of  Salvador Allende, the extreme right militia Patria y Libertad used Brazil as a signficant base of support.

Secret documents from the Chilean foreign service, never before seen in Brazil, reveal details of how members of PyL operated in Brazilian territory and received political protection from the Brazilian dictatorship.

According to a confidential dispatch sent to Santiago from the Chilean embassy, the government of Emílio Garrastazu Médici granted asylum in July 1973  to Eduardo Roberto Keymer Aguirre, identified as a member of the radical group. Brazil’s protection of Keymer came at a particularly disturbing moment in Chilean politics: Four days before the document was signed, PyL had assassinated a military aide to Allende, Capt. Arturo Araya Peeters.

Negotiations over the granting of asylum to the Chilean militant were reportedly carried out by the embassy in Santiago, headed by diplomat Antônio da Câmara Canto, who did not conceal his deep-seated opposition to the socialist government. It was not clear, however, whether Keymer had sought asylum at the Santiago embassy or had first entered Brazil and then applied for asylum.

After the coup against Allende, the embassy, under Câmara Canto — unlike other diplomatic missions — did not protect victimes of political persecution, not even cases involving Brazilian citizens in exile in Chile.

A later document, dated in December of that year — and therefore after the coup — identifies another supposed member of PyL, Gerardo Evangelista Roa Araneda, who had ties to Brazil. Roa had worked as a press aide to the Chilean embassy until 1964, the year the Christian Democrats were elected in Chile, together with Eduardo Frei Montalva. In the secret telegram, the Chilean was described as a figure with many ties to business sectors in Rio and São Paulo as secretary of the Rio de Janeiro Chilean Circle, and a friend of influential journalists.

Roa worked in the offices of LAN Chile in Rio until 1970, when his “ties to and active participation in the opposition to Allende” cost him his job, according to the dispatch. When the coup went down in 1973, he was rehired.

Washington Post. The first public information about the “Brazilian connection” in the plot to overthrow Allende caused alarm in the Pinochet government, according to messages exchanged by Chilean diplomats.

The principal connection was the story, published in early 1974  by Marlise Simon of the Washington Post, who lived in Rio.

The journalist reported that between 1972 and 1973, São Paulo businessmen sent money and weapons, which left the Port of Santos disguised as agricultural machinery destined for Valparaíso. Marlise also reported that part of the money was brought into Chile by Rio journaist Aristóteles Drummond, a writer for O Cruzeiro magazine.


O Estadão, April Fool’s Day, 1964: “Democratics Dominate the Nation” … with tank brigades

Questioned by the Estado do S. Paulo, Drummond denied having transported funds to Chileans involved in plotting the coup. “I did not transport money, but I would have,” he said. … I am middle class, but if I received a petition to send [R$500] to an anti-Allende group, I would have paid it out of my own pocket. I believe that Pinochet acted decisively to avoid the institution of a Cuban franchise in the Pacific region [of South America],” he said, by telephone. “Pinochet saved Chile, just as the generals saved Brazil.”