Tags: Politicians | Deny | Taking | CIA | Cash

Politicians Deny Taking CIA Cash

Thursday, 16 November 2000 12:00 AM

Nonetheless, some of the 16,000 documents released Monday seem to provide incontrovertible evidence that the CIA gave $3 million to the presidential campaign of Christian Democrat (DC) Eduardo Frei Montalva and later approved a party request for an additional unspecified amount of money.

The DC was the nation's largest political party at the time of the Sept. 11, 1973, coup that ended the socialist government of Salvador Allende and put military leader Augusto Pinochet in power. At the time the payments were made, the party supported the coup and the military junta. The DC remains the nation's largest party today.

Although the Chilean public has known for some time that political factions received financial support from U.S. agencies before and during the military coup, exact amounts had seldom been divulged. Nor was it known until now that financial support continued after the coup and at least until June 1974.

The declassified documents claim the post-coup payments were intended to "enable the DC and members of the private sector to confront the radical change in society as a result of the overthrow of Allende." Another memoranda stated that without the support of the DC, "it will be impossible for the junta to maintain an efficient government, especially in the economic arena."

Patricio Aylwin, who was DC president at the time of the coup and went on to become president of Chile following the end of the Pinochet regime, denied that the party received any financial support from the CIA.

"I never heard that the Christian Democrats received economic support from the CIA or from any U.S. agency, and since I was party president during the government of Eduardo Frei Montalva, at the end of the government of President Allende and at the beginning of the military rule, it strikes me as extremely unlikely that it could have happened without my knowledge," Aylwin said Tuesday.

The declassified documents also indicate that the CIA provided unspecified funds to the National Party, the Radical Left Party and the Radical Democratic Party.

The documents also confirm that the CIA made payments amounting to $1.5 million to El Mercurio, Chile's largest daily newspaper. The paper, which has traditionally been aligned with right-wing business interests, had long been suspected of receiving financial support in exchange for launching a publicity campaign to help destabilize the Allende presidency.

However, in an article appearing Wednesday, the paper fdenied having received U.S. funds, saying instead that it was "strangled" during the Allende years by high paper and ink costs, constant surveillance by government auditors and a significant drop in advertising. Fernando Leniz, who was executive president of El Mercurio from 1970 to 1973, said, "I was the person in charge of the paper and I can assure you that we did not receive so much as a peso from the CIA or from anybody."

However, Leniz acknowledged that, "if the CIA helped the people who owed us money to pay their bills, that's another story and I don't know anything about it."

Copyright 2000 by United Press International.

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Nonetheless, some of the 16,000 documents released Monday seem to provide incontrovertible evidence that the CIA gave $3 million to the presidential campaign of Christian Democrat (DC) Eduardo Frei Montalva and later approved a party request for an additional unspecified...
Politicians,Deny,Taking,CIA,Cash
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2000-00-16
Thursday, 16 November 2000 12:00 AM
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