On 11 September 1973 a military coup put an end to the democratic elected government of Salvador Allende, beginning one of the most brutal dictatorships ever known, and including Chile into a complex system of military governments and covered actions which culminated in the Operacion Condor.
Chile was a democratic country that, unlike other Latin American neighbours, had always known a military apparatus devoted to the establishment and compliant with the law. When Unidad Popular won the elections in 1970, and Allende became president, there was hope that finally a project of socialist reform could also be achieved through the normal constitutional channels and not just with a revolution.
Those plans, however, were not accepted in Washington, which saw Chile as the new “red menace”, a cancer to be eradicated and in a way to make it an example to anyone who dared to follow in its footsteps.
The involvement of the CIA is proved by documents and files decrypted that confirm what we already knew: the coup had its legitimation from the President Nixon and the National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, the future Nobel Peace Prize.
The overthrow of a government by the military is in itself an illegal act , but disconcerting was the total brutality of the coup : the bombing of La Moneda , free slander, the murderous intention to eliminate the President, the thousands of prisoners in the stadium of Santiago, the desaparecidos.
The perpetrator was General Augusto Pinochet, a military on which Allende put his trust, in reality a hitman to carry out the death sentence of democratic Chile. Despite President Allende committed suicide, as confirmed by the recent autopsy, his future was already marked: Pinochet admitted that if captured alive he would have been taken on board of a plane with his family and then shot down in flight.
The horrors that followed that day were several times described by thousands of prisoners and families of the victims, torture, inhuman and brutal acts that literally made shocked the conscience of anyone who can be called a human being.
All this has been done by the military under the command of Augusto Pinochet, who has not spent a night in jail. Arrested in London in 2000, he was released for “poor health”, before landing in Santiago and miraculously get up from the wheelchair. It was yet another demonstration of the arrogance of a man who had killed once again family members and survivors of his regime. At his death, Pinochet was accused of the following: human rights violations, corruption, political assassinations, state terrorism, drugs and weapons trafficking, weapons proliferation, political conspiracy designed to facilitate the capture of political opponents in foreign countries.
Villa Grimaldi, DINA, Operacion Condor, Caravan of Death, were all pieces of a sophisticated system of execution, torture, kidnapping, murder that received directly or not a cover by President Nixon , Kissinger and the successive American administrations. The blood of those people can not be forgotten, and forty years on we remember that 11th September, because as the other most famous 11th, the total disrespect for life it is not the result of insane or wicked people, but the wise and macabre act of some who do not hesitate to sacrifice innocent people to achieve their dirty business.
This article follows the footsteps of the revelations contained on the recent declassification CIA reports which are available online. In memory of Salvador Allende, Pablo Neruda, the over 3,000 desaparecidos, the thousands of detainees being tortured, their families, the ones forced into exile, the Chilean people, the supporters of Unidad Popular, the victims of the Operacion Condor in Chile and Latin America.
The theory of counterinsurgency was elaborated after the WWII, mainly as a response to the victory of the Chinese Communist revolution in 1949, which had indicated that, from a military point of view, the guerrillas played a key strategic role in the conquest of power. For this reason U.S. military began to theorize that the only way to defeat the guerrilla was to think and act like them. Since the USSR had begun its efforts in support of national liberation movements in the sixties, the U.S. military began to develop plans that included “not conventional operations” even without the consent of the host countries. The communist activities were contrasted with any means, putting pressure on allied governments. The new strategy was effectively summed up in the directives of General Westmoreland: it was explained to the soldiers how to counter enemies “on the field “, how to use terrorism and infiltration to favour destabilization, control the armed forces and the governments of the host countries.
Between 1960 and 1975, in areas under direct or indirect control of the U.S., occurred dozens of attempted coups with the direct or indirect support of the CIA and local intelligences. The Cuban revolution, and the emergence of communist parties in Latin America, had brought the Cold War in the Western Hemisphere. After Allende’s victory in the presidential elections of 4 September 1970, it was common belief that his presidency would have seriously affected US national interests.
The efforts made in order to support the anti-communist forces in Chile, dated back to the late ‘50s, and reflected the rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union to impose their influence throughout the Third World. The growing strength of the Chilean left, together with the constant fragmentation of the conservative and moderate parties became, over the years ’60 and ’70, the subject of increasing concern to the United States.
According to the report of the Church Committee, at their meeting of 15 September 1970 with CIA Director Richard Helms and the secretary of the Justice John Mitchell, President Nixon and his National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger ordered the CIA to prevent the rise to power of Allende. In addition to political action, according to the notes of Helms, Nixon and Kissinger ordered to take measures to “make the economy shout in pain“.
After the assumption of power by Pinochet, important members of the US government seemed reluctant to criticize human rights violations. The assistance and military sales from the U.S. increased considerably during the years in which occurred the most serious violations of human rights. According to a “Memorandum of conversation” In June 1976, Kissinger made it known to Pinochet that the U.S. government was well disposed towards his regime, while advising him to do
something on the subject of human rights in order to improve the image of Chile at the Congress of the United States.
The CIA report on the coup in Chile, is the most effective implementation of those plans, where the struggle against communism represented a justification for each type of operation and for supporting those dictatorial regimes which, while not guaranteeing “freedom and democracy”, were nevertheless useful to achieve the objectives, as it has happened for decades in Latin America.
Period 1962-1970: Countering the Rise of Unidad Popular
In 1962, the CIA was authorized to carry out activities under coverage in support of the Radical Party and the Christian Democratic Party. These programs were designed to:
- Help those parties to achieve greater result and improve their organization and effectiveness.
- Cause a split in the Socialist Party.
- Propaganda aimed at media support which consisted in funding and advice some elements recruited within well-defined radio stations and newspapers in Chile.
In anticipation of the 1964 presidential election, on April 2, the Committee 303 approved a campaign of political action in order to prevent Salvador Allende’s victory, the candidate of the left. The main beneficiary of these efforts was Eduardo Frei, the Christian Democratic Party leader. At the time of the election, the Committee had authorized a total expenditure of $ 3 million. The victory of Frei, on 4 September 1964 represented a milestone in the CIA efforts.
On 5 February 1965, the Committee 303 approved another secret campaign directed to support, at the parliamentary elections on 7 March, some chosen candidates. This campaign was designed and carried out in collaboration with the U.S. ambassador to Chile and successfully completed by 30 June.
In 1965-66, propaganda efforts aimed to support the Chilean media as to influence public opinion against the parties and the candidates of the left, and against the presence of Soviet agents in the country.
Between 1968 and 1969, under President Frei, the Chilean left, however, managed to obtain certain advantages, which led the CIA to carry out more propaganda operations aimed at influencing the Chilean media. In July 1968, the Committee 303 approved a modest program of secret activities with the purpose of influencing the composition of the Chilean Parliament in the elections of March 1969. Although the results were to be considered a success for the operation, both the extreme right and the extreme left gained seats, polarizing further the Chilean political scene. The losers were Frei and his moderate candidates.
In the presidential elections of 1970, Allende was the most popular candidate of the coalition Unidad Popular (UP). The Committee 40 (which replaced the 303) ordered the CIA to limit itself to attack the coalition with the aim to divide the left and create the conditions to avoid the victory of a Marxist.
On 27 June 1970 the Committee received instructions in order to concentrate specifically against the candidature of Allende. The aim was to warn the people of Chile against the dangers of a Marxist regime under the leadership of Allende. However, in spite of the increase in funding was now clear that the operations of disturbance were not sorting the desired effect: UP had earned a wider support as to make Allende the likely winner candidate. The concerns in the Nixon administration led to a secret initiative to develop two more aggressive plans, which were developed simultaneously:
Option I: A program of political action provided that the embassy and the CIA base exercised their influence on the Chilean Parliament to vote for Alessandri, despite Allende had won a slightly higher popular vote. The idea was that the parliament elects President Alessandri, and then he would have resigned, thus allowing Frei to be the candidate against Allende in a new round of elections.
Option II: The CIA was studying the possibility of organizing an intervention of the Chilean military. On September 9, the “base” received instructions from headquarters, which ordered to establish a direct contact with Chilean officers in order to evaluate the possibility of a coup, in the event that it was decided for this solution.
On 15 September, President Nixon ordered the CIA to prevent Allende assumption of power, or to depose him, and allocated for the purpose 10 million dollars. The President specified that the action was to be carried out by the CIA, without communication to the Departments of State and Defense, or the U.S. ambassador in Chile. Responding to the orders , the CIA undertook a series of actions, including contact with the military of a foreign government to request opinion , propaganda against UP through major newspapers , such as El Mercurio, contacts with civilian Catholic groups and with the Chilean church authorities to influence the attitude of the Church against Allende. Frei was urged to use his influence with the military to encourage officers to consider the possibility of forming a new government before the parliament elect Allende President.
When, towards the end of September, it was now clear that Frei would not be able to change the course of the events, the planning of Option II intensified. Between 5 and 20 October, the “base” organized numerous contacts with high military officers and the Carabineros (national police), to convince them to organize a coup. Four CIA officials were sent to meet secretly and unofficially with the Chilean military actively involved in the machinations of a coup. However, Option II was shelved following the assassination of the Commander in Chief of the Army, Schneider, whose death provoked a strong reaction in Chile.
The assassination of Schneider
The U.S. government and the CIA agreed on the assessment made by Chilean officers that the abduction of General Rene Schneider, Commander of the Chilean Army in September 1970, was a key step in any coup plan. However, the documents analysed do not reveal any information that indicate an intention of the conspirators, or the CIA, to kill the general during the kidnapping.
Schneider was a staunch supporter of the Chilean constitution, and an obstacle to the military leaders favourable to a coup to prevent Allende assuming power. The retired General of the Army Roberto Viaux was one of the main conspirators, enjoyed the support of young officers and was also the head of several right wing groups. The CIA, after receiving the order to examine the possibility of a coup to prevent Allende from taking power, sent an official to contact Viaux on October 9, 1970. After a second meeting, the “base” in Washington reported his demand for guns , tear gas and other supplies as well as an insurance policy on his life. After having studied the proposal of Viaux, the headquarters of the CIA came to the conclusion that his group had no chance to successfully complete a coup.
The representative of Viaux said that the coup was planned on 21 and 22 October, and that the first step would be the kidnapping of General Schneider. The “base” did not believe in the plan, both because the CIA had no information that would substantiate the conditions, and because the group of Viaux had a history of false starts. On October 22, the group of Viaux, which was now acting independently from the CIA, made an attempt to kidnap General Schneider, which led to his murder. The death of Schneider alienated the armed forces and civilians in favour of the coup, and plans for military action were set aside.
In November 1970, a member of the Viaux group escaped capture and returned to get in touch with the CIA, requesting financial assistance in name of the group. Although the Agency had no obligation towards them, since the group had acted independently, it provided $ 35,000 in order to keep secret the previous contacts and maintain the good disposition of the group.
The beginning of the Allende presidency
The parliament passed the electoral victory of Allende by a wide margin (153 to 35) on October 24. In the wake of the settlement of Allende, 3 November 1970 the long-term goal of the U.S. government became that of provide the funds and influence the opposition with the hope that he could defeat Allende in the elections of 1976.
In the period 1971-72, the CIA carried out covert actions aimed at a new renew support for the Christian Democratic Party, the National Party and the Radical Democratic Party. The CIA also continued to gather information on the officers of the Chilean armed forces that actively opposed Allende’s government, but was not undertaken any action to help them. When towards the end of 1972 there was an escalation of rumours about projects for a coup, the CIA was very cautious in all its dealings with officers of the Chilean Armed Forces, while continuing to follow their activities. Within the U.S. government the general opinion was that the military intended to do a coup, which would not have needed the support the United States to succeed, and that it was important to avoid any intervention or assistance to that coup.
On 21 August 1973 the Committee 40 approved an additional sum of 1 million dollars intended to support the opposition parties, bringing the secret funding during the Allende period to approximately $ 6.5 million.
Towards the end of August, the “base” requested permission to provide maximum support to the efforts of the opposition to encourage the entry of the Chilean military in the cabinet of Allende. The resignation of the Commanding General of the Army, Carlos Prats (a constitutional), and its replacement with General Augusto Pinochet (not a conspirator, but apparently willing to accept a coup), seemed to have further strengthened the union between the armed forces.
The “base”, realizing that the objectives of the opposition had developed to a point that contrasted with the U.S. policy of then, asked Washington for permission to support that aggressive attitude. The U.S. ambassador to Chile shared the idea that Washington should review its policy, but did not join the proposal of the “Base”, fearing that it could lead to the facto involvement of the United States in the coup. The headquarters of the CIA responded to the “base” that there was not to be any kind of involvement with the military in any initiative because there was no intention to instigate a military coup.
The September 10, 1973, the day before the coup that ended the government Allende, an officer of the Chilean armed forces informed an official of the CIA that he was planning a coup, and asked the assistance of the U.S. government. He was told that the U.S. government has not provided any assistance because it was considered an exclusively an internal matter. The CIA was aware of the exact date of the coup shortly before this occurred.
The new military junta in Chile – Army General Augusto Pinochet , Air Force General Gustavo Leigh , Admiral of the Navy José Merino and the head of the Carabineros General César Mendoza – swore in the evening September 11, 1973. The next day, the four drew up a document which established the council as the supreme power in Chile: Pinochet was appointed first president, and the four agreed verbally on the rotation.
The council established an advisory committee, which Pinochet was able to form with Army officers loyal to him and one of their first recommendations was to shelve the idea of a rotation to the presidency, arguing that would create too many administrative problems and considerable confusion. In March of 1974, Pinochet launched a verbal attack against the Christian Democratic Party, and declared that there was no defined timetable for the return of a civilian government. On 18 December 1974, Pinochet was appointed supreme leader of the nation.
The secret plans of the CIA in Chile ended officially in the month of June 1974 and the payments ceased. During the greater part of that period, the CIA did not have any authority to carry out covert actions in Chile.
Human rights violations committed by officers, undercover agents or employees of the CIA
In January ‘74, the CIA sent out a directive to all employees gathering information as to the clandestine torture in Chile. This message to the staff ordered the CIA to work with all agents and
channels of influence available in order to induce the Chilean government to modify the repressive measures, and in particular to eliminate the use of torture. The CIA actively made use of their contacts, particularly with those service members known for their human rights violations, stressing that such abuses were harmful to the government’s credibility within their own countries , as well as damaging his reputation internationally and unacceptable for the U.S. government . In some cases, these contacts have allowed the CIA to obtain information on violations of human rights which otherwise would not be aware of.
Considering the wide variety and nature of contacts of the CIA in Chile, the human rights issue was addressed in several ways, along those years. A few examples:
- Before the coup in 1973, human rights issues were never discussed with contacts or in intelligence reports.
- A contact of the CIA had been implicated in an abortive attempted coup on 29 June 1973, and another was involved in the coup, successful, on 11 September 1973.
- In October 1973, the CIA received reliable information indicating that a high degree contact was involved in some specific violations of human rights and the contact was interrupted.
- Although the CIA had received information that suggested that one of his high- contact degree was a hardliner and therefore could be involved in violations of human rights, the contacts were maintained in the absence of more precise information.
- CIA maintained indirect contact with a source who was in close contact with perpetrators of human rights violations. There was no evidence that this source was involved in such abuse, but it certainly was aware of these practices. The informative on the contact was not sufficiently important to advise its interruption.
- In more than one occasion, in the light of membership services and position of the same contact, it seemed likely that they knew or at least covered up abuses against human rights. However, since such contacts allow the CIA to carry out its mission of gathering information and maintain an open channel through which to express concerns about violations human rights, the contacts were maintained.
- The information about violations of human rights by the CIA contacts of that period and earlier, were communicated to politicians and intelligence services.
Throughout the period following the coup, the CIA has collected and communicated to the services and to the Government, extensive information about the issue of human rights in Chile. Some of these informations came from contacts of different backgrounds. In the days and months immediately following the 1973 coup, the CIA provided extensive information on what the government called “activities necessary to restore order”. There were reports widely divergent about the number of people killed and arrested. The reports of the CIA confirmed that the military were deliberately hiding precise figures, or the various opinions within the military junta in regards to whether or not to submit to summary justice extremists and subversives, or to afford them a fair process. There were also extensive informations on:
- The application of “military justice” to civilian detainees, and the types of punishment to which probably they would have been subjected;
- Site of prison camps and the names of some specific people they hold, including the fact that some of these locations were secret;
- Attempts of some elements of the left to leave the country and seek asylum in foreign embassies;
- Effects of the government repression and on the capacity and efforts of the left to reorganise its ranks.
The CIA also received information on the “Plan Z”, which was said to have been prepared by the Unidad Popular which aims to assassinate some important politicians and soldiers who opposed the leftist agenda. When emerged for the first time the suspicion of the existence of the “Plan Z”, the CIA did note that it was probably disinformation manipulated by the junta in order to improve its image and justify its activity.
The CIA reports on human rights violations by the junta brought to light:
- 15 September 1973, a few days after the coup, the CIA reported that some units of the Chilean security were proceeding to questions suspected opponents in an extremely severe manner.
- A report of 22 September stated that the prisoners at the National Stadium were treated very harshly.
- September 28, the CIA informed that in the river Mapocho had been found 27 corpses, some of them with obvious signs of torture and mutilation.
- October 9, the CIA reported that some Soviet technicians in Chile, not members of the diplomatic mission, had been repeatedly threatened and verbally abused, and some of them processed after they had been beaten or injured.
- October 25, the CIA informed that General Sergio Arellano Stark had given instructions that led to the summary execution of 21 political prisoners.
- November 3, the CIA noted that despite a government decree which put an end to executions, in the canal San Carlos had been found 20 bodies killed by firearms.
- 12 November, the CIA was informed about the concerns within the Christian Democrats about violations of human rights.
- January 18, 1974 the CIA stated that members of all Chilean political formations were weighing the possibility to present the issue of government abuses against human rights to the attention of the United Nations Commission for Human Rights. It was clear that the circular of the Chilean government, issued on 17 January 1974, that prohibited torture and provided instructions for the treatment of prisoners, it was just a ploy of public relations.
- The CIA reports indicated that the Chilean security forces did not comply, and probably would not have ever done what stated policy in the Circular.
The review of the CIA files has produced no evidence that officers or employees of the CIA have ever been involved in violations of human rights or the coverage of these abuses in Chile. However, some clandestine contacts of the CIA were involved in human rights abuses. These were clandestine contacts from the military, intelligence and security forces, to gather information in order to implement the secret activities. There’s no doubt that some of those contacts have been actively involved in the execution and coverage of serious human rights abuses.
The attack on La Moneda dialogue
The attack on La Moneda minute by minute, on 11 September 1973 Pinochet is in radio contact with Admiral Patricio Carvajal; here passages of their dialogue:
Carvajal: “I just spoke with Dominguez, the superintendent of the Navy, and Allende is La Moneda. He says that the President will agree to surrender only if the three commanders -in-chief will go to La Moneda”.
Pinochet: “You know that the guy is smart. He must do the reverse. If he wants to surrender, he must surrender to the three commanders -in-chief of the armed forces “.
Carvajal: “Now I have spoken personally with him. I have ordered the surrender, he replied with a series of insults”.
Pinochet: “It means that at 11 we send them to the air, they will see what we can do “.
Carvajal: “We need to evacuate the staff of La Moneda so it will be easier to attack it “.
Pinochet: “After the bombing, we assault with those of the School of Infantry. We must say that the armed forces are not against the people, but against the famine that was caused by the Marxist government of Mr. Allende, against the queues for bread, against poverty … “
Pinochet: “There are reactions from Moneda?”
Carvajal: “The assistant naval comes from La Moneda and tells me that there were 50 Carabineros who are retiring and 50 Gap (Allende’s personal guard). He says that the president has a gun with 30 rounds and said that with the last one he will shoot himself to the head “.
Pinochet: “Anything else? That asshole will not shoot even on the verge of his pants. At 11 o’clock we must attack because that “cock ” does not give up “.
Carvajal: “We are already attacking with the infantry. We’re circling La Moneda, it will not take much time to take it “.
Pinochet: “His idea is to make us going to La Moneda, and then to lock ourselves in the basement … so nothing to do, for no reason. For now, do not stop attacking. Attack La Moneda. Strong. Surrender without conditions. No negotiation “.
Carvajal: “It remains the offer to take him out of the country?”
Pinochet: “We offer to leave … but the plane will fall in flight … (laughs)”.
Are leaving La Moneda some women, including two of the three daughters of Allende, Isabel and Beatriz.
Pinochet: “They want to earn time. We do not accept any negotiation. Unconditional surrender. All these groups of Negroes (…) all these greasy fat people who are destroying the country should be arrested and put on a plane. Without luggage, with only what are wearing “.
Carvajal: “They ask me to wait for a while to convince the President … “.
Pinochet: “Negative “.
Shortly after 11 four fighter jets bomb La Moneda.
Carvajal: “My General. La Moneda is completely surrounded”.
Pinochet: “President Allende is there?”
Carvajal: “I think the president Allende is located in La Moneda, or what is left of him. From La Moneda have phoned the former minister Flores and the secretary of Allende Osvaldo Puccio. They want to go out and we told them to go out with a white flag white “.
Pinochet: “My view is that these riders are to be taken and put on the plane. Let them go to any place … you can even shoot down the aircraft when they have left “.
Carvajal: “Our advisors (…) Fear that this man will be visiting all the socialist countries making muddying us “.
Pinochet: “We have been already muddied enough by this champion. He will continue and that’s it”.
Carvajal: “There is news (…). to avoid interceptions I will transmit in English: THEY SAY THAT ALLENDE COMMITTED SUICIDE AND IS NOW DEAD”.
Pinochet: “I understand “.
Carvajal: ” Augustus, concerning the plane for the family, it would not have more urgency now. There’s no hurry to take out the family”.
Pinochet: “They have to put him immediately on the plane with the family. The funeral must be done somewhere else, in Cuba. Otherwise we will have trouble. Even dying he has given us a lot of problems”.
The witness, a testimony from Patricia Verdugo
Patricia del Cármen Verdugo Aguirre (November 30, 1947 – January 13, 2008) was a Chilean journalist, writer and human rights activist. She focused much of her investigative reporting on the human rights abuses committed by the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.
“I have not talked about that Tuesday, September 11, 1973. I was unable to speak, but have since become a humble supporter of Allende. The announcers informed that the citizens could put flag at homes as a sign of support for the military coup, was imposed a curfew, while we were destroying all the documents, anything compromising that might refer to Marxism.
We were taught to respect the democracy, the Constitution and the laws. We were a country that prided itself to be “poor but educated” to the point of having two Nobel prizes for Literature: Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda. The library was the most sacred places in the houses, a highly politicized country, where two -thirds of the citizens were of progressive views. The majority of citizens did not believe to the military coup, or they imagined a bloodless one. We did not know that the House White, President Nixon and his security adviser, Henry Kissinger, had decided that in Chile you had to shed a lot of blood. They had decided even before Allende assumed power to the point to send by diplomatic bag, in October 1970, the machine guns and the ammunition to eliminate the chief of Army Staff, General René Schneider, and the main obstacle to the coup. Many of the thousands of left wing executives, still attached to the idea of nation, when their names appeared in the lists of sought spread by the military, presented themselves voluntarily to the police station.
Were set up secret prisons, torture, bodies disappeared and entire families thrown into despair. Even several years after wives and mothers continued to wonder where were their loved ones are, left a window ajar at night, in case the husband or son would come back. They washed their clothes waiting for the return. An old peasant woman lost in one night four of her sons, arrested by the military.
My father was killed in July 1976, was arrested in his house and disappeared for two days. It was never known in which prison was detained, though his brother was a senior army officer. Then his body reappeared, with no papers, in the Mapocho River, which crosses Santiago. His name was Sergio Verdugo, engineer and president of the union of employees of the state enterprise that built schools. Militant in the Christian Democrats, was 50 years old. The crime was committed by the secret service of the Carabineros, and was executed because his work in defense of the rights of his
fellow workers had convinced them that he was a communist. They tortured him with the “submarine”, putting his head in a barrel of water until his death.
Carmen Vivanco in a few days lost husband, son, brother, sister in law and nephew. Her house became the Association of Relatives, active during the dictatorship thanks to the protection of the Vicariate of Solidarity of Cardinal Raul Silva Henriquez. Estela Ortiz lost her father, who disappeared in 1976, a university professor and Communist Party member, and almost ten years after her husband José Manuel Parada was arrested and the beheaded corpse reappeared.
The story of Josefa and his father is one of the most ignoble. They were locked up in Villa Grimaldi, one of the secret prisons of the DINA, and tortured; Josefa was lying on a gynecological bed, her long hair falling down from the head like a blonde waterfall. Her young naked white body seemed to light up the room. The legs were open and tied to the metal bars. The torturer applied electricity to her nipples and vagina. Since there it seemed like any of the thousands of descriptions recorded. But there was something more. Opposite to the girl, a chair. On the chair, a man tied. The bandage that covered his eyes had slipped on his throat. On the right side of the head, a gun. The man was forced to watch. And that man was Josefa’s father “.