Murdered communists identified

By Hermann Glaser-Baur

The Chilean newspaper El Mostrador—not a revolutionary paper—published an article two weeks ago headlined “Victims of the liberation struggle.” The report about the identification of the first four of hundreds of disappeared and murdered fighters against the fascist regime of Augusto Pinochet drew worldwide attention.
     Günther Pohl, Latin America expert in the International Commission of the German Communist Party (DKP), translated it from Spanish to German; the DKP weekly Unsere Zeit published it last week. I have done the translation into English, slightly abridged it, and added some information Marion Baur sent from Germany.

The medical service of the SML (Medico-Legal Service) has managed—after eleven years of research—to identify four disappeared prisoners who were murdered in 1976 in a concentration camp run by Augusto Pinochet’s secret police. This was announced to the public by sources from the department, who confirmed that they were three communist politicians and one member of MIR (Movement of the Revolutionary Left). They had been murdered in the Simón Bolívar Barracks, which was run by DINA (the Pinochet secret service).
     The very existence of this camp was unknown until 2007, when it was reported to the authorities by a former agent of DINA who felt guilty about his deeds.
     The identifications, based on more than two hundred bone fragments, clearly identify the communist activists Lincoyán Berríos Cataldo, Horacio Lepeda and Fernando Ortiz Letelier as well as the MIR member Anguel Guerrero Castillo.
     The communist fighters were part of the third secret leadership of the Communist Party, which operated in deep illegality after 11th of September [coup] by Pinochet. The members of the previous two leaderships had been murdered by DINA as well, all in 1976.
     The three Communist Party members will be laid to rest in the Garden of Remembrance of Disappeared Prisoners and Murdered Politicians, which has been created within the central cemetery in the capital city of Chile; Guerrero will be buried at his home in Puente Alto. The legal services tell us that the identification of the murdered was possible because their bodies had been dumped in a closed-down mine on the road to Valparaíso, whereas many others were thrown into the sea.
     The recently published book The Dance of the Ravens [to my knowledge not published in English yet—HGB] describes the activities and unbelievable brutality of the DINA units “Lautaro Brigade ” and “Delphin Group,” which operated in the Simón Bolívar camp. They usually burnt the faces and hands of their victims with welding torches after murdering them, thus making future identification impossible. The four identified fighters were among a large number of disappeared whose murder the dictatorship always denied, saying the “had fled to Argentina with other Marxists” . . .

One of the four men, Lincoyán Yalu Berríos Cataldo, was the uncle of Mario Berríos. Mario came to Germany as a small child when his parents were seeking exile. Like many revolutionaries, they had to flee Chile in the 1970s. From a young age Mario represented the Communist Party of Chile at numerous congresses and international meetings in Germany. Now a member of the DKP, Mario Berríos has recently been elected chairperson of the party for the state of Brandenburg.
     Marion Baur, who is spending some time in Berlin and Brandenburg at present, e-mailed us:
“I was as shocked as many other comrades here to hear the news about the murder of Mario’s uncle. Of course he had always suspected the worst and never believed in the lie that his uncle was in Argentina. I have arranged to meet Mario over the next few days. Besides my personal condolences I will tell him that we shall publicise the truth about the murders as widely as we can in Ireland and I will assure him of the sympathy of many communists and other revolutionary thinking people there.
     We should use Sept. 11th to remind as many people as we can of the brutality of the Pinochet regime and the drivers behind it—the copper bosses and the CIA.
     And I think we can show much more clearly the massive role and sacrifice of the Communists during the resistance and final overthrow of the fascists.”

Home page  > Documents >  Murdered communists identified
Baile  > Cáipéisí >  Murdered communists identified