The body of Senor Orlando Letelier, a member of Chile's deposed Marxist regime who was killed in a car-bomb assassination in the United States eight days earlier, was buried in Caracas, Venezuela, on Wednesday (September 29).
The body of Senor Orlando Letelier, a member of Chile's deposed Marxist regime who was killed in a car-bomb assassination in the United States eight days earlier, was buried in Caracas, Venezuela, on Wednesday (September 29). Thousands of people saw the coffin arrive by aircraft and taken to the church and burial ground in a funeral cortege.
SYNOPSIS: Senor Diego Arria,the Governor of Caracas, led the official reception for the coffin as it arrived from Washington. Among mourners at the airport were relatives of Senor Letelier, who was living and working in exile in the American capital when he was killed. Senor Letelier was a leading member in the Marxist government of President Salvador Allende, who died in the coup which toppled his regime two years ago. At the time of the coup Senor Letelier, originally foreign minister, held the defence portfolio. A women companion also died in the blast, not far from the Chilean Embassy in Washington, and her husband was seriously injured. Senor Letelier, aged 44, was an opponent of the right-wing regime which overthrew President Allende, and which deprived him of his Chilean citizenship only eleven days before his death. He was director of the 'Council of Hemispheric Affairs', a private U.S.-based semi-political organisation opposed to the present regime of president Augusto Pinochet.
Senor Letelier was imprisoned for several months after the coup, and then made his home in Venezuela before going on to the United States. There were immediate protests about his assassination by the Hemispheric Council, which claimed he was killed by Chile's secret police. In Santiago, the Chilean capital, President Pinochet's government said it had asked the United States for an immediate inquiry, while the Chilean Embassy in Washington deplored what it called 'this outrageous act of terrorism". The Chilean Ambassador said 'terrorism and violence must be brought to a halt before there are more innocent victims', while the American State Department expressed 'grave concern' over the incident.