On September 21, 1976, a car bomb exploded on embassy row in Washington D.C at 9:35am. Two people were killed, and one was injured from the explosion. Twenty-five-year-old, Ronni Moffitt died, leaving her husband, Michael, of four months widowed. Along with Moffitt, Orlando Letelier, 44, was also killed. Letelier was the target of the bombers. The bombing was the first state-sponsored terrorist attack on U.S. soil. But unlike, the 9/11 terrorists, the Letelier bombers were working for a close-ally of the United States. The investigation into the bombing revealed how the United States government tacitly first pretended that the assassination was the work of “leftists” terrorists, and when the truth could no longer be contained, looked the other way as the perpetrators of the act of terrorism avoided prosecution.

Orlando Letelier was born in Chile, and after serving was Chile’s ambassador to the United States under the Salvador Allende government, returned to Chile only to be imprisoned and tortured by the Augusto Pinochet government that Washington had propped up in Chile. Years later, after much international outcry, Orlando Letelier had been released by the Pinochet government and had returned to Washington to work in a think-tank.

On the morning that he was killed, shadowy secret agents working for the Augusto Pinochet government put a bomb under Letelier’s car and followed him until it had exploded, killing him. Several people were eventually convicted for the murder. Michael Vernon Towney and Armando Fernandez Larios were both given visas by the U.S. government to visit the country. Towney was a former Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional (DINA) operative, a Pinochet’s secret police, who is currently living under the U.S. federal witness protection program. Towney was pleaded guilty to the murder of Letelier. As part of his plea agreement, Towney served about five years in prison and was granted immunity from further prosecution.

An Italian court convicted Towner in absentia for a 1975 murder attempt and Argentina has sought his extradition to stand trial for the 1974 murders of Carlos Prat and his wife. One of the people that provided help for the bombing was Cuban exile, Luis Posada Carriles, who had snuck into the United States and requested political asylum. The U.S. prosecuted Posada Carriles for immigration fraud and in 2007, judge Kathleen Cardone dismissed several counts and ordered Carriles released from house arrest.

In 2010, Luis Posada Carriles was tried in El Paso for lying to U.S. officials about his terrorists’ activities while applying for immigration status. He was found not guilty after the U.S. government refused to release documents that purported to show U.S. involvement in various Latin American bombings.

Although eight people were convicted for their parts in the assassination, the individual that ordered the assignation was never prosecuted for the crime on US. soil.

In 2015, the Obama administration declassified several documents. The documents show that Augusto Pinochet personally ordered the bombing on US soil and the killing of Orlando Letelier. During the investigations and resulting public outrage, Henry Kissinger feigned concern for Pinochet’s involvement publicly, but privately told Pinochet that the U.S. government had his back.

Thus, one of the first documented cases of state-sponsored terrorism in the United States was orchestrated by Augusto Pinochet, a close ally of the U.S. government and, its government had connived to put into power and even to this day, the architect of shit countries through population control, Henry Kissinger continues to defend Pinochet as a necessary actor in US foreign policy, under the politick theory that ignores ethics and morality for the sake of the country’ future.

Sound familiar?

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

One reply on “The Orlando Letelier Affair”

  1. It sure does sound familiar. Only now instead of realpolitik we have diversity to excuse the deliberate importation of terrorists into the country.

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