INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Media Reaction - Gerald Ford

Published: Thu 28 Dec 2006 04:01 PM
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RR RUEHWEB
DE RUEHSG #2647 3621601
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 281601Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 0620
UNCLAS SANTIAGO 002647
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STATE FOR R/MR, I/PP, WHA/BSC, WHA/PDA, INR/IAA, PM, INL
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR KPAO OPRC CI
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION - GERALD FORD
1. Media coverage of President Gerald Ford's death was primarily
limited to straight reporting on his biographical data and
Watergate. However, a December 28 article in conservative,
independent "La Tercera" underscores that it was during the Ford
administration that Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier, a military
regime opponent, was murdered in Washington and that the Church
Committee report revealed that the CIA had conducted covert
operations in Chile from 1963 to 1973, and even participated in the
murder of Chilean General Rene Schneider. This, says the article,
marked the beginning of the most difficult period in relations
between the U.S. and Chile. Quotes follow:
2. Headline: "Ford's Death Evokes the First Hostilities between the
U.S. and Pinochet."
"Although President Gerald Ford was in the White House for only two
and a half years, his presidency had two important consequences for
Chile.... It marked the beginning of discords between Washington
and the Pinochet regime. The reason is that the Church Committee,
formed to investigate CIA and FBI illegal activities in the
Watergate case...revealed the CIA's participation in General Rene
Schneider's assassination ...and in covert operations against
Salvador Allende and his government, as instructed by President
Nixon.... Henry Kissinger, who played a key role in this
policy...met privately with Pinochet in Santiago in June 1976 to
express Washington's support. But everything changed with
Letelier's assassination in 1976.... The crime opened the bitterest
chapter in the history of relations between Washington and Chile.
The U.S. justice did not cease in its effort to go after those
responsible for the crime.... Relations between both countries
deteriorated even more after the Democratic candidate (Jimmy Carter)
defeated Ford in the election. Carter developed a foreign policy
based on the defense of human rights and his arrival to the White
House marked the end of Washington's cooperation with military
regimes in the region."
KELLY
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