Enrique Arancibia Clavel

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Enrique Arancibia (13 October 1944 – 28 April 2011)[1] was a Chilean DINA agent who was ultimately convicted of the assassinations of General Carlos Prats and his wife in 1974, while under the government of Augusto Pinochet. General Prats, who had been vice president under the administration of Salvador Allende, was strongly critical of Pinochet's 1973 coup which had deposed Allende.

Though never specifically linked with the crime, Arancibia was associated with the right-wing group which killed Chilean Army Chief of Staff René Schneider (who had supported Allende's election by authoring the Schneider Doctrine advocating an apolitical military) during a botched kidnapping in 1970. After Schneider's murder Arancibia left Chile and took up residence in unofficial exile in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In Argentina, Arancibia acted as a liaison between DINA and the Argentine secret police[2] which eventually led to his involvement in the assassination of Prats, who had also been living in Argentina following Pinochet's coup. The assassination was part of Operation Condor, a campaign of political repression and terror involving intelligence operations and assassination of opponents, officially implemented in 1975 by the right-wing dictatorships of the Southern Cone of South America against perceived left-wing rivals. Arancibia received assistance from the CIA operative Michael Townley[3] in planning and carrying out the attack, which reportedly also involved Italian terrorist Stefano Delle Chiaie, who ultimately testified against both Townley and Arancibia.[4] Declassified documents of the FBI corroborate reports and testimony that Arancibia had been in contact with Delle Chiaie.[5]

In 1978, shortly after the extradition of Michael Townley to the US, Arancibia was arrested by Argentine intelligence officers and charged with espionage.[6] His life sentence for the 1974 assassination of General Prats in Buenos Aires was upheld in an Argentine court in August 2004, the court thereby ruling that crimes against humanity do not have a statutory limit in Argentina, including those committed during the Dirty War.[7][8] Townley was also involved in General Prats' assassination, but never convicted of the crime (Townley served 62 months of a 10-year sentence for his role in the assassination of former Chilean Ambassador to the US Orlando Letelier, who was killed in Washington, D.C. in 1976. His plea bargain for confessing to the Letelier assassination included immunity from further prosecution, preventing his extradition on charges relating to the Prats' assassination).[9][10] In addition to his conviction for the assassination of Prats, Arancibia also was sentenced in 2004 by an Argentine court for the kidnapping of Laura Elgueta and another Chilean woman in Buenos Aires. Elgueta was later charged with relaying communications for the ex–Minister of Defence Vivianne Blanlot.[8][11] Although the Prats case was still open in Chile, Arancibia was freed under parole for technical reason in July 2007, after nearly 20 years of prison.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Apareció muerto Arancibia Clavel/Arancibia Clavel was found dead". El Argentino (in Spanish). 28 April 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2011. 
  2. ^ Newbery, Charles; Alexei Barrionuevo (9 April 2011). "Former Agent for Pinochet Is Found Slain in Argentina". The New York Times. p. A9. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  3. ^ http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB8/ch02-07.htm
  4. ^ http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2000/05/22/mun6.html
  5. ^ http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB8/ch02-06.htm
  6. ^ Declassified documents, 2, 7 and 2,8, published by the National Security Archive
  7. ^ "Vital rights ruling in Argentina". BBC News. 24 August 2004. 
  8. ^ a b "Former Chilean agent gets 12-year sentence for pair of 1977 kidnappings dating to military era". Associated Press. 30 September 2004. 
  9. ^ "Arancibia, 'clave' en la cooperación de las dictaduras". La Jornada (in Spanish). 5 May 2000. 
  10. ^ "Diplomat's Assassin to be Freed". The Washington Post. 26 July 1983. 
  11. ^ a b "Arancibia Clavel: 'Tengo claro que sigo cumpliendo mi condena'". La Segunda (in Spanish). 24 August 2007. Retrieved 25 August 2007.