Edmundo Pérez Yoma

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Edmundo Jaime Pérez Yoma
Minister of the Interior
In office
8 March 2008 – 11 March 2010
Appointed by Michelle Bachelet
Preceded by Felipe Harboe Bascuñán (interim)
Succeeded by Rodrigo Hinzpeter
Minister of National Defense
In office
22 June 1999 – 11 March 2000
Appointed by Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle
Preceded by José Florencio Guzmán Correa
Succeeded by Mario Fernández Baeza
Minister of National Defense
In office
11 March 1994 – 16 January 1998
Appointed by Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle
Preceded by Patricio Rojas Saavedra
Succeeded by Raúl Troncoso Castillo
Personal details
Born (1939-01-10) 10 January 1939 (age 78)
Chile Antofagasta, Chile
Political party Flag of the Christian Democrat Party of Chile.svg Christian Democrat
Spouse(s) Paz Vergara Larraín
Children Six
Residence Santiago
Alma mater University of Washington
Religion Catholic

Edmundo Jaime Pérez Yoma (born 10 January 1939 Antofagasta) is a Chilean politician from the Christian Democrat Party of Chile. He was twice the Minister of Defense during the administration of President Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, and he served as the Minister of the Interior for President Michelle Bachelet's administration.

Pérez Yoma is the son of Edmundo Pérez Zujovic, the assassinated minister under President Eduardo Frei Montalva, father of President Frei Ruiz-Tagle.[1][2] As a boy, he came to Santiago, the capital, with his family, enrolling in Saint George's College[3] and then the University of Chile, where for two years he studied engineering.[2] Later, he moved to Seattle to attend the University of Washington,[2] from which he earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1962.[4] Pérez Yoma then returned to Chile, marrying Paz Vergara Larraín in 1965, with whom he has had six children.[2][4]

In the following years, while working in business, Pérez Yoma was critical of Popular Unity, the coalition of parties that brought the socialist Salvador Allende to power in 1970. In 1988, he served as national advisor for the Christian Democrat Party (PDC) and in 1989, he managed the senatorial campaign of Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle. In 1991, he was named president of the Defense Commission of his party.[4] In the 1990s, he was president on the board of Petrox and Chilectra Metropolitana, oil and electricity companies, respectively.[2][4] In 1993, he was executive secretary of Frei's presidential campaign.

Political career[edit]

Frei Ruiz-Tagle administration[edit]

Due to Pérez Yoma's closeness with the army, President Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle—a personal friend due to the closeness of their fathers—appointed him Minister of Defense in 1994.[4] In this role, he had the task of managing relations with General Augusto Pinochet and preparing the transfer of command of the army from his hands. In contrast with his predecessor, Patricio Rojas Pérex Yoma maintained good personal and professional relations with Pinochet, coming to an agreement that his successor in command would be Ricardo Izurieta.

Another situation that Pérez Yoma faced was the removal from the direction of the Carabineros of General Rodolfo Stange, who refused to resign after having been accused of dereliction of duty regarding the Caso Degollados.[5]

Within the Frei administration, Pérez Yoma was in conflict with Minister of Public Works Ricardo Lagos. Lagos refused to assent to the creation of Punta Peuca, a prison built specifically for the military convicts detained for violations of human rights, whose first occupants were General Manuel Contreras and Brigadier Pedro Espinoza for the murder of former Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier.

On January 16, 1998, Pérez Yoma left office to become the ambassador to Argentina[6] On June 22, 1999, he returned to the administration as Minister of National Defense. In that stint, he created the Mesa de Diálogo (English: Bargaining Table), a body that sought to resolve problems concerning the violation of human rights during the military regime.[7]


  1. ^ El Mercurio (Santiago), November 10, 2008
  2. ^ a b c d e Las Últimas Noticias (Santiago), December 25, 1993, p.2
  3. ^ El Mercurio (Santiago), February 6, 1996, p.A4
  4. ^ a b c d e El Mercurio (Santiago), December 25, 1993, p.C4
  5. ^ El Mercurio (Santiago), July 14, 1994, p.C1
  6. ^ La Tercera (Santiago), January 18, 1998, p.6
  7. ^ El Mercurio (Santiago), August 22, 1999, p.A1

Political offices
Preceded by
Patricio Rojas Saavedra
Minister of National Defense
March 11, 1994 - January 16, 1998
Succeeded by
Raúl Troncoso Castillo
Preceded by
José Florencio Guzmán Correa
Minister of National Defense
June 22, 1999 - March 11, 2000
Succeeded by
Mario Fernández Baeza
Preceded by
Felipe Harboe Bascuñán
Minister of the Interior
January 8, 2008 - March 11, 2010
Succeeded by
Rodrigo Hinzpeter