Nashua Telegraph, New Hamshire, 20.08.1983
Chile speeds up amnesty for exiles
SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) - Accelerating its amnesty program, President Augusto Pinochet's military government has allowed Chile's leading human rights activist and 1,145 other political exiles to return home.
The monthly list, announced Friday night, was the longest since the amnesty program started last Christmas. It is part of a democratic liberalization plan aimed at defusing new anti-government protests like the one that left at least 24 people dead last week.
Among those allowed to return was Jaime Castillo, president of Chile's Human Rights Commission. A Christian Democratic Party ideologist and former justice minister, Castillo was expelled in 1976 because of his sharp criticism. He returned in 1978 and founded the rights group, which monitors reports of arrest, torture and banishment of Pinochet's critics without trial. He was exiled again in August 1981.
"I am very happy for myself," Castillo told Radio Chilena in a broadcast interview from his exile in Caracas, Venezuela. Noting thousands more Chileans remain in forced exile, he said, "The problem should be resolved in its totality."
Also allowed to return to Chile was Gerardo Espinosa, interior minister under the late Marxist President Salvador Allende, who was overthrown by Pinochet in a 1973 military coup.
Last year, the human rights group estimated 37,000 members of Allende's government, labor leaders, political activists, left-wing terrorists and other dissidents had been expelled from Chile since the coup or barred from re-entry after leaving.
The government estimated at the time there were 10,000 to 11,000 exiles - about one percent of the population. But it has issued no list except for the monthly amnesty rolls now totaling 1,818 names.
German Gardeweg, undersecretary of interior, said "other lists as numerous as this one" would be issued soon. He also said the government might name those extremists who could not return and let everybody else back in.
"The idea is to produce a prompt and definitive solution to the exile problem," Gardeweg told reporters.
Discontent over Pinochet's authoritarian measures and handling of a two-year recession have spawned four monthly one-day protests joined by hundreds of thousands of Chileans and harshly repressed by the army general's troops and riot police. Altogether, 32 people have died in the protests that started in May.
Opposition lealders have been talking about another protest to coincide with the Sept. 11 anniversary of the coup, although no date has been set.
Defending his deployment of 18,000 government forces in the capital during the Aug. 11 protest, Pinochet told a rally in Linares, "Had it not been for this preventative measure, Santiago would have burned in four directions and a government can never permit such a thing."
However, Pinochet also has made political concessions to try to isolate the leaders of the Christian Democrats and other outlawed but active parties that are organizing the monthly protests and demanding his resignation.
In a cabinet shakeup last week, he named a conservative civilian interior minister, Sergio Onofre Jarpa, who has since promised to speed the return of exiles, legalize political parties and hold congressional elections before the president's term expires.
Meanwhile, the government arrested and deported Dean Reed, a Marxist, American-born guitarist and singer who was performing here.
Reed, who lives in East Berlin, sang to an audience of copper miners Thursday night, ending his act with "Venceremos," or "We Shall Overcome," which was the theme song of Allende's Popular Unity coalition.
On Friday, he gave a similar performance to students at the University of Chile.
The singer was seized later by immigration agents at a private home and put on a plane to Lima, Peru. An Interior Ministry announcement said he had "committed offenses unacceptable to the people of Chile and its government, trying to revive the worst era of our history."