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News > Chile

Chile To Prosecute Official Implicated in Jose Toha's Murder

  • A man holds a portrait of ex-President Salvador Allende, Santiago, Chile, Sep. 11, 2020.

    A man holds a portrait of ex-President Salvador Allende, Santiago, Chile, Sep. 11, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 3 April 2021

Toha was a top official during the left-wing government of Salvador Allende. The dictatorship justified his death as a suicide in 1974. 

Santiago's Court of Appeals unanimously ruled to prosecute ex-Army Lieutenant Colonel Jorge Chovan for covering up the assassination of Jose Toha, who was Vice President, Interior and Defense Minister during the leftist government of President Salvador Allende (1970-1973).


The US Knew All About the 1976 Coup Plot in Argentina

The ruling emphasized that Toha's death by hanging on March 15, 1974, was caused by third parties and not by suicide as officials of the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990) tried to justify. 

Lawyer Nelson Caucoto described the Court decision as "extremely important" since it is the first indictment issued in Toha's case for events that occurred 47 years ago.

On Sept.11, 1973, Toha was arrested and transferred to the Punta Arenas prison camp on Dawson Island. He was later imprisoned in Santiago's Military Hospital, where he was interrogated repeatedly under torture.

Recently declassified documents by the National Security Archive showed the support given by the Brazilian dictatorship of Humberto de Alencar Castelo (1964-1985) to Allende's overthrow.

Besides protecting the pro-terrorist "Patria y Libertad" organization, Brazilian agents identified Chilean military officials who were part of the coup-plotting. They also established a “war room” to infiltrate troops and ammunition.

"The difficulties to advance in the case have been many, starting with the suicide thesis promoted by the dictatorship...It has been judicially demonstrated with the support of medical science that it was a homicide," Caucoto said.

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