Henry Kissinger was US Secretary of State during the 1973 Chilean coup which saw the death of the democratically elected Salvador Allende and the installation of General Augusto Pinochet's military regime. The CIA and US government under Nixon are generally recognized as having assisted in the coup both financially and by encouraging the forces which eventually became an oppressive regime under which human rights abuses were widespread.
Kissinger has made a number of revealing statements about his involvement in Chilean politics:
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These actions by the CIA and US government are widely documented including an article by the BBC excerpted below. The full article can be viewed at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/932897.stm
Recently declassified documents in the United States show that the former head of the secret police in Chile, Manuel Contreras, was a paid informant for the US intelligence agency, the CIA.
The report, comprising CIA documents requested by the US Congress, shows that contact with Contreras began in 1974 - a year after the military coup that brought General Augusto Pinochet to power.
The report adds that the contact was maintained until 1977 - a year after Contreras plotted the killing of the then Chilean Foreign Minister and foe of General Pinochet, Orlando Letelier, in Washington.
A BBC correspondent in Washington, Nick Bryant, says the documents reinforce the view that the US turned a blind eye towards political repression in Chile during the Pinochet era and that the CIA was complicit in many human rights abuses.
Since Pinochet's arrest, some documents already have surfarced that give a taste of what the United States might know about his regime's atrocities.
"Chilean Executions," a recently declassified top-secret report prepared for Kissinger in November 1973, summarized the bloody repression that followed the coup. It noted the summary execution of 320 people, the overall death toll of 1,500 killed, and the arrest of more than 13,500 suspected leftists.
Though the death toll continued to climb in the following years, a just-released memorandum of a conversation between Kissinger and Pinochet, dated June 8, 1976, revealed that the U.S. secretary of state informed the general that the United States was "sympathetic with what you are trying to do here."