The gripping account of an assassination on US soil and the violent foreign conspiracy that stretched from Pinochet’s Chile to the streets of Washington, DC, with a new introduction by Ariel Dorfman
On September 10, 1976, exiled Chilean leader Orlando Letelier delivered a blistering rebuke of Augusto Pinochet’s brutal right-wing regime in a speech at Madison Square Garden. Eleven days later, while Letelier was on Embassy Row in Washington, DC, a bomb affixed to the bottom of his car exploded, killing him and his coworker Ronni Moffitt. The slaying, staggering in its own right, exposed an international conspiracy that reached well into US territory. Pinochet had targeted Letelier, a former Chilean foreign minister and ambassador to the United States, and carried out the attack with the help of Operation Condor, the secret alliance of South America’s military dictatorships dedicated to wiping out their most influential opponents.
This gripping account tells the story not only of a political plot that ended in murder, but also of the FBI’s inquiry into the affair. Definitive in its examination both of Letelier’s murder and of the subsequent investigations carried out by American intelligence, Assassination on Embassy Row is equal parts keen analysis and true-life spy thriller.
“The 1976 murder in Washington, D.C., of two Chileans, one of them a former foreign and defense minister, becomes the occasion for a close examination of their country’s politics and the operations of terrorist organizations during the last decade. What starts out as an absorbing crime thriller ends up as a compelling indictment of American foreign policy in Latin America.” —The New York Times Book Review
“An enthralling, deeply disturbing account of the assassination in Washington in 1976 of Orlando Letelier, Chilean diplomat and member of the Allende government. The responsibility of DINA, the Pinochet government’s secret police, is amply described, as is the nature of right-wing terrorism in Latin America.” —Foreign Affairs
“Describes Townley’s transformation from a diffident American into an international terrorist as well as the remarkably well-coordinated international network of free-lance right-wing mercenaries and the superb detective work by American investigators that finally led to Townley’s arrest.” —Newsweek
“By far the best account of what happened not only to Ambassador Letelier but also to democracy and freedom in Chile under Pinochet. This book raises inevitable and still unanswered questions about possible advance knowledge by the United States government of the Letelier assassination plans.” —Seymour M. Hersh John Dinges is the Godfrey Lowell Cabot Professor of Journalism at Columbia University. After a long career in newspapers and radio, and authorship of three books on Latin America, Dinges is currently dedicated to supporting high-quality journalism in Latin America. He lectures frequently in both Spanish and English, concentrating especially on dictatorships and human rights, journalism quality and investigative reporting, and media and democracy. He created the nonprofit Center for Investigation and Information (CIINFO) to organize and finance reporting projects in Latin America. Dinges lives in Washington, DC.
Saul Landau (1936–2013) was an internationally known scholar, author, commentator, and filmmaker who worked for forty years on social, political, and human rights issues. Landau authored fourteen books and produced more than forty films. He received several honors, including an Emmy Award for Paul Jacobs and the Nuclear Gang, an Edgar Award for Assassination on Embassy Row, a George Polk Award for his investigative reporting, a Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award, and a Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award. In 2008 the Chilean government presented Landau with the Order of Bernardo O’Higgins for his human rights work, and in 2013 the Cuban government gave him the Medal of Friendship.