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Chile will search for 1,000+ victims of forced disappearance by Pinochet dictatorship

A view of the images portraying victims of the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship projected onto the La Moneda Presidential Palace to mark the commemoration of the International Day of the Disappeared in Santiago, Chile, on Wednesday.
Lucas Aguayo Araos/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
A view of the images portraying victims of the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship projected onto the La Moneda Presidential Palace to mark the commemoration of the International Day of the Disappeared in Santiago, Chile, on Wednesday.

The government of Chile will launch a national search for over 1,000 people who went missing decades ago during Gen. Augusto Pinochet's military dictatorship.

Chile's leftist president, Gabriel Boric, said the state must be responsible for finding the truth about forced disappearances and killings by the dictatorship.

The news came ahead of the 50th anniversary of the U.S.-backed coup that overthrew Chile's democratically elected president, Salvador Allende, on Sept. 11, 1973. Pinochet's dictatorship ruled the nation for the next 17 years until 1990, during which thousands of people were abducted, many of them tortured and executed.

This is the first time the Chilean government will lead the search for victims, something which victims' relatives and advocates have long carried out themselves. They are pushing for more cooperation from the military, who have long claimed to have no information about the abuses.

In a statement announcing the decree this week, the president's office said until now, 307 people who had been forcibly disappeared have been identified and their remains handed over to their families. It said there are still 1,162 to be found.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Carrie Kahn is NPR's International Correspondent based in Mexico City, Mexico. She covers Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. Kahn's reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning news programs including All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, and on NPR.org.