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Frank Teruggi, Jr. (1942-1973) was an American journalist who became one of the victims of the American-backed General Augusto Pinochet's military shortly after the September 11, 1973 Pinochet coup d'etat against Socialist President Salvador Allende.

September 11, 1973

On September 11, 1973, Chilean presidential Palace was bombed and democratically elected president of Chile Salvador Allende, was killed. A coup d'état led by General Augusto Pinochet took place in Chile and a military regime was imposed. [1].It has been referred as the Chilean coup of 1973. Teruggi's death and Charles Horman occurred as a part of the killings, torture and kidnappings that took place as the military regime took over the government of Chile. Teruggi's death along with Horman's death were the subject of the 1982 Costa-Gavras film Missing. [2] ,

Arrest and Death

In September 1973, days after coup d'état, Frank Teruggi, in the same way as Charles Horman, was seized by Chilean military and taken to the National Stadium in Santiago, which had been turned into an ad hoc concentration camp, where prisoners were interrogated, tortured and executed.

In the film Missing by Costa-Gavras Teruggi is depicted as a friend of Charles Horman and contributor for a small newspaper that having spoken with several US operatives that assisted the Chilean military government. The film alleges that Horman's discovery of US complicity in the coup led to his secret arrest, disappearance, and execution.

American complicity in the Chilean coup was later confirmed in documents declassified during the Clinton administration.The declassified documents mention Terrugi as one of the Chilean military executions and initially US embassy officials in Santiago released the false information that he had returned to the United States. His body was later found in a Chilean morgue among the "unidentified bodies" of the victims of the regime. [3]

Book, film, and television depictions of the case

The main character of the Missing (1982), directed by Greek filmmaker Costa-Gavras, was Charles Horman but Teruggi's fate is described in the film by a friend who was arrested at the same time Teruggi was.

When the film was released by Universal Studios, Nathaniel Davis, United States Ambassador to Chile from 1971 to 1973, filed a USD $150 million libel suit against the director and the studio, although he was not named directly in the movie (he had been named in the book). The court eventually dismissed Davis's suit. The film was removed from the market during the lawsuit but re-released upon dismissal of the suit.

State department memo

For many years thereafter, the US government steadfastly maintained its ignorance of the killing and torture of Americans in Chile. It was only in October 1999, that Washington finally released a document admitting that US intelligence agents played a role in the deaths of Americans. The State Department memo, dated August 25, 1976, was declassified on October 8, 1999, together with 1,100 other documents released by various US agencies which dealt primarily with the years leading up to the military coup.

Written by three State Department functionaries — Rudy Fimbres, R.S. Driscolle and W.V. Robertson and addressed to Harry Schlaudeman, a high-ranking official in the department's Latin American division — the memo described the Horman and mentions Teruggi's case as well. [4] Teruggi and Horman were among the 10,000 who were executed in the Stadium. [5][6][7]

See Also



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