The general’s daughter speaks her mind

Jacqueline Pinochet, third daughter and youngest child of the late General Augusto Pinochet

Remember Cristian Labbe, the die hard Pinochet supporter and mayor of the Santiago municipality where some of his likeminded associates held a public tribute to a notorious human rights abuser ( Miguel Krassnoff?  Well, Jacqueline Pinochet, the late dictator’s youngest child, wants everyone to know that Labbe is NOT the father of her youngest child, despite what it says in a declassified U.S. State Department cable.

Some background is needed here.  Municipal elections are scheduled for later this year, and following the uproar over the Krassnoff homage, opponents of Labbe, a retired army colonel and former agent of the Pinochet regime’s security forces, are hoping more than ever that he will not be re-elected. Earlier this month the Chilean press noticed the contents of one of hundreds of declassified documents on the State Department’s Freedom of Information site.  In this particular cable, dated August 14, 1987, a former regime official dishes the dirt on Labbe to the U.S. Embassy’s deputy chief of mission.  This official is Federico Willoughby, who served as the regime’s first press secretary until health problems forced his departure. But he remained close to Pinochet & Company, until he balked at joining the dictator’s campaign to extend his rule.

Willoughby said that Labbe, who had applied for a post at the Chilean Embassy in Washington, had belonged to a small group of army officers providing security for Pinochet in the early days of the regime.  This group was later folded into the dictator’s secret police agency, the DINA. More recently Labbe had been part of a unit whose job was “projection of the regime” and to monitor Pinochet’s opponents. Labbe had been sent to an unnamed American university for a course in politics and election management and to gather intelligence on a former DINA agent who had defected to the U.S. One wonders how closely, if at all, U.S. officials were keeping tabs on Labbe.

According to Willoughby another reason for sending Labbe back to Washington was his relationship with Jacqueline Pinochet, who had recently given birth to a daughter after splitting from her third husband.  The cable notes that Willoughby was being “driven to the wall” by the regime’s pressures on his business clients, that he had one remaining piece of property to mortgage but that he might have to declare bankruptcy.

After several days of stony silence, Jacqueline Pinochet gave an interview to Caras, a glossy Chilean magazine, which provided her with hair styling and makeup before taking the photograph above.  She had never had a “relationship” with Labbe, she said, insisting that he was an old friend and associate and that her youngest child had been conceived at a time when she and her ex-husband were attempting reconciliation.  She said she was considering legal action, and praised Labbe as a “super good mayor.”


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