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ARSENAL FOUND BURIED IN CHILE’S EX-COLONIA
Weapons Prove Colony’s Complicity During
Dictatorship, Government Says
(June 17, 2005) The Special
Brigade of the Investigaciones Police found Chile’s largest private
weapons collection buried in the German enclave formerly known as
A few days ago, police were alerted to the
arsenal’s whereabouts by some of the colony’s settlers, who were
being questioned in connection with human rights abuses that
allegedly took place at the enclave during Chile’s military
dictatorship. About 50 people from Colonia Dignidad have been
interrogated in the past month.
On Tuesday, cranes dug near
the colony’s guest house and found two bunkers, which contained 85
submachine guns, 60 hand grenades, 14 FAL rifles, 18 antipersonnel
mines, 18 cluster grenades, rocket launchers, telescopic sights and
lots of ammunition. Sources involved in the dig said that mortar
bombs and a land-to-air missile were also found.
included in the arsenal were rods that can fire ammunition and an
Elektric-L camera that had darts hidden in its casing.
Wednesday another weapons container was found, but its contents have
not yet been revealed.
The government said the weapons
discovered – that appear to be between 20 and 30 years old –
confirmed the colony’s “complicity in paramilitary operations”
during the military dictatorship.
Judge Jorge Zepeda, who is
investigating alleged human rights violations in the enclave,
arrived at the colony on Wednesday to analyze the findings.
The weapons were taken to the Investigaciones police station
in Los Angeles (Region VIII). Michael Müller, the spokesperson for
Villa Baviera, as Colonia Dignidad is now called, accompanied police
to the station.
Preliminary studies determined that the arms
were made in Argentina, Italy, the United States, Austria, Germany
and Spain. There were also weapons made by Famae, a Chilean weapons
manufacturer, and submachine guns and grenades that were produced in
The Interior Ministry’s Subsecretary Jorge
Correa Sutil said such a large collection of weaponry must have been
stored with military motives.
“I believe it will end up
being the biggest private arsenal ever found in Chile,” Correa said.
Correa explained that the weapons would help the courts to
prove that the German enclave – the leaders of which have already
been charged with sexual crimes against children – was also party to
“We trust that this finding will help
us to convince the judges that, as well as an association with
sexual, fiscal and financial crimes, we are also dealing with
complicity to paramilitary actions,” Correa said.
the dig also say that files containing information on leftists
dissidents during the military dictatorship were found among the
The Investigaciones police have been examining these
files to see if they can be linked to any of the military
government’s institutions or to individuals “disappeared” during the
Interior Minister Francisco Vidal
reiterated the government’s commitment to discovering Colonia
Dignidad’s true role during the Pinochet dictatorship. Vidal also
promised that the government would never again let even one meter
squared of Chilean land be exempt from State laws as Colonia
The current government is eager to bring
charges against those responsible for the colony’s role in
Pinochet-era human rights violations. Chile’s failure until just
recently to locate and arrest the colony’s former leader Paul
Schaefer has been a nagging issue to the center-left Concertación
The discovery of the arsenal, which
Judge Zepeda says are “from the time when Schaefer was in charge,”
adds more weight to investigations into the torture and
disappearance of political prisoners at Colonia Dignidad during the
After the 1973 coup in which Augusto
Pinochet took power, the colonists began to forge links with the
military and, according to the Valech Report, Colonia Dignidad
became a “detention and torture center” used by the DINA and the
CNI, the secret police of the military government.
strong protection net around Schaefer has always kept him clear of
the courts, and residents at the colony have not admitted to
tortures until recently. Müller recognized in March that torture
took place inside the colony, and said he was willing to collaborate
with the courts to clarify what happened in the enclave.
Former leader of the colony Schaefer was recently
apprehended in Buenos Aires (ST, March 11) and then deported to
Chile. He is believed to have sexually abused as many as 10,000
young children over a 40-year period. He was also allegedly involved
in numerous human rights violations, including torture and forced
Schaefer has also been wanted by German
authorities since 1961, when he fled child molestation charges and
moved to Chile to found the colony, a 17,000-hectare farming and
religious community, in Chile’s southern Region VII.
Sixth Santiago Criminal Court is considering a lawsuit filed by the
Socialist Party (PS) against Schaefer and the former head of the
now-dissolved Chilean Secret Police (DINA), Gen. Manuel Contreras,
which accuses them of the kidnapping, illicit association and
illegal burial of three Socialist Party leaders (ST, April 6).
The PS wants to accelerate the investigations into the
disappearances of Carlos Lorca, Ezequiel Ponce and Ricardo Lagos
Salinas, who disappeared after they were transferred to Colonia
Dignidad following their arrest in Santiago and detention at the
Villa Grimaldi torture center.
The colony is also accused of
the disappearance of Russian-born U.S. citizen Boris Weisfeiler. He
was last seen Jan. 4, 1985, camping near the boundaries of the
Schaefer’s successor, Dr. Hartmut Hopp was
also arrested on May 25 in connection with the discovery of two
buried cars, thought to belong to people who were disappeared at the
colony (ST, May 27).
SOURCE: EL MERCURIO, LA TERCERA, DIARIO
By Emily Byrne (email@example.com)