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Chilean ambassador in Argentina resigns for downplaying Pinochet regime

Wednesday, June 9th 2010 - 06:05 UTC
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Ambassador Miguel Otero Lathrop Ambassador Miguel Otero Lathrop

Chile's President Sebastián Piñera accepted on Tuesday the resignation of the Ambassador in Argentina, Miguel Otero Lathrop, who had assured during an interview last Sunday that most Chileans did not suffer Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship. His comments triggered a barrage of criticisms both in Chile and Argentina.

Ambassador Otero communicated his decision to Chilean Foreign Secretary Alfredo Moreno who at the time was in Lima for the OAS General Assembly.

“The Foreign Affairs ministry accepts and respects the decision of Ambassador Otero and thanks him for his work as head of the Chilean diplomatic mission in Argentina”, said an official Chilean release.

The controversy erupted following Otero’s statement to Clarin’s Sunday’s edition when he stated that “the majority of Chile did not suffer the dictatorship. On the contrary many felt relieved” and if there hadn’t been a pronouncement, Chile today would be Cuba”.

Some congress members of the Chilean opposition together with members from the Families of Disappeared Detainees appealed to the Executive and President Piñera to request the resignation of the ambassador because of his controversial statements regarding the 1973/1990 military dictatorship.

Tuesday afternoon the Chilean Lower House Foreign Affairs Commission approved in a divided and hotly debated vote to request President Piñera to remove Otero.

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