Gerardo Huber


Gerardo Huber

Gerardo Huber Olivares (disappeared 29 January, 1992) was a Chilean Army Colonel and agent of the DINA Chilean intelligence agency, in charge of buying weapons abroad for the Chilean Army Larry Rohter, [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/19/world/americas/19chile.html?ex=1308369600en=964a159db7c0d614ei=5088partner=rssnytemc=rss Colonel's Death Gives Clues to Pinochet Arms Deals] , "The New York Times", 19 June 2006 en icon] .

He was assassinated a short time before he was due to testify before the magistrate Hernán Correa de la Cerda in the case concerning the 1991 illegal export of weapons to Croatian paramilitia. The deal involved 370 tons of weapons, sold to Croatia by Chile on 7 December 1991, when the former country was under a United Nations' embargo because of the war against Serbia. [http://www.memoriaviva.com/culpables/criminales%20h/huber_gerardo.htm Biographical notice] on "Memoria viva" NGO website es icon] . In January 1992, judge Correa wanted to hear Gerardo Huber in this case, but the latter may have been silenced to avoid implicating Pinochet in this new case Andrea Chaparro, [http://www.lanacion.cl/prontus_noticias/site/artic/20050814/pags/20050814204006.html CDE insiste en unir caso Huber con tráfico de armas a Croacia] , "La Nación", 15 August 2005 es icon] — although the latter was not anymore President, he remained at the time Commander-in-Chief of the Army. Fifteen years of investigation have revealed that Pinochet was at the center of this illegal arms trade, receiving money through various offshore and front companies, including the Banco Coutts International in Miami [ Andrea Chaparro Solís, [http://www.lanacion.cl/prontus_noticias/site/artic/20060613/pags/20060613215629.html Generales (R) y civiles de Famae procesados en caso armas a Croacia] , "La Nación", 13 June 2006 es icon] .

Life

Gerardo Huber graduated from the Military School in 1964, specialized as engineer Manuel Salazar Salvo, [http://www.puntofinal.cl/611/rotoelpactodesilencio.htm Roto el pacto de silencio en la inteligencia militar] , "Punto Final", n°611, 24 March - 6 April, 2006 es icon] . Ten years later, after Augusto Pinochet's coup in 1973, he entered the DINA intelligence agency and was sent to Argentina to infiltrate groups supporting the Chilean MIR in its struggle against Pinochet's dictatorship . When he returned to Chile, he worked with the American-born DINA agent Michael Townley in producing chemical weapons used against political dissidents .

At the beginnings of the 1980s, Gerardo Huber was sent to the military chemical installation in Talagante . He then became Governor of the Talagante Province from 1987 to 1989 . Colonel Huber was then nominated in March 1991 to the Army's Direction of Logistics where he was charged of the buying and selling of weapons abroad . According to his widow, he then met with Pinochet in May 1991 to inform him of various irregularities occurring in the Logistics service of the Army . Huber's widow alleges that Pinochet's reaction was to send him to a military hospital so he could see a psychiatrist .

Furthermore, Colonel Huber's goddaughter, Loreto Tapia, was married to Hernán García Pinochet, a grandson of the dictator .

The arms deal and Huber's death

Ives Marziale, representant of Ivi Finance & Management Incorporated, a firm directed by the German Gunter Leinthauser, arrived in Chile in October 1991, with the aim of buying second-hand weapons from the Chilean Army to sell them to the Croatian Army, which was preparing Bosnia's defense before the Serbian offensive to conquer Sarajevo . Croatia had just declared independence from Yugoslavia in June 1991, but had agreed to freeze it during three months, while the UN imposed a weapons embargo.

On 19 November, 1991, Marziale closed the deal with the Chilean Famae ("Fábricas y Maestranzas del Ejército", or Factories and Arsenals of the Army of Chile), the military firm in charge of production of weapons, for a value of more than US$ 6 million, and 370 tons of weapons (including SG-542 fire-arms, Blowpipe surface-to-air missile, Mamba anti-tank missiles, rockets, grenades, mortars, and loads of 7.62mm ammunition) . Famae, which was headed by General Guillermo Letelier Skinner, one of General Pinochet's closest associate [http://www.sii.cl/SIIPRENSA/2005/2509/02.htm El verdadero objetivo del "boinazo" de Pinochet] , "Diario Siete", 25 September 2005 es icon] , was nominally independent of the army .

General Carlos Krumm, in charge of the Logistics of the Chilean Army, requested to Colonel Huber that he put to the disposition of General Guillermo Letelier, head of the Famae, the civil servant Ramón Pérez Orellana, who worked in the Imports-Exports service of the Logistics Section of the Chilean Army, and was an expert in border problems .

The illegal arms deal was revealed in December 1991, when the cargo loading the weapons, disguised as "humanitarian aid" from a Chilean Military Hospital, was discovered in Budapest . On 7 December, 1991, a Hungarian newspaper published the scoop, and on 2 January, 1992, Brigadier-General Guillermo Letelier, director of Famae, was forced to resign. Two days later, at the request of the Minister of Defence Patricio Rojas, the Chilean Supreme Court nominated the magistrate Hernán Correa de la Cerda as responsible for the investigations concerning the arms deal . The magistrate called Gerardo Huber as witness, who declared that he had been following orders from General Krumm, in charge of the Logistics . On 29 January 1992, Huber, who was taking a rest in San Alfonso, Cajón del Maipo, "disappeared." His body was found on 20 February 1992, with the skull shattered [http://www.cooperativa.cl/p4_noticias/antialone.html?page=http://www.cooperativa.cl/p4_noticias/site/artic/20060328/pags/20060328140650.html Caso Huber: Suprema rechazó recurso en favor de general (r) Provis] , "Radio Cooperativa", 28 March 2006 es icon] .

Investigations

Chilean police at first declared that Huber's death was a suicide, a thesis which was later infirmed. In 1996, the magistrate María Soledad Espina, in charge of the investigations concerning Huber's case, categorically excluded the possibility of a suicide . Despite this, the case remained dormant, until the magistrate Claudio Pavez assume its direction in September 2005, and requalified it as a homicide . He has since suspected parts of the civilian police of also having been involved in obstruction of justice . Furthermore, official documents state that the money from the arms deal was funneled into Pinochet's personal bank accounts abroad . Captain Araya, who had been sentenced to five years in prison for his involvement in the arms deal, became a state witness in 2005 and declared that he had acted under high orders from his military hierarchy . He furthermore stated in his testimony that Pinochet "had full knowledge of this sale, since he was in close communication with the director of Famae and made available on the army's part the arms that were sold by Famae ."

On 7 March, 2006, judge Claudio Pavez indicted five retired high military officers on charges of illegal association to occultate Huber's assassination . Those included General Eugenio Covarrubias, head of the "Dirección de Inteligencia del Ejército" (DINE - DINA's successor) in 1992; General Víctor Lizárraga, then Deputy-Director of the DINE; General Carlos Krumm, then Director of Logistics; Brigadier Manuel Provis Carrasco, then head of the "Batallón de Inteligencia del Ejército" (BIE, military intelligence agency ; and Captain Julio Muñoz, a friend of Huber and former member of the BIE . The investigations were officially ended in July 2007 [http://www.cooperativa.cl/p4_noticias/antialone.html?page=http://www.cooperativa.cl/p4_noticias/site/artic/20070731/pags/20070731153218.html Justicia cerró la investigación por el homicidio del coronel Gerardo Huber] , "Radio Cooperativa", 31 July 2007 es icon] .

General Carlos Krumm, in charge of Logistics, testified to the magistrate Claudio Pavez that the arms deal had been directly approved by Pinochet . Following declarations from Captain Pedro Araya, Krumm confirmed the existence of a meeting which had preceded the deal. According to Araya, Richard Quass, director of Operations of the Army; General Florienco Tejos, chief of War Material; General Jaime Concha, Commandant of Military Institutions; General Guido Riquelme, Chief-Commandant of the 2nd Army Division; General Guillermo Letelier Skinner, director of Famae ; and General Carlos Krumm, director of Logistics of the Army all assisted to the meetings . On the other hand, General Guillermo Letelier also appears to have been connected with Pinochet's secret bank accounts abroad .

General Víctor Lizárraga, n°2 of the DINE Jorge Molina Sanhueza, [http://www.lanacion.cl/prontus_noticias/site/artic/20050924/pags/20050924223646.html Gerardo Huber sabía demasiado, pero no alcanzó a contarlo. El coronel que le pena al ejército] , "La Nación", 25 September 2005 es icon] , who has also been indicted in the Huber case, testified in March 2006 that following his return from Israel, he had a private meeting with Augusto Pinochet, on 22 January 1992, a short time before Huber's assassination News cables, [http://www.lanacion.cl/prontus_noticias/site/artic/20060313/pags/20060313212435.html Caso Huber: investigan presunta falsificación de parte policial] , "La Nación", 13 March 2006 es icon] . Lizárraga had previously denied this meeting .

Finally, both General Lizárraga and General Covarrubias declared to the judge that Pinochet personally headed the BIE, to which the former dictator declared that he didn't remember anything .

According to Pavez's investigations, between his "disappearance" and the discovery of his corpse, Colonel Huber was detained in a secret military installation operated by the Chilean intelligence . Pavez's has presumed that Huber had been sequestrated by BIE agents and transferred to a secret detention center of the "Escuela de Inteligencia del Ejército" (EIE) in Nos, which was also the location of the "Laboratorio de Guerra Bacteriológica del Ejército" (Bacteriological Warfare Army Laboratory), which depended in 1992 of DINE's director, General Eugenio Covarrubias . Along with Manuel Provis, one of the main suspect of the Huber assassination, Covarrubias also held the DINA biochemist Eugenio Berríos in September 1991, before sending him to Argentina and then Uruguay . He was indicted for secuestration and homicide of Berríos. [http://www.elperiodista.cl/newtenberg/1620/article-59927.html Caso Berríos - La guerra secreta entre un espía y un abogado] , "El Periodista", N°59, 8 April, 2004 es icon]

Berríos and "Les Assassins"

Apart of the arms deal, the Berríos case, concerning the DINA biochemist found dead in Uruguay in 1995, has been related by the magistrates to the Huber case . In both case, which took place in the same period, the DINE was involved in the affairs . As Huber, Berrios knew too much, as he had been implicated both in the Letelier case and in production of black cocaine and sarin gas for Pinochet . Berríos escaped from Chile in 1992, assisted by the Special Unity of the DINE in what has been known under the name of "Operación Silencio" (Operation Silence) .

Furthermore, Main Cargo, the firm which worked with Famae to export the weapons, was owned by Marianne Cheyre Stevenson, who is the sister of Juan Carlos Cheyre, but also owner of the restaurant "Les Assassins", where Berríos used to meet, at the beginning of the 1990s, with drug-dealers and former DINA agents . The Cheyre have a distant family relationship with Juan Emilio Cheyre, Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army from 2002 to 2006 .

According to the ex-military officer Rodrigo Peña González, Colonel Huber allegedly handed him documents concerning arms deal and lethal drugs created by Eugenio Berríos . According to Peña, Huber wanted to transmit these documents to the British defence journalist Jonathan Moyle, who was found hanged in his Santiago hotel room on April 1, 1990 . Peña, who requested political asylum to Netherlands in 2001, also alleged that Huber had handed him other documents concerning buying of weapons to Israel and sales to Arab states .

References

See also

*Augusto Pinochet's arrest and trial
*Chilean transition to democracy

External links

* [http://www.tcgnews.com/santiagotimes/index.php?nav=story&story_id=14609&topic_id=15 Chile: Illicit Croatia Arms Sales Case in Final State] , "The Santiago Times", 4 September 2007 en icon


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