MundoAndino Home : Andes Chile Guide at Mundo Andino

Manuel Contreras

Juan Manuel Guillermo Contreras Sepulveda is a Chilean military and the former head of DINA, Chile's secret police during the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. As head of DINA he was the most powerful and feared man in the country, after Pinochet. He is currently serving 25 sentences totaling 289 years in prison for kidnapping, forced disappearance and assassination.

From 1973 to 1977, Contreras led the agency on an international hunt to track down and murder the political opponents of the dictatorship, particularly members of the Communist and Socialist Parties and the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR). According to the report "CIA activities in Chile" released on September 19, 2000, the US government policy community approved CIA's contact with Contreras from 1974 to 1977 to accomplish the CIA's mission in Chile in spite of his role in human rights abuses. By 1975 American intelligence reporting had concluded that Contreras was the principal obstacle to a reasonable human rights policy within the Pinochet's government, but the CIA was directed to continue its relationship with Contreras, even giving Contreras a one-time payment in 1975.Marquis, Christopher. "C.I.A. Says Chilean General in '76 Bombing Was Informer," New York Times, 19 September 2000 The CIA became concerned with Contrera's role in the assassination of former Salvador Allende cabinet member and ambassador to Washington Orlando Letelier and his American assistant, Ronni Karpen Moffit in Washington, DC, on September 21, 1976. The CIA gathered specific, detailed intelligence reporting concerning Contrera's involvement in ordering the Letelier assassination, but some of the material remains classified and another portion has been withheld at the request of the US Department of Justice CIA contacts with Contreras continued until 1977. Marquis, Christopher. "C.I.A. Says Chilean General in '76 Bombing Was Informer," New York Times, 19 September 2000

After Orlando Letelier's assassination, tensions between Contreras and Pinochet grew over the course of his tenure, and the DINA was closed down in 1977 and replaced with a new apparatus, the National Intelligence Center (CNI). By 1979, Contreras was out of the army after a short time at the rank of General.

Related websites

"CIA Activities in Chile,"

Un general chileno se declara en rebeldia contra un fallo que le condena a 5 anos


Contreras dice que Pinochet dio orden "personal, exclusiva y directa" de asesinar a Prats y Letelier

El coronel que le pena al ejercito

Trial watch

Didn't find what you were looking for.
Need more information for your travel research or homework?
Ask your questions at the forum about Chile under Augusto Pinochet or help others to find answers.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Manuel Contreras

Disclaimer - Privacy Policy - 2009