With a ceremony attended by the President of the Republic, Michelle Bachelet, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs paid tribute to Orlando Letelier del Solar, who was Chile's Ambassador to the United States, Chancellor, Minister of the Interior and Defence during the government of Salvador Allende.
As of today, after the unveiling of a commemorative plaque, the Panoramic Hall of the Chancellery will be called "Chancellor Orlando Letelier del Solar".
For the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heraldo Muñoz, changing the name of a hall and installing a plaque are both very simple gestures, but very significant, "because they enclose a profound admiration, respect and appreciation for those who, not only represented their country in diplomatic work, but also represented the Chilean people in times of oppression". He added that "this Chancellery thus vindicates the figure of a great politician, a public servant, assassinated for being an opponent of the dictatorship".
The Chancellor recalled that last year the United States received additional background information on the crime, which was officially handed over to the Supreme Court and the National Defence Council and was made available to the Letelier family and the community in general.
As Chile's Foreign Minister, I have received countless displays of appreciation and memories on the international scene for such a distinguished figure as Orlando Letelier. His crime has been condemned worldwide and his material and intellectual perpetrators have the most absolute condemnation for their actions, which only elevated our compatriot", he said.
In addition, the Secretary of State highlighted the letter sent to him by the President of the Association of Career Diplomats (ADICA), who made the request of a group of associates to carry out an institutional acknowledgement before the Chilean society, regarding the responsibility that had been assigned to this Ministry and the Foreign Service in regrettable events that occurred during the military dictatorship.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs valued this gesture and pointed out that "without a doubt, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, like practically all state institutions, played an active role in promoting the actions of the dictatorship and in concealing the serious violations of human rights. I would add that, as many of you know, there was persecution. This generation of diplomats regrets what was done by some who dishonoured the profession in the past. I think it's a praiseworthy gesture", he said, adding that "through Orlando, we pay tribute to the men and women who were affected by this Ministry's actions or neglect".
The minister concluded by stating that "I am sure Orlando Letelier would be proud to appreciate that his struggle for democracy and a more equitable homeland was not in vain. And, year after year, when the vile coup d' état and his assassination are commemorated in September, the fighters for the rights of others, as he once was, will remain in our memory. In this room, meanwhile, every time a ceremony is held, his name will be present.
During the ceremony, Juan Pablo Letelier, Senator of the Republic and son of the deceased Chancellor, presented a special recognition to Minister Heraldo Muñoz for keeping Orlando Letelier's memory alive, as part of the Letelier Moffit Prize, which each year rewards those who fight for human rights.