Verdugo, Patricia


Verdugo, Patricia
(1947–2008)
   Chilean journalist. One of the best-known journalists in Latin America, Verdugo was widely published in Latin America and Europe. She was the recipient of the Maria Moors Cabot Award from Columbia University in 1993, the National Journalism Award of Chile in 1997, and the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Media Award in 2000.
   Verdugo was the author of 11 books, among them Chile, Pinochet, and the Caravan of Death, a translation of Caso Arellano: Los zarpazos del puma (1989). The book, which holds the best-seller record in Chile, is a detailed account of the caravan of death ordered by General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte and carried out by General Sergio Arellano Stark in Chile in 1973. The evidence collected in this book is considered one of the key elements that led to Pinochet Ugarte’s arrest in London in 1998 and to eventual hearings in Chile, hearings in which the former dictator was stripped of prosecutorial immunity and ordered to be held under house arrest.
   In July 1976 her father, Sergio Verdugo Herrera, a member of the Christian Democratic Party and a union leader, was abducted from his home. His tortured body was later discovered drowned in the Mapocho River in Santiago. Verdugo wrote extensively of his disappearance and death, most notably in her 1999 book Bucharest 187—titled after her father’s house in the Providencia neighborhood of Santiago—in which she detailed her family’s unsuccessful attempts to determine his whereabouts and to bring his murderers to justice. Previously Verdugo published Interferencia secreta (1998), which offered transcripts of the radio communiqués between Pinochet Ugarte and military officers involved in the coup. The transcripts had been recorded by an unnamed Chilean radio aficionado. The book, with its accompanying compact disc of the actual radio transmissions, was widely distributed in Latin America and Europe. In Bucharest 187 Verdugo described her work as one of remembrance, an act both “sacred” and “subversive,” in opposition to a prevailing social discourse that would demand collective amnesia. Patricia Verdugo died of cancer on 13 January 2008.

Historical Dictionary of the “Dirty Wars” . . 2010.

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