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Carlos Prats
Gral. Prats.jpg
Commander-in-chief of the Chilean Army
In office
October 27, 1970 – August 23, 1973
President Salvador Allende
Preceded by René Schneider
Succeeded by Augusto Pinochet
Chilean Minister of the Interior
In office
November 2, 1972 – March 27, 1973
President Salvador Allende
Preceded by Jaime Suárez
Succeeded by Gerardo Espinoza
Chilean Minister of National Defense
In office
August 9,, 1973 – August 23, 1973
President Salvador Allende
Preceded by Clodomiro Almeyda
Succeeded by Orlando Letelier
Personal details
Born (1915-02-24)February 24, 1915
Talcahuano, Chile
Died September 30, 1974(1974-09-30) (aged 59)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Nationality Chilean
Political party Independent
Spouse(s) Sofía Cuthbert (m. 1944–74) - died with her husband
Children Sofía
Religion Catholic Church

General Carlos Prats González (February 24, 1915 – September 30, 1974) was a Chilean Army officer and minister in the Salvador Allende's government, despite being at the time the Commander-in-chief of the Chilean Army. Immediately after General Augusto Pinochet's September 11, 1973 coup, Prats went into voluntary exile in Argentina. The following year, he and his wife were assassinated in Buenos Aires, Argentina by a car bomb, revealed as committed by the DINA.


Carlos Prats González was born in Talcahuano in 1915, the oldest son of Carlos Prats Risopatrón and Hilda González Suárez. He joined the Army in 1931, and graduated at the top of his class.

In 1935, he was commissioned as an artillery officer. Three years later he became a Sub Lieutenant. Soon he returned to the Military Academy, this time as a teacher. He taught there and at the War Academy until 1954. In 1944, he married Sofia Cuthbert Chiarleoni, with whom he had three daughters.

In 1954, Prats González was promoted to Major, and sent to the military mission in the US, as adjunct military attaché, where he served until 1958. That year he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and returned as teacher to the War Academy. In 1961, he became commander of the Artillery Regiment Nº3 “Chorrillos”, and in 1963, became commander of the Regiment Nº1 “Tacna”.

In 1964, he was promoted to Colonel and sent as military attaché to Argentina. He returned to Chile in 1967 as commander of the III Army Division. In 1968 he was promoted to Brigade General and Chief of the General Staff. The following year he was promoted to Division General.

Public role during the Allende years[edit]

Salvador Allende with Carlos Prats and other commanders of the armed forces of Chile during the Military parade.

General Prats became the head of the "constitutionalists", all members of the armed forces who supported the Schneider Doctrine. With time, he became the Army's strongest supporter of President Allende, and was appointed as a member of his cabinet several times. Allende appointed him as vice-President in 1972 (The Chilean Constitution does not have a standing vice-presidential office; rather, the sitting Minister of the Interior, as the senior cabinet minister, is temporarily designated "vice president" only during the President's absence during formal State visits abroad).


On August 22, 1973, the wives of Prats' Generals and officers staged a rally in front of his home, calling him a coward for not restoring civil order in Chile. This event convinced Prats that he had lost support of his fellow officers. The next day he resigned his positions, both as Interior minister and as Commander in Chief of the Army. Only two other generals in favor of a constitutional solution to the political crisis, generals Mario Sepúlveda Squella and Guillermo Pickering (both in key troop command positions), also presented their resignations in a show of support for him. General Augusto Pinochet, previously second in command and thought to be loyal to Allende, was appointed Commander in Chief of the Army, taking over the position on August 23, 1973.

General Prats' retirement removed the last real obstacle to a military coup, which took place three weeks later, on September 11, 1973. Immediately after the coup, on September 15, 1973, General Prats voluntarily went into exile with his wife in Argentina.


Former Chilean General and politician Carlos Prats, after being killed by a car bomb in September 1974

On September 30, 1974, in Buenos Aires, Prats and his wife Sofia were killed outside their apartment, by a radio-controlled car bomb. Debris reached the ninth-floor balcony of the building across the street. Later, it was learned that the assassination was planned by members of the Chilean secret police, DINA. It was committed by the American expatriate and Chilean citizen Michael Townley, who also committed the Orlando Letelier assassination in Washington, DC in 1976.

Legal aftermath and investigations[edit]

The former leaders of DINA, including chief Manuel Contreras, ex-chief of operation and retired general Raúl Iturriaga, his brother Roger Iturriaga, and ex-brigadiers Pedro Espinoza and Jose Zara, have been charged in Chile with Prats' assassination. The Chilean judge investigating the case, Alejandro Solis, exempted Gen. Pinochet from prosecution after the Chilean Supreme court rejected a demand in January 2005 to lift the ex-dictator's immunity .

In Argentina, DINA's civil agent Enrique Arancibia was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for Prats' murder. In 2000 SIDE agent Juan Martín Siga Correa was detained by Argentine officials on the orders of federal judge María Servini de Cubria.[1] Martín Siga Correa was DINA's main connection with the SIDE and with Intelligence Battalion 601, and was also a member of the Tacuara Nationalist Movement.

In 2003, Argentine federal judge María Servini de Cubria asked Chile for the extradition of Mariana Callejas, who was Michael Townley's wife, and Cristoph Willikie Fleent, a retired colonel from the Chilean army; the three together were charged with this crime. But Chilean judge Nibaldo Segura from the Appeals court refused extradition in July 2005, arguing that they had already been prosecuted in Chile.[2]

Italian terrorist Stefano Delle Chiaie was reportedly also involved in the murder of General Carlos Prats. Along with fellow extremist Vincenzo Vinciguerra, Delle Chiaie testified in Rome in December 1995 before Judge Servini that Enrique Arancibia Clavel (a former Chilean secret police agent prosecuted for crimes against humanity in 2004[3] and Michael Townley were directly involved in this assassination.[4])

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Jaime Suárez
Minister of the Interior
Succeeded by
Gerardo Espinoza
Preceded by
Clodomiro Almeyda
Minister of Defense
Succeeded by
Orlando Letelier
Military offices
Preceded by
René Schneider
Army Commander-in-chief
Succeeded by
Augusto Pinochet

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlos_Prats — Please support Wikipedia.
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2523 news items

El Mostrador

El Mostrador
Wed, 27 Apr 2016 21:09:46 -0700

Además, un año antes, la DINA, que en 1974 ya había asesinado con gran bullicio a Carlos Prats, atentó contra la vida del democristiano Bernardo Leighton en Roma. Y por si fuera poco, Patricio era hermano de Andrés Aylwin, uno de los abogados de ...

LaTercera (Registro)

LaTercera (Registro)
Fri, 07 Aug 2015 20:22:30 -0700

La hija del asesinado ex comandante en jefe del Ejército Carlos Prats, Angélica Prats, se refirió a la muerte del ex agente de la Dina, Manuel Contreras, quien fue condenado a 17 años de prisión por el haber participado en la muerte de su padre, en el ...

LaTercera (Registro)

LaTercera (Registro)
Tue, 19 Apr 2016 06:41:15 -0700

Ya no había delitos terroristas, se habían reabierto los procesos por los crímenes de Orlando Letelier y Carlos Prats y la amenaza militar se había reducido a los cheques del hijo de Pinochet. Sin saberlo, el general se encaminaba al ocaso. Lo que ...
Radio Santiago
Sun, 24 Apr 2016 21:41:21 -0700

... bombardeo a La Moneda, uno de los primeros hechos que el exsenador y expresidente nacional del Partido Demócrata Cristiano, Renán Fuentealba Moena, fue acordarse de la frase que le pronunció el general Carlos Prats, respecto a que se avecinaba ...

Huffington Post

Huffington Post
Tue, 10 Nov 2015 04:56:16 -0800

Note: Our accounts contain the personal recollections and opinions of the individual interviewed. The views expressed should not be considered official statements of the U.S. government or the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training. ADST ...

Uno San Rafael

Uno San Rafael
Wed, 30 Mar 2016 04:26:15 -0700

Por ese hecho quedó imputado en el asesinato del General del Ejército chileno Carlos Prats. El apoderado y abogado de la compañía Héctor Corrés fue condenado por el asesinato de la estudiante y activista marplatense Silvia Filler en diciembre de 1971 ...

Mendoza Opina

Mendoza Opina
Mon, 04 Apr 2016 05:10:50 -0700

Este grupo extremista fue sindicado como el autor de delitos graves como el asesinato al general chileno Carlos Prats en Buenos Aires en 1974. Prats fue un hombre de confianza del presidente trasandino y socialista Salvador Allende. Zarattini también ...
Radio La Primerísima (Comunicado de prensa) (blog)
Fri, 01 Apr 2016 04:03:45 -0700

En Chile, ese evento, concluido sin mayores retaliaciones, consistió en una movilización inconsulta de tanquetas que fue abortada por la movilización popular y la unidad del Alto Mando bajo la conducción del General constitucionalista Carlos Prats.

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