Tuesday, March 25, 2008

General's Resignation Underscores Old Rifts

The commander of the Santiago army garrison, Gen. Gonzalo Santelices, resigned in February, yielding to calls for him to step down. The case highlights the difficulties the army still faces in extricating itself from the human rights accusations dating back to the 1973 coup. Santelices was part of a military group that allegedly executed some 75 political foes. The general was at the time a lieutenant, and says he was given orders to transfer 14 prisoners from a jail to a desert area where they were killed. Santelices has not been charged. Current army chief Gen. Oscar Izurieta praised Santelices' decision. But former army head Emilio Cheyre wasn't so diplomatic. In an editorial, he basically accused Chilean leaders of going too far. While he was in charge, Cheyre played a key role in securing Chile's new democracy, pledging that the armed forces would "never again" repeat the 1973 overthrow.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Leopard II Fleet May Face Parts Shortage

Just as the refurbished Leopard IIs start arriving at the northern brigades, a logistical problem threatens their operational capability. Many of the spare parts are no longer manufactured, says a story in strategypage.com. Meanwhile, surplus stocks are drying up. It's reasonable to think that the outlook for spares may affect Chile's plans to buy more Leopard IIs.