The years of Operation Condor (referred to in Spanish as Operación Cóndor or Plan Cóndor) constitute one of the darkest periods in modern Latin American history.
As I have written before, Intelligence chiefs from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay converged in Santiago on November 1975 to institute a plan to collaborate to crush left-wing movements in Latin America. Operation Condor was the consequent campaign of systematic repression and assassination of left-wing dissidents, organizers, and intellectuals, carried out by US-backed right-wing dictatorial Latin American governments. Many of the architects of Operation Condor are still alive today, and are only now being punished for their crimes.
Given the secrecy of the state terror programs, the precise number of victims of Operation Condor is hard to state with certainty. Experts often say (translation mine) “the most reliable calculations put it between 60,000 and 80,000.”
Pan-Latin American news publication teleSUR created a graphic with estimates of the number of victims of Operation Condor, by country.
Using NGO figures, government and independent investigations, and press reports, teleSUR estimates the number of people disappeared in Operation Condor, by country, at:
- Argentina 7,000-30,000
- Bolivia 116-546
- Brazil, 434-1,000
- Chile 3,000-10,000
- Paraguay 200-400
- Uruguay 123-215
These are very conservative estimates, and stand as the bare minimum.
Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela also supported the terror campaigns, as the media network notes.
In a 1976 meeting with US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Admiral Cesar Guzzetti, Foreign Minister under right-wing Argentine dictator Jorge Rafael Videla, described the “joint efforts to integrate with our neighbors” his government was conducting, in conjunction with Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay, and Brazil, in order to confront what he called the “terrorist problem.” Kissinger said Operation Condor “sound[ed] like a good idea.”
Kissinger assured the Argentine minister “We want you to succeed. We do not want to harrass [sic] you. I will do what I can.”