Chile denies passport to journalist for "opinion crimes" committed more than 60 years ago

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  • August 13, 2012

By Liliana Honorato

The Chilean government denied a passport to a journalist for the second time because of "opinion crimes" committed 61 years ago, during the administration of President Gabriel González Videla, reported the Latin American Federation of Journalists (FELAP in Spanish).

Journalist and writer Hernán Uribe Ortega, 88 years old, was last denied a passport in 2006 when he was supposed to travel to Mexico to receive an award from FELAP, according to Bolpress. Uribe is a member of the National Board of the Union of Chilean Journalists and president of the Investigative Commission on Attacks on Journalists.

This time, the journalist was scheduled to travel to Venezuela to present a report on attacks against the press, noted FELAP, opining that the government's behavior "was as if we were still living under a dictator." FELAP said that Uribe would bring his case to the courts with the help of the Union of Chilean Journalists.

The denial comes on the heels of reports earlier this month about recently released secret archives that showed "the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) followed and monitored hundreds of foreign correspondents," according to the Argentine newspaper La Capital, the Venezuelan paper El Universal, and the Peruvian daily El Comercio, among others.

Meanwhile, Union of Chilean Journalists President Marcelo Castillo met with government spokesman Andrés Chadwick to request stricter punishment for those that attack press workers, reported the newspaper La Nación.

At the meeting, Castillo underscored the recent attack on journalist Daniela Aliste during an appearance on a National Television of Chile (TVN in Spanish) program when a panelist grabbed her by the neck after Aliste asked a question she did not like, reported La Nación. Following this attack, the Union of Chilean Journalists sent a letter in protest to the board of directors of TVN demanding the network respond to the attack.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.