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Chile, Pinochet, and the Caravan of Death

Patricia Verdugo, translated by Marcelo Montecino, with an introduction by Paul E. Sigmund
Chile, Pinochet, and the Caravan of Death
ISBN: 978-1-57454-085-7
2001/230 pages
Distributed for the North-South Center Press

A related title: The Pinochet Regime by Carlos Huneeus and The Politics of Memory in Chile by Cath Collins, Katherine Hite, and Aflredo Joignant

"The most thorough and up-to-date account available of the case of General Arellano and his caravan.... We need to keep trying to understand dictatorships better. This book makes an indelible contribution to that effort."—Anthony W. Pereira, Latin American Politics and Society

"Verdugo has crafted a most significant book for anyone interested in the rise of General Augusto Pinochet to power in Chile and the immediate repression unleashed. Well documented yet easy to read.... This book is a must read for any student of the Pinochet period. All levels and collections."—Choice

"This is an important and influential book for anyone interested in Chile, Latin American politics, the role of the military, human rights, and U.S.-Chilean relations.... Readable, informative, and at times deeply moving."—Paul E. Sigmund

"This unforgettable book offers a detailed and passionate account of the so-called ‘Caravan of Death,' the extermination mission ordered by Pinochet and carried out by General Arellano in 1973. Patricia Verdugo, whose father was tortured to death by the regime, was the most outspoken and courageous journalist during Chile's long dictatorship. Her research is now being used as key evidence in the proceedings against the former dictator and his accomplices."—Isabelle Allende


Patricia Verdugo's narrative offers compelling evidence of the mass execution of 75 political prisoners that began General Augusto Pinochet's 20-year dictatorship. The "caravan of death" killings—carried out by Sergio Arellano Stark, the high-ranking general appointed by Pinochet to head the operation—terrorized Chile and crushed the country's long-standing tradition of civil institutions and respect of law.

Verdugo's book, originally published in Spanish as Los Zarpazos del Puma, is considered one of the key instruments leading to Pinochet's 500-day arrest in London in 1998. This updated, English-language edition now contains the full description of Chile's own judicial hearings to strip the former general of his immunity from prosecution.


Patricia Verdugo, whose work has been widely published in Europe and Latin America, is the author of 10 books, including Interferencia Secreta (1998) and Bucarest 187 (1999). She received Columbia University's prestigious Maria Cabot Award in 1993, Chile's National Journalism Award in 1997, and the Latin American Studies Association Media Award in 2000.


  • Introduction—Paul E. Sigmund.
  • The Man of the Coup.
  • I Don't Know What War You Are Talking About, General
  • Two Have Already Committed Suicide, Mayor.
  • Only the Colonel's Jeep Returned.
  • What Is This All About, General?
  • Copiapó and the "Special Commission."
  • What Are We Going To Do, General?
  • Everything is Ready, General.
  • General Pinochet Said.
  • Five Massacres and an Amnesty.
  • Epilogue: From the Rettig Commission to the Trial of Pinochet.