SANTIAGO – Marcela Mardones was convicted by unanimous ruling for her involvement in the 1991 murder of former Pinochet advisor Jaime Guzmán. A former member of the Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front, Mardones was involved in the violent resistance against the Pinochet regime. The Court of Appeals confirmed her 10-year sentence today.
Marcela Mardones was sentenced to 10 years and one day in prison for her role in the murder of senator Jaime Guzmán on April 10, 1991.
Minister Mario Carroza issued the official ruling in March 2018, and today the Court of Appeals confirmed that sentence. The decision can now be appealed to the Supreme Court.
Mardones, former member of the Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front (Spanish acronym FPMR), was arrested in June 2017 by the Investigations Police of Chile after she confessed to her participation in Guzmán’s murder.
The judge determined after her confession and arrest that Mardones was not only an accomplice in the crime but also a perpetrator, as she was in the same car as the assailants.
Mardones was a former partner of Raúl Escobar Poblete, known as “Commander Emilio, ” who was one of the other accused perpetrators of the killing.
Mauricio Hernández, head of the FPMR and known as “Commander Ramiro” was one of only two people convicted and tried for the murder of Guzmán at the time.
He was arrested in 1993 and sentenced to double life in prison. However, he escaped in 1996 with the help of Poblete and other FPMR members.
Called “the escape of the century”, four FPMR prisoners escaped from a maximum security prison in Santiago by climbing into a bucket that was lifted away by a hijacked helicopter. All but one have not returned to prison.
Hernández is now serving 30 years in Brazil for a local kidnapping in 2001. The Chilean government’s request for his extradition was approved, and he returned to Chile on August 20.
Ricardo Palma Salamanca was also convicted for Guzmán’s murder. He was arrested in 1992 but escaped alongside Hernández in 1996. He was finally apprehended in France in February 2018, but the country’s Office for the Protection of Refugees granted him political asylum, against the wishes of the Chilean government.
A lawyer and senator, Jaime Guzmán became a close advisor of Pinochet after his rise to power during the 1973 coup d’état. Although he never held an official position in Pinochet’s government, he played an essential role in drafting policies and writing speeches. He was one of the creators of the 1980 constitution of Chile.
He was shot and killed on April 1, 1991, outside the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, where he was a professor of Constitutional Law.
Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front
The FPMR was a revolutionary guerrilla group which operated between 1983-1999 and aimed to overthrow the Pinochet dictatorship.
The United States, a Pinochet supporter at the time, branded the organization a “terrorist group.”
The group was extremely active during the dictatorship and was responsible for multiple bombings, assaults and kidnappings.
One notable event occurred in 1993, when FPMR members bombed two McDonald’s restaurants and attempted to bomb a KFC. This attack followed the restoration of democracy in Chile in 1990.
Ana Truesdale is a British student, studying Liberal Arts at Durham Univeristy, who is currently interning at Chile Today on her year abroad. She has a strong interest in Latin American culture and journalism and wishes to experience all that Chile has to offer.