Doctor linked to murder case of former president gets government position

SANTIAGO – The appointment of Luis Castillo as the new undersecretary of the Health Ministry Assistance Network has raised outrage among the party Democracia Cristiana. Castillo is suspect in the long-lasting scandal for the presumed murder of late former president Eduardo Frei Montalva. Frei’s daughter also reacted to the appointment.

Political party Democracia Cristiana (DC) showed discontent over the appointment of Luis Castillo Fuenzalida as undersecretary of Assistance Network. That is due to evidence implicating Castillo in ex-president Frei Montalva’s murder. According to the accusers, Castillo had hidden the report of Frei’s autopsy more than 20 years ago.

Frei died after a simple hernia surgery in December 1981, after which his conditions deteriorated, leading to his death on January 22, 1982. Santa María Clinical Hospital reported the cause of death was a bacteria complication produced by a peritonitis, which caused a septic shock.

Nevertheless, Frei’s family alleged murder as he was a strong leader of the opposition to Augusto Pinochet. There was no evidence of murder until 2006, when the corpse was exhumed. The exhumation presumably revealed a leftover of sulfur mustard and thallium. But the accusation was denied by the University of Chile, which performed the exhumation. The institution assured there were no remains of any toxic in the body.

Regarding Castillo’s appointment, a public release by Democracia Cristiana party, opposed in strong wording the government’s decision. The party demanded President Sebastián Piñera to repeal the appointment. “Castillo Fuenzalida hid for more than 20 years the Clinical Hospital of the Catholic University, the late former president’s autopsy,” said the release.

Democracia Cristiana described the naming as an action that offended the former president’s memory. In addition, they remarked that any government authority must be clear and ethical.

The University of Chile Hospital declared that the former president was not attended in the institution, and they would help the investigation. “The medical staff that performed the autopsy took samples of tissue to make a histopathology, whose results were presented during a meeting, in which the medical team that treated the late former president was present,” highlighted the institution.

In addition, the hospital said that Luis Castillo was medical director of the Health Network at the moment of the autopsy, and that he provided in his quality of witness, all the information regarding the procedure.

Luis Castillo for his part, qualified the accusation as a travesty. “The fact that they are accusing only me, is a clear attempt of having political advantages. It can only be qualified as a travesty,” he said.

Carmen Frei, late former president’s daughter reacted to Castillo’s comments, and insisted that Castillo provides cover of her father’s murder. “How does a doctor dare to say that we are doing all this for political reasons? It’s offensive against Democracia Cristiana. We want to collaborate, but we will do it with people we trust,” declared Frei.

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