is a Chilean judge who occupies a unique position in history. He was the first to investigate and prosecute the dictator Augusto Pinochet
, for human rights abuses committed during his rule.
This week marks the 40th anniversary of the coup that brought General Pinochet to power.
Judge Guzman was an unlikely person to undertake such a notorious
case. He had been an early supporter of the coup that brought the General to power.
army overthrew the democratically-elected government of President
Salvador Allende, on September 11th, 1973.
It was a vengeful and bloody time in Chile.
Thousands of people - left-wing sympathizers, journalists, academics
- were imprisoned .. or killed .. or simply, to use that terrible word,
The coup had been both covertly - and overtly - supported by the United States. The fear of encroaching communism drove Washington to direct the CIA
- under the direction of then-National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger
- to assist Pinochet in de-stabilizing the Allende government.
In this 1974 file photo, Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet speaks at an informal press conference in Santiago, Chile. (AP Photo, File)
Over the years, the extent of the atrocities committed by Pinochet's army leaked out.
Judge Guzman travelled that road himself - from celebrating the
coup, to disbelief, and gradually to anger, shock and horror as the
truth gradually dawned.
Juan Guzman, who is now retired, is in New York City this week.
On Monday night, he will receive an award from the Charles Horman Truth
Foundation. Charles Horman
was an American journalist -- and Allende
supporter -- who was killed in the stadium in Santiago immediately
following the coup. His story was told in the 1982 Costa Gavras
, starring Jack Lemmon
A few days ago, the body that represents judges in Chile made an
unprecedented apology, for the actions of its members under military
rule in the 1970s and 1980s.
In a statement, it said that the judiciary at the time had abandoned its role as protector of basic rights.
"The time has come to ask for the forgiveness of victims ... and of Chilean society," said the judges.
Michael spoke with Judge Guzman just before he left for America, at his home in Santiago.
Judge Juan Guzman in his home in Chile. Photo by Tomas Urbina
In a documentary which was first broadcast 30 years after the coup, former Sunday Edition producer Bob Carty recounts the story of what became known as Special Movement Chile - a dramatic moment in Canadian diplomacy, foreign policy and citizen action.
Thanks to producer Tomas Urbina for his assistance in Chile.