Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos
Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos is the national stadium of Chile, is located in the Ñuñoa district of Santiago. It is the largest stadium in Chile with an official capacity of 48,665, it is part of a 62 hectare sporting complex which features tennis courts, an aquatics center, a modern gymnasium, a velodrome, a BMX circuit, an assistant ground/warmup athletics track. Construction began in February 1937 and the stadium was inaugurated on December 3, 1938; the architecture was based on the Olympiastadion in Germany. The stadium was one of the venues for the FIFA World Cup in 1962, hosted the final where Brazil defeated Czechoslovakia 3-1. In 1948, the stadium hosted the matches of the South American Championship of Champions, the competition that inspired the creation of the UEFA Champions League and of the Copa Libertadores; the stadium was notoriously used as a prison camp and torture facility by the military regime following the Chilean coup d'état. In 2009, a complete modernization plan was unveiled for surrounding facilities.
President Michelle Bachelet said. The stadium will be the opening and closing ceremonies and football venue for the 2014 South American Games and the 2023 Pan American Games; the stadium was built on former farmland, donated in 1918 by farmer Jose Domingo Cañas. The first sporting event in the new stadium took place on 3 December 1938, with a friendly game between the Chilean club Colo-Colo and Brazilian club São Cristóvão. Colo-Colo won 6–3, it has hosted all matches of the 1941, 1945 and 1955 South American Football Championships, several matches of the 1991 and 2015 Copa América. The stadium hosted the final stages of the 1959 World Basketball Championship, it was held outdoors because the intended venue, the Metropolitan Indoor Stadium, was not ready in time. In the early 1960s, under the government of Jorge Alessandri, the stadium was expanded to host the 1962 FIFA World Cup; the main change was that the velodrome that surrounded the stadium was replaced by galleries, thereby increasing its original capacity to around 95,000.
The stadium hosted group stage games between Italy, West Germany and Chile, including a notoriously ill-tempered and violent clash between Italy and Chile which became known as the Battle of Santiago. Held at the ground were a quarter-final, a semi-final, the third place play-off, the final, in which Brazil was crowned world champions for the second time. In the third-place play-off, Chile defeated Yugoslavia 1–0, marking the team's greatest success in international football. Today, the ground serves as the home field for both the national team and the first-division club Universidad de Chile, it hosts non-sporting events, such as political celebrations, charity events and concerts. The stadium has been used since 1995 as the final leg of a 28-hour telecast; the stadium holds up to 100,000 people for this annual event with the Jumbotron showing the required amount to reach the goal and its current donation. On July 5, 2008, the stadium was renamed Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos, in honor of a deceased sports journalist.
After the coup d'état of September 11, 1973, that ousted President Salvador Allende, the stadium began to be used as a detention facility. An article in the Harvard Review of Latin America reported that "there were over 80 detention centers in Santiago alone" and gave details of the National Stadium and others. Over 40,000 people spent time in the compound during the junta regime. Twelve thousand detainees were interned between September 11 and November 7; the field and gallery were used to hold men, while women were held in the swimming pool changing rooms and associated buildings. Locker rooms and corridors were all used as prison facilities while interrogations were carried out in the velodrome; the Red Cross estimated that 7,000 prisoners occupied the stadium at one point, of whom about 300 were foreigners. According to the testimonies of survivors collected by the humanitarian group, detainees were tortured and threatened with death by shooting; some were shot on the premises and taken to unknown locations for execution.
FIFA President Sir Stanley Rous insisted the USSR team to play a World Cup qualifier at the time. They however refused to do so and Chile qualified automatically for the 1974 World Cup, where they failed to advance from a group containing both West and East Germany and Australia; the use of the stadium during the coup d'état is depicted in the 2002 documentary film Estadio Nacional and produced by Carmen Luz Parot, in the 2007 Swedish film The Black Pimpernel, based on the story of Swedish ambassador in Chile Harald Edelstam and his heroic actions to protect the lives of over 1,200 people during and after the military coup. The Black Pimpernel was shot on location in Santiago; the 1982 film Missing by Greek filmmaker Costa-Gavras depicts the September 11, 1973 coup d'état and execution of American journalists Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi at the Estadio Nacional. In 2011, Chile set aside a section of the stadium, a section of old wooden bleachers called "Escotilla 8", to honor the prisoners who were detained there.
On June 15, 2009, President Michelle Bachelet announced several infrastructure improvements in order to modernize the stadium and its immediate facilities. Out of the total 24 billion pesos contemplated in the plan, 20 billion pesos are destined to bring the stadium up to modern standards; the changes include, a roof covering all the seats, which will provide illumination.
Navy Petty-Officers School
The Higher School of Mechanics of the Navy, was an educational facility of the Argentine Navy. It was used as an illegal, secret detention center during the so-called National Reorganization Process of Argentina's 1976–1983 military dictatorship; the original ESMA was a complex located at 8151 Libertador Avenue, in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, in the barrio of Núñez. It was the seat of U. T.3.3.2—Unidad de Tareas 2 of G. T.3.3–which was responsible for thousands of instances of forced disappearance and illegal execution. The military took the babies born to mothers imprisoned there, suppressed their true identities and allowed them to be illegally adopted by military families and associates of the regime. ESMA was the largest detention center of its kind during the Dirty War; the National Congress passed a law on 5 August 2004 that converted the ESMA complex into a museum, the Space for Memory and for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights. Since 2014 plans are made for the campus to house a second museum, this time, to honor the military personnel killed and wounded during the Falklands War, since several of its alumni and 230 students fought in the conflict.
The School, once again legitimate, was renamed Escuela de Suboficiales de la Armada in 2001, moved in 2005 to the Puerto Belgrano Naval Base, 28 km from the city of Bahía Blanca, about 600 km southwest of Buenos Aires. 5,000 people were abducted and held in the original ESMA campus in its active participation in the Dirty War between 1976-1983. When announcements were made that prisoners were to be "transferred", people came to understand they were going to be executed; the prisoners were taken to the basement and killed, some by shooting, others in death flights: they were flown over the Atlantic Ocean or the Rio de la Plata and pushed out of the aircraft. These are only some examples of the many treatments that prisoners of the ESMA were forced to experience during the kidnappings that forced them into clandestine detention centers. There were certain types of individuals within Argentinian society who were to be kidnapped and removed from it. Stories show, for example, that there was a disproportionate number of Jews taken in custody, shedding light on anti-Semitic victimization.
Another group targeted included the people who supported a different government, opposing the current junta and military dictatorship of Argentina. If there was any suspicion that Argentinians were meeting secretly and to resist General Jorge Rafael Videla and his regime, the government would kidnap these people and place them in detention centers such as the ESMA; this would serve as a lesson to incite fear within other members of the community who were against the current governmental structure of Argentina. Upon being kidnapped, for example, many kidnappers would interrogate the prisoners about why they were opposing the Argentinian dictatorship and spreading a new political ideology, disregarding the fact of whether or not this was the case. Once kidnapped, it was rare that these prisoners would return home, leaving loved ones wondering if they would see their family members or friends again. During the beginning stages of the Dirty War, Argentinians living in Buenos Aires were unaware that the building that once housed a school had been transformed into a center for punishing "subversion."
Once the prisoners had arrived to this new "renovation," their basic human rights would be ignored. Instead, they were taken to certain floors depending on their status of punishment in an effort to dehumanize the victims; the basement contained interrogation rooms and a station meant for taking and maintaining photographs of each of the prisoners. These photos would allow victims to be recorded, providing an accurate count today as to the five thousand people who died due to the treatment within this camp; the first floor was staged as an operation room for the leaders of the torture to plan and continue their efforts to punish the prisoners. The second and third floors were adequately furnished and kept, as these were the floors where the officers lived and slept; these officers were committed to torturing the dissidents, contributing twenty four hours, seven days a week of fear for the victims who never knew when the next hit would happen. On the third floor, extending to the fourth floor, was an area known as the "capucha," or hood.
This was where prisoners were kept, this was where conditions were purposefully kept dark and hopeless. A few victims that were able to survive and escape the ESMA have made it a priority to share their experiences of the torture and human rights infractions they faced while living in this center. One detainee who survived, Ana María Martí, has related some of the horrific treatment she faced while in the confines of the ESMA. By the time she was captured, information was out; when she was kidnapped, the officers who snatched her laughed at the fear she had at the mention of the ESMA. Once she arrived, her stories telling her torture resembled the other stories that have been told by those lucky enough to survive; the main goal of the ESMA officers was to inflict as much pain as was possible, testing every victim's capability of surviving amidst deathly circumstances. Just within the basement floor of the interrogation methods, victims were subjugated to electric shocks, humiliating treatments, removal of genitalia and other organs
Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional
The Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional or DINA was the Chilean secret police in the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, has been called Pinochet's Gestapo. The DINA was established in November 1973 as a Chilean Army intelligence unit headed by Colonel Manuel Contreras and vice-director Raúl Iturriaga, it was separated from the army and made an independent administrative unit in June 1974, under the auspices of Decree 521. The DINA existed until 1977. In 2008, the Chilean Army presented a list of 1,097 DINA agents to Judge Alejandro Solís. Under decree #521, the DINA had the power to detain any individual so long as there was a declared state of emergency; such an administrative state characterized nearly the entire length of the Pinochet government. Torture and rape of detainees was common: In some camps, routine sadism was taken to extremes. At Villa Grimaldi, recalcitrant prisoners were dragged to a parking lot. Prisoners there recalled one young man, beaten with chains and left to die from internal injuries.
Rape was a reoccurring form of abuse. DINA officers subjected female prisoners to grotesque forms of sexual torture that included insertion of rodents and, as tactfully described in the Commission report, "unnatural acts involving dogs." As of September 11, 1973, the military dictatorship worked with DINA to censor channels and radio transmissions that supported the Popular Socialist Union and supporters. A decree by the Junta established that all public information would have to be inspected and revised by the Junta before airing, a couple days an "Office of Censorship" was created to supervise all media. A lot of newspapers received. Through coercion and kidnappings, television outlets masked the truth on the coup d'état as a plan by the military of Chile. Various international cable news networks were banned by DINA to prevent the news of the forced coup d'état by the military; some international networks were convinced to lie by the Junta about social and political aspects of Chile. The censorship breached particular homes and public services, on September 23, 1973, DINA sent policemen to register households and institutions.
They searched subversive evidence such as books by Pablo Neruda, articles on social sciences, political science, human rights, those who were rounded up and burned at the Plaza de Armas. The United States backed and supported the Fatherland and Liberty which funded and attempted the first coup of Allende's regime known as Tanquetazo; the CIA established links after the 1973 Chilean coup d'état however ties were cut after The Assassination of Orlando Letelier which former CIA agent Michael Townley was directly tied with which led to the disbanding of The DINA in 1977. The DINA was involved in Operation Condor, as well as Operation Colombo. In July 1976, two magazines in Argentina and Brazil appeared and published the names of 119 Chilean leftist opponents, claiming they had been killed in internal disputes unrelated to the Pinochet regime. Both magazines disappeared after only issue. Judge Juan Guzmán Tapia asked Chilean justices to lift Pinochet's immunity in this case, called "Operation Colombo", having accumulated evidence that Pinochet had ordered the DINA to plant this disinformation, in order to cover up the "disappearance" and murder by the Chilean secret police of those 119 persons.
In September 2005, Chile's Supreme Court ordered the lifting of Pinochet's general immunity from prosecutions, with respect to this case. The DINA worked with international agents, such as Michael Townley, who assassinated former Chilean minister Orlando Letelier in Washington DC in 1976, as well as General Carlos Prats in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1974. Michael Townley worked with Eugenio Berríos on producing sarin gas in the 1970s, at a laboratory in a DINA-owned house in the district of Lo Curro, Santiago de Chile. Eugenio Berríos, murdered in 1995, was linked with drug traffickers and agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration; the overwhelming fear by the Chilean people caused them to support his administration. There are few accounts that are disdainful towards DINA because DINA and other agencies that supported Pinochet repressed and dissolved all accounts against his regime; some writers and journalists that opposed this right-winged regime secretly interviewed people living under DINA.
Writers such as Patricia Politzer, interviewed people. Politzer writes about specific incidents in Chile. One of the accounts is about a mother of a leftist sympathizer, a victim of forced disappearances in Chile; the mother has never heard nor received any update on her son's status after Pinochet was removed from power. Many of those who disappeared or were wrongly murdered were never identified and thousands of leftist sympathizers remain missing; these unsolved disappearances and kidnappings have left thousands searching for their relatives in Chile to this day. There was minimal restoration and children suffered as well. In another interview by Politzer, she describes the account of woman, shot with other leftists and managed to survive, she explains that if she would have died at the hands of DINA, her children would have been left behind with no one to watch them. These accounts reveal other agencies that answered to Pinochet. Children would be left behind as orphans. All these accounts in "Fear in Chile", by Patricia Politzer captivated and showed what life was like in Chile.
DINA was replaced by the C
People's Revolutionary Army (Argentina)
The People's Revolutionary Army was the military branch of the communist Partido Revolucionario de los Trabajadores in Argentina. The ERP was founded as the armed wing of the PRT, a communist party emerging from the Trotskyist tradition, but soon turned to the Maoist theory the Cultural Revolution. During the 1960s, the PRT adopted the foquista strategy of insurgency associated with Che Guevara, who had fought alongside Fidel Castro during the Cuban Revolution; the ERP launched its guerrilla campaign against the Argentine military dictatorship headed by Juan Carlos Onganía in 1969, using targeted urban guerrilla warfare methods such as assassinations and kidnappings of government officials and foreign company executives. For example, in 1973 Enrique Gorriarán Merlo and Benito Urteaga led the ERP kidnapping of Esso executive Victor Samuelson and obtaining a ransom of $12 million, they assaulted several companies' offices using armed commandos of the ERP's elite "Special Squad". Although claim and counter-claim are invariably difficult to reconcile, figures released for an official publication, Crónica de la subversión en la Argentina at least give an indication of the kind of guerrilla activity undertaken, with claims that the rural guerrillas occupied 52 towns, robbed 166 banks and took US $76 million in ransoms for the kidnappings of 185 people.
The group continued the violent campaign after democratic elections and the return to civilian rule in 1973, with Juan Peron's return. On June 20, 1973 the Peronist movement split after the Ezeiza massacre, that started when Lieutenant-Colonel Jorge Osinde's crowd monitoring right-wing Peronist militia reported the arrival of armed Montoneros in two buses the day that Peron returned from exile. Victor E. Samuelson, an Exxon executive, was abducted on 6 December 1973 by the ERP, he was released after 144 days in captivity, after the Exxon Corporation paid a record ransom of $14.2 million. The avowed aim of the ERP was a communist revolution against the Argentine government in pursuit of "proletarian rule." The ERP publicly remained in the forefront. ERP guerrilla activity took the form of attacks on police stations and convoys. In 1971, 57 policemen were killed fighting the left-wing guerrillas, in 1972 another 38 policemen lost their lives in the guerrilla violence. On 28 December 1972, Marine Private Julio César Provenzano of the ERP, is killed when the bomb he planted in one of the lavatories of the Argentine Naval Headquarters went off prematurely.
On 3 April 1973, ERP guerrillas kidnapped Rear-Admiral Francisco Agustín Alemán. In January 1974 the ERP Compañía Héroes de Trelew, named in commemoration of the 1972 Massacre of Trelew, during which 16 left-wing guerrillas who had attempted to escape detention had been shot dead, attacked the barracks at Azul, killing the Commanding Officer and his wife and kidnapping and executing Lieutenant-Colonel Jorge Ibarzábal, with Patricia Gay the daughter of Gay and Casaux taking her own life. However, in August, an assault on the Argentine Army's Villa Maria explosives factory in Cordoba and the 17th Airborne Infantry Regiment at Catamarca by 70 ERP guerrillas dressed in army fatigues, met mixed fortune after killing and wounding eight policemen and soldiers but losing 16 guerrillas shot dead after they surrendered to 300 paratroopers of the 17th Airborne Infantry Regiment under Lieutenant-Colonel Eduardo Humberto Cubas. On 23 October 1974, ERP guerrillas shot and killed Lieutenant-Colonel José Francisco Gardón as he was leaving the Buenos Aires hospital where he specialized in blood diseases.
On 18 August 1975 Captain Miguel Alberto Keller, accompanied by an NCO and five conscripts were forced to stop their army lorry at what they believed to be a military checkpoint, Keller was shot dead as he approached the ERP guerrillas waiting in ambush. In December 1975 a force of some 300 ERP guerrillas and supporting militants attacked the Monte Chingolo barracks outside Buenos Aires but lost 63 dead, many of whom were wounded in the attack and subsequently killed. In addition, seven army troops and three policemen were killed and 34 wounded. In all, 293 Argentine servicemen and police were killed fighting left-wing guerrillas between 1975 and 1976. In 1976 there had been plans to send a large part of the Uruguayan Tupamaros, the Chilean Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria and the Bolivian National Liberation Army to fight alongside the ERP and Montoneros in Argentina, but the plans failed to materialize due to the military coup. After the return of Juan Perón to the presidency in 1973, the ERP shifted to a rural strategy designed to secure a large land area as a base of military operations against the Argentine state.
The ERP leadership chose to send the Compania del Monte Ramón Rosa Jimenez to the province of Tucumán at the edge of the long-impoverished Andean highlands in the northwest corner of Argentina. Many of the officers in the rural guerrilleros company were trained in Cuba. In July 2008, Cuban leader Fidel Castro admitted that he supported the guerrilla forces in South America: "The only place where we didn't attempt to promote a revolution was in Mexico. Everywhere else, without exception, we tried". Politician Gustavo Breide Obeid, who fought as an army captain against ERP guerrillas in Tucumán Province, claimed in 2007 that mercenaries from Jordan and Angola served in the'Ramón Rosa Jimenez' Mountain Company. By December 1974, the guerrillas numbered about 100 fighters, with a 400-person support network from the Montoneros. Led by Mario R
Operation Gladio is the codename for clandestine "stay-behind" operations of armed resistance, planned by the Western Union, subsequently by NATO, for a potential Warsaw Pact invasion and conquest in Europe. Although Gladio refers to the Italian branch of the NATO stay-behind organizations, "Operation Gladio" is used as an informal name for all of them. Stay-behind operations were prepared in many NATO member countries, some neutral countries; the role of the CIA in Gladio and the extent of its activities during the Cold War era, any relationship to terrorist attacks perpetrated in Italy during the "Years of Lead" are the subject of debate. Switzerland and Belgium have had parliamentary inquiries into the matter; the word gladio is the Italian form of gladius, a type of Roman shortsword. Following the fall of France in 1940, Winston Churchill created the Special Operations Executive to both assist resistance movements and itself carry out sabotage and subversive operations in occupied Europe.
It was revealed half a century that SOE was complemented by a stay-behind organisation in Britain, created in extreme secrecy, to prepare for a possible invasion by Nazi Germany. A network of resistance fighters was formed across Britain and arms caches were established; the network was recruited, from the 5th Battalion of the Scots Guards. The network, which became known as the Auxiliary Units, was headed by Major Colin Gubbins – an expert in guerrilla warfare; the units were trained, in part, by "Mad Mike" Calvert, a Royal Engineers officer who specialised in demolition by explosives and covert raiding operations. To the extent that they were publicly visible, the Auxiliary Units were disguised as Home Guard units, under GHQ Home Forces; the network was disbanded in 1944. While David Lampe published a book on the Auxiliary Units in 1968, their existence did not become known by the public until reporters such as David Pallister of The Guardian revived interest in them during the 1990s. After World War II, the UK and the US decided to create "stay-behind" paramilitary organizations, with the official aim of countering a possible Soviet invasion through sabotage and guerrilla warfare behind enemy lines.
Arms caches were hidden, escape routes prepared, loyal members recruited, whether in Italy or in other European countries. Its clandestine "cells" were to stay behind in enemy-controlled territory and to act as resistance movements, conducting sabotage, guerrilla warfare and assassinations; the stay-behind armies were created with the involvement of former SOE officers. Following Giulio Andreotti's October 1990 revelations, General Sir John Hackett, former commander-in-chief of the British Army on the Rhine, declared on November 16, 1990, that a contingency plan involving "stay behind and resistance in depth" was drawn up after the war; the same week, Sir Anthony Farrar-Hockley, former commander-in-chief of NATO's Forces in Northern Europe from 1979 to 1982, declared to The Guardian that a secret arms network was established in Britain after the war. Hackett had written in 1978 a novel, The Third World War: August 1985, a fictionalized scenario of a Soviet Army invasion of West Germany in 1985.
The novel was followed in 1982 by The Third World War: The Untold Story, which elaborated on the original. Farrar-Hockley had aroused controversy in 1983 when he became involved in trying to organise a campaign for a new Home Guard against a potential Soviet invasion. Operating in all of NATO and in some neutral countries such as Spain before its 1982 admission to NATO, Gladio was first coordinated by the Clandestine Committee of the Western Union, founded in 1948. After the creation of NATO in 1949, the CCWU was integrated into the "Clandestine Planning Committee", founded in 1951 and overseen by the SHAPE, transferred to Belgium after France's official withdrawal from the NATO military organization – but not from NATO –, not followed by the dissolution of the French stay-behind paramilitary movements. Historian Daniele Ganser claims that: Next to the CPC, a second secret army command center, labeled Allied Clandestine Committee, was set up in 1957 on the orders of NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.
This military structure provided for significant US leverage over the secret stay-behind networks in Western Europe as the SACEUR, throughout NATO's history, has traditionally been a US General who reports to the Pentagon in Washington and is based in NATO's Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Mons, Belgium. The ACC's duties included elaborating on the directives of the network, developing its clandestine capability, organizing bases in Britain and the United States. In wartime, it was to plan stay-behind operations in conjunction with SHAPE. According to former CIA director William Colby, it was'a major program'. Coordinated by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, were run by the European military secret services in close cooperation with the US Central Intelligence Agency and the British foreign secret service Secret Intelligence Service. Trained together with US Green Berets and British Special Air Service, these clandestine NATO soldiers, with access to underground arms caches, prepared to fight against a potential Soviet invasion and occupation of Western Europe, as well as the coming to power of communist parties.
The clandestine international net
Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation
The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation is a United States Department of Defense Institute located at Fort Benning near Columbus, created in the 2001 National Defense Authorization Act. It was known as the US Army School of the Americas; the U. S. Army School of the Americas was founded in 1946 and located at Fort Gulick in the Panama Canal Zone; the School aimed to instruct the armed forces of Latin America using training programs that were doctrinally sound and compatible with United States customs and traditions in a cost effective and militaristically professional way. From 1961, the School was assigned the specific Cold War goal of teaching "anti-communist" counterinsurgency training to military personnel of Latin American countries. At the time and in those places, the label "communist" was, in the words of anthropologist Lesley Gill, "... an enormously elastic category that could accommodate any critic of the status quo." During this period, Colombia supplied the largest number of students from any client country.
On September 21, 1984, the school was expelled from Panama under the terms of the Panama Canal Treaty. Prior to this expulsion and journalists in Panama had complained that civilian graduates from the school engaged in repressive and antidemocratic behavior. In December of that year, the school reopened at Fort Benning, Georgia, as part of the U. S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. Spanish was the official language of the school and although human rights training was a part of the program, many questioned the effectiveness of this curriculum. In 1989 the School set in place a requirement that a basic, sufficient block of human rights instruction would be 8 hours long. Further international curriculum on human rights was included in the instruction, as were warnings about the penalties of human rights abuses. Despite this required instruction, the School still utilized material from Spanish language training manuals that discussed methods of coercion against insurgents through execution and torture from 1982 until 1991.
The Department of Defense released excerpts of these manuals in September 1996, prompting further criticism of and controversy surrounding the School. As the Cold War drew to a close around 1990, United States foreign policy shifted focus from "anti-communism" to the War on Drugs, with narcoguerillas replacing "communists"; this term was replaced by "the more ominous sounding'terrorist'". Now, all elements of the School of the Americas are located at Fort Benning with the exception of the Helicopter School Battalion, located at Fort Rucker, Alabama. By 2000 the School of the Americas was under increasing criticism in the United States for training students who participated in undemocratic governments and committed human rights abuses. In 2000, the US Congress, through the FY01 National Defense Act, withdrew the Secretary of the Army's authority to operate USARSA; the next year, the institute was renamed to WHINSEC. U. S. Army Maj. Joseph Blair, a former director of instruction at the school, said in 2002 that "there are no substantive changes besides the name....
They teach the identical courses that I taught and changed the course names and use the same manuals."In 2013, researcher Ruth Blakeley concluded after interviews with WHINSEC personnel and anti-SOA/WHINSEC protesters that "there was considerable transparency... established after the transition from SOA to WHINSEC" and that "a much more rigorous human rights training program was in place than in any other US military institution". However, the first WHINSEC Director, Richard Downie, became the controversial director of the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, the educational institution of both the U. S. Northern and U. S. Southern Commands, at the National Defense University in Washington, D. C. from March 2004 to March 2013. During Downie's tenure at CHDS, the institution faced controversy over its continued employment of a former military officer from Chile, indicted by a civilian court for his alleged participation in torture and murder and, defended by Downie. In addition, The Intercept reported that Honduran plotters in the illegal 2009 military coup received "behind-the-scenes assistance" from CHDS officials working for Downie.
The detailed August 2017 article noted that Cresencio Arcos, a former U. S. ambassador to Honduras, working at the Center at the time the coup occurred, received an angry call from a Congressional staffer who had met with the Honduran colonels who were meeting with Members of Congress in Washington. The colonels purportedly told the staffer. Arcos confronted Downie and Center Deputy Director Ken LaPlante, telling them, "We cannot have this sort of thing happening, where we're supporting coups." LaPlante was a former instructor at the notorious School of the Americas and an ardent defender of that institution while at what is now called the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies. Since its opening in 2001, WHINSEC has trained more than 19,000 students from 36 countries of the Western Hemisphere. In 2014–2015, the principal "Command & General Staff Officer" course had 65 graduates representing 13 nations: Belize, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Panama, Peru and the U.
S. In 2004, Venezuela ceased all training of its soldiers at WHINSEC after a long period of chilling relations between the United States and Venezuela. On March 28, 2006, the government of Argentina, headed by President Néstor Kirchner, decided to stop sending soldiers to train at WHINSEC, the government of Uruguay affirmed that it would continue its current policy of not sending sold