Middlebury

Alumna's work casts spotlight on a notorious reign of terror

In 2001, PBS NewsHour correspondent Elizabeth Farnsworth ’65 asked Henry Kissinger why human rights weren’t really at the top of his list of priorities when he met with Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1976. “Why did you not say to him: You’re violating human rights. You’re killing people. Stop it!” she asked the former National Security Advisor and secretary of state. Kissinger punted: “Human rights were not an international issue at that time, the way they have become since. That was not what diplomats and secretaries of states and presidents were saying generally to anybody in those days.” Winning the Cold War, at whatever cost, was the only thing that mattered; in South America, this meant preventing what Nixon referred to as a “red sandwich”—a continent of communist movements anchored by Cuba and Chile.