Information on "Comando para el No", Chile [CHL0844]

The Comando para el No was a coalition comprising most (16) opposition political parties, formed to advocate a negative vote in the October 5, 1988 plebiscite on the continuation of general Pinochet's rule. Access to the media was gradually eased as the plebiscite date approached, although attacks on opposition supporters, including beatings and arrests of during demonstrations, were reported to have continued. [ Chile: Human Rights & The Plebiscite, (Washington: Americas Watch, July 1988), pp. 125-143.] in August, most restrictions on publications were lifted, and non-government television channels covered the campaign of the opposition coalition, though reportedly to a lesser extent than they did the pro-Pinochet campaign. [ Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1988, (Washington: U.S. Department of State, 1989), p. 492.] The official political campaign for the plebiscite, as stipulated by law, lasted 28 days. [ Human Rights in Chile, (Toronto: Inter-Church Committee for Human Rights in Latin America, January 1989), p. 3.] According to the Chilean government, the Comando para el No raised US$100 2 million from foreign sources for its campaign. [ Latin American Weekly Report, (London: Latin American Newsletters), 2 March 1989, backcover.] One of the major components of the "No" campaign was the access to free 15-minute daily television spots for the opposition. Country Reports, p. 492.] A video recording of a judge who denounced cases of torture, by Chilean authorities, however, was banned by the government. [ Human Rights in Chile, p. 14.] Apart from this ban and a reported degree of self-censorship, no other cases of overt censorship during the campaign are reported among the sources presently available to the IRBDC.
In the days following the plebiscite, which resulted in the defeat of President Pinochet's attempt to extend his term in office, some of the rallies of the supporters of the "No" campaign were reportedly attacked and arrested during victory celebrations. [ Human Rights in Chile, p. 6.] Later, the Comando para el No was dissolved as parties concentrated individually for the upcoming elections.

Some parties which were brought together in the coalition have continued their alliance. Patricio Alwyn, who was the official speaker of the Comando para el No and the head of the Christian Democrat party, is now heading the major opposition party coalition as presidential candidate for the December 1989 general elections. [ Facts on File, (New York, Facts on File, Inc.), 24 February 1989, pp. 133-134. ]

Please find attached the following documents which provide general information on the "Comando para el No" (Command for the No) activities:

Keesing's Record of World Events, Volume XXXIV, August 1988, pp. 36094-36095; December 1988, pp. 36344-36345.

Latin America Daily Report, (Washington, Foreign Broadcast Information Service), 27 January 1989, p. 31.