Monday, July 21, 2008

Everton Leads In Chilean First Division

Blackburn Rovers Hires Midfielder Carlos Villanueva

The Chilean First Division season is divided into two competitions: the “Opening Championship” begins in the second week of February and ends in the last week of June followed by the “Closing Championship” that is held from Mid July until a few days before Christmas. The winner of this year’s “Opening Championship” was Everton from the city of Viña del Mar, Chile´s main seaside resort located 130 kilometres to the west of Santiago. Everton had last been Chilean champions in 1976 and so after five rounds the local fans are obviously very pleased with their team´s current situation. This last weekend, Everton played host to Palestino at the Sausalito Stadium and despite losing by 1-0 at are still at the top of the table with 12 points. The Sausalito Stadium was built specially for the 1962 World Cup and its most important event in history has been the quarterfinal match where Brazil defeated England by 3-1. Nineteen teams are taking part in this year’s Closing Championship after the desertion of Deportes Concepcion, a club that went broke in the first days of July. This weekend had a especially high goal average with a total of 35 goals being scored. The shock result of the fixture was the 2-3 home defeat of Chile´s most popular club Colo Colo at the hands of Rangers, from the southern town of Talca. Colo Colo´s archrival, Universidad de Chile recovered form after beating Union Espanola by 4-1 at the National Stadium in Santiago. Marcelo Salas, probably Chile´s greatest player of all time, scored Universidad de Chile´s second goal. Local fans revere Salas for his great performances with the Chilean national team such as Chile´s 1998 victory over England at Wembley Stadium, when the striker scored both goals. Carlos Villanueva, a left-footed free kick specialist recently hired by Blackburn Rovers, may have played his last match for Audax Italiano during the club’s 2-1 win over Cobresal. Villanueva is a skilful midfielder that has won a regular place in Chile´s national team but recently had an unlucky incident in Spain. Last month Villanueva travelled to join Real Sociedad of the Spanish first division, but two weeks later had to return to Chile after Sociedad went broke. Until now the Chilean press has reported that Blackburn Rovers agreed to a one-year loan for Villanueva with a salary of US$900,000 and the deal seems to have definitely been sealed. The results from the other matches and top of points table are as follows:

Osorno 2 - Universidad Catolica 4
La Serena 6 - Cobreloa 2
Meilipilla 1 - Nublense 1
Santiago Morning 2 - Antofagasta 1
Huachipato 1- Universidad Concepcion 1

1) Everton 12 pts.
2) O´Higgins 10 pts.
3) Colo Colo 10 pts.
4) Rangers 10 pts.
5) Universidad de Chile 9 pts
6) La Serena 8 pts
7) Palestino 8 pts
8) Santiago Morning 8 pts
9) Universidad Catolica 7 pts.
10) Osorno 6
11) Audax Italiano

Thursday, July 03, 2008

L.D.U Wins Final of 2008 Libertadores Cup

Ecuadorian Team beats Fluminense in Rio de Janeiro

Liga Deportiva Universitaria (LDU) from Quito, Ecuador is the new champion of the Copa Libertadores, the most prestigious South American club tournament, only equaled in importance by the UEFA Champions League. The final match of the two-way tie was played in the night of July 2 at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. LDU´s opponent was Fluminense, one of the city’s most popular clubs and there was a fever pitch atmosphere at the Maracana since the team had never been able to win the Libertadores. Fluminense had to win by a three goal difference to become champions because LDU had won the first match in Quito by 4-2. Before the match the Fluminense players declared to the local press that they would come out and put continuous pressure on LDU from the first minute. However, in front of 80,000 spectators, LDU got off to a great start since Luis Bolaños scored in the fifth minute. The goal was quite lucky since a Fluminense defender turned his back on the shot and allowed the ball to go between his legs. This confused the local goalkeeper that could not stop the ball but just as the local crowd began to get nervous, Thiago Neves set the house on fire by equalizing in the 12 minute with a low long range shot past LDU goalkeeper Jose Ceballos. Eventually both these players would become the villain and hero of the night at the end of the match.
An inspired Thiago Neves would score yet again in the 28th and 56th minute and with the aggregate score tied at 5-5 the match continued with a further 30 minutes of extra time. A legitimate goal scored by Claudio Bieler in the 116th minute could have given LDU and instant victory but it was disallowed since a linesman considered that the Argentine striker was offside. Since at the end of full time the match was with the same scoreline so a penalty shootout had to be carried out. Another Argentine, Dario Conca was the first of three Fluminense players to miss the penalty kick, such as the unfortunate Thiago Neves and Washington, a free kick expert. Campos was the only player that missed for LDU and so for the first time in history, an Ecuadorian team became champions of the Copa Libertadores. Until now, teams from countries on the Atlantic side of the continent have monopolized this tournament that has been played since 1960, the other clubs being Atletico Nacional of Colombia in 1989, Colo Colo (Chile) in 1991 and Once Caldas in 2004.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Former Secret Police Chief Gets Life Sentence

Chilean Justice Gives Verdict after 34 years
Former Secret Police Chief Gets Life Sentence

Until August 1973, the Commander in Chief of the Chilean Armed Forces was General Carlos Prats. Due to the tense internal situation Prats resigned and President Salvador Allende appointed the highest-ranking officer, General Augusto Pinochet to replace Prats. This proved a fatal mistake since Pinochet led the military action that ended with Allende being killed at the La Moneda Palace on September 11, 1973. A few days later Pinochet sent General Carlos Prats into forced exile in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Also at the same time Pinochet created a secret police called National Directorate of Intelligence (DINA in the Spanish acronym) and appointed Coronel Manuel Contreras at its head. Contreras was only accountable to Pinochet, so it seems very unlikely that the Chilean dictator did not know that DINA agents were keeping track of General Prat´s activities in Buenos Aires. According to the daughters of Prats, a former colleague warned the Chilean general that that he should leave Buenos Aires immediately since Pinochet was planning to kill him. On September 30, 1974, a car bomb set off by remote control killed Prats and his wife as they arrived at their apartment. The Chilean press of the time stated that left wing guerrillas were responsible for Prats death and due to the military coup that occurred in Argentina a few months later the investigation was interrupted. Even so the three daughters of General Prats began a long legal action in the Chilean justice system to punish those responsible for the death of their parents. Thirty-four years later, on June 30, Judge Isidro Solis finally ended the investigation and sentenced Manuel Contreras to two counts of life imprisonment. This sentence must be added to his 26 other convictions that total 289 years in jail. Contreras is already in a special prison for military officers on the outskirts of Santiago after being found guilty of hundreds of counts of murder, torture and kidnapping. Also convicted were a group of his subordinates such as Brigadier Pedro Espinoza (sentenced to 20 years in prison), General Raul Iturriaga (15 years), Jorge Iturriaga (brother of Raul, 5 years) and Emilio Zara (10 years). Also sentenced to 20 years in prison was Mariana Callejas, a female civilian agent that according to Judge Solis set off the explosive device that was prepared by a U.S-Chilean citizen called Michael Vernon Townley. On the same day the verdict was given, during a South American Presidential summit being held in Argentina, President Michelle Bachelet informed the other Heads of State about the Contreras conviction, that was welcomed with hand clapping by Hugo Chavez , President of Venezuela.
At the time of the assassination, Mariana Callejas was married to Townley, that in 1980 defected to the United States and went into the Witness Protection Program of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I). The evidence given by Townley was crucial to solving not only the murder of Carlos Prats and his wife but also the 1976 assassination of Orlando Letelier, (a leader of the anti-Pinochet movement) and a U.S citizen, Ronni Moffit. Both were killed in a similar car explosion that occurred at the Sheridan Circle in Washington D.C. According to Townley, after killing the Prats couple, the DINA sent him and Callejas into the United States under fake identities. Their mission was to prepare the murder of Letelier by following the former Chilean politician and learn his daily routine at Washington D.C. According to some versions, after weeks of undercover surveillance, one night Townley entered the garage in Letelier´s home and stuck the explosive device under the car. The next morning Townley and Callejas followed Letelier, Ronni Moffit and her husband in another car as they went to a meeting. It is not yet clear who activated the remote control device that killed Letelier and Moffit, but in the 90s, F.B.I bomb experts traveled to Chile and gave a practical demonstration to Chilean authorities. Using an identical car and bomb device, the F.B.I agents proved that Michael Townley was responsible for the killings since the car suffered almost the same damages as the model in 1976. On the same day the verdict was given, President Michelle Bachelet during a South American Presidential summit informed the other Heads of State about Contreras conviction, that was welcomed by hand clapping by Hugo Chavez , President of Venezuela.