Julio Canessa

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Julio Canessa Robert

Julio Canessa Robert (born March 19, 1925 in Antofagasta ; † January 24, 2015 in Santiago de Chile ) was a Chilean lieutenant general and politician who was Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Army between 1982 and 1985 and then its representative from 1985 to 1986 during the military dictatorship the military junta was. He later served as an appointed member of the Senate between 1998 and 2006 .


Military training, officer and general staff officer

Canessa entered the military school (Escuela Militar del Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins ) as a cadet in 1942 and completed a degree in mathematics there , which he graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1943 .

He then found employment between 1944 and 1954 as an officer in the Yungay Mountain Infantry Regiment 3 in San Felipe and at the infantry school, before taking courses in infantry and armed cavalry at the military school in Turin . After his return to Chile, he completed a general staff course at the Military Academy of the Army (Academia de Guerra del Ejército) and was then a general staff officer and, in 1956, an instructor at the military school. After a brief activity from 1959 to 1960 as a professor at the Army War Academy, between 1960 and 1961 he was an instructor in the training battalion of the infantry school.

In 1962, he again took over a professorship for tactics, military operations and military intelligence service engineering at the Military Academy of the Army and was then from 1964 to 1966 Secretary of the Military Mission of Chile to the United States in Washington, DC After returning to Chile, he was from 1966 to 1968 employees in the planning department of the General Staff and then between 1969 and 1971 commander of the 8 Tucapel Mountain Infantry Regiment and from 1971 to 1973 as Colonel director of the Army NCO School (Escuela de Suboficiales del Ejército) .

For his services he was awarded the military star (Estrella Militar) , the star for military services (Estrella al Mérito Militar) and the big star for 10, 20 and 30 years of service. He also received the President of the Republic Award.

1973 military coup and member of the military junta

One year after the military coup led by Augusto Pinochet on September 11, 1973 against President Salvador Allende , Canessa took over the organization of the Advisory Committee of the Government Junta (Comité Asesor de la Junta de Gobierno) and the National Commission for Administrative Reforms CONARA (Comisión Nacional de la Reforma Administrativa) entrusted.

In 1975 he took over the post of Commander of the Military Institute and at the same time President of the Latin American Administrative Center for Development CLAD (Centro Latinoamericano de Administración para el Desarrollo) . Canessa, who was promoted to Brigadier General in 1977 and became Chief of Staff of the Army in 1978, became Chief of the Northern Military Region and Inspector General of the Army in 1979 and also President of CONARA in 1980.

In 1982 he was promoted to lieutenant general and at the same time appointed as deputy commander in chief of the army (Vicecomandante en Jefe del Ejército) and thus as representative of army commander Lieutenant General César Benavides . In 1982 he attracted public attention when, in a conciliatory speech, he criticized Pinochet for dividing the Chileans into "good" ("Buenos") and "bad" ("Malos"). In 1983, he was accused of secretly meeting with opposition union leaders .

As the successor to Lieutenant General Benavides, Canessa was appointed representative of the army in the military junta on December 2, 1985, which at the time also included José Toribio Merino (Navy), Fernando Matthei and Rodolfo Stange (Carabineros) as other military representatives . He was a member of the government junta until December 31, 1986, when he was replaced by Humberto Gordon .

University professor

After retiring from the military, he was President of the New York City- based Chilean Trading Corporation from 1987 to 1990 and then became President of the Bernardo O'Higgins University in Santiago de Chile in 1990 . During this time, he obtained a master's degree in political science at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile PUC (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile) in 1992 and then accepted a professorship at the Institute for Political Science at the Universidad de Chile between 1993 and 1997 . At the same time, he taught as a professor of political science at the National Academy for Political and Strategic Studies (Academia Nacional de Estudios Políticos y Estratégicos) and at the Military Academy of the Army.


In December 1997 Canessa was nominated by the National Security Council COSENA (Consejo de Seguridad Nacional) for the function of appointed Senator for the legislative period from March 11, 1998 to March 11, 2006. During his membership in the Senate, he was a member of the Standing Committees (Comisión Permanente) for administration, decentralization and regionalization, for labor and social provision, for national defense and for auditing.

His marriage to Adriana Benavente Sanhueza had three sons.


  • Quiebre y recuperación del orden institucional en Chile: el factor militar 1924-1973 , Editorial Emérida, Santiago de Chile 1995, ISBN 9567308047
  • Pinochet y la restauración del consenso nacional , co-author Francisco Balart Páez, Santiago de Chile 1998, ISBN 9562729346

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