Zita  Cabello-Barrueto

Zita Cabello-Barrueto

Adjunct Faculty

Zita Cabello is a filmmaker, activist, and professor born in Chile in 1950. Her brother Winston was born in 1948. He was a regional planning director with the Allende government. Following the coup in September 1973 led by General Pinochet, he and Zita's husband, Patricio Barrueto, were arrested and held in a prison in the northern town of Copiapo. On October 17, 1973, in the early morning hours, a Chilean military death squad known as "the Caravan of Death" murdered Winston Cabello and twelve other prisoners who had been incarcerated by the Chilean Army.

Following Winston's murder, Zita and her family were eventually able to secure Patricio's release in early 1974. Zita and Patricio immediately fled to the United States where they obtained asylum and, eventually, U.S. citizenship.

Zita has spent the last 18 years conducting interviews and researching and gathering evidence to confirm the facts of her brother's brutal death as well as others who were murdered or disappeared by the Pinochet regime. While honoring the 25th anniversary of Winston's death on October 17, 1998, Zita learned the historic news that former General Pinochet had been arrested in London on the very same day. To provide evidence to support his prosecution, she gave a deposition in San Francisco, armed with notes that reflected her years of research into human rights abuses in Chile.

In February 1999, Zita filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Miami against Fernández Larios, alleging that he directly carried out, or participated in bringing about, Winston's murder. The trial against Fernandez Larios ended in victory on October 15, 2003. A Miami jury found Fernandez Larios, in his role as a member of the "Caravan of Death", liable for torture, crimes against humanity, and extra judicial killing. They found Fernandez Larios guilty of conspiring to commit, and aiding and abetting in, the torture, cruel and inhumane treatment, and extra-judicial killing of Winston Cabello. The trial marks the first time any Pinochet operative has been tried in the United States for their role in human rights abuses committed in Chile, as well as the first jury verdict for crimes against humanity in the United States.

Zita has a Masters Degree in Economics from the University of Chile, and a Masters Degree in Public Health and a Doctorate in Developmental Economics from the University of California at Berkeley. In 1989, she became a professor of Latin American Studies at the University of California at Santa Cruz. She now lives with her family in Foster City, California.


M.A., University of Chile