Santiago, Chile - A bi-partisan group of 27 U.S. Senators and Representatives wrote a formal letter of inquiry to the President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet regarding the fate and possible whereabouts of long-time missing Penn State professor Boris Weisfeiler, the American citizen who disappeared in Chile in 1985. The letter was crafted by U.S. Rep. John E. Peterson, R-PA. The letter was delivered personally this afternoon to the Chilean president by Boris's family. The Weisfeiler family hopes to meet with President Bachelet later this week.
The letter represents the first piece of direct, formal correspondence between members of the U.S. Congress and newly inaugurated Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.
For her part, President Bachelet has heard of the Weisfeiler case before, briefed in 2002 as minister of defense under former President Ricardo Lagos, and most recently by Secretary Rice upon urging from Congress earlier this month. Weisfeiler was a Pennsylvania State University professor at the time of his visit to Chile. His disappearance has never been fully explained, though there is evidence suggesting the involvement of members of Colonia Dignidad, a secretive, right-wing community led by a former German Nazi, who was recently arrested.
The letter was organized by Representative John Peterson (R-PA), who represents Boris Weisfeiler's district, and was also signed by Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA); John Kerry (D-MA); Arlen Specter (R-PA); Rick Santorum (R-PA); Robert Menendez (D-NJ); Barney Frank (D-MA); Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA); Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), who is the senior Democrat on the House International Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere; Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV), who is also a member of the International Relations Committee; Rep. James Moran (D-VA); and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). Rep. Howard Berman (CA-D), Rep. Robert I. Wexler (FL-D), Rep. Cynthia McKinney (GA-D), Rep. Abercrombie (HI-D), Rep. Dennis Moore (KS-D), Rep. Steven F. Lynch (MA-D), Rep. James McGovern (MA-D), Rep. Richard Neal (MA-D), Rep. Chris Van Hollen (MD-D), Rep. John Conyers (MI-D), Rep. Maurice Hinchey (NY-D), Rep. Sherrod Brown (OH-D), Rep. Mike Doyle (PA-D), Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-R), and Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz (PA-D).
Yes, even Rick Santorum. That's a lot of knocking on doors and calling in favors, but Young Democrats are a tenacious breed; are you?
You can take a gander at the letter here, and get more information about the case, if you're interested, at findboris.com.