Carlos Cardoen

Carlos Remigio Cardoen Cornejo (born 1 May 1942, Santa Cruz, Chile) is a Chilean metallurgical engineer, weapons scientist and agricultural businessman.

Carlos Cardoen
Carlos Cardoen dressed as a huaso, in 2010
Born (1942-05-01) May 1, 1942
ResidenceSantiago, Chile
Alma materUniversity of Utah, U.S.
OccupationBusinessman, metallurgical engineer, and weapon scientist
Known forArm Broker and supplied explosive weapons to Iraq

Cardoen rose to prominence amidst the United States arms embargo against Chile,[1] when he became in the 1980s "Pinochet's favourite arms manufacturer".[2]

When Saddam Hussein fell out of favour with the United States in connection with the 1990 invasion of Kuwait Cardoen, who had weapon dealings with Iraq, was accused by the US of zirconium trafficking. Since then he has been on the Interpol wanted list, yet United States has not asked for his extradition.[2] On various occations Cardoen has received support from National Congress and the Minister of Foreign Affairs to end the Interpol arrest warrant.[2]

Weapons industry

As a weapons expert he ran FAMAE in the late 1980s. He allegedly illegally sold zirconium supplemented armaments to Iraq under the Saddam Regime, exported from the United States, for which he has an international arrest warrant.[3] Yet, Cardoen claims the United States was aware and implicitly consented this trade until Saddam Hussein fell out of favour.[2]

During the height of the Beagle crisis in 1978 Cardoen was contacted by Chilean Air Force commander Fernando Matthei and designed on his request a light bomb, that could be dropped from any airforce plane, in only 15 days. When asking Matthei what did he want the bomb for, he reportedly answered: "para joder"' (to joke around)'.[4]

Cardoen claims Iraq owes him 50 million USD from weapon purchases.[2]

Agriculture and tourism

From the 1990s onwards Cardoen has invested capital into the wine, energy, match, fruit juice and tourism businesses in Chile, especially in O'Higgins, his home region. Due to his involvement in cultural and tourism projects he has been awarded the "Premio a lo Chileno" in 2006 and "Orden al Mérito Docente y Cultural Gabriela Mistral" in 2005. He has been suffering from colon cancer for many years.

See also


  1. Luengo, Alberto (July 18, 1987). "El embargo de armas crea serios problemas de abastecimiento a la Fuerza Aérea chilena". El País. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  2. Sepúlveda, Nicolás; Ramírez, Pedro (February 1, 2019). "La historia de los US$50 millones que le quedó debiendo Saddam Hussein a Cardoen por las bombas de racimo". CIPER. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
  3. Justin Hibbard, "The Chilean Connection", San Francisco Chronicle, 2 March 2003.
  4. La escuadra en acción. 2004, pg. 187.

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