Military authorities in the nearby port city of Valparaiso burned 14,846 copies of a book by Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a Nobel Prize winner, his local representative said Saturday.
Twenty-nine copies of a political essay by Teodoro Petkoff, a former Venezuelan presidential candidate and guerrilla leader, were also burned, said Arturo Navarro, representative in Chile for Garcia Marquez's publishing house.
Navarro said in a telephone interview that the books were burned Nov. 28, but that he was told about it only last week. The books were seized by customs agents upon arrival in Chile.
It was the first major book burning since the 1973 coup that brought the present military government to power. The government officially has banned a number of books by leftist authors, although in recent years the prohibition has rarely been enforced. Garcia Marquez's books can be openly purchased in bookstores around the country.
The book in question by Garcia Marquez was called "The Adventure of Miguel Littin While Underground in Chile." It is based on a lengthy interview with Miguel Littin, a Chilean movie maker who lives in exile in Mexico.
Littin, posing as a member of an Italian television crew, made a clandestine trip to Chile to shoot a documentary.
Navarro said the books were burned on orders from Adm. Hernan Rivera Calderon, enforcer of state of siege regulations in Valparaiso, Chile's second largest city, 85 miles northwest of Santiago. The state of siege has since been lifted and Rivera Calderon reassigned.
The government has not commented on the book burning.