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Chile Marks Forty Years Since Death of Victor Jara

Chile Marks Forty Years Since Death of Victor Jara
September 16
20:10 2013

Victor Jara remains a symbol of the brutality of the Pinochet regime. September 16, 2013 marks 40 years since the killing of the folk legend.

SANTIAGO — Víctor Jara was a Chilean teacher, theatre director, poet, singer-songwriter, and a strong political activist. He chose song as a political choice and that’s why he started to work in the service of Unidad Popular’s electoral campaign in 1970. He became the cultural ambassador of Salvador Allende’s government and organizing song tours all over Latin America. In 1973 he sang during programs reserved against fascism and civil war on national TV. His martyrdom also corresponds to the birth of a folk legend.

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Víctor Jara. Photo via Facebook

On the morning of September 12, Victor Jara was taken, along with thousands of others, as a prisoner to the Estadio Chile (renamed the Estadio Víctor Jara 2003). In the hours and days that followed, many of those detained in the stadium were tortured and killed there by the military forces. Jara was repeatedly beaten and tortured; the bones in his hands were broken as were his ribs. His last moments had become famous through testimonies of other political prisoners who said that his captors mockingly suggested that he play guitar for them as he lay on the ground with broken hands. Defiantly, he sang part of “Venceremos” (We Will Win), a song supporting the Unidad Popular party.

His body was later thrown out into the street of a shanty town on the outskirts of Santiago. Jara’s wife, Joan Jara, was allowed to come and retrieve his body from the site and was able to confirm the physical damage he had endured. Joan Jara considers herself one of the lucky ones. “At least I knew what had happened to him. I wasn’t left to wonder, like the relatives of so many loved ones who just disappeared. I was at least glad about that”. One month after the coup, Mrs Jara returned to London with her daughters. She eventually decided to move back to Santiago and established the Victor Jara Foundation in 1993, to keep her husband’s memory and artist legacy alive, “allowing that new generations can access, believe and enjoy Victor Jara’s legacy, in all its forms -artistic, social and political.

The marking of the 40 years including a commemoration ceremony in Lo Espejo, including the turning of the first stone for a memorial in honor of Victor Jara.

Some weeks ago, Joan Jara and human rights activists demand the extradition of the ex-Chilean Army officer, Pedro Pablo Barrientos, accused to be one of the author of the assassination of Vera, who lived in Florida. With this case, the Jara family wants to show up again the strong violation of human rights in this decade and the lack of sanctions against violators ‘impunity. In an interview Mrs. Jara said that her hope is that the US lawsuit, filed last week by the Centre for Justice and Accountability, will bolster a ponderously slow case to extradite Mr. Barrientos to Chile, where he was last year charged in his absences with Mr. Jara’s murder”.

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Víctor Jara and his wife Joan. Photo via Facebook


Just a few hours before his death, Jara wrote a poem about the conditions of the prisoners in the stadium, the poem was written on a paper that was hidden inside a shoe of a friend, Boris Navia. The poem was never named, but is commonly known as “Estadio Chile”. It personified not only the testimony of its tragic issue, but also as a piece of clandestine art, which seemed to be impossible to triumph.

Bruce Springsteen’s recent visit to Chile included an emotive tribute to Victor Jara, including a cover of the song “Manifesto”.

Link of a promotional trailer of “The Resurrection of Victor Jara” : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IT5pGOyAnDU





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Julia Lefebvre

Journalist at I Love Chile for 9 months, interested in cultural events, such as theatre, concerts, exhibitions, but also about political and social problems. Besides that she loves sharing her testimonies, her travels experiences and her feelings about Chile. She loves it, she loves Chile


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