Late justice for Victor Jara

Victor Jara, one of Chile's best know folk singers, was killed a few days after the 1973 coup. The stadium where he was held now bears his name.

Victor Jara, one of Chile’s best know folk singers, was killed a few days after the 1973 coup. The stadium where he was held now bears his name.

A Chilean judge has issued an international arrest warrant against a former army lieutenant—now living in Florida—and charged seven other retired military officials in the 1973 killing of Victor Jara, a folk singer, theatre director and member of Chile’s Communist Party.

Jara was arrested the day after the coup at the Universidad Tecnica, when army troops occupied the institution and made mass arrests of students and university personnel, transferring them to Santiago’s Estadio Nacional and the Estadio Chile. Jara was held in the latter stadium, where he was recognized by military officials/ According to a ruling by the judge investigating the case, http://poderjudicial.cl/modulos/Home/Noticias/PRE_noticias.php?cod=4796&opc_menu&st=0&opc_item  Jara was moved to the locker rooms and subjected to several days of interrogation and torture before being shot.  The folk singer’s remains were exhumed in 2009 and investigators found 44 bullet wounds in his body, which had been dumped near the national cemetery, along with the bodies of three other prisoners.

The arrest order names retired army lieutenant Pedro Barrientos and another officer as those responsible for Jara’s killing, along with six other former officers as accomplices.  Barrientos, a car dealer living in Winter Springs, Florida, was interviewed by a Chilean television station last May, and denied any involvement in Jara’s death, saying he had never even been in the Estadio Chile. A former army conscript interviewed on the same program said he had witnessed Barrientos shooting Jara.

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