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Victor Jara, Victim of USA-Chilean Fascist Coup Reburied Today - Peter Lemkin - 05-12-2009

Chile's president among thousands honoring Victor Jara, beloved folk singer and coup victim

By FEDERICO QUILODRAN , Associated Press

SANTIAGO, Chile - Thousands of Chileans including President Michelle Bachelet paid their respects Friday to a folk singer who became a martyr of the country's 1973 military coup and whose remains will be reburied following a search for clues to identify his killers.

Victor Jara's remains, which will be reburied on Saturday, were exhumed earlier this year for an autopsy that confirmed that he was tortured and then shot to death. Investigators have not said yet whether the clues have brought them any closer to solving his murder.

Jara, a folk singer, theater director, communist and outspoken supporter of socialist Chilean President Salvador Allende, was detained in a stadium along with 5,000 other leftists when Gen. Augusto Pinochet took power in a military coup on Sept. 11, 1973. Pulled from the crowd, he was tortured and shot to death by the military as a message to the rest.

Bachelet was among those who filed past the coffin at the Victor Jara Foundation, a community center that his widow, Joan Jara, helped create to keep his memory alive.

"I believe that finally, after 36 years, Victor can rest in peace," Bachelet said Friday, adding that many other victims of the dictatorship deserve similar resolutions, "and that's why it's important that we keep advancing in truth and justice so that Chile can rest in peace."

Joan Jara, now in her 80s, thanked the president. "This is not a normal funeral," she said. "This is an act of love and mourning for all of our dead. ... It's also a celebration of the life of Victor, and of all the rest."

A former draftee soldier, Jose Paredes, was charged with Jara's murder after saying he followed orders to shoot the folk singer, but he later denied being in the stadium. The officers who gave the orders have never been formally identified.

Jara's body will be reburied in Santiago's general cemetery, not far from the cement niche where Joan Jara secretly buried his body in the days after the coup.

CHILE: 31 Years After Víctor Jara's Death, Justice May Be Done
By Gustavo González

SANTIAGO, Dec 9 (IPS) - More than 31 years after the murder of singer-songwriter Víctor Jara in Chile, the possibility has opened up that justice will finally be served, after a judge ordered the prosecution of a retired army lieutenant colonel Thursday.

Judge Juan Carlos Urrutia brought charges against retired officer Mario Manríquez Bravo, the commanding officer in the prison camp into which the Estadio Chile, the stadium in Santiago, was converted after the Sept. 11, 1973 coup d'etat that overthrew socialist president Salvador Allende (1970-1973).

In the stadium, which was renamed Estadio Víctor Jara last year, the internationally renowned folk singer was shot to death on Sept. 16, 1973, three days after his arrest. During those three days, he was "brutally beaten and tortured," according to the indictment.

"Today is a happy day for Chilean culture," said human rights lawyer Nelson Caucoto, who represents British choreographer Joan Turner Jara, the singer's widow. "Víctor Jara remains an irreplaceable icon in the artistic history of Chile."

Víctor Jara, who was killed just a few days before his 41st birthday, was one of the highest-profile victims of the 1973-1990 dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

Witnesses said that before he was shot and killed, Jara was subjected to atrocious torture. For example, all of his fingers were broken so he could never again play the guitar, as he continued to sing "Venceremos" (We Shall Overcome), the hymn of the Popular Unity, the governing leftist coalition led by Allende.

The dictatorship systematically denied that Jara was killed by the security forces, and the military courts refused to investigate, invoking the March 1978 amnesty law, which covered human rights crimes committed up to that time.

Legal reforms put into effect since the restoration of democracy in March 1990 allowed a number of pending human rights abuse cases to be transferred from military to civilian courts.

The judge's decision to prosecute Manríquez is also a consequence of the judiciary's gradual adoption, since the mid-1990s, of the view that the 1978 amnesty cannot be applied until a legal investigation has been completed and a sentence handed down.

According to a 1991 truth commission report, 3,000 people were killed or "disappeared" by the dictatorship. Tens of thousands were also tortured, like Jara.

On Nov. 28, socialist President Ricardo Lagos unveiled a report by a commission on political prisoners and torture containing personal accounts from 28,000 former political prisoners who were tortured during the regime.

Urrutia stated that during his questioning of Manríquez, he came across probable cause to charge him for Jara's murder.

"He was the highest-ranking officer at that moment" in the stadium, and thus "provided the means with which the homicide of Víctor Jara was committed, or at least witnessed it without taking part," wrote the judge.

Urrutia further stated that Jara had died as the result of multiple gunshot wounds, "presumably from automatic weapons," and that his body, together with those of others murdered there, was left for a period of time in the entranceway to the stadium.

"His body was subsequently removed from the stadium and thrown with the bodies of another five individuals in the vicinity of the Metropolitan Cemetery (on the southern edge of Santiago), near the railway line," according to the statement.

The judge specified that one of the other five bodies was that of Littré Quiroga, a high-ranking socialist leader who was the head of the state railway company at the time of the coup.

Caucoto praised the judge's efforts as an example of the advances that can be made in the cause of human rights "when there are highly dedicated judges who act professionally and diligently."

Jara, like most of the prisoners held in the stadium, was detained just after the coup by the troops that occupied the State Technical University (now the University of Santiago de Chile), where he worked in a cultural promotion programme.

Sources from the Víctor Jara Foundation, run by his widow, told IPS that the name of the commanding officer of the stadium detention centre had been kept secret for 31 years.

In August, Caucoto wrote to Judge Urrutia, asking him to question Pinochet and three other men who were army generals in 1973 - Sergio Arellano Stark, Herman Brady and Ernesto Baeza - to obtain the name of the officer in charge of the prison camp. It turned out to be Colonel Manríquez.

Jara is known worldwide as one of the leading figures of the Chilean Nueva Canción (New Song) movement, which combined traditional Latin American folk music styles with modern and often political lyrics. The movement emerged in the 1960s, led by singer-songwriter Violeta Parra, who served as an inspiration and guide to Jara in his musical career, before she took her own life in 1967.

As an artist, Jara worked closely with the Chilean musical groups Quilapayún and Inti-Illimani. Both groups had ties to the Communist Party of Chile, as did Jara himself.

Jara was born on September 28, 1932 in the small town of Lonquén, near Santiago. His father, Manuel, was a tenant farmer. His mother, Amanda, sang and played the guitar - which she taught Víctor to play as well - and was the inspiration for one of his best-known songs, "Te recuerdo Amanda (I Remember You, Amanda).

His success as a singer-songwriter overshadowed an earlier career in the theatre, which he embarked on in 1963 as the assistant to Uruguayan director Atahualpa del Cioppo on a production of Bertolt Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle.

In her biography of Jara's life, "Víctor: An Unfinished Song", published in 2001, his widow recalls the last poem Jara wrote, on scraps of paper that were smuggled out of the stadium.

In the poem, he described the torture to which he and his fellow political prisoners were subjected. He also paid homage to Allende, who apparently committed suicide during the coup, and he issued a call for hope:

''There are five thousand of us here/in this small part of the city. We are five thousand. I wonder how many we are in all/in the cities and in the whole country?

''Six of us were lost as if into starry space. One dead, another beaten as I could never have believed/a human being could be beaten.

''The other four wanted to end their terror - one jumping into nothingness, another beating his head against a wall, but all with the fixed stare of death...

''The blood of our President, our compañero, will strike with more strength than bombs/So will our fist strike again!

''How hard it is to sing/when I must sing of horror. Horror which I am living, horror which I am dying....

''...silence and screams are the end of my song.''

Victor Jara, Victim of USA-Chilean Fascist Coup Reburied Today - Magda Hassan - 05-12-2009

Quote:Bachelet was among those who filed past the coffin at the Victor Jara Foundation, a community center that his widow, Joan Jara, helped create to keep his memory alive.

"I believe that finally, after 36 years, Victor can rest in peace," Bachelet said Friday, adding that many other victims of the dictatorship deserve similar resolutions, "and that's why it's important that we keep advancing in truth and justice so that Chile can rest in peace."
While the reburial is an important symbolic thing to do for his family and for the other victims, and everyone was a victim in one way or another, it will take more than that to bring peace to Chile. Bachelet could abolish Pinochet's illegal constitution and restore Allende's legitimate constitution for a start and abolish all of the laws that were forced onto Chile by Pinochet. Bachelet was elected with overwhelming support of the Chilean people and she could have done anything but has done nothing, nada, zilch since she was elected. Totally squandered all that good will. The right wing will be back next election, not that they ever left. What has been allowed to under during her presidency is a travesty. I can only assume that there is some major hold over her, threats to her family or such for her to have acted (or not as the case may be) in the way she has.

Victor Jara, Victim of USA-Chilean Fascist Coup Reburied Today - Magda Hassan - 06-12-2009

For those reading this who know little of Chile Victor Jara was a good man and a kind man. A musician. He was no threat to anyone at any time but the fascists were so afraid of him and his words and music that they rounded him up with thousands of others, of whom they were also so afraid, and put him in a foot ball stadium. He sang songs in the stadium to all the other prisoners to give them strength. One by one most of them were taken to be tortured and most disappeared or were murdered. To punish him for the beauty he created and to make sure that Victor would never play his guitar again they broke all his fingers and his arms. Then they killed him.
Christy Moore: Tribute to Victor

Zamba de Che:

Zamba del Che

(Rubén Ortiz)
Vengo cantando esta zamba
I come singing this zamba
con redobles libertarios,
with the rhythm of liberty
mataron al guerrillero
they killed the guerilla
Che comandante Guevara.
Commander Che Guevara.
Selvas, pampas y montañas
Forests, grasslands and mountains
patria o muerte es su destino.
land or death is our destiny.

Que los derechos humanos
Human rights
los violan en tantas partes,
they violate in so many parts,
en América Latina
in Latin America
domingo, lunes y martes.
Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
Nos imponen militares
On us they impose military
para sojuzgar los pueblos, to subjugate the people,
dictadores, asesinos,
dictators, murderers,
gorilas y generales.
goons and generals.

Explotan al campesino
They exploit the peasant
al minero y al obrero,
the miner and the laborer,
cuánto dolor su destino,
how much pain his destiny,
hambre miseria y dolor..
hunger, misery and pain ..
Bolívar le dio el camino
Bolivar lead the way
y Guevara lo siguió:
and Guevara followed:
liberar a nuestro pueblo
to free our people
del dominio explotador.
of the world of exploitation.

A Cuba le dio la gloria
Cuba has given the glory
de la nación liberada.
of a free nation.
Bolivia también le llora
Bolivia also cries
su vida sacrificada.
and sacrificed his life.
San Ernesto de la Higuera
Saint Ernesto of the Higuera
le llaman los campesinos,
farmers call it,
selvas, pampas y montañas,
forests, grasslands and mountains,
patria o muerte su destino.
our land or death is his destiny .

Derecha vivir en paz (The Right to Live in Peace) He dedicated to the people of Vietnam
The right to live in peace

(Victor Jara)
El derecho de vivir
The right to live
poeta Ho Chi Minh,
poet Ho Chi Minh
que golpea de Vietnam
knocks Vietnam
a toda la humanidad.
with all mankind.
Ningún cañón borrará
No cannon can erase
el surco de tu arrozal.
the groove of your rice.
El derecho de vivir en paz.
The right to live in peace.

Indochina es el lugar
Indochina is the place
mas allá del ancho mar,
beyond the wide sea,
donde revientan la flor
where the flower burst
con genocidio y napalm.
with genocide and napalm.
La luna es una explosión
The moon is an explosion
que funde todo el clamor.
that fuses all the clamor.
El derecho de vivir en paz.
The right to live in peace.

Tío Ho, nuestra canción
Uncle Ho, our song
es fuego de puro amor,
is a fire of pure love,
es palomo palomar
is a dove aloft
olivo de olivar.
olive of the grove.
Es el canto universal
It is the universal song
cadena que hará triunfar,
string that will succeed,
el derecho de vivir en paz.
the right to live in peace.