Forty Years Later, Justice for Víctor Jara: School of the Americas Grads Indicted in Murder of the Popular Allende-Era Singer/Activist

The move to extradite Florida resident Pedro Barrientos Nunez in connection with the murder of famed Chilean singer Victor Jara – a supporter of deposed President Salvador Allende – is re-igniting Chile’s campaign for justice for victims of the Pinochet regime’s reign of torture and violence.

The US-backed military coup in Chile on September 11, 1973, was a prelude to systematic state terrorism unleashed after the bombing of the presidential palace, La Moneda, and Salvador Allende’s alleged suicide.

Allende’s Popular Unity was a socialist movement that unified the workers’ struggle within a realm of culture. The Nueva Cancion Chilena (New Chilean Song), born out of a necessity in the mid-1960s to articulate social struggle, became a popular feature during Allende’s presidential campaign, with musicians wholeheartedly bequeathing their support.

Victor Jara, a Nueva Cancion singer synonymous with the movement, became one of the first victims of the dictatorship when he was brutally tortured and murdered after being apprehended at the Technical University and brought to Estadio Chile- the country’s national sports stadium. Secrecy and impunity shrouded Victor’s death, until testimony from a former conscript at Estadio Chile revealed the name of Victor Jara’s alleged killer.

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