Sunday, December 6, 2009

Victor Jara


Victor Jara was buried with dignity yesterday, December 5, 2009 in Santiago, the capital city of Chile. His widow, Joan Turner, and their two daughters, Manuela and Amanda were joined by thousands of people who paid their respects and many who viewed the procession in the streets of Santiago.

Victor Jara was a teacher, poet, singer-songwriter, theater director, and political activist. His songs are about love, peace and social justice. His brutal murder by soldiers transformed him into a symbol of struggle for human rights and justice.

Victor was assassinated a few days after the military coup of September 11, 1973. He was among 5,000 detainees held at the Chile Stadium in Santiago, the first political detention camp of the new dictatorship of Pinochet. He was tortured and shot in the stadium which today bears his name. Fourteen other prisoners who witnessed the killing were also shot and killed. The crime has gone unpunished.

Shortly after his death, his widow Joan was able to bury Victor in secret, and then flee the country with their daughters. Earlier this year (2009) it was decided to exhume his remains and perform an autopsy. This painful decision was made with the participation of the family and of the Victor Jara Foundation. Through DNA testing, his remains were verified. Daughter Manuela restored the coffin. For the funeral procession it was draped with his poncho. The vehicle moved slowly through the crowded streets, covered in red carnations.

The Victor Jara Foundation has issued this statement: “We demand truth and justice in the case of Victor Jara, as in each of the disappeared and politically executed people of our country. The brutal murder of Victor has not prevented his legacy and example of life to transcend. Victor continues living in the heart of the Chilean people.”

Te Recuerdo Amanda