Victor Jara, tortured and murdered Chilean folk singer, laid to rest a second time

victorth.jpgChileans often speak of "the first 9/11" -- referring to September 11, 1973, the day Augusto Pinochet ascended to power in a military coup. Within days, thousands of citizens were rounded up as enemies of the state and arrested. Many were executed.

One of them was Victor Jara, a popular folk singer and advocate for the human rights of the common Chilean. He was arrested, tortured, and murdered just days after the coup.

His wife buried him in a hurried, clandestine funeral 36 years ago, then fled into exile with their two daughters. Over the weekend, his remains were laid to rest again, after a series of public events in which she and thousands of other survivors of Pinochet's brutal regime honored Victor Jara, and the countless "disappeared." Pinochet left power in 1990.

Jara's remains had been exhumed for the purpose of forensic analysis to learn more about the circumstances of his death. We now know how Jara died, but we still don't know who killed him -- or thousands of other Chileans who died in political executions. His widow Joan Jara, now 82, says all deserve justice:

"There's a tendency to say, and even government leaders say this, that we're working for justice particularly in the emblematic cases," she said. "Victor is an emblematic case. I can have the hope that we can discover the truth and perhaps even achieve justice, that those responsible could be sentenced. But it's not right that so many other cases are left unresolved."
Video: Jara performing one of his most famous songs, "Te Recuerdo Amanda." More online in Spanish: Fundación Víctor Jara.
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