Monday, December 31, 2012

Finally... Justice For Víctor Jara-- But War Criminal Henry Kissinger Is Still On The Loose


The song above, "Plegaria a un Labrador" ("Prayer to a Worker") is one of Víctor Jara's classic songs. You need to know who this guy was. On September 11, 1973, Nixon, Kissinger and the CIA gave the go-ahead for a violent fascist coup against Chile's democratically elected government. The presidential palace was bombed and shelled and Chile's beloved president, Salvator Allende, was murdered. But that was just the beginning. Within hours of Allende's murder thousands of his supporters were rounded up (eventually 80,000) and herded into a stadium and many were tortured (40,000) and murdered (3,000) to help the fascists make way for a Chicago School/Ayn Rand-inspired dictatorship. Labor unions were put under fascist control and Social Security, for example, was privatized according to the same directives by the same people who have worked out the same plans for the GOP here in America.

One of the people herded into the stadium that day was Chile's Bob Dylan, Víctor Jara. He was tortured; his fingers were broken; a soldier played Russian roulette until a bullet wounded him in the head. He was then machine-gunned and 44 bullets were found in his body, which was dumped on the street of a local slum. The following year Phil Ochs, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, and Arlo Guthrie did a memorial concert for Jara in New York City. The stadium where he was murdered was renamed the Estadio Víctor Jara in 2003. I first heard about Jara in 1980 when the Clash included a song, "Washington Bullets" on their iconic album Sandinista! (video below). 16 years later Chuck Brodsky wrote and recorded a tribute, "The Hands of Victor Jara."
The blood of Victor Jara
Will never wash away
It just keeps on turning
A little redder every day
As anger turns to hatred
And hatred turns to guns
Children lose their fathers
And mothers lose their sons
Before Pinochet finally died-- hundreds of criminal indictments pending against him-- he had stolen between 20 and 30 million dollars. He managed to evade justice, just as Nixon did and as Kissinger still is. But Jara's direct murders are finally being brought to justice, 8 retired army officers charged on Friday.
Judge Miguel Vásquez charged two of the former officers, Pedro Barrientos and Hugo Sánchez, with committing the murder and six others as accomplices. Mr. Sánchez, a lieutenant colonel, was second in command at the stadium. Mr. Barrientos, a lieutenant from a Tejas Verdes army unit, currently lives in Deltona, a city southwest of Daytona Beach, Fla., and was interrogated by the F.B.I. earlier this year at the request of a Chilean court. Attempts to reach Mr. Barrientos for comment were unsuccessful; his two listed telephone numbers had been disconnected.

Judge Vásquez issued an international arrest warrant against Mr. Barrientos through Interpol Santiago and ordered the arrest of the other seven, who were in Chile. Those charged as accomplices are Roberto Souper, Raúl Jofré, Edwin Dimter, Nelson Hasse, Luis Bethke and Jorge Smith.

...Judge Vásquez established that Mr. Jara was recognized by military officers, separated from the rest of the detainees and taken to the basement dressing rooms, which were being used to question prisoners. There, he was interrogated, beaten and tortured by several officers, according to the court.

On Sept. 16, 1973, when the stadium was evacuated and the prisoners transferred to the larger, open-air National Stadium in the capital, Víctor Jara and a former prison service director, Littré Quiroga, who was also detained there, were taken to the basement and killed. The bodies of both men and three other victims were later found dumped near a railroad track outside a cemetery; one of the victims remains unidentified. According to the autopsy report, Mr. Jara was badly beaten and was shot 44 times.

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