Trial of Former Chile Military Officer for Murder of Víctor Jara Opens in Florida


A Chilean army officer accused of murdering the popular folk singer and political activist Víctor Jara in the first days of Augusto Pinochet’s 1973 CIA-backed coup d’etat goes on trial in a Florida courtroom on Monday, a landmark moment in his British widow’s four-decades-long fight for justice.

Joan Turner Jara, who is 88, will be one of the key witnesses in the civil case to be heard in Orlando’s federal court against Pedro Pablo Barrientos Núñez, a lieutenant in Chile’s army that toppled the country’s elected socialist president, Salvador Allende, and installed General Pinochet’s brutal 17-year military dictatorship.

Barrientos is alleged to have tortured then shot Jara in the head in September 1973 in a locker room at Santiago’s Chile Stadium, where thousands of perceived subversives, activists and communists were rounded up and detained by Pinochet’s forces. Jara’s mutilated body was later found dumped outside the stadium with 44 bullet wounds.

Almost 3,100 people were killed during the Pinochet regime, according to Chile’s truth and justice commission, including 1,000 “disappeared” whose bodies were never found.

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The Guardian