The School of Americas Watch and the Center for Justice and Accountability are spearheading an international campaign for justice in the execution of Chilean folksinger, poet and activist Victor Jara. At the Americas Program, we consider this case of major importance. It’s critical for all of those fighting for justice—for justice in the past to light the way to a better future, and for justice in the present when cases of state and systemic violence like Victor’s—and the 43 disappeared students of Ayotzinapa and hundreds of others—continue to happen and remain in impunity.
And thanks to the tireless work for justice by Victor’s widow Joan Jara, the SOAW, CJA and others, we also believe this case is winnable.
As the 42nd anniversary of Victor Jara’s September 15, 1973 torture and murder comes around, let’s make this the moment to send out a strong message: we will not allow crimes to go unpunished because they incriminate the powerful; we will not allow the U.S. justice system to be used as a haven for assassins; we will not forget those who gave their lives for democracy and freedom in our hemisphere.
Please sign the petition and send the letters listed below. Our voices may not be as eloquent as Victor’s, but there is no more powerful expression than the demand for justice shared by thousands. Editor
Forty-two years after famed Chilean folk singer Victor Jara was tortured and executed, charges have been announced against 10 former military officials. A trial against the 10 for the kidnapping, torture, and 44 bullet execution of Victor Jara in the Chile Stadium in Santiago is the next step. At least three of the 10 charged are graduates of the US Army School of Americas (SOA).
This is a significant step forward towards responsibility, but a fourth SOA graduate, Pedro Barrientos, who should also be facing a trial in Chile is not. Barrientos is living safely in the United States and the U.S. has failed to extradite him. Almost three years ago, in December 2012, a Chilean judge indicted Barrientos for Victor Jara’s murder. In 2013, Chile’s Supreme Court approved a formal extradition request to the U.S.. The U.S. government has still not responded to Chile’s extradition request. While the charges against the other 10 former military officials move forward, Barrientos continues escaping the criminal trial by living in Deltona, Florida
Thanks to the work of Victor Jara’s family and the Center for Justice and Accountability CJA), Barrientos has not completely evaded responsibility however. Barrientos is facing a civil lawsuit in the United States by Victor Jara’s widow, Joan Jara, and his two daughters. Barrientos tried to argue that US courts lacked jurisdisction, but on April 14, 2015, a U.S. court ordered that the CJA’s civil case on claims of torture and extrajudicial killing will move forward against Barrientos. CJA expects the case to go to trial in the upcoming year.
Nevertheless, it is important that Barrientos face criminal trial in Chile. Victor Jara was known around the world for his music, poetry, and songs when the Chilean military brutally tortured and executed him in the context of the military coup d’etat ushering in the Pinochet dictatorship. He was one of thousands of people detained in the Chile Stadium by the military, where he was tortured and executed, after the military launched a brutal campaign against perceived “enemies” of the dictatorship. SOAW invites people to send postcards and letters to the U.S. Department of Justice urging them to extradite Barrientos to face justice for the murder of Victor Jara.
To Call for Justice:
Click here to send an e-mail and then send your letter to:
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
For More Information:
Jara v. Barrientos
Center for Justice and Accountability