MundoAndino Home : Andes Chile Guide at Mundo Andino

Victor Jara

Victor Lidio Jara Martinez (September 28, 1932 September 15, 1973) was a Chilean teacher, theatre director, poet, singer-songwriter, political activist and member of the Communist Party of Chile. A distinguished theatre director, he devoted himself to the development of Chilean theatre, directing a broad array of works from locally produced Chilean plays, to the classics of the world stage, to the experimental work of Ann Jellicoe. Simultaneously he developed in the field of music and played a pivotal role among neo-folkloric artists who established the Nueva Cancion Chilena (New Chilean Song) movement which led to a revolution in the popular music of his country under the Salvador Allende government. Shortly after the September 11, 1973 Chilean coup , he was arrested, tortured and ultimately shot to death by machine gun fire. His body was later thrown out into the street of a shanty town in Santiago.Jara, Joan. Victor: An Unfinished Song, 249-250 The contrast between the themes of his songs, on love, peace and social justice and the brutal way in which he was murdered transformed Jara into a symbol of struggle for human rights and justice across Latin America.

Victor Jara was born in the locality of Lonquen, near the city of Santiago, to poor peasants Manuel Jara and Amanda Martinez. Jara's father, Manuel, was illiterate and wanted his children to work as soon as they could rather than get an education, so by the age of 6, Jara was already working on the land. Manuel Jara was unable to extract a livelihood from the earnings as a peasant in the Ruiz-Tagle estate nor was he able to find stable work to support his large family. He took to drinking and became violent. His relationship with his wife deteriorated, and Manuel left the family when Victor was still a child to look for work elsewhere. Amanda persevered in raising Victor and his siblings by herself, insisting that all of them should receive a good education. Amanda, a mestiza with deep Araucanian roots in the south of Chile, was not illiterate, she was autodidactic; played the guitar, the piano and was a singer in her town, singing traditional folk songs at local functions like wedding and funerals for the locals.Jara, Joan. Victor: An Unfinished Song, 24-27

Jara's mother died when he was 15, leaving him to make his own way thereafter. He began to study to be an accountant, but soon moved into a seminary instead, studying to become a priest. After a couple of years, however, he became disillusioned with the Church and left the seminary. Subsequently he spent several years in the army before returning to his home town to pursue interests in folk music and theater.

Related websites

BBC NEWS | Americas | New probe into Victor Jara murder

Ex-Pinochet army conscript charged with folk singer Victor Jara's murder

Ex-conscript confesses to Victor Jara shooting 35 years on

A website dedicated to the Alexander Gradsky's rock opera Stadium (Stadion)

Allmusic link

Lyrics and attribution on The Official Arlo Guthrie Website

Three chapters from Victor: An Unfinished Song by Joan Jara


Background materials on the Chilean Workers' Movement in the 1970s

Report of the Chilean National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation

GDR Poster Art: Victor Jara

Victor Jara tabs

"Who Killed Victor Jara?", Professor Paul Cantor, Norwalk Community College, Connecticut

Fundacion Victor Jara

Lyrics of all his Songs


Che, Guia y Ejemplo:

Informe de la Comision Nacional de Verdad y Reconciliacion (Informe Rettig)

Vientos del Pueblo: Un Homenaje a Victor Jara

Didn't find what you were looking for.
Need more information for your travel research or homework?
Ask your questions at the forum about Assassinated Chilean people or help others to find answers.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Victor Jara

Disclaimer - Privacy Policy - 2009