Chile: conviction in Victor Jara murder

On May 15 Chilean judge Juan Eduardo Fuentes Belmar found retired army colonel Mario Manriquez Bravo guilty in the Sept. 16, 1973 murder of the internationally renowned singer Victor Jara; the judge then closed the case, despite testimony that other officers were also involved. Joan Jara, the victim’s widow, expressed surprise at the unexpected decision; the family’s lawyer, Nelson Caucoto, indicated that he’ll file an appeal so that other culprits can be identified. Caucoto noted that witnesses had referred to someone known as “The Prince” and identified him as the actual killer.

In addition to his singing career, Jara carried out studies in folklore and directed theatrical productions. He campaigned for leftist presidential candidate Salvador Allende in 1970 and was appointed cultural ambassador after Allende was elected. He was arrested on Sept. 12, 1973, the day after Allende’s government was overthrown in a coup headed by Gen. Augusto Pinochet. Jara and 5,000 other prisoners were held in a stadium in Santiago which is now named for him. The military tortured Jara before cutting off his hands and shooting him. (Prensa Latina, May 15; La Jornada, Mexico, May 16)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, May 25

See our last post on Chile.