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Victor Jara


Victor Jara circa 1960s.
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The love and justice songs of Chilean folk singer Victor Jara were apparently so threatening to the military leaders who staged the nation's 1973 coup that they had to murder him. After beginning his career in the theater, Jara took up songwriting as his country endured the social convulsions of the Sixties. He supported the Socialist presidential candidate Salvador Allende, who was overthrown from office by the Chilean right wing and later died under mysterious circumstances. Taken prisoner with thousands of others in a stadium that now bears his name, Jara was tortured; after they broke his hands, guards mocked the singer, ordering him to play guitar. Defiant, he sang a political anthem that translates as "We Will Win." For his insubordination, Jara was machine-gunned to death, his body dumped on a street outside Santiago. A few months later, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger and Phil Ochs headlined a benefit in Jara's name in New York.


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