Víctor Lidio Jara Martínez (September 28, 1932 – September 15, 1973) was a Chilean teacher, theatre director, poet, singer-songwriter, and political activist. 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 Canción 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 U.S.-backed 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. 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.--------Jara was deeply influenced by the folklore of Chile and other Latin American countries; he was particularly influenced by artists like Violeta Parra, Atahualpa Yupanqui, and the poet Pablo Neruda. Jara began his foray into folklore in the mid-1950s when he began singing with the group Cuncumen. He moved more decisively into music in the 1960s getting the opportunity to sing at Santiago's La Peña de Los Parra, owned by Ángel Parra. Through them Jara became greatly involved in the Nueva Canción movement of Latin American folk music. He published his first recording in 1966 and, by 1970, had left his theatre work in favour of a career in music. His songs were drawn from a combination of traditional folk music and left-wing political activism. From this period, some of his most renowned songs are Plegaria a un Labrador ("Prayer to a Worker") and Te Recuerdo Amanda ("I Remember You Amanda"). He supported the Unidad Popular ("Popular Unity") coalition candidate Salvador Allende for the presidency of Chile, taking part in campaigning, volunteer political work, and playing free concerts.-----Allende's campaign was successful and, in 1970, he was elected president of Chile. However, the US-supported Chilean military, who opposed Allende's socialist politics, staged a coup on September 11, 1973, in the course of which Allende was killed . At the moment of the coup, Jara was on the way to the Technical University (today Universidad de Santiago), where he was a teacher. That night he slept at the university along with other teachers and students, and sang to raise morale.-------On the morning of September 12, Jara was taken, along with thousands of others, as a prisoner to the Chile Stadium (renamed the Estadio Víctor Jara in September 2003). In the hours and days that followed, many of those detained in the stadium were tortured and killed there by the military forces. Jara was repeatedly beaten and tortured; the bones in his hands were broken as were his ribs. Reports that one of Jara's hands, or both of his hands, had been cut off, are, however, erroneous. Fellow political prisoners have testified that his captors mockingly suggested that he play guitar for them as he lay on the ground. Defiantly, he sang part of "Venceremos" (We Will Win), a song supporting the Popular Unity coalition. After further beatings, he was machine-gunned on September 15 and his body dumped on a road on the outskirts of Santiago, and then taken to a city morgue.
Jara's wife Joan was allowed to come and retrieve his body from the site and was able to confirm the physical damage he had endured. After holding a funeral for her husband, Joan Jara fled the country in secret.
Joan Turner Jara currently lives in Chile and runs the Víctor Jara Foundation. The Chile Stadium, also known as the Víctor Jara Stadium, is often confused with the Estadio Nacional (National Stadium).
Before his death, Víctor Jara wrote a poem about the conditions of the prisoners in the stadium, the poem was written on a paper that was hidden inside a shoe of a friend. The poem was never named, but is commonly known as Estadio Chile.
In June 2008, Chilean judge Juan Eduardo Fuentes re-opened the investigation into Víctor Jara's death. Judge Fuentes said he would examine 40 new pieces of evidence provided by the singer's family. On May 28, 2009, José Adolfo Paredes Márquez, a 54-year-old former Army conscript arrested the previous week in San Sebastián, was formally charged with Jara's murder. Following Paredes arrest, on June 1st, 2009, police investigation identified the name of the officer who first shot Victor Jara in the head, the officer played Russian roulette with Victor Jara, by placing a single round in his army issued pistol, spun the cylinder, place the muzzle against Victor Jara's head and pulled the trigger, the army officer repeated this couple of times, until a shot fired and Victor fell to the ground, and then ordered two conscripts (one of them Paredes) to finish the job, by firing into Victor's body. A judge ordered Jara's body to be exhumed in an effort to determine more information regarding his death.