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Victor Jara

Biography

Victor Jara's story is intimately bound up with the U.S. government's nefarious influence in Latin America. A folksinger who played a large role in the development of both Chile's Nueva Cancion and Chilean theater in the 1960s, Jara had been inspired by musicians like Violeta Parra and Argentina's Atahualpa Yupanqui. He supported leftist presidential candidate Salvador Allende in Chile's 1970 election, playing concerts and campaigning for Allende. Though Allende won, Jara paid for his activism: When the U.S.-backed Chilean military organized a junta against Allende in 1973, Jara was dragged -- with thousands of others -- to the infamous Chile Stadium, where he was tortured, maimed and ultimately machine-gunned to death. (The military also reportedly managed to destroy most of his master recordings.) These atrocities ushered in decades of dictatorship. In 2003, as the political landscape changed, the stadium where Jara died was renamed Stadium Victor Jara.
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