Justice for Victor Jara

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Broken Hands Play Guitars – Rebel Diaz

I received an e-mail from the SOA Watch organization the other day in which it was announced that a man currently residing in the United States is alleged to have been involved in the torture and murder of Victor Jara, a Chilean theater director and folksinger, in September, 1973. The United States government appears to be reluctant to honor the extradition request of the Chilean judicial system, but the issue of U.S. complicity in the coup d’etat that led to Jara’s murder is not going to disappear anytime soon. Forty years after the overthrow of a democratically elected socialist government, the memory of Jara’s fate is benefiting from a multi-generational momentum. Most recently, Bruce Springsteen performed in a concert in Santiago, Chile that included a rendition of Jara’s “Manifiesto” as one of a pair of songs for his concert’s encore. In another domain of popular culture,  Rebel Diaz invokes Victor Jara as a heroic paradigm in its song, “Broken Hands Play Guitars”:


For the Springsteen video, go to:


There is almost no audience cross-over between those who attend performances by Springsteen and Rebel Diaz, so this variegated advocacy, both direct and implicit, for some formal reckoning to establish the chains of responsibility for Jara’s murder is indeed heartening.

You can also Rebel Diaz’s music on Volume 2 of “Sing It Down,” a compilation of recordings by Francisco Hererra, Jolie Christine Rickman, emma’s revolution, Jon Fromer, Joe Jencks, Elise Witt, Holly Near, David Rovics, Los Vicious de Papa, Quinto Imperio, Vientos del Pueblo, and Steve Jacobs. Colleen Kattau contributes her recording of “Manifiesto,” the song by Jara that Springsteen covered. Proceeds from the sale of “Sing It Down” go towards supporting the School of the Americas Watch.



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