Monday, September 9, 2013

In memorial to the 9/11 of 1973, and the destruction of freedom in Latin America

SOA Watch Activists are Calling for Justice for Victor Jara and for all the Martyrs whose Lives were Lost through SOA/ WHINSEC Violence.
September 11, 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the U.S.-backed military coup in Chile, in which General Augusto Pinochet ousted the democratically elected president, Salvador Allende. The coup began a 17-year repressive dictatorship during which thousands of people were murdered, disappeared and tortured by Chilean security forces. High-ranking Chilean military officers, trained at the School of the Americas, perpetrated these crimes, and some have now been charged.
As a symbol of our solidarity with the Chilean people, we call on all activists to support the campaign, “Justice for Victor Jara.” The Chilean folksinger was the voice of his country's dispossessed, an internationally admired songwriter, and one of the founders of a new genre of Latin American song. He was killed on September 16, 1973, in the Estadio Chile. His body was dumped in the street, and found riddled with 44 bullets and signs of torture.
In December 2012, Chilean Judge Miguel Vazquez Plaza charged former military officers Hugo Sanchez and Pedro Barrientos as responsible for the murder of Victor Jara.
The judge also indicted former military officers Roberto Souper, Raúl Jofré, Edwin Dimter, Nelson Hasse, Luis Bethke and Jorge Gumucio as accomplices in the brutal crime. Barrientos, Jofre, Dimter and Gumucio are graduates of the School of the Americas.
Pedro Barrientos currently lives in Deltona, Florida. An extradition request for him has been issued by the Chilean justice system. Click here [link] to send a message (reproduced below) to U.S. government officials to demand that Pedro Barrientos be extradited to Chile so that he can go on trial in the case of the killing of Victor Jara.
 Victor Jara was a songwriter and musician and he studied indigenous folk music and traditions. He was also a teacher, theater director and social activist. Among Jara’s many songs, he performed Pete Seeger’s peace anthem, “If I Had a Hammer.” Demanding justice for Victor Jara is a way of asking for justice for all of the victims of the Pinochet dictatorship.

"Justice for Victor Jara and all Victims of Chile's Dictatorship"
message to responsible agencies within the United States []:
Pedro Barrientos is a former Lieutenant in the Chilean military as well as a graduate of the School of the Americas (SOA) who moved to the United States shortly after the end of Augusto Pinoche'ts dictatorship in 1990. Barrientos is allegedly one of the military officers responsible for the torture and murder of folk singer Victor Jara. In fact, Barrientos has been accused by other former Chilean military officers as the man that fired the bullet that killed the Chilean icon. This past January, after years of investigations, the Supreme Court of Chile formally petitioned the U.S. government to extradite Barrientos (in accordance with a long-standing treaty between the two nations) so that he may finally answer for his alleged crimes against humanity before the Chilean justice system. 7 months later, the U.S. government has shamefully still not responded to Chile's legitimate extradition request.
In solidarity with the Chilean people, in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of their 9/11, we call on those committed to peace and accountability to support the “Justice for Victor Jara” campaign. The transcendental singer, artist, teacher, theater director, and political activist was killed (along with hundreds of others) in the days following the CIA-supported military coup of September 11, 1973, which ushered in the brutal dictatorship of another SOA graduate, Augusto Pinochet. Jara was first held and tortured in the the infamous Estadio Chile (since renamed Estadio Victor Jara), which was turned into a nightmarish detention and torture center after the coup. Survivors and other witnesses claim that military officers broke Jara's hands with the butts of their rifles before mockingly asking him to play his famous songs. Defiantly, Jara sang part of "Venceremos" (We Will Win). His body was later dumped in the street, found riddled with 44 bullets and signs of extensive torture.
At this time, it is unclear whether the U.S. government intends to comply with international law and honor Chile's extradition request, or continue to be complicit in the crimes against humanity committed by the Chilean dictatorship. The U.S. government disgracefully supported the 1973 coup and the brutal Pinochet dictatorship that followed. The U.S. military trained Pinochet, Barrientos, 4 of the 8 officers indicted for Jara's death, and dozens of other Chilean human rights violators at the School of the Americas. It is time for the U.S. to end it's complicity in the crimes committed against the people of Chile and finally begin to contribute towards justice and reconciliation, as well as comply with international law.
The Department of State, the Department of Justice (DOJ), the FBI, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) all have a legal duty to promptly respond to Chile's request for the extradition of Pedro Barrientos. Please take a moment to ask the appropriate U.S. authorities to comply with international law and prove that no longer will the brutal crimes of the past be condoned, and impunity facilitated. EXTRADITE BARRIENTOS NOW!

"Justice For Victor Jara - Extradite or Prosecute Pedro Barrientos"
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the coup d’etat in Chile that established the brutal dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Immediately following the coup, the detention, torture, murder, and disappearance of thousands of people (including Americans) by the Chilean security forces began.
Iconic folksinger Victor Jara was one of hundreds of Chileans and foreigners killed by the dictatorship in the days after the September 11, 1973 coup d'etat. His hands were broken before being mockingly asked to play his famous songs. His body was later dumped in the street, found riddled with 44 bullets and showing signs of extensive torture.
After years of painstaking investigations, Chilean Judge Miguel Vazquez Plaza charged former military officers Hugo Sanchez and Pedro Barrientos as principally responsible for the murder of Victor Jara in December of 2012. A total of 8 former military officers were indicted for the crime, and all of the accused have been arrested except for Barrientos, whom was last known to reside in Deltona, Florida.
In January 2013, the Supreme Court of Chile formally requested the U.S. government to extradite Barrientos so that he may answer to the Chilean justice system for his alleged crimes against humanity. Barrientos has become a U.S. citizen since moving to the U.S. right after the end of Pinochet's dictatorship. Given the credible evidence presented against him in Chile, it stands to reason that he has also committed immigration fraud by failing to truthfully disclose his past actions as a member of the Chilean military forces under the Pinochet dictatorship.
Victor Jara was a world-renowned singer, songwriter, teacher, theater director, and political activist. There is renewed interest in his case along with those of the thousands of other victims of the Chilean dictatorship, given that this year is the 40th anniversary of the coup d'etat that marked the beginning of a very dark period for Chile. Myself and thousands of other U.S. residents, Chileans, and people from all over the world are watching very closely how the U.S. will respond to Chile's extradition request.
It is time for the U.S. to extradite Barrientos to Chile, or in the alternative, prosecute him and strip him of his U.S. citizenship. If it does not, it will be seen as continuing to be complicit in the crimes committed 40 years ago and throughout Pinochet's 17 years in power. The U.S. will also be understandably seen as being in violation of its obligations under international humanitarian and treaty law. It is time for your agency to do its job and make certain that Barrientos answer for the crimes for which he is accused.

2013-01-03 "Victor Jara murder: Chile arrests ex-army officers"
from "BBC News" []:
Victor Jara wrote songs about love and social protest

Chilean authorities have arrested four former army officers accused of involvement in the murder of singer-songwriter Victor Jara.
Jara was killed days after the coup that brought General Augusto Pinochet to power in September 1973.
More arrests are expected after a judge last week indicted eight ex-officers, including one who lives in the US.
Jara's widow, Joan Turner, has urged the US to extradite Pedro Barrientos Nunez. He has denied any involvement.
On 28 December, Judge Miguel Vazquez accused Mr Barrientos, a former lieutenant, and Hugo Sanchez Marmonti, an ex-colonel, of homicide, while the other six were accused of complicity to commit murder.
On Wednesday, four of the men, including Mr Sanchez Marmonti. handed themselves in to the authorities.
The judge has said he will request Mr Barrientos's extradition from Florida, where he now lives.
Joan Turner Jara, originally from Britain, said on Wednesday that the charges against the former officers were " a message of hope" but that much remained to be done to ensure justice not only for her husband's case but for all the victims of Chile's military dictatorship.
"If Victor's case serves as an example, we're pushing forward in demanding justice for Victor with the hope that justice will follow for everyone," she told reporters.

Broken hands -
Victor Jara, who was a member of the Chilean Communist Party, was one of the best-known victims of Gen Augusto Pinochet's coup.
In the 1960s he wrote protest songs against the ruling elite of his country and was a supporter of President Salvador Allende who was toppled and died in the military uprising.
Jara, 38, was abducted on 11 September from a university in Santiago.
He was taken to a sports stadium in Santiago which had been turned into a makeshift prison and torture centre.
He was tortured, electrocuted and had his wrists and hands broken. On 16 September, he was machine-gunned to death.
In June 2009, his body was exhumed as part of an investigation to clarify the circumstances of his death.
Six months later, thousands people paid their final respects to the folk singer, who was reburied after a three-day wake.
More than 3,000 people were killed or went missing during military rule in Chile, from 1973 to 1990.

From Santiago, Chile to the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia:
Shut Down the SOA!

Led by SOA Watch Latin America Coordinator and torture survivor Pablo Ruiz, a delegation of SOA Watch activists is currently on the ground in Chile, where they are standing with tens of thousands of Chileans, in commemorating the martyrs whose lives were lost by the dictatorship. From these ashes of the past, a new Chile is arising, thanks to the valiant efforts of Chilean students and Mapuche people who refuse to accept the the neoliberal model imposed by Pinochet and designed by US economists.
From November 22-24, 2013, we will carry our protest to the place where the killers are still being trained: Fort Benning, Georgia. Join torture survivors, and social movement activists from Chile, Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia and from across the Americas and take a stand against the School of the Americas and oppressive U.S. foreign policy. The November Vigil has evolved into one of the largest annual anti-militarization gatherings in the hemisphere, with concerts, workshops, strategy sessions, protests, street theater and nonviolent direct action. Make your travel plans now and join us from November 22-24, 2013 at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia!
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