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The wheels of state justice move slowly

June 5, 2009

Ex-Pinochet army conscript charged with folk singer Victor Jara’s murder
José Adolfo Paredes Márquez tracked down to Chilean capital almost 36 years later


It was the atrocity which symbolised Chile’s descent into dictatorship: soldiers used rifle butts to smash the hands of Victor Jara, a political activist and folk singer, so he could not play guitar. Then they shot him 44 times.
Yesterday, almost 36 years later, justice caught up with one of killers. José Adolfo Paredes Márquez, a former conscript in Augusto Pinochet’s army, was charged with murder.

From another article online at

“It is not our aim to chase down conscripts, I want to make that very clear. The conscripts formed part of the larger scheme of things, but they were the weakest and most vulnerable link, and cannot be held responsible. I am interested in the chiefs that gave the orders to execute Víctor Jara,” said Nelson Caucoto, the lawyer for the Jara family.

Because of Victor Jara’s influence, as an artist, was considered dangerous enough by the military junta, to be tortured and killed in the first few days of the golpe.
There is an incredible account of the last day Joan Jara saw her husband, the day of the military junta, in Chile:The Other September 11th, published by Ocean Books.

We are 5,000 — here in this little part of the city
We are 5,000 — how many more will there be?
In the whole city, and in the country 10,000 hands
Which could seed the fields, make run the factories.
How much humanity — now with hunger, pain, panic and terror?
There are six of us — lost in space among the stars,
One dead, one beaten like I never believed a human could be so beaten.
The other four wanting to leave all the terror,
One leaping into space, other beating their heads against the wall
All with gazes fixed on death.
What horror the face of fascism causes!
The military carry out their plans with precision;
Blood is medals for them, Slaughter is the badge of heroism.
Oh my God — is this the world you created?
Was it for this, the seven days, of amazement and toil?

The first few verses of Jara’s last poem
written in the Estadio de Chile, Sept 1973.

Victor Jara’s last poem

Somos cinco mil
en esta pequeña parte de la ciudad.
Somos cinco mil
¿ Cuántos seremos en total
en las ciudades y en todo el país ?
Solo aqui
diez mil manos siembran
y hacen andar las fabricas.
¡ Cuánta humanidad
con hambre, frio, pánico, dolor,
presión moral, terror y locura !
Seis de los nuestros se perdieron
en el espacio de las estrellas.
Un muerto, un golpeado como jamas creí
se podria golpear a un ser humano.
Los otros cuatro quisieron quitarse todos los temores
uno saltó al vacio,
otro golpeandose la cabeza contra el muro,
pero todos con la mirada fija de la muerte.
¡ Qué espanto causa el rostro del fascismo !
Llevan a cabo sus planes con precisión artera
Sin importarles nada.
La sangre para ellos son medallas.
La matanza es acto de heroismo
¿ Es este el mundo que creaste, dios mio ?
¿Para esto tus siete dias de asombro y trabajo ?
en estas cuatro murallas solo existe un numero
que no progresa,
que lentamente querrá más muerte.
Pero de pronto me golpea la conciencia
y veo esta marea sin latido,
pero con el pulso de las máquinas
y los militares mostrando su rostro de matrona
llena de dulzura.
¿ Y Mexico, Cuba y el mundo ?
¡ Que griten esta ignominia !
Somos diez mil manos menos
que no producen.
¿Cuántos somos en toda la Patria?
La sangre del companero Presidente
golpea más fuerte que bombas y metrallas
Asi golpeará nuestro puño nuevamente
¡Canto que mal me sales
Cuando tengo que cantar espanto!
Espanto como el que vivo
como el que muero, espanto.
De verme entre tanto y tantos
momentos del infinito
en que el silencio y el grito
son las metas de este canto.
Lo que veo nunca vi,
lo que he sentido y que siento
hara brotar el momento…
(Victor Jara, Estadio Chile, Septiembre 1973)


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