Friday, December 15, 2017

Victor Jara; Chilean folk singer

I first learned the story of Victor Jara from Australian journalist John Pilger's 2007 documentary film about the United States' decades-long war on democracy in Latin and South America:

The CIA played a major role in the September 1973 overthrow of Chile's government, the government of Salvador Allende, a medical doctor, who was the first Marxist to become president of a Latin American country through open and fair elections.  The US supports democratic elections in South America only when they can control the outcome.  Americans backed Allende's successor, the brutal dictator General Augusto Pinochet, who governed Chile with a military junta, in other words, a fascist police state. 

What happened to thousands of Chileans soon after Pinochet came to power is illustrated by what happened to Victor Jara.  Jara was a popular folk singer.  Not a revolutionary ... he was  a friggin' folk singer, nothing more. 

Jara was among the 40,000 people taken to the Chile's National Stadium in Santiago the day after the coup. His treatment was the embodiment of the Pinochet government's determination to silence an entire culture. First the military cut out Jara's tongue and told him, "You'll never sing again." Then they broke both his hands and said "You'll never play the guitar again." Then they tortured him more and eventually killed him. They shot him forty-four times, according to Chile's truth and reconciliation commission. To make sure he could not inspire from beyond the grave, the regime ordered his master recordings destroyed. The culture of dissent in Chile was being deliberately exterminated.

It was not just Victor Jara they wanted to silence.  It was everyone and anyone who might dare to oppose a brutal CIA-supported regime that was absolutely determined to crush the spirits of the Chilean people.

Americans are not evil people.  If they knew even a tiny percentage of the truth about their government; I believe they'd immediately withdraw their support for the imperialist aggressive policies of their government. They simply do not know. 

America's problem is propaganda. Lies. Deliberate ignorance.

Victor Jara, a folk singer (for God's sake!)