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'Life is eternal', a tribute to Víctor Jara


The Spanish historian Mario Amorós has just published the book in which he remembers the Chilean artist, assassinated by the Pinochet dictatorship.

When Pinochet's coup, half a century ago, devastated the government of Salvador Allende and the Popular Unity in Chile with blood and fire, the count of the victims was diluted in a nebula.

When the dictatorship ended, much later, and democracy returned among our neighbors, the details of those dark days in September were never fully revealed.

Some 3,200 deaths, 30,000 tortured and hundreds of thousands of exiles

are estimated


Allende was going to deliver a speech from the headquarters of the State Technical University (UTE) but as soon as he found out about the mobilization of the tanks and planes, he began to reply with his machine gun from the Palacio de la Moneda.

On the other hand, some 600 academics, students and officials gathered at the UTE who, hours later, were seized by the coup leaders and taken to the National Stadium.

In an enclosure for two thousand people, they placed 5,000: overcrowded, beaten and tortured.

The best known was called

Víctor Jara


He was riddled with bullets three days later

, after excruciating agony.

life is eternal

The martyrdom of Víctor Jara is an essential part of

"Life is eternal"

, the book just published by the Spanish historian

Mario Amorós


After analyzing multiple files – including the 11,000 pages of the judicial file that led to the conviction of eight repressors – and interviews with friends, relatives and officials, Amorós reconstructs that painful story.

The song Manifesto, which Jara was able to record just days before the coup

"had been born from the depths to express, in a definitive way, the reasons why he held the guitar: 'That singing makes sense / when it throbs in the veins / of the that he will die singing / the true truths'”

, says Amorós.

Life is eternal, the biography of Víctor Jara

Although Víctor Jara's work is especially remembered for its testimonial nature, curiously his latest album (“Canto por mischief”), marked his return to folkloric roots with a compilation of peasant songs.

The origins

Víctor Jara was 40 years old when he was murdered.

He came from Lonquén, from a humble family, where his mother Amanda Martínez was, who promoted his vocation for singing.

And Jara lost his mother when she was barely a teenager.

He entered the Seminary of the Order of the Redeemers of San Bernardo, where he was introduced to Gregorian chant and the cantata Carmina Burana, by Carl Orff.

From there he went to the choir of the University of Chile and, from then on, the story is better known: he became

one of the main theater directors in his country

 -he also came to Argentina to present plays at the Pairó- and, at At the same time, in

one of the most important singer-songwriters

, in addition to acting as

musical director of Quilapayún or Inti Illimani

, the most famous groups of his time.

He was also very close to the Los Parra peñas.

Jara was consecrated in 1969 with his celebrated “Plegaria a un labrador” and, shortly after, with that hymn immortalized by Mercedes Sosa: “I remember you Amanda”.


Víctor Jara was a front-line militant during the government of the UP and it is not surprising, then, that Pinochet's hatred was especially fierce with his figure.

Some survivors remained to bear witness to that agony.

“They beat him over and over again.

In the body, in the head, kicking furiously, boots on the ribs.

Víctor smiled and that infuriated them even more, while Víctor's head and face was covered by the blood that ran down from his forehead, ”

said lawyer Boris Navia.

Other prisoners managed to help him, after two days without food or water.

Jara came to write with his last verses: "

I sing how bad you go out / When I have to sing fright / Fright like the one I live / Fright like the one I die". It spread as the poem "We are five thousand". But he suffered another

beating They took him away and

killed him with 44 shots

. They dumped his body next to the Metropolitan Cemetery, in the southern access of the Chilean capital. Someone recognized him and was able to notify Joan, his English wife, so they could bury him.

The 10th edition of the concert A Thousand Guitars by Víctor Jara recalled today the figure of the legendary singer-songwriter assassinated by the dictatorship on the day he would have turned 90.

EFE/ Javier Martin Rodríguez


“I want my song to make modest people vibrate, because the message of my songs is directed to them.

I am a folklorist, I am a man of popular extraction.

Since I was little, I learned the language of the many, who are the most humble and humiliated.

I got to know the syllables of the wind, of the beautiful and natural poetry of life there in the countryside”

, he had expressed.

His widow -a former dancer and dance teacher- had to go into exile in London, only to return to Santiago a decade later.

There, from the Víctor Jara Foundation, she fought to maintain the artist's legacy and, among her testimonies, there was another biography "Víctor Jara, the unfinished song".

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Source: clarin

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