FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Why the U.S. Should Extradite Pedro Barrientos

by CESAR CHELALA

On December 28, 2012, Judge Miguel Vásquez charged eight retired army officers with the murder of popular songwriter, guitarist and theater director Víctor Jara. Jara was killed days after the 1973 military coup against Chilean President Salvador Allende. One of those charged is Pedro Barrientos Núñez, reportedly the one who fired the final shot that killed Jara. Barrientos is now living in Deltona, Florida. His extradition to Chile could help properly try all those involved in Jara’s death.

The most recognizable voice of Chile’s dispossessed, Jar was one of the founders of a new genre of Latin American song, and one of its best known practitioners. Jara was closely identified with the leftist social movement led by the late Chilean President Salvador Allende. Jara composed “Venceremos” (We Will Triumph), which became the theme song of Allende’s Unidad Popular (Popular Unity) movement. Jara and his wife, Joan Turner, were among the main participants in the cultural renaissance movement that swept the country after Allende’s victory.

September 11, 1973, is a day that will live in infamy for the people of Chile, when General August Pinochet’s troops mounted a coup against the Allende government. Jara was taken prisoner on September 12, 1973 from Chile’s Technical University and later taken to the Estadio Chile, a large sports stadium, which was later renamed Estadio Víctor Jara.

Jara was held at the stadium for four days where he was repeatedly tortured. His torturers had no mercy with Jara’s hands and hit them with their rifle butts while mockingly challenging him to continue playing his guitar with his broken hands. According to the testimony of his companions who were also in prison Jara remained undaunted and sang part of his song “Venceremos” as he was being tortured.

Other prisoners later testified that even during those difficult times for them Jara was only concerned about the welfare of his companions. Four days after being taken prisoner he was taken to a deserted area in the country where he was shot 44 times. His body was dumped on a road on the outskirts of Santiago from where he was taken to the city’s morgue. His wife was allowed to retrieve his body only after she promised that she wouldn’t publicize the event.

Shortly after Jara’s death a Chilean television technician surreptitiously played an excerpt of Jara’s song “La Plegaria a un Labrador” (Prayer to a Laborer) over a Hollywood film soundtrack. Despite this isolated tribute, however, for several years Jara’s recordings went unheard in Chile.

After Pinochet’s death in 2006, Jara’s wife and other human rights activists stepped up their efforts to find Jara’s killers, despite apparent delays by prosecutors and the army. On December 28, 2012, Appellate Court Magistrate Miguel Vasquez ordered the arrest of two former military officers, Hugo Sanchez Marmonti and Pedro Barrientos Nuñez as the material authors of the crime, and named other six former military officials as accomplices. All of them have been detained with the exception of Pedro Barrientos Nuñez.

According to School of America Watch reports, four of the eight officers accused of murdering Jara were trained at the School of the Americas which at that time was located in Panama. These reports indicate that Barrientos Nuñez took courses at that school in the 1960s and 1970s. Barrientos Nuñez has strongly denied any participation in Jara’s murder, despite strong testimonies condemning him.

According to international law, the US now has the legal duty to prosecute Barrientos Nuñez or, to complete Judge Vasquez investigation of Jara’s murder, to extradite him to Chile. This is mandated by the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and by the Geneva Conventions. Extraditing Barrientos Nuñez back to Chile will be a miniscule compensation for the tragedies that the CIA-sponsored coup against Allende unleashed on the Chilean people.

Dr. Cesar Chelala, MD, PhD, is a co-winner of an Overseas Press Club of America award for an article on human rights.

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article “Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 24, 2017
Anthony DiMaggio
Reflections on DC: Promises and Pitfalls in the Anti-Trump Uprising
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Developer Welfare: Trump’s Infrastructure Plan
Melvin Goodman
Trump at the CIA: the Orwellian World of Alternative Facts
Sam Mitrani – Chad Pearson
A Short History of Liberal Myths and Anti-Labor Politics
Kristine Mattis
Democracy is Not a Team Sport
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Mexico, Neo-Nationalism and the Capitalist World-System
Ted Rall
The Women’s March Was a Dismal Failure and a Hopeful Sign
Norman Pollack
Woman’s March: Halt at the Water’s Edge
Pepe Escobar
Will Trump Hop on an American Silk Road?
Franklin Lamb
Trump’s “Syria “Minus Iran” Overture to Putin and Assad May Restore Washington-Damascus Relations
Kenneth R. Culton
Violence By Any Other Name
David Swanson
Why Impeach Donald Trump
Christopher Brauchli
Trump’s Contempt
January 23, 2017
John Wight
Trump’s Inauguration: Hail Caesar!
Mark Schuller
So What am I Doing Here? Reflections on the Inauguration Day Protests
Patrick Cockburn
The Rise of Trump and Isis Have More in Common Than You Might Think
Binoy Kampmark
Ignored Ironies: Women, Protest and Donald Trump
Gregory Barrett
Flag, Cap and Screen: Hollywood’s Propaganda Machine
Gareth Porter
US Intervention in Syria? Not Under Trump
L. Ali Khan
Trump’s Holy War against Islam
Gary Leupp
An Al-Qaeda Attack in Mali:  Just Another Ripple of the Endless, Bogus “War on Terror”
Norman Pollack
America: Banana Republic? Far Worse
Bob Fitrakis - Harvey Wasserman
We Mourn, But We March!
Kim Nicolini
Trump Dump: One Woman March and Personal Shit as Political
William Hawes
We Are on Our Own Now
Martin Billheimer
Last Tango in Moscow
Colin Todhunter
Development and India: Why GM Mustard Really Matters
Mel Gurtov
Trump’s America—and Ours
David Mattson
Fog of Science II: Apples, Oranges and Grizzly Bear Numbers
Clancy Sigal
Who’s Up for This Long War?
Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail