September 11, 2013

The Chilean 9/11

Stamp honoring Allende from the German
Democratic Republic
by School Of the Americas Watch

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.

Victor Jara's last album
Jara's murderers charged

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 to send a message 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.

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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