Chile: Ex-soldier confessed to shooting singer Victor Jara

8 June 2009

On 26 May 2009 a former army conscript, José Adolfo Paredes Márquez, confessed his involvement in the assassination of the popular folk singer Victor Jara — 35 years after the torture and murder of the renowned Chilean folk singer

54-year-old ex-soldier José Adolfo Paredes Márquez was charged over the killing of singer-songwriter Victor Jara in 1973 — a murder which became a symbol of the human-rights violations committed by Chile’s military regime in 1973-1990.

Judge Juan Fuentes Belmar charged ex-soldier from San Sebastian with premeditated murder, despite a last-minute attempt by José Paredes to retract his confession.

José Paredes was arrested along with fellow former conscript Francisco Q. Quiroz. They were held incommunicado at the Santiago High Security Prison, where they were taken before Judge Juan Fuentes Belmar. Following José Paredes’ confession Francisco Quiroz, 54, was released because of insufficient evidence.

Victor Jara’s widow, British-born dancer Joan Turner, was reported to have reacted to the court’s decision by saying: “There are other people responsible here — those people who ordered the torture and the execution. I don’t feel vengeful.”

16 September 1973
José Paredes confessed to shooting Victor Jara in the underground changing rooms of the soccer stadium on the night of 16 September 1973, alongside other conscripts. The stadium was set up as a torture and detention center for political prisoners the day after the 11 September military coup that installed general Pinochet as dictator of Chile from 1973-1990.

An unidentified second lieutenant gave ordered to the conscripts to “finish off” Jara, having already fired the first shot at the singer’s temple in a game of Russian roulette. The soldiers then proceeded to “riddle” Jara and the 14 remaining detainees with bullets.

José Paredes, who was 18 at the time, said that Victor Jara fell to the floor in convulsions following the first shot by the second lieutenant. An autopsy reported 44 bullet wounds to Jara’s body.

José Paredes pointed to Nelson Edgardo Haase Mazzei as the possible identity of “the Prince” – the officer rumored to have ordered Jara’s assassination – so-called because of his “Germanic” features, his brutality when dealing with prisoners, and his manner of speaking.

In May 2008, Fuentes closed the hearing with only one person accused as perpetrator of the homicide, retired army Col. Mario Manriquez Bravo, director of the detention camp set up after the coup at Chile Stadium in Santiago where Jara was slain.

But the investigation was reopened the following month when the judge received many of the 40 (some sources say 90) documents requested days before by the attorney representing Victor Jara’s family, Nelson Caucoto.

Victor Jara’s widow, Joan Turner, made an appeal in June 2008 to the 6,000 who were held captive in Chile Stadium between 11-15 September 1973, as well as the military personnel, to come forward with evidence and testify under strict anonymity.

The appeal was supported by Interior Undersecretary Felipe Harboe and parliamentary members from the center-left Concertación coalition.

In 2009, a judge ordered officials to exhume the body of singer Victor Jara as part of efforts to shed more light onto the circumstances of Jara’s death.

“Victor’s murder is a symbol to the world of human-rights violations and finding out what happened will be our victory, proof that there cannot be impunity for crimes against humanity,” she said last year in an interview with Efe.

Chile honored Victor Jara in 2003 by renaming Chile Stadium for him.




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José Parades – arrested

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Victor Jara


Click to listen to mp3 of Victor Jara's song 'Lucin'
Click on photo to hear Victor Jara singing ‘Luchin’




Latest news
on Victor Jara

Google News – continously updated:

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BBC – 4 June 2009:

‘Chilean singer Jara is exhumed’

Empresuchas – 28 May 2009:

‘Detenido uno de los homicidas del cantante Víctor Jara’

The Valparaiso Times – 28 May 2009:

‘Ex-Conscript Confesses to Victor Jara Shooting 35 Years On’

BBC – 27 May 2009:

‘Charge over Chile singer’s death’

Victor Jara Foundation (in Spanish only):

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

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