NARRATION: Every year, musicians gather to pay tribute to the legendary folk singer, Vctor Jara, murdered during a military coup in Chile in 1973.

JOAN JARA: He was completely committed to trying to make the world a better place.


JOAN JARA: And he actually gave his life for that.

CROWD AT THE FESTIVAL: Justice for Vctor! Vctor Jara! Vctor Jara!

NARRATION: Now, after 45 years, will his family finally get justice?


SEAN MATTISON: Tell me about Vctor.

JOAN JARA (VCTOR JARAS WIDOW_)_: What shall I tell you? Well, I was in love with him so you must take my words with a pinch of salt, but he was a very special person.

VCTOR JARA (SINGING, TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH):Five minutes with himLife is eternal in five minutes

AMANDA JARA (VCTOR JARAS DAUGHTER, TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH): My dad realized music was a beautiful way to communicate ideas. Son of peasants, due to his political convictions, he became a singer.

ARCHIVAL (TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH):VCTOR JARA: Song has great power to raise consciousness in the face of the times we are living through.

VCTOR JARA (SINGING, TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH):Free us from the one who rules us in poverty.Bring us your kingdom of justice and equality.

NARRATION: In the 1960s, Jara and other artists used their music to advocate for political and social change, and workers rights.

JOAN JARA: The singers went to the trade unions to sing, went to factories to sing, went to universities to sing.

TITA PARRA (MUSICIAN, TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH): They were left-wing artists, socially and politically committed to the people.

NARRATION: When a socialist president, Salvador Allende, was elected in 1970, Jara was one of his most famous supporters.

TITA PARRA (TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH): It was a government that adopted this musical movement and considered it its own.

NARRATION: But from the start, the U.S. government, and allies within the Chilean military, worked to destabilize the new regime.

JOAN JARA: As Kissinger said: You cant stand back and let a country go communist. So we didnt really have consciousness of what was coming.

And then on the 11th September, 1973, when I got home Vctor was listening to the radio and we realized that the coup had started. Vctor was programmed to sing in the Technical University where Allende was going to speak and he decided he should go to the University and he left home.

OSIEL NEZ QUEVEDO (PRESIDENT, STUDENT FEDERATION, 1973, TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH): The student federation issued a call to occupy the university, as an expression of support for the government. About 1,000 members of the university community stayed on campus.

JOAN JARA: Vctor managed to ring me when he got there. It was just after the bombing of the Moneda Palace.

ARCHIVAL (CBS,EVENING NEWS, 9-11-73):WALTER CRONKITE: Chile today joined the list of South American countries to fall under military rule. Tonight control of the Chilean government is in the hands of the countrys armed forces, the presidential palace is under attack.GENERAL AUGUSTO PINOCHET (TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH): Today, the armed forces have solely acted out of patriotism to save the country from the tremendous chaos into which it was being plunged by the Marxist government of Salvador Allende.

OSIEL NEZ QUEVEDO (PRESIDENT, STUDENT FEDERATION, 1973, TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH): Before dawn on the 12th, we were forced out by machine guns. We were taken to Chile Stadium. The first prison camp in Santiago. Vctors face was well-known, and as soon as he arrives, an officer recognizes him and separates him from the rest.

JOAN JARA: Eventually there were about 5,000 prisoners after a few days. It was packed full. That was horror in that place, during those days. The military behaved with great cruelty, torturing people, interrogating them.

OSIEL NEZ QUEVEDO (PRESIDENT, STUDENT FEDERATION, 1973, TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH): The day the last group of prisoners was being transferred out of the stadium, I had the chance to see Vctor. The line kept growing towards the back. We were the last prisoners here. And right there, suddenly, an official appears and takes two people out, Danilo Bartuln and Vctor Jara.

And thats when we looked at each other and, I mean, we smiled and we made this face. It was the realization that Vctor was going to die and and the awareness that there was nothing we could do to change that outcome. That part of history, inevitably, only the military officers can tell.

JOAN JARA: Exactly what happened to him there, it is not yet clear. But on the 18th of September, a young man who was working in the city morgue came to fetch me at home.I saw his body, I saw the the bullet holes, I saw the disaster of what they had done to him, and was able to take him from the city morgue and to bury him in the cemetery. Nobody can lie to me about what happened to Vctor. I saw his body.

NARRATION: Over the next 17 years of military rule under General Augusto Pinochet, an estimated 27,000 people were tortured, and over 3,000 were killed or disappeared.

JOAN JARA: So I am one of the lucky ones. So many people here in Chile, so many families, they still dont know the destiny of their loved ones. That is the worst fate.

AMANDA JARA (TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH): The wound is deep. Because, in addition to being so brutal, after so many years, there has been no justice, and theyve tried to cover up the truth.

NARRATION: The Jara family fled to London, and began calling for an investigation of Vctors murder. Even after the military dictatorship ended, the attempts faltered.But they kept pushing.

NELSON CAUCOTO (JARA FAMILY LAWYER, TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH):I always wanted to figure out the chain of command in the stadium. And we asked the head of the armed forces, we asked the Navy, we asked the Criminal Investigation Police. Who was the chief at the stadium? We never got an answer.

AMANDA JARA (TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH): This gives us a sense of the pact of silence of the Chilean military.

NELSON CAUCOTO (TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH): But in this case, we have a greater difficulty. I dont think there is anyone who would confess to being behind Vctor Jaras murder, because it would mean carrying a stigma that would pursue that military person generation after generation. No one wants to be Vctor Jaras killer.

NARRATION: But the wall of silence finally began to crumble, as low-ranking military conscripts and other eyewitnesses came forward. And in 2015, a Chilean judge charged nine army officers with Jaras murder and ordered them to stand trial.

NELSON CAUCOTO (TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH): But there is one other person who was left out. Pedro Pablo Barrientos. Because hes not in Chile.


PEDRO PABLO BARRIENTOS NEZ (FORMER CHILEAN MILITARY OFFICER, TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH): My name is Pedro Pablo Barrientos Nuez. Youre in my humble house. This is where I spend most of my time very calmly because I know I didnt kill Vctor Jara.

This is the hat that I wear when I go get my grandson. I have six step-grandsons. I came here looking for the American dream, and I had it until this nightmare started.

The death of Vctor Jara is an atrocity and the guilty person must pay for it. The thing is that I didnt commit the crime. Thats the problem. Ive always said that I didnt even know Vctor Jara, I didnt know him. And I had never been to Chile Stadium during that time.

I feel like a victim of political persecution.

NARRATION: Chile requested that Barrientos, who is now an American citizen by marriage, be extradited from the U.S. to face charges.To bolster that request, the Jara family filed a civil suit against Barrientos in Florida.

And, in 2016, they won.A jury awarded them $28 million, which Barrientos cant afford to pay.

AMANDA JARA (AT PRESS CONFERENCE): Its taken so long and this is a step, a further, but a very big step, towards revealing the truth of what happened 43 years ago. So thank you, thank you to all of you, thank you.

JOAN JARA (AT PRESS CONFERENCE): Vctor could not have imagined the first sign of justice for his case would occur here in the United States. And this has been, I want to express our gratitude as a family.

NARRATION: Almost 45 years after Vctor Jaras murder, in July, 2018, eight of the military officers on trial in Chile were found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

NELSON CAUCOTO (TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH): Now, what does this mean? That the wishes of a large part of Chilean society have been fulfilled. That achieving justice wasnt a dream.

NARRATION: Chile continues to pursue its request for Barrientos extradition, and is awaiting a decision from the United States.

PEDRO PABLO BARRIENTOS NEZ (TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH): Im not going to go back to Chile to face the Chilean justice system, because justice is very politicized. It would be stupid for me to go to Chile voluntarily.

JOAN JARA: Its forty years on, but in Vctors case, theres been another sort of justice. His music has been able to go on, you know, and people can hear his voice.

VCTOR JARA (SINGING, TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH)):When I wake up feeling coldI light a long cigarette.

ARCHIVAL (TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH):VCTOR JARA: Love is the fundamental thing. Love and the relationship of love between a man and a woman, a woman and a man, or a man with his fellow men, with his sons, with his home, with the country, with the instrument that he works with. Its vital. Its the essence of mans reason to live.Thats why it cant be missing from the themes of a folk singer.