This 13-minute video delves into the killing of Víctor Jara, the legendary Chilean folk singer and political activist, whose brutal murder during an American-backed military coup in 1973 went unsolved for decades. A quest for his killers led to a Florida courtroom with his family seeking justice.
How a Folk Singer’s Murder Forced Chile to Confront Its Past
Víctor Jara was a legendary Chilean folk singer and political activist, whose brutal killing during a military coup in 1973 went unsolved for decades. Now, his family may finally get justice.
Víctor Jara was a legendary Chilean folk singer and political activist whose brutal killing during a military coup in 1973 went unsolved for decades. Now, a quest for his killers has led to a Florida courtroom and his family may finally get justice.
If you’re not familiar with Jara’s music, we’ve put together a Spotify playlist of essential selections and personal favorites from the Jara catalog.
Related: He Died Giving a Voice to Chile’s Poor. A Quest for Justice Took Decades. by Clyde Haberman
Students will connect the events of the 1973 U.S.-backed Chilean military coup to the Cold War by focusing on the killing of folk singer and activist Victor Jara.
- Connect the events of the Chilean Coup in 1973 to the broader Cold War in Latin America.
- Examine the motivation of the United States in supporting Augusto Pinochet’s ouster of democratically elected Salvador Allende.
- Analyze the role of artists and musicians in political and social movements of the 1960s and 70s.
- What kind of political and social change was Victor Jara advocating for? How did his views connect to the political and social upheaval in Central and South America at the time?
- Why might the United States have wanted to become involved in Chilean politics? What were their goals in Chile and how did those goals compare to their broader goals throughout Latin America?
- How might “justice” be achieved in a case like this, considering the events were decades ago?
- Transcript for “How A Folk Singer’s Murder Forced Chile to Confront Its Past” (Retro Report)
- The New York Times Retro Report on the case of Victor Jara (The Guernica Group)
- He Died Giving a Voice to Chile’s Poor. A Quest for Justice Took Decades. (Retro Report)
- Cold War in Latin America Collection (Retro Report)
- Victor Jara Spotify Playlist (Retro Report)
- National Council for the Social Studies C3 Framework
- D1.4.9-12.Explain how supporting questions contribute to an inquiry and how, through engaging source work, new compelling and supporting questions emerge.
- D2.Civ.6.9-12.Critique relationships among governments, civil societies, and economic markets.
- D2.Civ.12.9-12.Analyze how people use and challenge local, state, national, and international laws to address a variety of public issues.
- D2.His.1.9-12.Evaluate how historical events and developments were shaped by unique circumstances of time and place as well as broader historical contexts.
- D2.His.3.9-12.Use questions generated about individuals and groups to assess how the significance of their actions changes over time and is shaped by the historical context.
- D2.His.5.9-12.Analyze how historical contexts shaped and continue to shape people’s perspectives.
- D2.His.7.9-12.Explain how the perspectives of people in the present shape interpretations of the past.