Published 08/31/2023 12:07 | Edited 09/01/2023 12:01
After the Chilean Supreme Court confirmed the sentence of 25 years in prison for the kidnapping and murder of Chilean singer Víctor Jara, retired general Hermán Chacón Soto, 86, committed suicide this Tuesday (29) shortly before being arrested.
After the conviction, the Investigation Police (PDI) went to the neighborhood of Las Condes, an upscale area of Santiago, to carry out the arrest order and transfer Chacón Soto to the Punta Peuco prison, about 40 km from the Chilean capital.
Upon receiving the human rights agents and officials, the soldier asked for some time to take some medicine and shortly afterwards shot himself.
This Monday (28), Chacón Soto and five other soldiers (Raúl Jofré González, Edwin Dimter Bianchi, Nelson Haase Mazzei, Ernesto Bethke Wulf and Juan Jara Quintana) were sentenced to 15 years in prison for the murder and 10 years for the kidnapping of Víctor Jara and Littré Abraham Quiroga Carvajal, lawyer and militant of the Chilean Communist Party.
A militant of the Communist Party and collaborator of the Popular Unity government of Salvador Allende, Victor Jara was arrested the day after Augusto Pinochet’s military coup, on September 12, 1973, at the Technical State University (UTE) – today the University of Santiago from Chile.
The 40-year-old singer and teacher met at the UTE with colleagues and students to orchestrate the resistance in the first hours of the dictatorship.
Early in the morning of that Wednesday, the university was invaded by military troops who detained around 600 people, including Víctor Jara. Already at the time of arrest, recognized by one of the officers, Jara was separated from the others and brutally beaten.
He was driven with other officers, being displayed almost like a trophy. That night, the singer was interrogated and tortured, later remaining in custody in one of the corridors of the place, without eating or drinking water.
On September 15, Víctor Jara was transferred to the Estadio Nacional where he was assassinated the following day. There, the reference artist of the Chilean New Song was brutally tortured and his body found with more than 44 shots, many broken fingers, cut tongue and cigarette burns.
The story of the struggle for justice in the case of singer Víctor Jara was documented in the feature film “Massacre no Estádio: A História de Víctor Jara”, available on the Netflix platform.
50 years of the Pincochet coup
The confirmation of the sentence of the six soldiers convicted of the kidnapping and murder of Jara and Littré took place 15 days before the 50th anniversary of Augusto Pinochet’s coup against the government of President Salvador Allende.
“The facts described (…) are real, since they occurred in a certain place and time and were proven, legally accredited through the evidence”, said the superior court in a unanimous decision.
In addition to the sentence, the Chilean court ordered compensation of CLP$150 million (about R$870,000) to Víctor Jara’s widow and her children, and CLP$80 million (about R$460,000) to the singer’s brothers.
The Chilean Minister of Justice, Luis Cordero, stated that the sentence is “reparative”. “These are processes that last a long time, but in a certain sense, judicial sentences also have a restorative role, not only when the culprits are convicted, but also when the victims’ stories are discovered,” said Cordero.
Pinochet’s regime (1973-1990) lasted 17 years and left more than 40,000 victims, including those executed, detainees-disappeared, political prisoners and tortured, and more than 3,200 opponents died at the hands of state agents.