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Víctor Jara

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Chile

Víctor Lidio Jara Martínez (28 September 1932 – 15 September 1973) was a pedagogue, theatre director, poet, singer-songwriter, and political activist from Chile. A distinguished theatre director, he devoted himself to the development of Chilean theatre, directing a broad array of works from locally produced Chilean plays, to the classics of the world stage, to the experimental work of Ann Jellicoe. Simultaneously he developed in the field of music and played a pivotal role among neo-folkloric artists who established the Nueva Canción Chilena (New Chilean Song) movement which led to a revolution in the popular music of his country under the Salvador Allende government. Shortly after the U.S. backed 11 September, 1973 Chilean coup he was arrested, tortured and ultimately machine gunned to death - his body was later thrown out into the street of a shanty town in Santiago. The contrast between the themes of his songs, on love, peace and social justice and the brutal way in which he was murdered transformed Jara into a symbol of struggle for human rights and justice across Latin America.

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