Joan Jara, Who Found Justice for Husband Slain After Coup, Dies at 96

Joan Jara, a British-born dancer and instructor who dedicated herself to finding justice for her husband, Victor Jara, a popular Chilean folk singer and songwriter who was killed during the military coup d’état that brought Gen. Augusto Pinochet Ugarte to dictatorial power in 1973, died on Nov. 12 in Santiago, Chile. She was 96.

Her death was announced by the Victor Jara Foundation, a human rights initiative she established.

Justice came for Ms. Jara (pronounced Hara) in two ways, more than 40 years after her husband’s death: In a civil case filed by her and her two daughters that found Pedro Barrientos Núñez, a former Chilean Army lieutenant, liable for her husband’s death, and in legal proceedings in Chile that led to his arrest last month in Deltona, Fla., where he had been living for many years; he is expected to be extradited to Chile.

Mr. Jara, who was also a theater director and poet, sang about poverty and injustice. In “Manifiesto,” he sang in part:

My guitar is not for the rich

no, nothing like that.

My song is of the ladder

we are building to reach the stars.

Mr. Jara was a visible supporter of Salvador Allende, the Marxist who was elected president of Chile in 1970. On Sept. 11, 1973, the Jaras were at home with their daughters, Manuela and Amanda, listening to Mr. Allende deliver a speech. Suddenly, the speech was cut off and replaced with military marches.

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