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This September will mark the 40th anniversary of the US Government backed military Coup against the Democratically elected Government of Chilean President Salvador Allende. Allende was a Marxist who advocated a nonviolent, electoral path to socialism in keeping with Chile's long tradition of Democratic governance.

On September 11th 1973, the Chilean Right Wing and military led byGeneral Augusto Pinochet, backed by the US, drowned Allende's experiment in the blood of the Chilean people.

Among the many victims was Victor Jara, a Chilean teacher, theatre director, poet, singer-songwriter and political activist. He was a distinguished theatre director, devoted to the development of Chilean theatre. He also played an important role in establishing the Nueva Canción Chilena (New Chilean Song) movement.

On September 12th he was arrested by the military an imprisoned with thousands of others at  Chile Stadium, now renamed the Estadio Víctor Jara. There he was tortured, beaten and his hands crushed. Despite this, he defiantly sang the revolutionary hymn "Venceremos": We Will Win, before being machine gunned.

I wrote this for him and for us.

A Song for Victor

Give us a song for Victor Jara,
A lyric from the far South.
The pulse of the streets,
Mines, mills and shanty towns.

Sing of poets with guitars,
Striking chords of common passion.
The enthusiasm of the many,
Against the conspiracies of the sullen.
The illumined faces set against despair,
Seen as electric images.

Give us a song for Victor Jara,
His fingers bleeding into the dust.
A song beaten out by rifle butts.
A chorus punctuated by machine guns.

Give us a song for Victor Jara,
These thoughts unrolling along bright highways
In a car swelled by a German opera.

Give us a song for Victor Jara,
The broad smile and
The willing heart.

Give us a song for Victor Jara
Give us a rumor of war.

–W.B. Reeves

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