Victor Jara trial in Miami
The trial of the former Chilean military officer accused of murdering folk singer and activist Victor Jara began in Miami on June 13th. Former lieutenant Pedro Pablo Barrientos Nuñez is charged with torturing and murdering Jara, a communist artist who had campaigned for, and defended, the socialist Popular Unity government of Salvador Allende. Jara and thousands of other Chileans were rounded up and tortured in Santiago’s soccer stadium immediately after the coup of September 11, 1973. His tortured body, riddled with 44 bullet wounds, was dumped outside the stadium which is now named in his honour. The U.S.-backed coup launched a 17-year reign of terror by a military regime led by fascist General Augusto Pinochet. The California-based Center for Justice and Accountability launched the civil suit against Barrientos in 2013. While seven of his accomplices already face trial in Chile, Barrientos is thought to be Jara’s actual torturer, and the person who fired the first, and fatal, shot into his head. The defendant enjoys dual U.S.-Chilean citizenship, which continues to protect him from the Chilean government’s extradition request. Jara’s 88 year-old widow, Joan, gave testimony at the first day’s session. The trial is expected to last until the end of June. (Editors note: the trial ended just as this issue went to press & Pedro Pablo Barrientos Nuñez was found liable for the murder.)
Bristol Bay fight focuses on Canada
Musicians United to Protect Bristol Bay (MUPBB) is seeking to engage Canadian musicians in its fight to protect Alaska’s environment. While many of its members are from Canada, MUPBB needs more Canadian musicians to get involved because Canada is the home of Northern Dynasty Minerals, the company behind the proposed Pebble Mine project. Approximately 50% of all wild fish caught in North America come from Bristol Bay, including most of the world’s sockeye salmon, which spawn in the headwaters of the many rivers that drain into the Bay. Bristol Bay is home to several thousand Native Alaskan families who depend on its waters, and its adjacent rivers and forests, to survive. Northern Dynasty wants to build what would be the world’s largest open-pit mine next to the headwaters of the rivers where the salmon spawn. No open-pit mine in the world has ever operated without causing serious, and usually permanent, environmental destruction to the surrounding area and beyond. MUPBB Co-Founder Si Kahn, the prominent American folksinger and activist, will hold meetings with musicians and environmental activists in Vancouver July 19-21, and attend the Islands Folk Festival in Duncan, BC, July 22-25. He’ll also be attending the annual Folk Music Ontario conference in Ottawa, October 20-23. If you’d like to meet with Si on any of these dates to talk about MUPBB, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.musiciansunited.info.
David Rovics’ “Orlando”
American indie singer-songwriter David Rovics responded to the June 12th massacre at Orlando’s Pulse gay bar with a characteristically incisive and compassionate song (see lyrics below). David’s recording of “Orlando” can be heard, along with details about his summer gigs in Ontario, at his website.
Who killed all those people in Orlando / Why did he do it, was it Islamic State?
Was it YouTube videos, the way they disseminate / Was it radical imams preaching the jihad?
Saying go commit murder in the name of God?
Who killed all those people in Orlando / Why did he do it, what made him buy a gun?
Was it hard to be an Afghan after 9-1-1 / Or was it as a child, did he hear the politician
Who said 500,000 dead kids was still the right decision?
Who killed all those people in Orlando / Why did he do it, did the Air Force play a part
When they bombed the wedding party, is that what froze his heart?
Was it a lack of mental health care that made things go wrong
Or was there no way left to make him feel that he belonged?
Who killed all those people in Orlando / Why did he do it, did he wish he hadn’t been
Born into the world, in his own gay skin / Did he loath himself, is that how it all began?
And just who had taught him it was wrong to love another man?
Who killed all those people in Orlando / Why did he do it, was it the NRA
Who made it easy for him to express himself this way
Another legally purchased weapon that fired automatic rounds
Leading to the scene with 50 bodies on the ground?
Who killed all those people in Orlando / Why did he do it, perhaps its only him to blame
He’s just acting on free will, an individual shame
Maybe he grew up in a vacuum and carried out a senseless act
Maybe we’re wrong to try to question or to ascertain the facts about
Who killed all those people in Orlando