The President of the Government of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès, announced yesterday in Santiago that in late September this year Catalonia will pay homage to Chilean singer-songwriter Víctor Jara on the 50th anniversary of his execution by the armed forces of military dictator Augusto Pinochet. This will take the form of a concert entitled “Mil guitarres” (One Thousand Guitars) at the initiative of the Chilean Embassy, with the support of the Government of Catalonia and Barcelona City Council.
The Catalan President made this statement from the Víctor Jara Stadium, where the singer-songwriter was arrested, tortured and executed. During his visit to the Stadium, the President was accompanied by Amanda Jara, the musician’s daughter and chair of his foundation, and the CEO of the Víctor Jara Foundation, Cristian Galáz.
On the first day of his visit to Chile, the final stop on his Latin American tour, the President highlighted the fact that “Víctor Jara is held in particularly high esteem in Catalonia” and that his memory evokes the fight for freedom and a collective memory to prevent the incidents that led to the coup d’état against Chilean president Salvador Allende from happening again.
Aragonès explained that the concert will combine the spoken word with songs and will feature Catalan artists from different generations who regard Jara as a point of reference and who have been influenced in one way or another by his music and his activism.
The President remarked that this concert will not just be an institutional event but a celebration at which people “will be able to express their appreciation for everything Víctor Jara represented, as well as the thousands of other people who were arrested, tortured and executed” during the coup d’état in 1973.
He also underlined the fact that the people of Chile and Catalonia share “the collective fight for a better world, for a world in which people’s rights are recognised, not just declared and proclaimed, but guaranteed for one and all, for all people everywhere in the world”.
Víctor Jara is an exemplar of the protest song. He was executed in September 1973 during Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship. This year marks the 50th anniversary of his execution. The singer-songwriter has become a symbol of the struggle of Chile and all other oppressed peoples in the Americas. His song “Te recuerdo, Amanda” (I Remember You, Amanda), unfortunately premonitory, has become a song of freedom, with Raimon doing a cover in Catalan titled “Amanda”. The “Mil guitarres” concert, which will be held in Barcelona during the city’s La Mercè festivities, will be one of the main events held outside Chile to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Jara’s execution.
Meeting with the Mayoress of Santiago
During the first day of his visit to Chile, President Aragonès met with the Mayoress of Santiago, Irací Hassler, in the neighbourhood of Lastarria in the Chilean capital.
Mayoress of the capital of Chile since 2021, Hassler was a key figure in the student demonstrations of 2011 and one of the public faces of the campaign of Chilean president Gabriel Boric. She is seen as one of the leading lights in the country’s new batch of left-wing politicians who have moved into the country’s institutions, spearheading progressive political groups.
Visit to Leitat
The President also visited the technology transfer centre Leitat Chile, touring the facility with the company’s CEO, Ferran Amago.
Leitat is an International Centre of Excellence in RDI. With a mission to speed up the transfer of technology to industry, it is supported by the Government of Catalonia through ACCIÓ.