Víctor Lidio Jara Martínez (28 September 1932 – 15 September 1973) was a Chilean pedagogue, theatre director, poet, singer-songwriter, and political activist. He was part of a poor, rural family. Manuel, his father, left the family to work in the countryside. Amanda, his mother, was a singer. She introduced Victor to music and taught him how to play guitar.

Victor Jara sang about politics and social problems, as well as life and love. He was one of the most famous artists of the “Nueva canción” movement, a fusion of Latin American folk music and politicized lyrics. He campaigned for the “Unidad Popular” (Popular Unity) coalition candidate, a socialist named Salvador Allende, who was later elected president.

On September 11, 1973, the military, backed by the United States, overthrew the government, President Allende was killed by the new dictator, Augusto Pinochet. One of the first people arrested was Victor Jara. He was imprisoned, along with thousands of others, in Estadio Chile, (now Estadio Victor Jara) where he was beaten and tortured. Fellow political prisoners have testified that his captors mockingly suggested he play guitar for them as he lay on the ground. The bones in his hands were broken, as were his ribs. There are also reports that one of Jara’s hands, or both his hands, had been cut off. On September 15th, Victor was shot forty-four times and his body was left lying in a street.

Victor Jara is now one of the most popular symbols of rebellion and freedom in Chile and he is remembered by many throughout the world.