The case is one of several linked to what Chileans call the “Caravan of Death” – a group of military officers that moved around the country holding summary trials of dissidents under orders from Pinochet. Judicial investigations conducted after the return of democracy have said the group left behind a trail of dead and “disappeared”. The inquiries established that many prisoners held by the military were taken into the desert where they were stabbed or shot to death and their bodies blown up with dynamite. At least 3,095 people were killed during Pinochet’s rule, according to government figures, and tens of thousands more were tortured or jailed for political reasons. Pinochet died in 2006 under house arrest without being tried on charges of illegal enrichment and human rights violations.
Former Chilean military official found liable for killing of Victor Jara
Dixon Osburn, executive director of the CJA, told the Guardian that one of the biggest challenges was proving that Barrientos, who also worked for a time as a landscaper during almost three decades in the US, was the same violent army officer who beat, tortured and shot Jara. “These cases are always difficult because a lot of time has passed and because of the silence that has encased this matter for so long,” he said. “Trying to break through that silence and lift the veil on what happened in those days was enormously difficult. “One of the things the Jara family has been pursuing for 43 years is just the truth. Barrientos said in deposition he knew nothing of Chile Stadium, he knew nothing of Victor Jara, but we had conscript after conscript saying he was there and he was responsible for what took place.”