Victor Jara killing: Suspect and Chilean national Pedro Barrientos is in custody after his US citizenship was revoked

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ICE/Handout

Pedro Paulo Barrientos Nunez was arrested after a traffic stop in Florida. He’s accused of participating in the “torture and extrajudicial killing of Chilean citizens,” an ICE official said.



CNN
 — 

A Chilean national who’s been wanted in that country in the killing of leftist singer-songwriter Victor Jara 50 years ago is now in custody in Florida, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement said.

Pedro Barrientos was arrested last week during a traffic stop in Deltona, Florida, ICE announced Tuesday.

Barrientos, a former military officer, was charged by a Chilean judge in 2012 in the brutal 1973 killing of Jara.

“Barrientos will now have to answer the charges he’s faced with in Chile for his involvement in torture and extrajudicial killing of Chilean citizens,” said John Condon, a special agent with ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations Tampa division, in a written statement Tuesday.

CNN has reached out to Barrientos’ attorneys for comment.

Jara, a communist sympathizer, was among the first victims of Chile’s military coup and dictatorship in 1973. His body was found with 44 bullet wounds and signs of torture.

Reuters/File

Chilean singer Victor Jara was tortured and killed during the country’s military dictatorship in 1973.

“On Sept. 11, 1973, General Augusto Pinochet led a violent coup against Salvador Allende, the democratically elected president of Chile,” ICE said in its statement.

“In the following weeks, many people were detained and tortured in Chile Stadium, an indoor sports facility that the military commandeered as a de facto detention center,” ICE said. “Many disappeared or were executed. Victor Jara, a popular folk musician, was among the most famous victims.”

Marcelo Hernandez/Getty Images

Demonstrators carry a flag with Victor Jara’s image during a protest against the Chilean government in January 2020.

Barrientos later came to the US in 1990 and overstayed his visa, according to court documents, but was able to obtain US citizenship after marrying an American.

In 2016, a civil jury in Florida ruled that Barrientos was responsible for Jara’s death and found him liable for $28 million in damages to Jara’s surviving family members.

This summer, Barrientos’ citizenship was revoked after a judge found that Barrientos had lied in his citizenship application, failing to disclose his connection to Pinochet’s regime.

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