A former Chilean Army officer living in Florida and long accused of participating in the 1973 murder of folk singer Victor Jara will be extradited to Chile, several weeks after being arrested in Florida for the crime. The officer had been first charged in Jara’s killing over a decade ago.
The news of his extradition comes after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security announced on Oct. 11 that they had detained 74-year-old Pedro Pablo Barrientos during an October 5 traffic stop in Deltona, Florida.
“Barrientos’ arrest is a testament to the strong law enforcement alliances forged over years of service with our state, local, and federal partners,” HSI Tampa Special Agent in Charge John Condon said in a statement at the time. “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.”
Barrientos was among the eight men — all of them involved in the 1973 military coup that installed Gen. Augusto Pinochet into the presidency — who were charged in December 2012 in the death of Jara, a folk singer and Communist Party member who was arrested with hundreds others protesting the Pinochet regime.
Barrientos will now return to Santiago, Chile on a direct flight on Nov. 28. There, he’ll face Chile’s court system.
Dubbed the “Bob Dylan of South America,” Jara was brutally tortured before being shot to death and his body dumped along with other slain protestors. According to the New York Times, Barrientos himself bragged about shooting Jara twice in the head.
Barrientos was previously found guilty in a federal civil case for his role in Jara’s murder, and was ordered to pay $28 million in 2016; Barrientos — who emigrated to the United States in 1989 and became a citizen through marriage in 2010 — was a fast-food cook, thus the verdict was mostly symbolic.
Two years later, in 2018, eight of Barrientos’ fellow Chilean officers were sentenced to 15 years in prison for their role in Jara’s death, but Barrientos avoided facing judgment because of his U.S. citizenship.
However, in July of this year, a U.S. district court revoked Barrientos’ citizenship because he “willfully concealed material facts related to his military service in his immigration applications.” Barrientos is currently in ICE custody.