Joan Jara is the wife of Víctor Jara. Joan and Víctor were married in 1965, and raised two children together until Víctor’s murder in 1973. After identifying Víctor’s body and attending his funeral, Joan fled with her daughters to the country of her birth, the United Kingdom. In exile, Joan became an activist against the military dictatorship, eventually returning to Chile in the 1980s to piece together the truth of Víctor’s murder and to start the Víctor Jara Foundation in Santiago.
In 1998, Joan published “An Unfinished Song: The Life of Víctor Jara,” a highly personalized biography detailing the rise of the people’s movement in Chile, which led to the election of socialist president Salvador Allende, and the parallel rise of Víctor’s career and his role in the movement. In 2009, Joan Jara was granted Chilean citizenship in recognition of her struggle for the restoration of democracy in Chile. Additionally, she has received multiple awards for her work on academic and popular dance in Chile.
Manuela Bunster and Amanda Jara Turner are the daughters of Víctor Jara. Amanda was eight years old when her father was found dead. Manuela was 13. After leaving for exile, Amanda returned to Chile in the 1980s where she remains today. Both Manuela and Amanda are Chilean citizens.
In 1994, Joan, Manuela and Amanda formed the Víctor Jara Foundation to promote knowledge of Víctor’s life and work. The Foundation holds the most extensive archive on Víctor’s life, including recordings, books newspaper clips, videotapes, photographs and posters. In September 2012, the Foundation launched the campaign “Justicia Para Víctor Jara” (Justice for Víctor Jara) to increase awareness on Víctor’s death and promote justice for the crimes of the Pinochet dictatorship.