Testimonies

Testimonies are sorted by publication date, showing the newest first.
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The Brief Space Where You Are Absent (El breve espacio en que no estás)

Author:
Pablo Milanés
Testimony by:
Vilma Rojas Toledo
Place & date:
Cárcel de Coronel, 1986 - 1988
« I recall that during my time as a political prisoner Pablo Milanés was one of our greatest companions. His songs filled us with life, helped us to keep breathing and living behind the bars imposed by Pinochet’s military dictatorship. Personally, I remember the song “El breve espacio en que no estás” (“The brief space where you are absent”) because it sparked such heated debate among my comrades that you would think we were trying to resolve a vital political issue. »
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Published on: 08 July 2015


Lament for the Death of Augusto the Dog (Lamento a la muerte del perro Augusto)

Author:
Sergio Vesely
Testimony by:
Sergio Vesely
« Augusto the dog (not to be confused with the journalist Augusto Olivares, affectionately nicknamed "Augusto the Dog", who was murdered in the Presidential Palace on 11 September 1973), was the mascot of the political prisoners held at the Ritoque concentration camp, and accompanied his master when the military junta decided to close that prison and transfer the inmates to the neighbouring Puchuncaví concentration camp. »
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Published on: 22 June 2015


Musicalized Dialogue between Two Old Prisoners (Diálogo musicalizado entre dos ancianos presos)

Author:
Sergio Vesely
Testimony by:
Sergio Vesely
« At Puchuncaví Detention Camp (Melinka) I shared a cell with an elderly man from Lota, where he had spent his entire life working in the coal mines. I was struck by the way he spoke. It was very different from the “Chilean” way of a twenty-something year-old from the capital like me. »
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Published on: 22 June 2015


Poet of Destiny (Poeta del destino)

Author:
Sergio Vesely
Testimony by:
Sergio Vesely
Place & date:
« This song is a tribute to Miguel Enríquez, Secretary General of the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR), who was gunned down by a commando of the dictatorship’s secret police on 5 October 1974. My own five-year militancy in that organisation resulted in my enormous respect for this individual. »
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Published on: 22 June 2015


How Can I Describe This to You? (Cómo hacer para darte una idea)

Author:
Sergio Vesely
Testimony by:
Sergio Vesely
Place & date:
« This is one of two songs I wrote in prison for my beloved Graciela Navarro. In the song I tried to draw her closer to me, describing my everyday world and my experience of life as a captive. »
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Published on: 22 June 2015


Valparaíso

Author:
Sergio Vesely
Testimony by:
Sergio Vesely
Place & date:
« This song was written and sung in cell number 198 of Valparaíso’s former prison, that is to say, on the top floor of the main building, which was higher than the walls that surrounded it. This had several advantages for the prisoner, for if they perched on a stool to peer through the skylight, they could enjoy the company of a good part of the city during their hours of confinement. »
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Published on: 22 June 2015


Today Was Visitors’ Day (Hoy fue día de visitas)

Author:
Sergio Vesely
Testimony by:
Sergio Vesely
Place & date:
« Visitors’ day was an exceptional day that broke the monotonous routine of all the other days of the week. I wrote this song in Valparaíso Jail, where I sang it countless times accompanied by my dearly remembered cellmate, the musician Antonio Suzarte from Valparaíso. »
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Published on: 22 June 2015


Love Song for a Disappeared Woman (Canción de amor a una desaparecida)

Author:
Sergio Vesely
Testimony by:
Sergio Vesely
« Daniela was the political codename of María Cecilia Labrín, a member of the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR). Agents of the DINA (the regime’s secret police) arrested her at her home on Latadía Street in Santiago in August 1974. »
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Published on: 22 June 2015


Reflections (Reflexiones)

Author:
Sergio Vesely
Testimony by:
Sergio Vesely
« Prison forced me to think quite a lot about my political past and my total commitment to an ideological cause, and its consequences. In this song (composed in the Puchuncaví Detention Camp and only sung for my friends and cellmates) I reflect on my role as a prisoner songwriter. »
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Published on: 22 June 2015


Beloved Friend (Amado amigo)

Author:
Sergio Vesely
Testimony by:
Sergio Vesely
« This song, written in my cell at the Puchuncaví Prison Camp, speaks to a friend and fellow prisoner; it could be any one of the thousands behind bars. »
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Published on: 22 June 2015