We Shall Prevail (Venceremos)

Music piece by:
Claudio Iturra (lyrics) and Sergio Ortega (music)
Testimony by:
Lucía Chirinos
Experience in:

The parish priest at Buen Pastor played the accordion. He played so beautifully. Because I played the piano, I asked him if I could borrow it. 'I'll lend it to you' he said.

Discreetly, I began to learn 'Venceremos', 'La Internacional', the National Anthem and the Anthem of the Police. They made us all learn the Anthem of the Police and I knew it from my dad, who was an officer.

Learning all these songs on the accordion turned out to be a rather tiring task, all the more so since I could only do it in the afternoons when the girlies went to watch their beloved soap operas.

Marisa Cruces (the title character of the Mexican soap opera La cruz de Marisa Cruces) sure had a hold on the heterogeneous audience made up of serious criminals, petty criminals, guards, traitors to the Fatherland and nuns. They would all cry about the vicissitudes the protagonist endured.

'Don’t open yet', I said to the Mother, 'I will fetch the accordion'. I ran into my cell to get it and positioned myself on the landing of the stairs. I positioned my fingers on the keys and buttons.

'Now, Mother, open it'. An avalanche of women ran in. They shouted 'we’re hungry'. It was at that moment that I began playing 'Venceremos'.

They all turned around and their jaws dropped. Then they closed their fists, lifted their left arm and we sang at full blast, crying, raising our voices so they resonated in the corridor. It was glorious.

While we sang, the policemen began walking towards the prison. They had surely decided to reprimand us or something worse.

I quickly started playing the first chords of the National Anthem. We were singing loudly 'How pure, Chile, is your blue sky'. We sang with force and courage.

When they heard the National Anthem, the policemen stopped, stood to attention and stayed still in the middle of the court. They had to wait until we finished the anthem. We sang with rage: 'and a refuge from oppression'.

Straightaway, we sang the Anthem of the Police: 'Order and Fatherland is our motto…' The policemen looked at each and burst out laughing. They went back while we carried on singing, overcome with laughter.

We hugged each other laughing, feeling relieved. We then went to have a nice cup of tea with crustless bread, convinced that music is also a factor of unity, peace and love.


Published on: 25 September 2016

From the deep crucible of the homeland
the popular clamour rises up
the new dawn has been announced
all Chile begins to sing.

Remembering the brave soldier
whose example made him immortal
we must sooner face death
than betray the homeland.

We shall prevail, we shall prevail
a thousand chains we will have to break
we shall prevail, we shall prevail
misery (fascism) we shall manage to defeat.

Peasants, soldiers, miners
women of the Homeland too
students, employees and workers
we shall fulfil our duty.

We shall sow glory in the land
the future shall be socialist
together we all will make history
without fail, without fail, without fail.