Zamba of my Hope (Zamba de mi esperanza)

Music piece by:
Luis H. Profili
Testimony by:
Edgardo Carabantes Olivares

Horacio Carabantes Olivares, my brother, was locked up in January 1975 at the Maipo regiment of Valparaíso, with a large group of male and female prisoners, all arrested by the DINA(National Intelligence Directorate) Secret police of Pinochet’s dictatorship between 1974 and 1977..

One day an officer approached the group and asked, in a confrontational tone, who could sing. Horacio, who had sung with a gorgeous voice since childhood, replied saying: I can sing.

The officer commanded him to do so. So my brother raised his voice and sang 'Zamba de mi esperanza' ('Zamba of my Hope').

A month later, on 20 February 1975, Horacio along with other inmates – male and female – disappeared from Villa Grimaldi, in Santiago, after being passed around different clandestine detention centres. He had recently turned 22 years old.

Some of the survivors have told this story, stressing the significance of that action by Horacio, who in the midst of interrogation and torture did not lose his nerve but took the opportunity to give his comrades a sign of hope.

Victims remembered in this testimony:


Published on: 07 November 2016

Zamba of my hope
that dawned like a longing
dream, dream of my soul
that sometimes dies unblossomed.

Zamba, for you I sing
because your song strews love
gentle touch of your handkerchief
wrapping around my heart.

Star, you that gazed
you that listened to my soul
star, let me sing
let me love the way I know.

Time that passes
like life, never to return
time is killing me
and your love will, will be.

Sunk in horizons
I am a dust cloud adrift in the wind
zamba, do not leave me
without your song I cannot go on living.

Star, you that gazed
you that listened to my soul
star, let me sing
let me love the way I know.