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.

The soldiers guarding us put up with him, although in truth they couldn’t stand the animal. They never lost an opportunity to show how much they disliked him. The situation became critical for Augusto when the soldiers realised that he had the same name as the dictator.

In vain we tried to tie him up and keep him in one of the cells. Augusto was accustomed to his freedom and wouldn’t succumb to such indignation. But his wild spirit sensed the danger and the four-legged beast infuriated the soldiers, who from then on only wanted to find and kill him.

Nobody could stop Augusto from suffering the same fate as thousands of left-wing Chilean militants. The bullet that killed him came from the gun of a Navy officer, who hours before had assured us that nothing would happen to the dog if we stopped him crossing the fence and nosing around the Commander’s compound. All of us know that Augusto didn’t leave our side that day and we have sufficient grounds to suspect that the murderer had a political prisoner in his sights when he pulled the trigger.

This lament was written in my cell the same day that Augusto died.

Victims remembered in this testimony:


Published on: 22 June 2015


A hungry stray dog
made his home in the cell of a prisoner.
He preferred the lock-up to misery
and inadvertently fell into a mortal trap.

Shadow of love, doesn’t save you from bitterness.

Augusto the dog, a little dog without a master,
you ran after a paper bone.
Prisoner of your doggy luck
cold lead they will give you to eat.

Shadow of love, doesn’t save you from bitterness.

A bullet pierced your bark,
but the death from that bullet is not yours.
The corpse will remain a prisoner,
alone and sad because of your disappearance.

Shadow of love, doesn’t save you from bitterness.

A swallow began to sing
a song of life.