Free (Libre)

Author:
Nino Bravo
Testimony by:
Marianella Ubilla

I was taken prisoner on 23 November 1973, at the University of Concepción. In the Regional Stadium of Concepción we had to sing the National Anthem every day. They’d always play military marching music. I think they did that to show that they were the bosses.

During the Christmas celebrations we sang Nino Bravo’s "Libre" (Free). At the same time you could hear the National Anthem. I was 18 years old at the time and thought: "What am I doing here if all I did was work for an ideal, for a more just society?". After Christmas I was taken to Fort Borgoño in Talcahuano. There I just heard screams and bayonets.

I was a prisoner for eight months and after that I was sentenced to three years of probation, ordered to sign a register every week. Every week they’d take me from my house at 4 or 5 am to torture me. My siblings, who were also political prisoners, have tried to kill themselves many times. I’m so resilient that I simply decided to stop suffering, but every time I hear "Free" I feel that, in reality, I'm not free. I am no longer physically abused, but I am socially.


Published on: 13 July 2015


He’s almost twenty and already
tired of dreaming,
but behind the cement is his home,
his world, his city.
He thinks the fence is only
a piece of metal,
something that can never stop
his desire to fly.

Free,
like the sun at dawn,
I am as free as the sea
Like the bird that escaped from its cage
and can at last fly.
Like the wind that embraces my cry
and my grief,
an endless path
in search of the truth
and finally I shall know what freedom is.

Crowned by his love he strode off
singing a song,
He strode so happily that he heard
the voice that called him,
and lying on the ground he remained
smiling and speechless,
on his chest crimson flowers,
blossomed incessantly.

Free,
like the sun at dawn,
I am as free as the sea
Like the bird that escaped from its cage
and can at last fly.
Like the wind that embraces my cry
and my grief,
an endless path
in search of the truth
and finally I shall know what freedom is.