Music piece by:
Víctor Jara
Testimony by:
Experience in:

They said that once you got to the prison of Teja Island, you were safe.

However, once when we were in our cells, they shot several young people who were between 18 and 21 years old. When I saw their pictures I asked myself why I hadn’t been among them.

Prison was a relief. We had food and water. There were six of us in my cell, academics and students. We began to become friends.

Almost the entire basketball team of Valdivia was in the prison. We played a great championship.

They locked us in around six ‘o’clock in the afternoon, after giving us a cup of tea and bread. To pass time we would sing, tell jokes, or whatever came into our minds.

After two days, a guitar appeared. It must have been some cool guard who let it in.

The owner of the guitar was an academic who knew songs by Víctor Jara, Quilapayún and Inti-IllimaniFamous musicians of the Nueva Canción movement.. They were popular at that time and we identified with them. Their songs represented the people and the peasants.

Singing cheered our souls up after so many days of suffering. I particularly remember the song ‘Luchín’.

For me, that boy represented thousands of children suffering misery and the sadness of losing their parents. I imagined that same horse that looked at him with sadness while grazing. This horse probably remained alone.

I also identified with 'Te recuerdo Amanda' (I Remember You Amanda) by Victor Jara. It is a very beautiful song.

There was a very lively night. One of the university students brought out a recorder and began playing a tune which sounded Middle Eastern. There was a coiled cloth on the floor that looked like a snake made of rags.

We were flabbergasted when the snake began rising: we had only seen it in movies. Afterwards, we realised that the snake was attached to a black string, which a mate was pulling from his berth.

There was a general applause in the cell. With so much razzle-dazzle the guards suddenly appeared. 'What is happening here? To bed!' But sleeping was a tough ask because there was a light that was lit all night and made a noise that kept you awake.

Victims remembered in this testimony:


Published on: 13 January 2018

Fragile as a kite
on the roofs of Barrancas
the boy Luchín played
with his little bruised hands
with the rag ball
with the cat and the dog
the horse looked at him.

In the water of his eyes
a clear green bathed
he crawled to his young age
with his little muddy bottom
with the rag ball
with the cat and dog
the horse looked at him.

The horse was another game
in that small space
and it seemed that the animal
liked this job
with the rag ball
with the cat and the dog
and with little Luchín wet.

If there are children like Luchín
who eat dirt and worms
let us open all the cages
so they can fly like birds
with the rag ball
with the cat and the dog
and with the horse too.