We Shall Prevail (Venceremos)

Music piece by:
Claudio Iturra (lyrics) and Sergio Ortega (music)
Testimony by:
María Cecilia Marchant Rubilar
Experience in:
Cárcel de Mujeres Buen Pastor, La Serena, September 1973 - January 1974

I was studying to be a chemistry teacher at the University of Chile in La Serena. I was 21 years old when I was arrested. I think I was picked up due to a specific fact. I was regularly sent copies of the El RebeldeOfficial newspaper of the Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR) in Chile. newspaper by train, in order to distribute them in parts of Region IV.

I understand that on 10 September a package arrived under my name, but I didn’t pick it up from the station, nor did I go on the 11th. As the package had my address on it, I think that’s how they located me and arrested me.

The Good Shepherd Prison wasn’t a torture centre like Villa Grimaldi, Venda Sexy or other detention centres. For me, the simple fact of being a prisoner was torture enough.

We female inmates tried to make the situation as pleasant and comfortable as possible. There was an atmosphere of containment, and we tried really hard to make everyone feel good.

We didn’t talk about what happened to us every time we were taken to Regimiento Arica, because that truly was a torture centre.

We had a radio in prison. I don’t know who brought it. We listened to national radio stations and at night to Radio Moscow.

That’s how we found out about the things that were going on. It was a radio shared by the whole prisoner community so we’d play music that we could all listen to. I wasn’t able to listen to the type of music I would have preferred at times, such as classical music.

Music was always present: we were always walking around with a song in our voice. I think it was the only way to cope a little with prison life.

One day a comrade, Lucía, arrived with a guitar. She always entertained us with music; with songs that we used to listen to before the coup, particularly those of Nueva Canción‘New Song’, both a social and musical movement that began in 1960s Chile and spread to other Spanish-speaking countries.. We always sang 'Venceremos' ('We Shall Prevail') by QuilapayúnFamous Chilean group of the Nueva Canción movement, with strong affiliation to the Popular Unity coalition., in its original version.


Published on: 02 January 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.