To my Little Dove (A mi palomita)

Teófilo Vargas Candia, popularised in Chile by the group Quilapayún
Testimony by:
David Quintana García
Place & date:
Cárcel de Rancagua, 1974 - 1975

On 10 September 1974, a folk band of Communist Youth activists arrived at the prison of Rancagua. They were arrested to prevent them from participating in the demonstrations and other acts against the dictatorship on 11 September through their role as musicians and activists. They were freed on the 12th. They were arrested again in September 1975.

For the 18th of September, we did a fonda.* Personally, I asked that they sing ‘A mi palomita’, as I knew that they played that song. The intention was to spread the message that four generals had stolen democracy, with the verse ‘four strangers have stolen my little dove’.

It made us laugh a lot that the police officers hurt their hands applauding the song. Their intellectual level was very low – some didn’t know how to count or write. Because of this, it was easy to do things without them realising. We even had a library of Marxist books.

* Fonda: a party with music, food and drinks to celebrate Chile’s Independence Day.

Published on: 06 April 2019

My little dove has been stolen
By four strangers
Let’s see if I can save it
With four riflemen.

Strength yes, strength no,
Kichakirillaway, life,
I have enough strength
waway kanay kitay.

Charquita, káspita with its chillawita
Lónkoto, káspita, with its chullita
Saima kita motu tumallasketa
And this is the life.