You Will Pay (The Cigarette Smoke) (Pagarás [El humo del cigarrillo])

Music piece by:
Manuel Mantilla
Testimony by:
Fernando Aravena
Experience in:

The political prisoners were isolated but when they made us go down to the courtyard, we were with the common prisoners.

They listened to the song ‘El humo del cigarillo’ (The Cigarette Smoke) on the radio. That is the first song I remember from the period during which I was imprisoned.

Singing was important when we were in the dungeons. I sang with a comrade who was some four cells away. I do not remember what we sang because we had just been arrested.

There were also juvenile prisoners. They did not sing our songs but instead sang rancherasTraditional song style from Mexico typically featuring themes of love, patriotism or nature., more popular things.

There was always singing. Music served to alleviate great pains.

For the political prisoners, singing allowed us to harbour hope and a sense of fraternity between us, and many more things.

It was our lifeline, our refuge. It seems that singing is something intrinsically human.

A political prisoner can be isolated for days on end. A common prisoner gets bored, strangles themselves. But not us: we have singing, strength, struggle. That carries us forward and distinguishes us from common prisoners.


Published on: 27 April 2019

I want to get drinking
and smoke a cigarette
and go look for the woman
who killed my feelings.

You shouldn’t, shouldn’t have played
with my silly heart
what you did with my love
I swear you will soon pay for.

I’m not sad
it’s not my weeping
it’s the cigarette smoke
that makes me cry.

Who do you think you are
a goddess
a beautiful flower that someday
will wither.