Under my Skin (A flor de piel)

Music piece by:
Julio Iglesias
Testimony by:
César Montiel
Experience in:
Colonia Dignidad, April 1975

Some testimonies have short notes that explain Chilean slang, dates, names, acronyms, concepts and important contexts. To read the notes, click on the underlined wordsThis is a sample note..

At the beginning of the 1970s, I met Carmen, my comrade, my love, at the Juventudes Comunistas of Talca. We had the life of young idealists, sharing our everyday, living this revolutionary process so beautifully.

At that time, we listened to typical songs of bands such as Quilapayún and Inti-IllimaniFamous Chilean groups of the Nueva Canción movement, with strong affiliation to the Popular Unity coalition.. But there was a special song that defined us as a couple. It was popular at the time, it came from Spain and was sung by Julio Iglesias(1943- ) Spanish singer, composer and producer.. We heard it for the first time on the radio and we played it at friends’ homes and parties.

I was arrested and kidnapped in April 1975 and was taken to Colonia Dignidad, near Parral, a place known globally for what happened there; known for Paul Schaefer(1921-2010) Leader of the Colonia Dignidad sect, Nazi and pedophile. During WWII, he participated in the Hitler Youth. as well as the kidnapping and torture we suffered.

The guard of the DINA would come and sing ‘A flor de piel’Idiomatic expression in Spanish that describes an intense manifestation of emotions. (Under my Skin), and then to Carmen. The person we least expected reminded us of our song. I still ask myself how they managed to perfect their ability to cause us psychological distress.

None of the guards asked us what music we liked. I would ask myself: How did they know that ‘A flor de piel’ was our song? Which of my cell comrades knew? I felt uncertain and worried that they knew this and how much information they could access.

Later, I became more receptive and began to enjoy listening to the guard coming to sing to us. I don’t remember him singing with arrogance or violence. He arrived friendly and stealthily, and left singing or humming.

Carmen told me later that she would also have this song sung to her. This experience brought us closer together as a couple.


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Published on: 18 June 2022


For that love that you give me
for being like that, just like that
because your love is faithful to my love
because always I’ve got you
under my skin.

For those small things
that make up a whole life
for those details of yours
to which each of my days wakes up.

For that eternal silence
with which you calm all of my anger
for that and for so much more
I will never find an equal love
for that and for so much more
it is so difficult when you are not there.

For that love that you give me
for being like that, just like that
because your love is faithful to my love
because always I’ve got you
under my skin.

I know that we sometimes quarrel
and we argue over silly things
over things of no importance
that are almost always my fault
and later without realising
in a moment everything is forgotten.

For that and for so much more
I will never find an equal love
for that and for so much more
it is so difficult when you are not there.

Because we have cried together
and shared the joyous moments
because we have halted time
just at the moment when you were mine.

For all of those things
that make up a life
for that and for so much more
I will never find an equal love.

For that and for so much more
it is so difficult when you are not there.