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On the bittersweet occasion of the assumption of the new Pope, the first Jesuit and the first Latin American, a cleric with a truly humble lifestyle, and a man who at best failed to stand against the bloody dictators of his country and at worst actively collaborated with them, I am reminded of this great song by the Cuban singer-songwriter Pablo Milanés:

Yo pisaré las calles nuevamente

Lyrics and translation on the flip...

Yo pisaré las calles nuevamente
de lo que fue Santiago ensangrentada,
y en una hermosa plaza liberada
me detendré a llorar por los ausentes.

Yo vendré del desierto calcinante
y saldré de los bosques y los lagos,
y evocaré en un cerro de Santiago
a mis hermanos que murieron antes.

Yo unido al que hizo mucho y poco
al que quiere la patria liberada
dispararé las primeras balas
más temprano que tarde, sin reposo.

Retornarán los libros, las canciones
que quemaron las manos asesinas.
Renacerá mi pueblo de su ruina
y pagarán su culpa los traidores.

Un niño jugará en una alameda
y cantará con sus amigos nuevos,
y ese canto será el canto del suelo
a una vida segada en La Moneda.

Yo pisaré las calles nuevamente
de lo que fue Santiago ensangrentada,
y en una hermosa plaza liberada
me detendré a llorar por los ausentes.

(1974)

Written within a year of the bloody coup that cost the life of President Salvador Allende and thousands of Chileans, the song goes like this:

I will once again walk the streets
of what had been bloody Santiago
and in a beautiful liberated plaza
I will stop to cry for the absent

I will come from the burning desert
and I will leave the forests and the lakes
and I will evoke from one of Santiago's mountains
my brothers who had died before

And joined to the one who did much and little
to the one who wanted his country freed
I will fire the first bullets
sooner, rather than later, without rest

I will return the books, the songs
burned by the assassin's hands
My people will be reborn from their ruin
and the traitors will pay for their guilt

A child will play in the avenue
and he will sing with his new friends
and this song will be the song of the earth
to a life snuffed out in La Moneda palace

I will once again walk the streets
of what had been bloody Santiago
and in a beautiful liberated plaza
I will stop to cry for the absent

I want to wish the new Pope well, really I do, but I think of those torture victims, the ones who were certain Bergoglio had turned their names over to the death squads, I think of the political prisoners hidden from prying eyes in the archbishop's residence, and the water comes to my eyes.

When the Argentine dictatorship came to an end, the Argentine Commission on the Disappeared published a report documenting the worst abuses of the dictatorship.  They called it Nunca Más, Never Again.  If a man complicit in the crimes can become Pope, is that nothing more than flowery words?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

    When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

    by litho on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 06:51:05 PM PDT

  •  Pius did nothing too. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mookins

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 07:00:21 PM PDT

  •  Remind me again: (0+ / 0-)
    ... the first Latin American
    What is a Latin American?



    Denial is a drug.

    by Pluto on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 07:22:43 PM PDT

    •  An American from Lat? ;-) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pluto

      Happy just to be alive

      by exlrrp on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 05:38:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Piero has an idea... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pluto, Avila

      When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

      by litho on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 10:15:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I ask, because his parents are Italian. (0+ / 0-)

        They moved to Argentina, which is largely European. In fact, their constitution says that only Northern Europeans can apply for citizenship.

        When I hear Latin American, I generally think Hispanic.



        Denial is a drug.

        by Pluto on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 03:18:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Argentina's population is less European (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pluto, Avila

          than the Argentines sometimes want to believe.  One of the main points of Piero's song (and it's worth noting Piero himself was born in Italy) is that Latin American identity transcends ethnicity, and includes those of European, American, and African ancestry.

          Plenty of Indians in Argentina, as a matter of fact.  The great Mercedes Sosa, who passed some four years ago, bore her ancestry on her face.

          When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

          by litho on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 05:24:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I've got it straight now (0+ / 0-)

            Latin America is anyplace on the American continent where Portuguese, French, or Spanish is spoken (including, it seems, Quebec). In other words, any former European colony except that of the Anglos.

            Meanwhile, the racial structure of Argentina is 97 percent pure-blooded indigenous peoples of Europe (Italy, Spain, or France).

            The remaining 3 percent are composed of the indigenous people of South America (Amerindians), Mestizos (mixed white and Amerindian), and other non-white groups (indigenous to Africa or Asia).



            Denial is a drug.

            by Pluto on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 06:43:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, and I do appreciate the cultural distinction. (0+ / 0-)

            Very much.

            So even though the vast non-indigenous population of Argentina arrived very recently (as evolution goes), they rapidly formed a distinct and unique culture there, different from their native homelands in Europe.

            Peru and some other countries are not Latin American, racially or culturally. Is that correct?



            Denial is a drug.

            by Pluto on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 06:53:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Is Argentina a recent genocide nation (0+ / 0-)

              ...like the US? Or was it relatively unoccupied when the indigenous Europeans arrived?



              Denial is a drug.

              by Pluto on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 06:56:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Argentina self-reports its population (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pluto, Avila

                as 97% European, but that seriously undercounts the number of people with African and Indian ancestry. Some estimates put that number as high as 40%. The Reid Andrews book I linked above on the Afro-Argentines of Buenos Aires shows the problems with the official statistics -- basically, racist census takers in the late 19th century redefined black people as white.

                Argentina's topography, though diverse, is dominated by the huge and extensive plains surrounding Buenos Aires. Without a metal plow, those grasslands were impossible to farm, so the population, as on the plains in the US, was mostly a nomadic hunting people. A war of extermination and conquest was fought against them in the late 1800s, and the survivors were incorporated into the emerging cattle ranching and wheat growing economy. However, substantial numbers of Indians were colonized in the forests near Paraguay and in the highlands near Bolivia and Chile, and their descendants, though marginalized and ignored, still live in Argentina.

                The term "Latin America" was invented in France during the reign of Louis Napoleon to provide ideological justification for his pretensions to form a global empire out of the shattered ruins of the Spanish and Portuguese empires. The term is used today to include the Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries of the Carbbean and South America, including also Mexico and Central America. Some scholars include the French speaking territories in the Caribbean, others don't. Peru is always included, Quebec never is.

                When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

                by litho on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 02:41:04 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  I figured yo pisaré meant (0+ / 0-)

    I will piss. I guess pisar means to walk. I thought that was andar or caminar.

    •  No Pisar (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      doc2, litho, sturunner

      You'll see that sign on the grass in Spanish-speaking countries.  It means no walking on the grass (not no pissing, but you shouldn't do that either, I'm sure...).

      Cynicism is what passes for insight among the mediocre.

      by Sky Net on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 09:07:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Pisar is more like (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      litho, sturunner

      to step, walk, or tread ON something.  It's not just a motion forward.  

      -7.13 / -6.97 "The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion." -- Edmund Burke

      by GulfExpat on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 01:01:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  He could have said Caminare (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sturunner, litho, Avila

      But Chile has a different vocabulary than northern Spanish speakers. There's more difference between Chilean Spanish and Mexican Spanish than there is between American and Australian English.

      To piss is mear

      Happy just to be alive

      by exlrrp on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 05:46:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, he was going for a feel (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Avila

        and I think I got it better in the diary title than in the full translation in the diary. Pisar means to step on or to tread upon, and in my first rendering I wrote "I will walk upon." When I got to the full translation I shortened that down to "walk the streets."

        When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

        by litho on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 06:29:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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