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"Estadio Chile", or "Somos Cinco Mil", is the common name of an untitled poem and song credited to Víctor Jara and penned in the days prior to his death. Jara was tortured and killed by the Chilean Army over several days in Santiago's Estadio Chile during the 1973 Chilean coup d'état.

Estadio Chile 
by Víctor Jara
Cancha Estadio Victor Jara.JPG
The eponymous stadium, where Jara wrote the poem and died
TranslatorJoan Jara

There are five thousand of us here
in this small part of the city.
We are five thousand.
I wonder how many we are in all
in the cities and in the whole country?
How hard it is to sing
when I must sing of horror.
Horror which I am living,
horror which I am dying.
To see myself among so much
and so many moments of infinity
in which silence and screams
are the end of my song.

Víctor Jara, "Estadio Chile"
(translated from Spanish)[1]



Víctor Jara was detained in Estadio Chile among thousands of others during the 1973 Chilean military coup against the Unidad Popular government, of which Jara was an icon.[1] Jara, a popular folksinger, sang for the other detainees to maintain morale.[1] Along with Andean and Chilean folk songs, he sang a "manifesto" composed his second night there.[1] The militia recognized him for his song and fame and removed him from the crowd.[1] The guards tore off his nails, smashed his hands, and ordered him to play the guitar.[2] He was found dead a week later with signs of brutal treatment and gunshot wounds.[1] The "manifesto" survived through both the detainees who memorized the song and the scraps of paper containing Jara's handwritten lyrics.[1]

Jara's wife, Joan, presented her research into her husband's final days in her essays[3] and 1984 memoir An Unfinished Song.[1] The poem stretches the entrance to the Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Santiago.[4]


In The Meaning of Human Suffering, Dr. Joel Gajardo-Velasquez compares the final line of the poem to the message of the cross: that Jara was able to see "the new that will be born in spite of, and probably especially because of, his personal tragedy", as "suffering without hope is death without resurrection".[5]


Naín Nómez placed the poem as the first in a series of semi-anonymous works distributed by hand and designed to challenge the new Chilean state of affairs after the 1973 coup.[6][7] He cited the poem as an example of poesía de la conciencia outside of the avant-garde tradition.[7]

In Resisting Alienation, Christopher Michael Travis writes that the poem "poignantly understates the effect of 'Auschwitz' on artistic expression".[8] Valerie Alia wrote in Media Ethics and Social Change that Jara's poem itself told the story of the coup and Jara's own unbroken spirit before his death.[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Tapscott, Stephen, ed. (1996). Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry: A Bilingual Anthology. University of Texas Press. p. 337. ISBN 9780292781405.
  2. ^ Wyman, Eva Goldschmidt (2002). Los Poetas y el General: Voces de oposiciâon en Chile bajo Augusto Pinochet, 1973–1989. LOM Ediciones. p. 438. ISBN 9789562824910.
  3. ^ Desai, Bindu (27 December 2003 – 2 January 2004). "Eclipsed Atrocities, Review of Chile: The Other September 11 by Pilar Aguilera; Ricardo Fredes". Economic and Political Weekly. 38 (51/52): 5355–5356. ISSN 0012-9976. JSTOR 4414433.
  4. ^ Watts, Jonathan; Franklin, Jonathan (10 September 2013). "Agony of Chile's dark days continues as murdered poet's wife fights for justice". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Archived from the original on 5 October 2013. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
  5. ^ Gajardo-Velasquez, Joel (1982). "Chapter 7: Suffering Coming From the Struggle Against Stuffering". In Dougherty, Flavian (ed.). The Meaning of Human Suffering. Human Sciences Press. pp. 292–293. ISBN 978-0-89885-011-6. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
  6. ^ Nómez, Naín (2009). "LAS TRANSFORMACIONES DE LA POESÍA CHILENA ENTRE 1973 Y 2008: APROXIMACIONES GENERALES". INTI. INTI, Revista de literatura hispánica (69/70): 11. ISSN 0732-6750. JSTOR 23288687.
  7. ^ a b Nómez, Naín (April 2010). "Exilio e insilio: Representaciones políticas y sujetos escindidos en la poesía chilena de los setenta". Revista Chilena de Literatura. University of Chile (76): 110. ISSN 0048-7651. JSTOR 25676969.
  8. ^ Travis, Christopher Michael (2007). Resisting Alienation: The Literary Work of Enrique Linn. Associated University Presses. p. 139. ISBN 9780838756751.
  9. ^ Alia, Valerie (2004). Media Ethics and Social Change. Psychology Press. p. 44. ISBN 9780415971997.