Wednesday, January 20, 2021



Liberty, You Say


you tell me,

is the most beautiful

thing that exists

on our young


You can't

live without it;

it's like the oxygen

of the soul.

If you have it,

you can never

lose it,

for you would die

from such immense pain.

It is not conquered.

It is carried humbly,

like an afternoon

in the depths of the heart.

But I who live

and suffer my country

like no one else,

I do not agree

with you.

The people here

have never been free.

For many it no longer matters

if the chain is thick

and gets thicker daily.

It doesn't move them to know

that their country,

like a sad, sweet


slowly agonizes;

surrounded by the cold

and miserable indifference

of her children.

You also don't


the brute dictatorship

we suffer in my country.

Nor have you ever

lost your freedom.

And your laughter

is the happiest

of all the laughter

I know.

Your country

is now a series

of simple mornings

that sing at sunrise

for you and yours.

But one day



also be free.


we will have

to defend

our liberty

every day,

making deep sacrifices

of tenderness and kindness.

Liberty is

within us,

like the night

is in the dawn,

and by our

resounding will

the digits

of her face

are already marked.

You must also

get used to freedom

in order to love it,

and to guard it

every second,

because it's been


for a long time

so that its smooth, clear

heart of multitudes

could be clubbed to death.

But above all,

when you don't have it,

when you don't know

the particular details

of her face,

then you should fight

to find her,

to liberate her

from the darkest shadow.

This way, liberty

is the triumph

of those who

have never been truly free.

And once achieved,

they should repeat

the action

every day of their life.

translated by Alejandro Murguia


Otto Rene Castillo

Tomorrow Triumphant

Night Heron Books, 1984

Scroll up again and look at that beautiful poet's face.

At age 31, in the early spring 1967, in the remote highlands

of Guatemala, Otto Rene Castillo was burned at the stake after

days of being tortured and mutilated by the Guatemalan Army.

It is said, "Castillo met with dignity the prescribed fate of

captured guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) 

of Guatemala. After years of agitation and exile, he had entered

into armed struggle convinced that it was the only way to liberate

his country from a tragic history of oppression and genocide."

[ BA ]