9) Calle 13: Latin American Identity and Consciousness

Speaking of coca-chewing in the Andes, vineyards in the Southern Cone, and plantations and African rituals in the Caribbean, Residente constructs an image of his beloved Latin America in the song of the same name. Hard work, friendliness, US intervention, exploitation, and migration are all mentioned in this track, in which Residente draws an image of the diverse Latin American identity.



“…Soy lo que dejaron                                                                     (I’m what they left behind,)

Soy toda la sobra de lo que se robaron…”                             (When the pillaging had finished,)


“Soy una fábrica de humo                                                           (I’m a factory of smoke,)

Mano de obra campesina para tu consumo”                      (Peasant workforce for your consumption,)


“…Las caras más bonitas que he conocido                            (The most beautiful faces I’ve seen,)

Soy la fotografía de un desaparecido                                     (I’m the photo of a ‘disappeared’ person,)

La sangre dentro de tus venas                                                   (The blood inside your veins,)

Soy un pedazo de tierra que vale la pena”                            (I’m a piece of land that’s worthwhile,)


“…Soy lo que me enseñó mi padre                                            (I’m what my father taught me,)

El que no quiere a su patria                                                         (Whoever doesn’t love their country,)

No quiere a su madre”                                                                   (Doesn’t love their mother,)


“…Un desierto embriagado con peyote                  (A desert intoxicated by peyote*)

Un trago de pulque                                                                         (A dram of pulque**)

Para cantar con los coyotes”                                                      (In order to sing with the coyotes***)


“Trabajo bruto pero con orgullo                                                (Plain work, but I do it with pride)

Aquí se comparte, lo mío es tuyo                              (Here things are shared, what’s mine is yours)

Este pueblo no se ahoga con marullos                    (Even the biggest waves can’t drown my people)

Y si se derrumba, yo lo reconstruyo”                        (And if they’re knocked down, I’ll help them up)


“…La Operación Cóndor invadiendo mi nido                        (Operation Condor**** invading my nest)

Perdono pero nunca olvido”                                                       (I may forgive, but I will never forget!)


This song shows that Calle 13 are committed to sharing the consciousness they have of their continent’s history and culture, but also that they believe in resistance to imperial interference in the sovereignty of Latin American nations and unity between movements for social justice in the continent. This is echoed in the chorus, with the emphasis on the fact that no amount of money can control all of the continent’s citizens. In the end, they are free, and they will maintain their cultural independence and individual character. And Calle 13 are committed to supporting this.


*Peyote = drug with psychoactive properties used in indigenous rituals in Mexico

**Pulque = traditional alcoholic drink in Mexico

***Coyotes = could refer either to the animal or to the smugglers who ‘help’ migrants to cross the border into the USA

****Operation Condor = The US operation to ensure revolutionary movements in Latin America were stamped out during the ‘Dirty War’ (part of the international ‘Cold War’ between the USSR and the USA). This operation involved training and supporting right-wing military forces in the continent to take control of their countries and use violent tactics to destroy all dissent. US-friendly right-wing dictatorships were installed throughout Latin America, and millions of people were either killed, went ‘missing’, or suffered repression of their rights as a result.


Latinoamérica – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkFJE8ZdeG8


About Ed Sykes

Independent journalist. Co-founder of Phoenix Media Co-operative. Author of Rojava: An Alternative. Ex-Canary editor and writer (2015-2020). Aka 'Oso Sabio' - see @ososabiouk on Twitter.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to 9) Calle 13: Latin American Identity and Consciousness

  1. Pingback: Calle 13: The Ayotzinapa Case Is a Disgrace | Resistance Is Fertile

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s