Francisco Roca and the Narren theatre group made political music theatre in 1975 about pre-coup Chile, which also resulted in the recording of an LP, Valparaíso -70, mostly with Francisco’s own songs.I did not get to Valparaíso until 2001. This is an exciting city with a very cosmopolitan feeling. The city is built on a number of hills around the harbour, and the parts of the city have a distinct character from the origin of their original inhabitants – English, Croatian or whatever. We were lucky to have a great host and guide, who is an enthusiast and amateur hometown historian. He took us around Valparaíso, finding his way in its labyrinths, making us ride all the 100 year old escalators, which he was documenting for the purpose of making a documentary CD-ROM.
He also took us to the old prison, which was closed down only a few years ago. There we were guided by a former inmate. This was a very scary place, not least considering that it was one of the places used for imprisonment, isolation, and torture of political opponents of the Pinochet government. It was also strange to hear the former inmate tell about the self-organized community of the prisoners – on harsh terms of course, but still leaving some degrees of freedom.