Roque Antonio Dalton García (San Salvador, El Salvador, 14 May 1935 – Quezaltepeque, El Salvador, 10 May 1975), born Roque Antonio García, better known as Roque Dalton, was a Salvadoran poet, essayist, journalist, communist activist, and intellectual.
- Las leyes son para que las cumplan
Las leyes son hechas por los ricos
para poner un poco de orden a la explotación.
Los pobres son los únicos cumplidores de leyes de la historia.
Cuando los pobres hagan las leyes
ya no habrá ricos.
- Laws are created to be followed
by the poor.
Laws are made by the rich
to bring some order to exploitation.
The poor are the only law abiders in history.
When the poor make laws
the rich will be no more.
- Poema de Amor (Love Poem)
- Laws are created to be followed
- The ones who filled the bars and brothels...
the ones who were mowed down with bullets
while crossing the border,
the ones who barely made it back...
the eternal illegals...
the saddest sad people in the world,
- You’ve already eaten the body of Francisco Morazán...
and now you want to eat Honduras
You need to be slapped
given electric shocks
to return to your true self
- I'm Telling You
Quotes about Dalton
- The death of Salvadoran poet Roque Dalton in 1975 is one of the great tragedies of Latin American literature and of the Latin American left... Most of his best writing came during his exile in Cuba, where he wrote seven books of poetry, and Miguel Marmol,a biography of a 1930s Salvadoran revolutionary that’s one of the great, underappreciated masterpieces of Latin American historical writing.
- Born in 1935, Dalton was the illegitimate son of a U.S. coffee plantation owner and a Mexican single mother... educated by the Jesuits... He blamed their hypocrisy and support for the status quo for his break with Catholicism. One of his first political acts was a high school valedictory speech blasting his teachers for their tacit support of the school caste system by which poor children were demeaned.
- Roque Dalton: The life and tragic death of a Salvadoran revolutionary poet, Freedom Socialist Party, (October 2019)
- Back in San Salvador... aware that the police were looking for him again, Dalton broke the rules of life underground and, as he put it... ‘exercised my right to go out and drink a beer’. The police found him on a bar stool and ‘disappeared’ him... Dalton... was interrogated by a CIA agent. The military planned to kill him, the American told him, but he had come to offer him a way out. ‘It won’t be just any life...but a life with all the possibilities... where we have every resource available, in France, in Chile, in England. You should live like a writer, like a scholar, not like a criminal. Why die now, like a fool?’ Dalton wasn’t swayed, and after several nights the American tried a final ruse. The CIA, he promised, would use its operatives in the Salvadoran Communist Party to spread the word that Dalton had co-operated. ‘We’ll tell them that before dying you tried to save your skin... You won’t go down in history as a hero but as a traitor.’ Dalton was shaken, but he didn’t talk...
- None of those who witnessed Dalton’s death have been willing to talk in public about what happened. His son Juan José, now a journalist, says that former members of the ERP... told his family in Cuba in 1978 that it was Villalobos who killed Dalton... the life Villalobos leads today resembles the one promised to Dalton by the CIA in 1964, ‘a life with all the possibilities’
- Salvadoran poet Roque Dalton wrote, "Altogether they have more death than we, but altogether we have more life than they." For this to be true, we must hold a larger vision of what is possible than the people who kill and torture and ravage.
- Aurora Levins Morales, ‘’Medicine Stories’’ (1998)
- In more ways than one, poetry must recall us to our senses-our bodily sensual life and our sense of other and different human presences. The oceanic multiplicities of this art call us toward possibilities of relation still very much alive in a world where violent material power can speak only to and of itself, yet in which-in the words of the Salvadorean revolutionary poet Roque Dalton-"poetry, like bread is for everyone."
- Adrienne Rich What Is Found There (2003)