Dedication: Dedicated to my family, Patty Cadiz, Tania and Lenin
To Sr Janet Mead the Romero Community
Especially to my friend John Palmer
'Juan's latest Collected Poems is divided into three sections representing the three stages or major areas of concern in his life since arriving in Australia as a refugee from Chile in 1990. The poems are very personal. They talk about his battle to master a new language and a strange new way of living in the country that gave him sanctuary from the Pinochet regime. But always the collective, global experience of capitalist oppression and the resistance to it come to the fore. Juan's poetry is personal but not at all self-­absorbed or individualistic. It is unmistakeably socialist verse of the straight-talking variety.
There are recollections of his time in detention at the hands of Pinochet's secret police and the tragedy of the coup on September 11, 1973. There are tributes to the Romero Community that does tireless work with the disadvantaged of Adelaide. There are outraged commentaries on developments like the detention of asylum seekers in concentration camps like Baxter. There's even a letter to Karl Marx about the relative lack of progress towards the new society foretold by the German philosopher/theoretician/activist. And, of course, there's recognition of the support and love of Juan's family who have shared his experiences in Australia.
While the poems deal with problems of huge dimensions and the sense of frustration and isolation this realisation creates, the work is ultimately optimistic and a good read for those needing a boost in these dark days of high imperialism. ' Bob Briton 'Revolution and Roses'
The Guardian (17 August 2005).