Cochengo Miranda (1975) - full transcript

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The winter came, the mist...
With my yoke of puppies

I will set traps for foxes, cats, wild boars or pumas;
and if the feather pays well

I will catch the ostrich, chase it with dogs at dawn
under the morning star,

when the Pampero wind whistles
crystallizing the frost.

I'm known as Cochengo Miranda...
Joseno... Cochengo.

A nickname. Doesn't mean anything.

When winter comes, I take my traps to the field
fox-hunting

At night, when the day is done, I write some verses
inspired by myself

Thus I make the hours pass, since
there?s no one to talk with.

We still keep customs from last century:
colt-boots, bolas, laces, to use in the field

We keep all those creole customs



This is the West of the Pampa.
An arid area, where doesn?t rain much

The pasture is weak. The most common
pasture is "tupe", to fatten the livestock

Mainly we raise cattle: cows above all,
some goats to eat them, some horses

There is no agriculture, since there are no rivers
and there?s no rain. The ground is sandy.

Nothing grows. We get water from the wells,
that we call "jag?eles"

sometimes 50 or 60 meters deep.
Some wells are over 100 meters deep.

Blancas? is over 100 meters deep.

We extract water in a leather bag pulled by a horse

In the summer the cows drink twice a day,
so we spend the whole day extracting the water

It?s slavery.

Most of this land is without an owner.
Nobody wants it.

The Province thinks each one should
have two leagues of land.

It is fair: in a bad year
you can lose all your cattle.

So we need more land.



Neighbors are 5 to 10 kms. away.
There are no roads, so the solitude is big.

When we find a woman, we need a place to live
and raise cattle.

That is a "puesto de campo"
(field ranch)

We have 5 children: Ra?l, the elder, now at
high-school at Santa Rosa.

Wants to become a mechanic, lets see
how he does at school -I think he?s doing fine.

Nino is 14. He reached only second year
at elementary school

So he?s here, working with us.

Nino couldn?t go to school because I need
one of my children to help me

He has always watched the cattle.
He does what we do here.

Estelita is in 2nd year of elementary school.
She?s 7. Lives in a boarding school,
9 months a year we cannot see her

Then there are our twins. They are 6.
They are going to school next year

They already went for over a month but didn?t
learn anything. So we took them back home.

Luckily we have a mill now. Since two years.
It gets itself paid after one year.

I sold more than a half of my few
cows to buy this mill.

Then I bought a 12 meters watering pool.

Now we are more comfortable.

In a hot day, each one of the 100 cows drinks
35 lts. of water. Make your maths.

The yeguarizo drinks around 40 lts. a day

I have around 15 horses, to work with.

They are unfriendly.

If there?s a "pichi" (armadillo) the dogs
and I will catch it.

They taste good.

We hunt the fox because, besides it is
harmful, we sell the fur

We don?t hunt it just because, as a trophy
or sport. We need to do it.

They get hooked in the trap. We hit them
on the snout so it gets stunned

then we bend its head and break its neck.
It?s not shocking for us: we do it every day.

We live on it.

- Does it bite, the fox?
- No, it doesn?t.

- Why?
- Because man is meaner than the fox.

- Where does it drink?
- At the pools, when it rains.

To me, the radio is like having the newspaper at home:
I get to know things that may be unknown in the city

Cause here it sounds clearly. We get signals
from Chile, Uruguay, USA, from everywhere.

I met Maruca when she was around 14. Very young.
She and her mother visited me, so I spoke to her.

Told her I needed a housewife. She said
"But I?m too young. I would like it but you?ll
have to wait at least 5 years."

So we agreed on that. We lost contact for a while,
she went to San Rafael, Mendoza.

After 5 years we met again, and got married.

- Now it?s close. You see?
As soon as you touch it...

Maruca turned out a nice partner,
she helped a lot, she is skilled

She tailors clothing, she works a lot.
I got married at 45, but only because I needed
to take care of my parents

When they died, I had to work hard
and suffer a good deal.

We don?t have any hairdresser or anything like that.
So I began cutting hair to my neighbors.
Now I?m kind of professional.

I?m gifted in this field. Many people got so happy
after watching themselves so well cut and shaved...

I?m proud of it.

- The kitty was born dead.
- Yes.
- What did you do with it?

- You took it out?
- I did! With my hands.

- Lots of work?... Just asking.
- It was dead.
- Poor thing. Bald and little.

We have 5 children. Not all of them
can become ranchers.

Must be a rustic man like me, used to this life.
One may help the children to get better than this,
to learn more.

Learn to make a living by themselves. That?s why
I push them to study. So they become better than me.

What?s the use of staying at my level?
The best heritage for a son is education.

The school. Isn?t it so?

- Ain?t it nice?
- Yes.
- It twists.

They would get used to live and work like us.
Too much suffering.

Nino didn?t want to study. He can help us.
Cause if they all go away we would need to take
someone to help us.

And we don?t have the money for that.
We are poor already, to keep an employee on top.

Nino likes the field, he?s different.

Now comes the time of branding, at
the ends of March, April, May

Ram?n V?zquez will make a party on May the 25th,
it will be nice.

The gringos don?t invite. Cause if they gather
10 persons who may eat a cow, that costs a lot...

So rich people don?t treat. We do it,
the poor, because we like it: we are creole.

We like the fun, and the tradition. We never
forget our custom

Once the country is controlled by gringos,
it will be different. But we, the creole, will fight that.

We will fight for our traditions.

The peddlers try to exploit us. But through them
we get to have some things.

We lack so many things! So we buy
at least the indispensable

If a kg. of sugar costs $200, they
charge you $400. So...

You get out owing $30.000! If you don?t have cash,
you give a fat cow, which they sell for much more.

So we always lose.

We play taba (bones game), chinch?n (cards game),
if there are horses we race...

we set a small raffle, among a few

We don?t have other entertainment than
a race, or a branding, or some marriage (very rare)

From what I?ve seen, when there are no games,
there is drinking.

It is only betting or drinking.

Nowadays people doesn?t have much fun:
they are yield to work

There?s few young people, they?ve gone away
to the villages, only old people stayed here.

Young couples have gone to work to the villages.

So when people go to a party, they will bet
whatever money they carry

We don?t bet for millions, as they do
at the city races. We don?t have money.

But there?s always one little bill to bet for fun.

We don?t have authorization for this, so
we fear the police may show up

There is so little money at stake.
It is just for the fun.

When you invite people and there?s a guitar,
there will be nice dances, among neighbors.

Nobody gets drunk, since there isn?t much to drink.
Now people is more civilized.

We get married among neighbors. Nobody
will talk to a girl from the city.

Boys meet girls at the dances, then
they go and talk to the parents

Only a few get married in the church,
to avoid expenses.

Many just take away the girls. Cause the cost of
a party feeds a couple for a whole year.

I?ve written many verses, and many sing them.
That honors me, that someone sings my verses.

I used to sing, I was famous.
But now I?m only a rancher.

It snows but a little, some years
it doesn?t even rain.

When it snows it?s a novelty. It kills the
microbes and many harmful insects.

Only the fire heats us. We need lots of wood.
And we only have "jarilla" (thin branches)

Nino couldn?t find the horses. So I go to
find the track on the snow.

Juan Pagano is my brother in law. A good guitar
player, he has played with great musicians.

He?s a good man, hard-worker

I used to go where music was played,
had lots of friends

They said I shouldn?t stop singing. But the guitar
didn?t feed me, so I had to stop.

I had a family. Once you get to work
you cannot carry on with the music

You have to let it go.

Mr. Cochengo Miranda must come as soon as possible
to Santa Rosa city in order to fill
the papers to claim his land

- I never thought I would get it so quickly!
- You should go tomorrow.

- If I?m lucky enough and catch a car...
I could wait two days on the road...

- With luck, someone will pass by tomorrow.
Otherwise, it will be the day after.

- Give my regards to the children.
- Next week I?ll be back.

We shouldn?t need to go to the city
for these procedures.

The government should send someone
to come and know our problems

It is not possible, to make people
spend their little money
travelling to claim their lands.

It?s expensive: 450 kms. And sometimes
for nothing, cause nobody receives you.

At this point of my life, I am pretty poor.
But we are lucky: we had nothing when we got married.

The road is 9 leagues from home. Sometimes
you catch a motor car, but there aren?t many

Sometimes you spend a couple of days
at the road

But you have to wait. I beg the driver
to take me to the next ranch, to leave my saddle

Ranchs are 10 or 15 kms. away. When I
come back, I borrow a horse.

So when I get home, I just release
the horse and he goes back.

- Daddy must be on the road already!

- Can you take me?
- I?m loaded, you have to travel at the back.
- OK, I?ll take my saddle.

Now it ok. Like a green carpet. In other times,
this was miserable, not a single plant or grass

Many years before, there was much cattle.
Cause there was much grass. It was wonderful.

I think of my dear Pampa, the west side.
It used to be so beautiful.

Those are lost things, cause we don?t get any help
nor medic care, nor vehicules

It?s offensive. As if you were not a citizen of this country.
What are we? Don?t we have rights to the land, to anything?

Sometimes I get angry, when I have a reason.

Santa Isabel, the nearest town, is 20 leagues away.
If you arrive Saturday or Sunday you will wait until Wednesday.

That way, you lose a lot of time.

At the bus, it gets very cold.
Until Tel?n.

My only girl is at Tel?n, at the boarding school.
They treat her well, she is happy and hardworking.

- I?m learning to count and read. They give
us book, and we read.

- I sleep at the bedroom with some friends,
many girls

What can you do? She will have to get used, same as we.
But she is peaceful, doesn?t miss, and likes to study

What a splendid fertile land!
If I only had a bit of it...

Now I go to Santa Rosa, where my eldest son lives. Ra?l.
Poor thing: we sent him there cause we didn?t have space for him

So I got him a scholarship. We wanted him to
study building, so now he?s into it.

I will be master builder, it is what I like the most.
My father wants me to study, he thinks it?s better than
to be in the field.

He thinks I?ll get further than him. It?s a
responsability, since I?m the eldest.

And my other brothers may not be able to study.

He would like to have me there;
but he wants me to study

Now, after 30 years, I got the ownership of my land.
Now I?ll be able to work otherwise,
use the bank to buy cattle

Cause you have something to use as
guarantee

Now they will give me the papers.

The ingeneer from that office offered me three little
pine trees. I couldn?t carry any more, from such a distance

I?m very grateful to him.

Jolly good times those when young women
still weared nice fashions

their bosom full of flowers, their braids with nice laces,
simple and maiden, went by spilling stars

Now modern women have perms, shiny teeth and whiten legs
eyebrows are not perfect, nor eyelashes are eternal

they paint their lips and suffer a girdle
Fashion has degenerated this modern world

This looks like a hell not even dreamed by the Devil
liberty is a nightmare to man

the poor girl who cannot wear the fashion
is ill-looked and made feel unfomfortable
by men like itchy rats

When Perez arrives, they recognize him by
the noise if his spurs. They are big, noisy.

He?s a great friend. Always comes to visit us.
He got fond of the children, that?s the truth.

- Good afternoon!
- I?m glad to see you!

- Drinking mate?
- Would you prefer a brandy?
- It?s freezing already...

We gather to chat. He comes for news of some animals,
or to borrow something.

We will plant the little pines where we?ll
build the new house. We haven?t started yet.

But we will, with God?s help.
And we?ll plant other trees as well.

We will bring new plants, that nobody has here.

Winter is too cold, and summer too hot. But
Spring is unbeatable, wonderful.

You are waiting for the benefits, birds or cattle.
Cows, horses, goats. Weather is nice, no winds.
The green comes.

Everything gets better.

Emilo P?rez?brother is known as "Pelado" (bald)

The call you Pelado, rich enough, hard wallet.
You have a truck, ranch, cattle, girls

Don?t even need the dead?s help.

- Don Cochengo, I?m leaving now.
- Then drink it quicky.
- When are you coming back?

- One of these days. The day after tomorrow.

Everybody rents his truck, to travel
or transport cattle.

- How much is this one? How much? $65.000! 66!
68! 69! 70.000! Sold to Marcelo Maldonado!

(FOLK SONG)

Devil knows a lot being the devil,
but much more being old.

You can live anywhere. But there?s no place like home.
If you are well established and
know how you will manage things

I?m not at ease with things I don?t understand.
I grew up here: I know how to raise cattle

So I don?t want anything else. I?m ok now,
settled down. I?ll die here.

I wasn?t born knowing, life taught me
I?ve been carrying what God gave me

Years go by, and I forget them:
the glory of the past is now harshness and sorrow.

Such is Nature:
I wasn?t born to make History.