Floren Sanabria writes in El Diario:
Eduardo Abaroa and the Calama defense
The Chilean army, without any difficulty, advancing victorious, without a hint of resistance from the small towns of the journey, until they reached the vicinity of Calama. There, they had to stop along the way, then, information received from the small town said their industrious people, all civilians, because there never was a military unit, had organized in a small group to resist. Colonel Severino Zapata held the position of Prefect of the Coast and was in Antofagasta.
The Chilean commander, Colonel Emilio Sotomayor, then ordered a detachment to be organized to clear the obstacles of their triumphal progress. It was overestimated, of course, that a group representing a possible force hastily formed by Bolivian patriots, allocating to the unit that would facilitate to move forward, a team of 600 regular soldiers and 800 civilians between entrepreneurs and Chilean miners of the region, acting as volunteers.
Calama trampled by the Chilean
Thus, the invasion was a cakewalk, Chilean forces advanced smoothly until, on March 23 at the Calama area bathed by the Loa River. The defense of Calama is one of the most glorious epic of the Pacific war, if war can be called a simple assault by our coastlines by araucano hordes. Dr. Ladislao Cabrera assumed the leadership and direction of the defense, and did so with uncommon success in as a civilian, was appointed deputy chief Eduardo Abaroa, who was the right arm of Cabrera, and third Chief Colonel Fidel Lara. The chief of the Chilean Army, Sotomayor, take notice of these dressings and resolution of Bolivians to cope in Calama, sent his assistant Ramon Esprech, to parley with the chief proponents of Calama. The envoy appeared before Cabrera on March 16, 1879, and summoned him surrender in these words: “Surrender the plaza and will grant any security and safety for you, for your neighborhood and Calama.” Ladislao Cabrera, haughty replied: “Bolivian never gives up.” “We are determined to sacrifice our lives for the country, but to give up, never. We will defend to the last extremity the territorial integrity of Bolivia, until no one man can take the gun and reject the invader. Enter, but while there is a drop of blood in our veins, we will not surrender. Enter while gulping with our blood, penetrate with our blood on our remains and the invader walks on the ash ponds and plant their flag of conquest, say, then, to your boss, we will not give up. ” “Let Chile know that Bolivians do not ask how many are their enemies to accept the fight.” After the departure of the Chilean parliament, Cabrera met a few defenders, addressed them and harangue them and then read the Minutes with the envoy. At the end asked, “Have I interpreted your feeling?” “Yes,” they all replied: “We swear to die and defend with our blood the soil of the homeland.” Cabrera in a separate meeting had told Abaroa: “Go back with your family ” and he replied: “I am Bolivian, this is Bolivia and here I stay.” He had the possibility to return to San Pedro and leave Calama, he did not. On March 23, 544 men presented in Calama, the Hunters invading forces with two mountain artillery pieces, a piece of artillery and cavalry. The Bolivian brave, willing to uphold national honor and integrity of the country, were no more than 135 armed fighters with 35 rifles, some carbines, 30 rifles caps, 11 revolvers, 32 spears. They did not have a machine gun, even less a cannon. In such unequal conditions the bloody battle ensued. The powerful enemy artillery opened gaps with ease in front of the Bolivian defenders.