One song led Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel to tweet three times.
The same song prompted Cuban state television to call on Cubans to applaud and sing the national anthem on Thursday (18), with the official press dedicating entire pages of criticism and long minutes of television since Wednesday (17).
It is about “Patria y Vida”, which questions the government of the communist country and denounces the political and economic situation which crosses the island.
Composed by famous Cuban artists such as Yotuel Romero, Descemer Bueno, the duo Gente de Zona and rappers Maykel Osorbo and El Funky, the song surpassed one million views on YouTube in less than 72 hours and went viral on various networks. social in Cuba.
Authorities responded by calling the song “trash” and “cowardly” and calling its authors “rats” and “mercenaries.”
It is not common for so many authorities and official media to react in unison for a single song, as is the case now.
“This is how the country is sung: I live in a free country, in which you can be free, in this country, now and I am happy because I am a giant”, wrote Díaz-Canel in a series of tweets, in reference to a famous song by Cuban troubadour Silvio Rodríguez.
According to most critics of the government and the state press, among the most disturbing elements are:
Criticism of the ruling party
Some of the images shown in the video clip (of the protests and repression on the island).
The participation of some musicians who previously defended the system and others who always questioned it (some of them members of the opposition movement San Isidro, which went on a hunger strike last November) .
Directed between Havana and Miami, “Patria y vida” questions some of the most pressing social issues facing the island, from the housing situation to exile to lack of food.
“Drums and cymbals for 500 [anos] from Havana, while at home the pots have no more jama [comida]”sings Romero.
“Disclosure of a paradise in Varadero, as mothers mourn for their deceased children,” the song’s lyrics also read.
The song then tackles more political issues until it advocates for a change on the island.
“People are tired of putting up with it, we are waiting for a new dawn,” he said.
However, one of the lines that has bothered the government the most is the one in which the musicians demand the change of a slogan that Fidel Castro popularized in the 1960s: “homeland or death”.
“There are no more lies, my people are asking for freedom, there are no more doctrines. We no longer cry homeland or death, but homeland and life,” says the song.
The song also calls into question the new economic measures the government has taken in an attempt to deal with the crisis the island is going through.
“Can we celebrate if people move fast, exchanging Che Guevara and Martí for currency,” he said, alluding to the dollarization the island is experiencing.
What is the government saying?
In one of the first reactions, former Cuban Minister of Culture and current president of the Casa de las Américas, Abel Pietro, described the song as “a musical pamphlet” and an attempt to prevent a possible rapprochement between the Biden government and Havana.
“Funded groups abroad and on the island warn that if there was somehow a civilized rapprochement between the two countries, that would mean the end of their jobs, and it is really very grotesque that an alleged flag of life to be high in the United States, “he said.
A similar criticism has been used by several government ministers, official institutions and the president himself.
“Homeland or dead, we shouted thousands of people last night with the applause at 9 am and the hymn of Perucho Figueredo (Cuban poet). They wanted to erase our hymn and Cuba went viral on the networks”, a writes Díaz Canel, in reference to the call to sing the hymn.
Cuban state television also devoted a lot of space to the issue on Thursday (18). The official Granma newspaper did the same in its Friday edition (19), with a cover article and several internal pages.
TV stations cut their broadcasts at 9 p.m. Thursday (18) to show the national anthem, after the news called on Cubans to sing it and applaud it in a campaign titled “Die for your country is is live “.
What do those who support “Patria y Vida” say?
The song, which was posted to YouTube last Wednesday, quickly went viral and was shared by thousands of people on and off the island.
As Alexander Delgado, one of the singers of Gente de Zona, said in his presentation, the song “is the feeling of many Cubans who are inside and outside Cuba” – he stressed that the artists have not received funding from any group or government to run it there.
“It’s a sincere thing that we do for people,” he said.
Yotuel Romero, for his part, said the song has among its goals to show that Cuban artists are looking for a change.
“No more, no more lies, no more betrayal, no more torture, no more jail, no more jail, no more letting you be as you are,” he said.
Cuban artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, leader of the San Isidro movement, who briefly intervenes in the video, guaranteed that “Patria y vida” represents a “unique moment” and that the letter “made Cuba cry inside and out. outside “.
The Vice-President of the European Parliament, the Czech Dita Charanzová, was one of the personalities who celebrated the song and posted it on her social networks.