“I want freedom for the Five, and freedom for Maria [marihuana]” – Roberto Carcasses
HAVANA TIMES — Though the government boasts of Cuba’s broadened Internet connectivity, I have no access and news about incidents on the island and abroad always reach me rather late.
It wasn’t until Wednesday (a week after the fact), when a friend who lives in Brazil wrote to ask me what I thought about the whole Roberto Carcasses affair, that I found out about this incident involving the Cuban musician.
I wrote back to ask him what he was talking about, for I had no idea. He sent me an article published in the online Cuba news and commentary site Cafe Fuerte on the 16th of the month, titled “Roberto Carcasses Ratifies Statements In Spite of Official Sanctions” (“Roberto Carcasses ratifica sus palabras pese a sancion”). He also sent me a post on the incident published by Cuban musician Silvio Rodriguez on his blog “Second Rendezvous” (“Segunda cita”).
When I read these two articles, I thought: “Oh, how naïve I am!” I say “naïve” because I saw that horrible concert from beginning to end. It had an awful art direction and ended up as a kind of hotchpotch of different soloists and bands, shot through with technical problems which forced the organizers to do hackneyed impromptus on several occasions.
When I heard Carcasses’ comments (which weren’t even heard that clearly, as the audio problems were an affront to the ears), I didn’t for a moment think he would face any kind of censorship.
I didn’t think so not because of what he said, exactly, but because, naive person that I am, I was actually beginning to buy into this whole government spiel about the right to freedom of expression, the invitation to say what one thinks made to Cubans, so as to build a better future together.
What the hell difference does it make that he said what he did at this concert? The reaction would have been the same anywhere. In Cuba, there is no right time or place to criticize the government.
At the concert, at least, a good number of people were listening, and not outside a meeting, in a hallway somewhere, or at street corner, between whispered comments, or at a party, in the privacy of someone’s house.
There was nothing spontaneous about the concert either. It is something of a debt the Cuban government had with their imprisoned agents and their families. When all is said and done, having placed them in the line of fire, having tried to collaborate with the FBI (to get in with the Yanks), was a major blunder.
So many people were unable to maintain any kind of contact with their relatives for years, only because these relatives lived in the United States. So much hatred among Cubans was sown for decades on end, only because some of those Cubans chose to live in the land of the enemy.
And it turns out that, behind the curtains, the government had been corresponding with its nemesis, even giving away their own agents. That was probably far more hurtful for the relatives of the Five than what Roberto Carcasses said or could have said.
As regards Silvio Rodriguez, he’s reading the same script he did when Pablo Milanes made statements in Miami. He’s always saying he supports people’s right to say what they think, but he always disapproves of the time and place in which they do so. Clever way of sitting on the fence.
Thanks to the statements made by the lead singer of Interactivo, this horrible concert has at least had some impact on Cubans. These statements have also spared television viewers from having to sit through a re-airing of the concert as well.
I hope the government will make a show of its benevolence and let Carcasses buy the car he also asked for.