Not on God’s Side or the Devil’s

Dariela Aquique 

Edmundo Garcia

The Edmundo-Pablo controversial has been hot and heavy in the online press of late.  For some time, the insidious writings of Edmundo Garcia have made me think of him as a sort of tropical Mata Hari.  I can’t understand someone so tied to the political and social system of Cuba having gone to live in the very land that is the “biggest enemy of the island.”

He lives in Miami; that same Miami that he himself says is where: “They have hatched plots against my country, cultural exchanges with Cuba are blocked in Miami, and congress members from Miami want to limit the number of trips by Cubans to the island…

I have to ask myself, why didn’t he stay in Cuba?  Why does he stay there doing his radio program, with its trashy and preconceived scripts, while “criticizing the criminal blockade imposed on Cuba,” and “calling for freedom for the Cuban Five?

Let’s remember how a few months ago his manipulated interview sparked an entire wave of reprisals against artist Pedro Pablo Oliva.  Yet during his visits to Cuba he has been seen publically having breakfast with Ricardo Alarcon, the president of the National Assembly.  Now he’s trying to set up Pablo Milanes.  What kind of game is this guy playing?

It must be easy to campaign in support of Cuba, at least while in a cozy economic position like his.  He is a basket of contradictory arguments.  Edmundo says he admires Pablo’s work but he doesn’t believe this would have been possible “without the dynamics that generated the cultural aesthetics in which dear Pablo was inserted for the benefit of his growth as an artist…who…would have otherwise been no more than a guitar-toting bolero singer in a Bayamo bar, or — in the best of cases — one in Havana.”

This obviously calls into question Pablo’s true abilities as an artist, since Edmundo is attributing his accomplishments to the opportunities made possible by the revolution and not to the singer’s own talent, as the writer skeptically asserts.

Pablo Milanes. Photo:

Edmundo accuses the artist of trying to influence other Spanish-speaking singer-songwriters (who in addition are Pablo’s personal friends) to side with his position regarding Cuba.  Edmundo forgets that these artists, formerly affectionate friends of the Castro system, had previously expressed their early opposition to the extreme measures taken by the government against several young men who had tried to hijack the Regla ferry.  Shortly after, the accused men were executed by firing squad, hardly without discussion.

This Mata Hari wannabe was disrespectful and caustic in his statements concerning Pablo’s concert visit to Miami.  Pablito (as we Cubans call him) is entitled to give interviews to whoever he pleases.

Finally, I don’t know what side this guy is on.  He only reminds me of the old phrase: “There’s the person on God’s side, and the Devil kills them.  Then there’s the person on the Devil’s side, so God kills them.  But there’s that one who’s not on God’s side or the Devil’s, so no one kills them – they simply die alone.

I think Edmundo will die like that.